9 Ways To Move On From A Past Relationship

 Brooke Cagle
Brooke Cagle

Not all relationships have a happy ending; sometimes things fall apart and you end up brokenhearted thinking you’ll never be happy again. Breakups are tough and moving on from the relationship, especially a longer one, isn’t the easiest thing in the world, but it’s doable. In this article, I’m going to show you how to let go of the past to embrace the future.

Signs That Say You Haven’t Moved on Just Yet

It’s not uncommon for people to think they’ve moved on, everything’s fine, but they still didn’t process the breakup that well and it shows eventually. If you’re not sure whether you moved on from your relationship or not, here are some signs or symptoms that say you didn’t let go:

• Assigning blame to the way things turned out; onto yourself mostly, circumstances, etc.
• Mentally reliving past happy memories
• Strong desire to spite him/her as a way of making the person regret the breakup
• Strong urge to contact him/her
• Thinking about him/her even though you promised yourself you wouldn’t do so
• Thinking you’ll meet him/her when you’re going out
• Thought/sight of him or her induces a wide array of emotions from frustration, anxiety, aversion, to rage
Trying to improve yourself only due to the assumption that the relationship ended because you weren’t good, pretty, caring enough
• You find yourself mentioning your ex in conversation even when the subject has nothing to do with him/her
• You still have a lot of questions and resignations about the past
• You still think about your boyfriend/girlfriend

Did you recognize yourself in all or a majority of these situations? If so, you’re not over your ex despite assuming you’re doing okay. The biggest obstacle that people encounter is thinking you won’t be happy again, which is why you find it impossible to let go. Below, you can see what to do to leave the relationship behind and move forward with your life.

1. Release Regrets

Let’s face it; there’s always something we regret doing or not doing when a relationship falls apart. It seems natural to dwell on things thinking whether there was anything you could have done differently. While this might seem practical and productive, it’s quite damaging because it makes you feel even worse day after day.

That’s why the first step to moving on is to pause and try thinking about something else every time you catch yourself revisiting past in your mind. Regardless of how difficult it might seem, you’ll benefit more if you try to focus on the positive things in your current situation. Before you dismiss this because “there’s nothing positive about the breakup,” let me tell you there’s always a silver lining, even though you might not recognize it just yet. For instance, you have great friends who support you, loving family members, a new opportunity to get to know yourself, etc.

2. Remove Your Baggage

With every broken relationship comes baggage. You have a choice now: you can clean out the baggage and secure the opportunity to move on and make a fresh start, or you’ll drag it with you right into the next relationship. Baggage is dark and sooner or later it will slow you down, thus making you feel physically and mentally exhausted.

The longer and more intense the relationship is, the more baggage you have to clear. How to take care of this? The healthiest way to do so is to take some time for yourself and let the emotions pour. Happiness, sadness, anger, frustration, acknowledge and accept all feelings you might have about the past relationship and let them go.

Avoiding to deal with your feelings won’t accomplish anything. They’ll remain bottled up inside and sooner or later; they’ll emerge on the surface. As you connect with these feelings, understand their source, and release them slowly. You can do so by talking to your friend too, meditating, or keeping a journal.

3. Don’t Hold Grudges

It’s easy to hold grudges and resent a person who broke up with you. However, these grudges won’t hurt him/her, the only person they affect is you. To move on and be happy again, you should learn to accept the relationship is over and forgive even if that might seem pointless or impossible to you.

Forgiving isn’t about doing some favor for someone, but it benefits you. The longer you hold grudges, the worse you’ll feel. You don’t want to be stuck in the past, right?

4. Forgive Yourself

People tend to blame themselves when their relationship is over. You blame yourself for things you’ve done, stuff you didn’t do, all those words you said or fail to answer, and so on. It’s a vicious circle that doesn’t depict the real picture of reality–the relationship is over because it wasn’t meant to be.

Keep reminding yourself that you’re human; you’re entitled to make mistakes, nobody’s perfect, and you weren’t in this relationship alone. It takes two to tango and when the relationship ends, it’s because both parties didn’t see eye to eye. Just because your relationship is over; it doesn’t mean it’s only your fault. Sometimes things just don’t work out, don’t try to make different theories about it.

5. Acknowledge That Your Ex Wasn’t The Right Person For You

A great deal of not moving on is because you see your ex as “the one.” You can’t see yourself with anyone else but him/her and it makes you feel depressed. This fixation can be quite harmful; it leads you to linger on, hoping that someday your ex will be back.

But, one thing I can tell you is that if the relationship wasn’t strong enough to move past some obstacles it’s because he/she wasn’t the right person for you. When you meet “the one” and have a strong, healthy relationship it will be robust enough to survive all those bad times and issues that come across.

Acknowledging that your ex-wasn’t “the one” doesn’t only help you let go of your relationship, but it gives new hope that you might meet that person even today, tomorrow when you don’t even expect it.

6. Reduce Contact With Your Ex

When the relationship is over, you miss your ex. That’s natural after all; that person has been a major part of your life. As a result, you still contact that person hoping that the more they talk to you, the greater are the chances of getting back together. That’s not really how it works.

You deserve to move on and feel happy again, and the only way to do so is to decrease contact with that person. This will help you gain clarity on the situation, process the breakup, and move on.

7. Don’t Think Your Relationship Was The Time You “Lost.”

This is something we tend to do regardless of the situation, and breakups aren’t the exception. When things fail, we consider the entire experience as the time we lost. I don’t even have to tell you this leads to desperation.

Times aren’t lost, every relationship teaches you something new, enriches your experience, and makes you wiser. Shift your focus onto everything you’ve gained so far, things you learned, and so on. I find it easier to let things go when I start looking at failures as opportunities to learn something and have a fresh start.

8. Do The Things You Love

What are your dreams, passions, and hobbies? Do you like to travel? Being active will help you move on more quickly. So, strive to socialize, meet new people, travel, sign up for a class, you can do just about anything that makes you feel better about yourself. As a result, you’ll spend less time thinking about your relationship and open your mind towards dating again.

9. Don’t Generalize

You know the drill, for girls all men are the same, for men all women are the same. The broken relationship takes some time to heal, and it can be tough to move on, but avoid generalizing. No, all men and women aren’t the same.

Every single person on this planet is different, and that negative attitude can prevent you from going out there, meeting caring and devoted partners. Blaming the failure of relationship in the universe, other people, even yourself doesn’t do anything.

These things won’t help you move on and be happy. So, take the high road and don’t punish other men/women just because your previous relationship ended.


Breakups can be difficult to process, but it’s not impossible to do so. While it may seem that you’ll be unhappy forever, always remember that the sun comes out after rain and you’ll be better. The key is to choose to process your failed bond with someone in a healthy manner so you can open up yourself for the future. In this article, I presented nine ways you can let go.

Remember, healing takes time, but one day, before you even know it, you’ll realize you have no hard feelings towards things that happened in the past. You can do it!  Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Meighan Sembrano is an enthusiast and passionate writer.

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