Dear Dr. Chloe, How Can I Get Over My Ex and Potentially Stop Experiencing This Type of Pain Ever Again?

Dear Dr. Chloe,

Is there any psychology for getting over a breakup? I have friends that seem able to endure them very easily … but not me. In fact, right now I’m feeling super stuck on a guy from three months ago. We dated for six months, and it was pretty serious (to me, at least). I would never have even called him my boyfriend and quit dating other people unless I seriously felt we had the potential to get married—so the breakup hit me very hard.

Basically, he just ended things by telling me that he cared for me but felt that our spark was gone. This really shocked me, because we both couldn’t stop talking about how much chemistry we had for the whole first couple of months we were dating.

Friends have suggested that I go out with other guys, and I tried it once or twice—but it only reminded me of how much I still care for him. I go to work and all I can think about is how happy I used to feel when he’d brighten my workday by stopping in for lunch. I have memories of him at home, in my neighborhood, everywhere—it’s like I can’t get away from his memory. He came with me to my favorite gym class once—so his memory chases me even when I’m trying to get a workout.

All I want is the kind of loving relationship my parents have. I try to be the way they are when I approach relationships, but I’m starting to wonder if their type of love is just not available anymore to singles like me in the modern world. I’m a loyal person who doesn’t play games—when I give my heart, I’m serious. How can I get over my ex and potentially stop experiencing this type of pain ever again?



Dear Emma,

Thank you so much for your heartfelt note. The pain of a breakup can be unbearably poignant, especially for a serious, relationship-oriented person … but please, don’t give up hope. You’re very wise to ask for support. I’ll offer some tips to get past this breakup, along with some ways to potentially prevent you from getting into this type of quagmire again.

  • Seek new experiences: When we feel as if our whole world revolves around a person, it can be helpful to expand our world. As you noted, your everyday environments are packed with memories of your ex. You can change this by traveling, taking a class, or finding other ways to create new experiences to remind yourself that the world has more to offer.
  • Take him off the mental pedestal: You mentioned that it was a belief in a potential for marriage that caused you to dive so deeply into this relationship. Presumably, you did this believing that he had the maturity to weather the normal ebb and flow of chemistry in relationships and that he was seeking more than the initial excitement of a new physical relationship. However, his behavior has disproven this. Instead of pining for the man you wish he were, try to mentally recast him as the fickle, unreliable, immature man he’s shown himself to be—one who is actually not a desirable marriage partner.
  • Surround yourself with support: One of the hardest things about a breakup can be the sense that an emotional rug has been pulled out from underneath us.
    • Spend lots of time with friends and family who care about you, and involve yourself in your house of worship if you have one.
    • Consider getting a package of massages from a licensed professional— massage can help with the yearning your body may have to be touched as well as reduce high cortisol.
    • You may also want to have a “breakup buddy” that you can phone day or night whenever you’re feeling the need for support.

You Are Your Own ‘Rock’

The point is to reorient yourself away from thinking of your ex as your “rock” and reground yourself in relationships with others, your own self, and potentially your religion.

Emma, I’m sure you already know this—but none of the tips above are going to make this easy—these are just ideas to help you get through a very difficult time. As you move forward, you might consider waiting a bit longer before giving your heart away so completely. For example, you mentioned you wouldn’t have stopped seeing others unless you felt there was a serious potential for marriage—in the future, you might view the first few months of exclusive dating as an opportunity to see if there might be such a potential.

It’s normal for the first few months of exclusive dating to feel like a “honeymoon phase,” so try to hold on to your heart even during those times. You may have felt committed on the level of an engaged couple long before your boyfriend actually proposed, or perhaps even before he seriously discussed a desire to do so.

Paving the Path to Marriage

Finally, I want to mention what may be a surprising caution for people like yourself who are fortunate enough to have two happily married parents.

In my experience as a clinical psychologist, I sometimes find that people whose parents are happily married approach relationships with the same sense of diligence and commitment that they’ve observed in their married parents—much like you described doing. However, that level of commitment is actually only appropriate and productive when it’s coming from both parties, and it is something that often develops over years of dating and marriage.

As a child observing your parents, you never saw them go through the normal stages of uncertainty and even possible breakups that they likely endured as singles—you only saw the final, finished, marital unit. Although unwavering commitment is a wonderful attribute in marriages, it can actually be counterproductive if displayed too early in dating.

If you’d like help exploring those nuances, ask your parents, clergy, a therapist, or trusted friends. Whatever you do, please know that the desire for a committed relationship is a beautiful thing—don’t let this experience deter you from attaining it at the right time, the right place, and with the right person.

Wishing you all the best,

Dr. Chloe


Dr. Chloe Carmichael is a clinical psychologist and USA Today bestselling author of “Nervous Energy: Harness the Power of Your Anxiety and Dr. Chloe’s Ten Commandments of Dating.” Send any questions where you’d like a psychologist’s perspective to Responses are not guaranteed and do not constitute medical advice.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times. Epoch Health welcomes professional discussion and friendly debate. To submit an opinion piece, please follow these guidelines and submit through our form here.

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