The Goose and the Gander: Let’s Talk About Old Flames: There are a Million Ways to Get Over Someone—But These Are the Healthiest Ways to Do So

By Dan Teano and MacKenzie Brady 
Lifestyle Editor and Photo Editor

Dan says…

When it comes to getting over someone, it seems like nothing can move you past the precious memories you’ve made. When we consult our friends, they always give us the same spiel: “there are more fish in the sea,” “Time heals everything,” or “Take this time to be with yourself.” But none of this advice actually helps. While they are all well-intentioned and true, words cannot remedy the lifeless feeling that comes with having your love life torn apart.

Aside from the cliché advice our friends give us, they also remind us “first love never dies.” How convenient. That means that no matter who we date next, and no matter how legitimate the reasons were for ending the relationship, that ex-lover will always occupy our mind—but that can’t be true. If it were, everyone’s first relationship would also be their last—and I bet some people are very glad that isn’t the case. So it is possible to get over someone. But how does that happen?

How do you stop wanting to look at someone’s Instagram feed when you used to be tagged in every post? How do you ignore the person who greeted you “good morning” before anyone else did? Though it seems impossible, it can be done in a way that doesn’t involve you hating (or stalking) the other person.

One way to emotionally heal yourself from the breakup and mentally prepare yourself for what’s to come is to learn to be grateful for your ex, not spiteful. When we choose to be grateful for someone, we inadvertently focus on the enthralling, once-in-a-lifetime experiences as opposed to the little fights that caused those to end. If your relationship was mostly negative, then you don’t need to trick yourself into thinking it was better than it was—just be thankful those days are finally over. No matter how rocky or romantic your relationship was, it does not have to end in bitterness.

Breakups can be nasty, unexpected, and heart-shattering, but they are never unwarranted. Many times, we remain bitter towards an ex over a bad break because we simply aren’t mature enough to understand where they were coming from. Before playing hero and trying to save the relationship, realize that there might have been reasonable grounds for why your ex calls you “ex.” Now, admitting your faults and recognizing the ones in the person you love most are the epitomes of “easier said than done.” Yet, many times we are scared to move on from an ex because we have never contemplated the upside of life without them. In fact, if we were in a long-term relationship, it is likely that we haven’t even experienced life on our own yet.

If you’re single and hurting, that is the best time to be your own significant other. Spend time with yourself; look after your needs like you did for your partner all those months/years. When you focus on becoming your best self, you will develop into a new and improved person; in doing so, you will naturally forget the people of the past—your ex included.

Getting over an ex is tricky business. On one hand, you’re convinced that person is truly meant for you and you would do anything to get back together; and on the other, you’re aware that love shouldn’t be an unending cycle of “break up to make up.” At the end of the day, it is up to you to decide whether or not that person is worth fighting for. If he or she isn’t, then let them go. If they are, then do what you must to be happy, but do not get their hopes up for nothing.


MacKenzie says…


Whether you’ve spent years, months, or even just weeks with someone, getting over an ex is hard.

Talking to someone everyday becomes routine, and when that is gone, when they are gone, it can be difficult to cope with. While everyone goes through breakups, not everyone deals with them the same way. Some people like to eat an entire carton of ice cream, watch sad or romantic movies, and cry it out. Other people will burn everything their ex gave them, as if burning the physical memories will burn them out of their minds as well. Others still will make themselves busy with work or hanging out with friends. There are an endless number of ways to cope, but some are healthier than others.

It is okay to be sad, but you shouldn’t let that sadness control you. It is okay to cry and be upset, but you should work through your feelings in other ways too. Writing about it or listening to music can be good ways to think and sort out your feelings.

You should avoid cutting yourself off from your friends. Solitude can be nice to think things through initially, but staying alone can become a problem. Make sure you’re still hanging out with your friends and keeping with your usual routines. Talking to your friends about your feelings can be another great way to cope. You may think that you’re bothering them with your problems, but you’re not. They’re your friends; they’ll want to help you feel better.

It is also important to avoid contacting your ex. That doesn’t mean block them, but don’t look through their social media posts, or text them a million times about wanting them back. Doing that comes off as immature and creepy, and if they react negatively you’ll just hurt yourself more. If you and your ex can come to an understanding about being friends that works for both of you, then great. That doesn’t mean you should try to be friends with all your exes. Sometimes it’s best to let go of people and move on.

One thing that people tend to do after a relationship is demonize their ex, and make them seem like a terrible person. While that is sometimes the case, or it makes it easier to deal with the breakup, it’s best to think about them objectively—they had their flaws, but you still wanted to be with them. Talking badly about them comes off as immature and doesn’t help anything in the long run.

It’s best to remove things that remind you of your ex out of sight. Take pictures down, put anything they gave you in a box in the back of your closet or under your bed, etc. You don’t have to get rid of everything right away, but eventually you should. Having it around can help grieving initially, but eventually you won’t want it.

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