How to Move On from a Past Relationship

by Janet Ong Zimmerman on 11/15/2011

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“Have faith that true love is meant to be and one day your rainbow will come shining through.  No matter how sad your heart is, the love that you wish for will come true…if you believe.”

When a relationship is over, it’s time to let go. Holding onto a past love clutters up your heart and mind. Letting go opens up the space and possibilities to attract the man of your dreams.  Try these things to stop dwelling on the relationship you had with your ex.

14 things to stop doing now

  1. Listening to love songs that remind you of him.
  2. Going to places where you spent time together.
  3. Thinking about the good times you had together.
  4. Communicating with him (erase his phone number, email address, texts, etc.).
  5. Being friends with benefits or being the other woman.
  6. Wishing and hoping that he’ll come back to you.
  7. Being in denial that it’s over.
  8. Looking at his pictures, cards, love letters and his Facebook page.
  9. Staying in contact with his friends and family.
  10. Talking continually about him with your friends, family and anyone who will listen.
  11. Trying to run into him in bars and nightclubs.
  12. Looking for him on online dating sites.
  13. Trying to make him jealous by flirting with or connecting with his male friends.
  14. Letting yourself get rundown (i.e. over-eating, not exercising, etc.).

In addition to stopping the above things, the following practices will help you transition and move forward with more ease and grace.

14 things to start doing now

  1. Find your happiness from within.
  2. Be grateful for the wonderful things in life.
  3. Find and focus on your passions.
  4. Get healthy from the inside out.
  5. Focus on the present moment and know that all is well.
  6. Connect and spend time with your family and friends.
  7. Enjoy hobbies and activities that you’ve been meaning to do.
  8. Do things to refresh, renew and soothe your soul.
  9. Exercise and workout.
  10. Listen to uplifting music.
  11. Keep a journal.
  12. Read positive books.
  13. Create a bucket list and start doing things on your list.
  14. Apply lessons (what you’ve learned) from your past relationships to create your ideal love life.

Be patient and gentle with yourself during this time.  It takes courage to move forward and becomes easier once you start.  Try a few of the stops and starts.  As you become comfortable with them, take on additional ones.

I’d love to learn what you’ve done to let go of a past relationship that was dear to your heart.  What steps are you taking or have you taken to move forward in a positive manner?


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  • I wish it could be so easy like it seems to be 🙂

    • If you’re currently in this situation, my heart goes out to you. Moving on from a relationship can be difficult when you’re still holding onto hope, reminiscing about the good times or keeping in touch with your ex. If you know that your relationship should be over, taking small steps to move forward and staying focused while doing so will gradually make things easier.

  • Brenda

    All I know is that my trust in men was at zero when things started with this guy, again. He was someone I knew a long time ago, when I still had trust in men. He was all about wanting a relationship, looking for someone for the rest of his life……blah…..blah…..blah. He romanced me, spent time, money and real effort. The positive strokes were going back and forth. My trust in men was coming back….then, he drops the bombshells. “I thought I was ready and I am not” …….*boom*……..”I want to just be friends”……….*crash*…….”It’s not you, it’s me” (the most lame BS line in the world)…….*ugh*.
    So, now, he has broken my heart twice. He wanted to keep calling me 2 -3 times a day, keep texting me all day. Stringing me along. What a jerk. I told him that when he figures things out, to give me a call, until then, I wished him well. That was it. No more calls, no more texts. I stopped crying all the time after he stopped calling because he was “friending” me and it was hurting me and killing me.

    A person can only be strung along with their permission. Taking care of me is what I do well. Had to stop talking to him.

    So, why does it hurt so badly.

    • Dear Brenda, a breakup from someone you love and care for is never easy. It hurts badly when a relationship ends because that person is no longer in your life; it’s as if you’re dealing with the death of a loved one. Also, the hopes and dreams you had about your relationship with him are no longer a reality. These two combined are some reasons why it hurts so badly. I’m sorry you’re having to go through this pain. Please know that it’s all for your greater good. Continue taking care of yourself. Do things that soothe your soul. Work through internal barriers that may be keeping you from love. And when you’re ready to move forward, you’ll be in a much better place to meet a higher quality man.

  • Brenda

    My trust in men is now at -100

    • Dear Brenda, I’m hoping that at some point, you’ll see that there are trustworthy men. We attract what we focus on and believe to be true. If your focus is on men are not trustworthy and you believe that is true, that is what you’ll attract. If you’d like to change that belief, notice and focus on men who are trustworthy. Notice where you’re not trusting yourself; you may find that when you work on trusting yourself, you’ll start to have more trust in men.

  • Shanelle Gayden

    I love reading your blogs, you are truly an inspiration! I am so glad I found out about you through life talk radio:) Letting go is a hard thing to do as you mentioned above. The pain is sometimes so intense and varies from day to day. One minute your ok and the next minute your not. It is just like Grieving…..for me not only do I dwell on the many years even in my young years! I am not even 40 yet. I hold onto the fact that we have 3 children all boys, so for me it is beyond difficult. I can’t cut off communication, family, or friends. We are connected by our children. My healing is constantly delayed because of this. What are tips for women with children that have to let go?

    • Dear Shanelle, thank you for your kind words and letting me know how you found me. I completely understand how painful it must be for you. It’s much more difficult to move on when there are children involved. I’m sorry about what you’re going through and have learned that the most painful experiences always lead to a much better place. Know that what you’re going through will bring you to a better place.

      Here are some suggestions that may be helpful during your transition.

      1) Spend as much time as you can in the present. Notice that when you are in pain, your mind is stressed about something that happened in the past or is worrying about something that might happen in the future.
      2) When you’re able to be more objective, reflect on the reason(s) your relationship didn’t work out. Take responsibility for your role in the break up and work on those area(s) within yourself. For instance, let’s say you weren’t able to express yourself openly and that contributed to the breakdown. Work on improving your communication.
      3) Take good care of yourself by getting enough sleep, eating well, doing things you love, etc.
      4) Continue being an inspiration to your children by being the kind of woman you would want them to marry when they are grown.
      5) Time heals. Be patient and let yourself feel the sad, disappointed, angry, etc. feelings and emotions that come up, instead of supressing them. Once you’ve completely felt these feelings and emotions, take some deep calming breaths and let go of the feelings and emotions.
      6) Keep a gratitude journal. Jot down at least 1 thing you’re grateful for each day.
      7) Practice meditation. It will help you feel more at peace and less stressed inside. Here is a 1-page guide on how to practice meditation

      If you have negative feelings towards your ex, find a way to release them in a healthy way. If you’re finding it really difficult to move on, it may be helpful to speak with a professional who can help you heal yourself so that you can move forward. My thoughts are with you, Shanelle. Please take care of yourself.

  • nicole

    I just wanna say i really love the advice you give and i know that if i take these steps day by day i will have my joy back… but i believe my situation is a little different. me and my ex partner still love each other. we barely communicate but we still keep in touch but its like im putting in all the effort to get our relationship back. we have been through a lot and im not blaming just him, but i have realized how much i really love him and i want to make it work this time.. and let go of the past. i dont know if i need to just move on or keep fighting for my relationship im so confused its killing me inside.

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  • andrew

    If only it was this easy im dying inside …

    • My heart goes out to you, Andrew. Trying to move on when you still love and care for your ex isn’t easy. My suggestion is to take each day at a time and try just a few of the suggestions in this article. Focusing on yourself and taking small steps will ease your pain as time goes on. Please take care.

  • connie phakedi

    I am very grateful for all your insights and feedback. My question regarding the involvement of kids is answered. I am soooo looking forward to the future. My king will take me to his palace where we belong. Janet, you are a blessing to all the women out there. Thank you honey, love you girl.

    • Thank you, Connie. I appreciate you taking the time to let me know that this article was helpful. So glad you are looking forward to the future! You really can create the kind of future you desire. Love you too.

  • Aly

    Thank you for this article. I’m currently trying to better myself by going to the gym and dressing much nicer than i used to. but sometimes if i’m in a place where i think i could run into him, I continuously search for his face in the crowd. its so distracting that i can’t even enjoy the company i’m with. i just look over my shoulder and all around thinking that maybe i’ll see his handsome face. but i really like this checklist. thank you again

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