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How to Move On From an Ex When the Heartbreak is Fresh and Hurting

Whether you got dumped or did the dumping, heartbreak is a sting that can last for years. But here’s how to move on from an ex when you’re still hurting.

Signs She Wants to Be Your Girlfriend

Let’s grow old together. Or let me dump you at the train station for the new cashier they just hired at my work. The story may be different, but the feeling is the same. Heartbreak. No matter why your relationship ended, breakups suck. And learning how to move on from an ex is one of the hardest parts of the harrowing ordeal.

When you end a relationship with a d-bag, it’s easy to call it a day. But, when you truly love someone, the sting is all too real. Knowing you won’t be able to have them in your life anymore creates a chain reaction of emotions that seems to snowball out of control. Can’t seem to get a handle on your breakup?

How to move on from an ex when you’re still hurting

Don’t beat yourself up about it. Even if you’ve felt broken for months after the fact, it’s totally normal. Hey, they call it heartbreak for a reason. Your heart is broken, and it’s a real bitch putting it back together again. Here are the basic rules to know how to move on from an ex you still harbor feelings for.


Some friends might encourage you to “get over it” in the best way possible, but the truth is, you need to take the appropriate amount of time to grieve your relationship. You’ve ended not only a bond of love, but a familiar routine that you were used to having in your life. Naturally, it’s going to take some time to get over. [Read: 10 Stages of a breakup and how to get through them]

In order to know how to move on from an ex you still care about, bottling up your feelings and pretending as if you aren’t going through an ordeal isn’t healthy and can actually slow down the healing process.

That’s not to say that you should follow every impulse, no matter how spine-tinglingly orgasmic they might be. After all, running out and setting his car on fire while sending spite texts to his friends, may err on the psychotic side. Maybe.

Make your breakup playlist

Now that you’re deep into grieving mode, it’s time to sift through your music and create the perfect playlist. Grab whatever embarrassing breakup music you’ll be ashamed to tell your girlfriends about several months from now, blare that shit, and cry it out. Warning: this may take days. [Read: How to survive the first 168 hours after a breakup]

Feel free to spice up the genre of your breakup playlist from sad to angry any ol’ time. Here are some musical suggestions for your wallowing:

#1 Adele – Someone like You

#2 American Hi-Fi – Another Perfect Day

#3 Cold War Kids – First

#4 Damien Rice – The Blower’s Daughter

#5 Dawn Golden – Discoloration

#6 Florence + The Machine – What Kind of Man

#7 Phil Collins – In Too Deep

#8 Gotye – Somebody That I Used to Know

#9 Half Moon Run – Unofferable

#10 Kacy Hill – Arm’s Length

#11 Lana Del Rey – Million Dollar Man

#12 Matchbox 20 – You Won’t Be Mind

#13 The National – I Need My Girl

#14 Taylor Swift – You’re Not Sorry

#15 Tom Odell – I Know

[Read: 20 more perfect songs to break down and get stronger again]

Complain to your friends

Not too much. You don’t want to be one of those girls whose every word post-breakup is your ex’s name. Besides that, feel free to rant the night away with your closest friends. That’s what they’re there for. In fact, one study found that verbally reflecting on your past relationship can actually help speed the healing process and bring you closure.


If you’re tired of talking about your breakup to your friends, try journaling. Getting your thoughts and feelings out in any capacity *diary entries, writing short stories* can be cathartic for getting over someone you love.

Stop communicating with your ex – cold turkey!

Being friends with the person you’re madly in love with may seem like a cheap joke. That’s because it is. You may try to reason, “I’d rather have him in my life as a friend than nothing,” but the truth is… you wouldn’t. [Read: Breakup sex and 10 instances where it works]

Immediate post-breakup is not the time to be making nice with your ex. If this process ever happens, it shouldn’t be for a very long time. Trust me, you’re only looking to be an emotional punching bag should you choose to stay friends at this emotionally vulnerable time in your life.

Until you’ve figured out how to move on from an ex and completely gotten over them, you’re not ready to take a stab at the *ill-advised* friendship route, so for now, it’s cold-turkey for you! That means:

#1 No cyber-stalking. Delete and block him from all of your social media outlets and tell your friends that you don’t want them to pass along his latest Insta-post either. [Read: 12 great reasons why the no contact rule always works]

#2 No hanging out. Unless you want to interpret every stare as a sign of wanting to get back together, every touch as an urge to rip their pants off, and every conversation about their life as a personal stab to your heart, stay far away. For now, at least.

#3 No friends with benefits. Doesn’t matter how good the D was. The D went off-limits when he decided to be a D-bag. [Read: How to get your self-esteem back after a breakup]

#4 No begging to be together. It’s hard not to fight for your case to stay together when you’re in love with someone. But try to step back and see the bigger picture. Your ex doesn’t want to be with you. Begging isn’t going to help the situation. No matter how good you think you were together, forcing your ex to be with you isn’t healthy.

#5 No making your friends choose sides. If you had mutual friends with your ex, don’t make them choose one of you over the other. They can still be friends with both of you, you’ll just have to set some guidelines during the awkward phase.

Also, be the bigger person and refuse to participate in a “throw each other under the bus narrative.” It may seem tempting, but let your mutual friends know the subject of the breakup is personal and off-limits for gossip. [Read: 15 lessons you can learn from your own breakups]

Meet new people

That’s not to say you should run into a rebound relationship at light-speed, but breakups give you the opportunity to rediscover yourself and new people. Get to know who you are. Start saying yes to new opportunities and invitations, and you may just remember your post-breakup months as a time of new experiences instead of a mind-numbing blur. [Read: 13 rebound sex questions to know if you’re actually ready for it]

Make good habits

Wallowing and self-pity are totally acceptable after a heartbreak. It’s part of learning how to move on from an ex when the breakup is still fresh and hurting, honestly. Post-breakup, you are officially allowed three drunken nights of pink margaritas, one public emotional outburst, and one night of binging raw cookie dough and Cheetos. Just don’t forget to take care of yourself.

Focus on making good habits. Some great ideas include:

#1 Working out. A big part of learning how to move on from an ex comes from learning to love yourself. Make exercising a part of your new self, and I promise you’ll feel a zillion times better. No matter what your current size, there’s never harm in bettering your body, exercising regularly, and eating better. Plus, you’ll look totally hot the next time your ex sees you. Total bonus. [Read: 14 things to keep in mind when you bump into your ex]

#2 Hobbying. Get into a new hobby. This is a common post-breakup action because it helps take the focus off your breakup and onto rebuilding yourself and your interests. Show off your Photoshop skills and open an Etsy shop to showcase your prints. Take up an instrument. Learn how to cook. Do anything else than wallowing.

#3 Re-decorate. Instead of falling to the old standby of dying your hair post-breakup, why not focus your creative juices elsewhere? Start re-decorating your house room by room. This is a great way to distract yourself and work your frustrations into productivity. This is extra awesome if you previously shared your home with your ex. Erase all traces of your love nest. Fresh paint for a fresh start to life!

Give it time

“Time heals all wounds” didn’t turn into a life lesson staple for no reason. Give it time and you *will* start to feel better. Sometimes, that’s the only way to really learn how to move on from an ex when you’re still hurting for now. [Read: How to move on and deal with a breakup with a smile]

Once you start to feel back to normal, you may find it helpful to reflect *with an open mind* on why your relationship didn’t work. It didn’t work because you weren’t meant for one another.

Were you really happy in that relationship, or did you just want to be? What did you learn from everything that happened between the two of you? No matter what answers you come up with, it’s going to better your understanding of who you are and what you want. [Read: How to move on after a breakup and overcome the pain]

Learning how to move on from an ex is no easy task, and it’s definitely easier said than done. But you will get over the pain you’re feeling, and in time, you’ll be back to your fabulous self.

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Waverly Smith
Waverly Smith is a freelance writer who has been getting paid for spreading her sarcastic take on love, life, and sex since 2010. She is many things that people...
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