10 simple ways to break the connection with your ex

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Whether your relationship was short-lived and passionate, or long-lived and deeply meaningful, breaking up with someone can bring a lot of disruption and sadness.

It’s a loss – and for some people, breaking the connection can be especially painful. Before you can learn how to break the connection with your ex, it helps to understand why you’re having a hard time. 

Why is it hard to break the connection?

Knowing why it’s so hard to break the connection can help you identify the strategies that will be most helpful as you move on from your ex. You’ll have to do some soul-searching as you ask yourself why your ex means so much.

You’re surrounded by reminders of them

Maybe your ex has been gone for a while, but your home is filled with reminders of them. These reminders could be obvious (photographs, tokens of love) or something more subtle.

Did you buy a furniture set together, then have an argument about where to put the couch? Did your ex pick the color of the living room? Were those dishes purchased by your ex on a recent vacation?

If so, you’ll need to do more than get rid of a few key items before you can stop thinking about your ex. Your ex is everywhere in your environment.


Often, people pour themselves into their relationships, and when those relationships end, they realize that they have let friendships falter. It may be that you’re having a hard time moving on because your boyfriend or girlfriend was keeping your loneliness at bay.

Now that they’re gone, you’re left facing that loneliness head-on.

You’re forgetting how difficult it was

Perhaps you’re only thinking of the good times you had with your ex.

You might be remembering the nice dinners you had at your favorite restaurant, or how nice it was to have someone in your life at the holidays. It may be that you’re not keeping your ex in perspective.

There were difficult times as well as good times – that’s probably why you broke up.

You’re afraid you’ll never have another relationship

For some people, relationships are rare and exciting – and when they’re over, it feels like there will never be such a relationship again.

Under these circumstances, knowing that the relationship is over brings a lot of sadness, even if the relationship was troubled while it was happening.

You’re having a hard time believing in yourself

If you suffer from a lack of confidence or have a hard time believing in yourself, then you may not have confidence in your ability to have another relationship.

You may think that you deserved the poor relationship that just ended, or you may not believe that you’ll ever have a relationship that is better.

You’re just not ready

Maybe you weren’t ready for the relationship to end, even if it wasn’t a very good relationship when it was happening. If this is the case, this can make letting go especially difficult.

You’re afraid of the unfamiliar

If your relationship lasted a long time, then you may be struggling with the enormity of the change that you’re now facing. It’s natural to be afraid of the unfamiliar.

Life is going to feel strange for a while without your ex.

Being with your ex felt right

It could be that you really believed that your ex was “the one,” and that you would be in a relationship with your ex forever. It can be a true let-down when relationships of this nature come to an end, and it’s especially heartbreaking to come to terms with this kind of loss.

What you can do to break the connection

Once you know why letting go of your loved one is so difficult, it will be easier to break the connection. Some of these suggestions will feel more “right” to you based on the way you feel, and the reasons that you’re having a hard time.

1) Make a list of the reasons it didn’t work out

If you’re only able to remember the good times with your ex, then one of the ways that you can remind yourself of your troubles is to make a list of the reasons that your relationship didn’t work out.

You can include bad memories, reasons why you’re angry with your ex, and personality incompatibilities. Take time to make it as long as possible, so you’ll know that your decision to leave was the right one.

2) Don’t judge yourself or your feelings

It’s ok to feel hung up on your ex even now. You’ve experienced a loss, and it’s hard to get over losses.

If you’re having difficulty breaking ties with your ex, you’ll only complicate the matter by judging your feelings harshly and making yourself feel guilty. You need to be able to regard your feelings without judgment in order to sort through them.

3) Focus on yourself, your health and your wellness

Another way to develop more healthy feelings about your ex – or maybe just get over your ex – is to take care of yourself. Get enough sleep, eat right, drink enough water, and get exercise.

Taking care of yourself will help you feel better about your body, your appearance, and will help you find a new boyfriend or girlfriend if that’s something you want.

4) Stay away from your social media

Social media is a place where our friends, exes, and enemies all mingle together in one large online environment.

You may already have blocked your ex from your social media account (and if you haven’t, you should), but that doesn’t stop your friends and other acquaintances from mentioning your ex online.

While you’re trying to break the habit of contacting your ex, it’s best to stay away from social media entirely. Once you’ve seen people talking about your ex on social media, you may be tempted to reach out to your ex, so stay away.

5) Get excited about the future

If you’re having a hard time imagining your life and what it will be like without your ex, then it may be that you just haven’t spent enough time imagining it. Start making plans for your future.

Visualize what your life will be like without your ex, and try to make that future as positive as possible. Getting excited for the future will help you develop a more positive attitude, which could eventually help you move on.

6) Spend time with friends and loved ones

Do you feel lonely without your ex? That’s perfectly natural, especially if your ex was a friend before they were your boyfriend or girlfriend. Spending time with friends and loved ones can help you get over this sad time when you might be feeling a little lonely.

Make plans for your weekend or the next several weekends. Try to make dinner plans with friends or family. The more time you spend with others, the less time you’ll spend brooding over being alone.

7) Think positively

Look on the bright side of your recent breakup.

Make a list of things that you’re grateful that you can do now that you’re not with your ex. Maybe your ex always insisted on watching a television show that you don’t like, or maybe now that your ex is gone, you can finally hit “snooze” as many times as you want before waking up for work.

Some things were a drag with your ex – and now that you’re not with your ex, you can enjoy yourself more fully.

Look on the bright side, and make a list of reasons to be happy now that you’re free of your ex’s influence on your life.

8) Get rid of the reminders

Is your home full of reminders about your time with your ex? If so, then it’s time to get rid of those reminders.


Start by putting away all the sentimental items, like the pictures of your ex, the gifts they gave you. Don’t throw those sentimental items away, unless you feel like that might be a healing experience for you (and you’re confident you won’t have any regrets later).

Next, get rid of any reminders that are less obvious. Perhaps you’ll need to get rid of the chair your ex always sat in, or sheets that smell like your ex. Whatever it is, get rid of those reminders that are preventing you from moving on.

9) Plan something big

Do you remember in Eat, Pray, Love that the main character went on a long trip to get over her ex?

Sometimes what you need to get over a traumatic breakup is to go on a trip, or plan something big that will help you stop brooding over your recent loss. It may be that if you can just think about something different for a while, you’ll be able to move on.

10) Find someone new

For some people, one of the most effective ways to break the connection with their ex is to find someone new – preferably, someone who is more compatible with them. Once they’ve found the right person, then they can truly stop thinking about their ex.

One important caveat: finding someone new is not a healthy way to hide from your feelings about your ex. If you’re truly not over your relationship with your ex, then it’s best not to pull someone else into your orbit just yet.

Spend some more time working on “you.” Once you’ve healed yourself enough that you’re no longer in love with your ex, then you can look for someone else, if that’s what makes you happy.

Know when to establish boundaries instead of breaking connections

Do you have children with your ex? Are you still tied to your ex through joint property or perhaps are you still friends with your ex? If this is the case, then it may be that you should not be breaking connections with your ex.

Instead, you should be learning to establish boundaries that can help you have a healthy relationship moving forward – even as you learn to live apart from one another. Establishing boundaries is easier if you have a congenial relationship.

  • Avoid the impulse to make your ex jealous.
  • Establish ground rules that you both agree to.
  • Develop healthy communicating habits.

If you share children or pets who are now in a joint custody situation, establishing these boundaries will become even more important.

At the same time, unless you and your ex have a contentious relationship, having some flexibility will make your lives easier and will also help develop goodwill between you two, which can make life easier overall.

Ask yourself if it was right

Are you sure that your breakup was the best thing for you? It could be that if you’re still having a hard time breaking the connection with your ex, then maybe the breakup wasn’t actually right for either of you.

If reconciliation is desirable to you, then you may even consider having a conversation with your ex to see if they too would like to get back together. Be very careful with this option.

Don’t get trapped in an unhealthy cycle of breaking up and getting back together, or getting back together even though the relationship was wrong for both of you.

Evaluate your situation carefully before attempting to have a conversation with your ex. Do not reconnect with your ex unless you can resolve the issues that caused the breakup in the first place.

Do what is healthy for you, and you will eventually come out the other side a happier person overall.


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If you want specific advice on your situation, it can be very helpful to speak to a relationship coach.

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