A Love Doctor Reveals How to REALLY Get Over Your Ex
In the spirit of Valentine's Day month, Sweety High chatted exclusively with Michigan-based Terri Orbuch—better known as The Love Doctor—for a four-part series about love and relationships running every Tuesday during February. Check back each week as she answers some of everyone's most burning questions.
To kick off our series, Terri answers probably one of the most popular questions in the realm of relationships: How do you get over an ex?
If you feel stuck after having parted ways with someone you still care for deeply, read Terri's guidance below. It doesn't hurt to try her tips. We've all been there, so don't feel alone.
1. Develop Ways to Release Emotions Associated With Your Ex
"There can be positive emotions connected to your ex, like I'm longing for them, I really want them back in my life—or it can be really negative, with feelings of anger, frustration, disappointment," Terri tells Sweety High. "And so, the first thing is, it's important to develop ways to release those emotions."
Terri primarily suggests a high-energy physical activity.
"When we do exercise and physical activity—whether it be hiking or volleyball or aerobics or whatever—it allows us to release some of those emotions," she says. "That's a great way to release either those strong positive or strong negative."
Another form of release, she suggests, is finding a sense of community.
"Join a club or gym, join the choir or debate team, a religious group," Terri says. "Something that brings you a community of likeminded people who like to do something together is a great way to be able to release those strong emotions."
Her third recommendation for releasing emotions is through volunteer work in your community.
"Research shows that if you have an ex and it's really difficult to get over that person, when you go and help others who are less fortunate than you, or who have a challenge that is very strong or difficult and you put your energy or focus on that or them, it takes your mind off of you and your ex and puts it on them," Terri shares. "And we know that that actually helps to let go of that strong emotion."
2. Write a Letter to Your Ex (But Don't Send It!)
"This letter is just for you," Terri says. "It's almost like a journal page where you write a really honest letter and you get everything out on a piece of paper or the computer file. Even if your notes are in your phone, it doesn't matter where you describe that strong emotion. You describe the sadness, the anger, the frustration, the guilt, the longing, and you get it all out on paper, what it means to you and what you're feeling."
Terri puts an extra emphasis on the do not send part.
"This is an exercise that's for you and it's really hard to get out that strong emotion," she says. "It's not to get back, it's not to send it. I often tell people to do this a few times to see how your emotions change. If you do it and then you wait a week and do it again, you should see a big difference in your emotions from the first day you wrote your ex and then the next day."
3. Re-Assign the Blame in the Relationship
"The second strategy that works, and I write all about these in my book, is that, you want to re-assign the blame for why the relationship ended," Terri says. "Typically when people have an ex or when they break up, you do what I call 'you' statements for why the relationship ended, or 'I' statements."
Start by putting an end to the finger-pointing.
"A you statement would be like, 'You did this,' talking to the person you broke up with," Terri explains. " 'You weren't this enough,' 'You didn't talk to me,' 'You didn't spend time with me.' Those are all you statements and you're giving those things for why the relationship ended."
But on that same token, don't point the blame in your direction either.
"You can give an I statement," Terri says. " 'I wasn't attentive enough,' 'I wasn't focused,' 'I was too distracted,' 'I wasn't ready.' Those are I statements. And what you want is to not do either of those, but instead do a "we" statement. Or what I call a "relationship statement" for why the relationship ended."
As for how she defines such "relationship statements," Terri says, "We weren't right for each other," "We were too young," "We were too different," "We liked different things."
She adds: "In your mind, if you can change why the relationship ended to a 'we' or a 'relationship' statement, you can change how you feel about your ex and the former relationship. It's when you have a you statement or an I statement, which creates disappointment and sadness, then you're still strongly connected to the relationship.
4. Change Your Daily Routine
Terri suggests you start this final strategy off by ridding your living space of any obvious reminders of your ex.
"Change your house environment completely," she says. "So, what each person has to do is say, okay, looking around the house, are there any pictures of my ex and me? Do I have any jewelry or a gift that they gave me or do I have that folder that he wrote something on? Take them all away. Put them in a box and put them in the garage. Same thing with your car if you're driving. Sometimes people have little mementos of an ex in the car."
Next, update your routes.
"Don't go to the places that you and your ex went for three weeks—21 days," Terri advises. "So let's say you go to a sandwich shop or a restaurant or the gym or whatever, change it up. Because what's happening is, it's a sense, it's a memory that's being re-invoked when you do those same things you did with an ex. So you're sort of wiping your memory clean by wiping away or taking away all those mementos and things that are around you in your home, in your car, in your locker and from the places that you're no longer going to visit."
When going through your belongings to rid the mementos, Terri is adamant about doing a truly thorough search.
"You'd be surprised," she says. "People have scarves and clothes, and, you know, holiday presents, they forgot a book in their bookshelf. You go into their lockers and they've got little things, little notes, in the car."
And even though you and your ex may go to the same school, Terri has tips to avoid any awkward run-ins.
"When you go to your locker change things up," she says. "You change up the ways that you go to your classes. You used to go down this hallway to go to your class? Go down another hallway. You just need to change up a little bit what you do when you were with your ex, the way that you did it. So just go to a different hallway, or instead of eating lunch in this lunchroom, if there are two, eat in that lunchroom."
Now that you've split from your ex, time to move on to that cutie in class who has always caught your eye. Find out how to get noticed by your crush on social media HERE!