Privacy Policy Cookie Policy Terms and Conditions
Love and Relationships

How To Get Over Someone | Make Winning Moves After a Breakup

Be smarter when it comes to post breakup actions. There's definitely a right and a wrong way to do things, so be intelligent about it!


Kenneth Erickson


Feb 25, 2023

Getting over someone after a breakup takes a winning plan and we've put one together just for you!

You could either prepare to make mistakes or prepare to avoid mistakes after your breakup. Have no illusion, this will be hard, regardless of whether you actually get what you want or things don’t go quite according to plan.

But... there's an approach that may turn this into a win-win situation either way!

The trick is not letting biology run the show, and to exercise some of those psychology, sociology, and self-control muscles.

  • In this article we will discuss why you may have certain urges in the early days of a breakup
  • How to combat impulses that may do more harm than good
  • How to change your perspective and do more attracting vs pushing away

Quickly Manage Breakup Pain, Impulses, and Urges

Soon after a breakup you'll probably feel that Breakup Punch and the first few stages of a breakup.

Old neural pathways kick in and you’re hit with the post breakup effects. Your mind and body are hitting you with feelings of loss, sadness, etc… anything to make you reverse course and go get back that thing you want and that’s now missing.

Problem is you can’t just say “this doesn’t work for me” and go back to the way things used to be.

Related Article: 6 Types of Breakups That Get Back Together - The Ultimate Guide

Focus More on You and Less on Them

You may be 100 percent on board with getting back together, which is obvious by the pain and anguish you're going through. But unfortunately for that plan, it would also require your ex, who was the one that left you, to all of a sudden change their mind and go back on what they just used a lot of emotional energy ending.

Sounds easy, right?!? Nope.

Your impulse is to do all the usual things to keep connected, ie. text, call, show up uninvited… Yikes.

This need to connect is in hopes of having the opportunity to show them that they were wrong, you guys still work, and you should be together. 

You become completely focused on two things:

  1. What they are doing, who they’re seeing or hanging out with, are they happy or miserable, and
  2. What is it you can do to get time with them in order to plead your case and remind them why you are the one they should be with.

Typically, this doesn't end well and leads down the longest of the recovery roads. This is where your instinct with what to do and your need for breakup pain or "withdrawal" relief, diverge from recommended strategy and psychology for healing.

Focusing more on yourself and less on them will help more in the long run.

The reason is, you can’t look at things from your perspective. Why does that matter? We've already established you’re all in and don’t need any convincing or motivating . Look at the way you’re acting. 

You need to start looking at things from their perspective and figure out, "What can you do to help them get on the same page as you?". Remember there are no guarantees here. They obviously left you for a reason. Whether there will be a You Guys 2.0 or not, will depend on what their reason was and how you act moving forward.

Sounds like a lot is riding on some of your initial moves…

As we mentioned, it’s common to be completely focused (distracted may be more appropriate) on your ex, what they’re doing, and how you can get back what you lost.

Read: For timing on How Long It Takes To Get Over A Breakup "The 7 Stages of a Breakup"

Related Article: Self Care After a Breakup -  Top 15 Tips For a Breakup Recovery

Manage Your Post Breakup Obsessing 

This obsessing can actually be caused by a couple different things and it'll help if you understand why it could be happening.

When you’re the breakup-ee, you can feel a loss of control and a desire to regain that control back. This may manifest itself by replaying in your head everything and anything about your relationship to figure out what went wrong, what you could or should have done differently to avoid things ending, and how to get your ex/old relationship back.

This creates a cycle since this loss is what triggered all the pain in the first place. Thanks withdrawal biology! Not.

The main flaw in this logic is that you can't control everything related to your breakup. In fact, the only thing you can control is yourself, and there’s a high likelihood you're doing a poor job at this. You’re probably entirely focused on stopping the pain AND pretty much willing to do all the wrong things just for some relief, no matter how brief or unhelpful.

Sometimes we continually run scenarios over in our head to try and figure everything out and get closure. But trying to figure it all out by yourself would be super tough, because again, you don’t have all the information. You're only half of the equation. So it may not be as beneficial as you hope.

If you try to run the whole relationship through a bunch of "could’ve should’ve scenarios" to find the answer to why things ended, you'll need to include a very large helping of self-forgiveness and self-compassion in order to find any closure this way. This is because you may just never really know, and you could end up beating yourself up needlessly when you can’t figure it out.

If it does happen to help, great, but try not to continue doing anything that’s only temporary and may even delay some actual healing.

If you do fall into a reminiscing cycle try to really manage all your thoughts and scenarios, to figure out the "REAL" WHY, HOW, WHAT, etc… by:

  1. Taking any “I could have or should have” thoughts and challenge them.
  2. Challenging any negative thoughts, especially as you really don’t know if the “solutions” you came up with initially would really have had any impact or stopped the breakup.
  3. Following everything with self-compassion.
  4. Redirecting to a strategy that you can actually control to some extent (ensure that nothing is contingent on your ex doing or not doing something since you have zero control over that).
  5. Remembering it's perfectly ok if your plan has a goal of getting back your ex, and it can even involve contact, but it can not rely on them in any way.
  6. Dedicating time each day towards achieving self-care goals, which may actually help you get what you want and, at a minimum, do your mind and body a world of good.
  7. Not wasting time on things that won’t help, and that may have and after effect which makes you feel just as bad or worse than before. You know, like texting, calling, etc...

Focus On What You Can Control

One key theme to expound upon here is the fact that you can't control your ex's actions.

Accepting this can be powerful. By switching your focus to the creation of things you actually do control, could be very beneficial. In this instance, what we mean a goal, plan, or some sort of desired achievement.

This will ideally be something related to your personal improvement and/or self-care.

This goal or plan can even be related to getting your ex back if that's what you want, but the major difference is that you have ultimate control over it's possible success or failure and it shouldn't require any involvement for your ex.

When you lack sufficient control over someone or a situation, trying to exert control or "force/push", where and when you shouldn’t, may actually be detrimental and counter productive to you getting what you want.

Once you've figured this out you’ve successfully started moving towards “influencing” and away from “exerting or forcing”.

Self-care and Personal Growth

Self care and personal growth are synergistic mindsets and actions within the theme of influencing or leading vs. following. Self-esteem, self-worth, and self confidence all play heavily into our motivations and possibly some reasons why you may take a breakup more poorly than someone else or even why you may fight for something that objectively, you know isn't even right for you.

You may wonder if there's some kind of contact you can have with your ex that doesn’t push away and actually supports or invites them to communicate or connect with you?

Because there are so many variables that factor into any given relationship or breakup, there's no one absolute right or wrong thing to do for your specific want or goal.

We won't say that No Contact for a designated period of time is the only or best way to draw your ex back to you. We also won't say that communication with your ex after a breakup will hurt your chances of a reconciliation.

We are more inclined to be a little more fluid in our decision making with a slant towards a Less Communication is Better Communication approach.

We actually would like some communication, but it needs to be when you are able to control your emotions and it's ideally initiated by your ex. Bonus, if it's because of the space and influencing you created, and these moments are used effectively to build attraction, which we'll cover later in this article.

We do know that blowing up their phone or you showing up unexpectedly is on the Don’t Do This List. But, when this feels like the only way to relieve some of the pain (and FEAR) you’re feeling, what can or should you do?

  1. Recognize what’s happening
  2. Stop yourself by reminding yourself about how this looks from their perspective and what it could do to your progress
  3. Remind yourself about what you are trying to achieve and what you need to do, and not to do, in order to achieve it
  4. Use alternative coping mechanism and Behavioral Modification strategies to get you through these moments
  5. Understand what success in this moment looks like so you have something to focus on

We'll get into more about all this now!

Effectively Combat Negative Thoughts and Painful Memories

There’s a natural inclination to focus on all the positive things after a breakup and avoid the negative. This is because we tend to selectively recall information that supports our current needs, beliefs, and emotions.

This means that since you really need or want to have your ex back, your mind will naturally select memories that reinforce this need.

The fights you had or an objective understanding about possible incompatibilities, though they may exist, will always take a backseat to all the pleasurable memories that are being served up. Any negative or counter memories will need to be drawn on consciously as a part of and behavioral modification training or exercise. 

If memories of your ex after a breakup cause pain, the logical thing to do is to help remove triggers of this pain and corresponding memories. You don’t even have to throw them away if that’s too hard initially or you’re really certain you'll get back together, and don’t want to risk looking like you gave up.

In this case, just try boxing everything up, move them to a remote location, someplace you can’t readily or easily get to things when you have a bad day. Same goes for pictures on your phone, download them to a thumb drive if you really need to and THEN delete them from your phone or computer. You have nothing to lose, because you technically still have everything, and you will likely save quite a few teary nights.

Related Article: Stop Breakup Pain | How to Get Over Someone Faster and for Good! This is a much more in-depth look at all the topics covered here.

Use Cognitive Reframing and Positive Self-Talk

When these memories pop up it’s also not uncommon to up those pain levels with the addition of negative thoughts or “negative self-talk”.

Take one particularly difficult negative thought, such as ”I’ll never find someone this attractive, funny, awesome, amazing, who can do all these things, and who loves me so perfectly” - and challenge it with positive self-talk and reframing.

One thing for sure is you don’t actually know everyone out “there”. This was just your first challenge and you’ve already poked significant holes in your breakup brain negative thought!

Positive self-talk is an internal dialogue that makes a person feel good about themselves. A person can use positive self-talk to think optimistically and feel motivated. Replace that negative self-talk with positive and encouraging statements. For example, instead of thinking "I'll never find someone as good as my ex," tell yourself "I deserve to find someone who is a good fit for me."

Cognitive reframing is when you consciously shift from your current perspective of a thought, person, or situation and look at it from a slightly more positive and supportive perspective. Ideally this new perspective will also be more realistic that the original negative thought.

For example, take the negative thought "I'll never be able to move on from this breakup." and reframe it to "It's normal to feel sad after a breakup, but with time and effort, I can heal and move forward."

Anyone that has been through a breakup before knows that in the moment it may feel like “I’ll never”, but that the reframed way of thinking is a much truer and more realistic statement.

Create New Positive Neural Pathways to Ease Breakup Pain

We want to help get our brain back on our side and to stop inadvertently working against us.

Neural plasticity or neuroplasticity is the brain's ability to change its activity in response to intrinsic or extrinsic stimuli by reorganizing its structure, functions, or connections. 

What this means to us is the fact that your current brain structure has reinforced neural connections related to your ex and the experiences that you had as being positive. You have likely developed some significant nerve clusters or pathways over the course of your relationship.

These connections would then “fire” at times like when you see each other after being apart all day, share your day and listen to them talk about their day, and experience pleasure, sexual or otherwise together. You had become as much a “We” as you are an “I”.

Your brain has grown to “expect” all of this, and now that it’s been turned off, it sends you some not so subtle reminders that it wants all this again. 

The good news is that this isn’t permanent and this is one of the reasons why we have the old saying “time heals all wounds”. When more neuro activity is dedicated to and reinforced by new experiences and stimuli while less is dedicated to old stimuli (your ex) and no longer reinforced, the wiring and firing begins to lose its strength and eventually fades away to the newer, more powerful, and more routinely reinforced activities and stimuli.

So the trick and the whole purpose here is to arm yourself with the rationale of why things will get better and what you can do to help speed the process up!

There may be an opportunity to do a hard restart and build NEW pleasurable neural pathways that will begin to override the old ones, while at the same time managing the impact of the OLD pathways and their ATTACK on your system. This is part of the premise for cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT and why it can be used to help. Success here is reliant on a two pronged approach:

1. Managing the Old Neural Pathways by understanding what they are and how they’re triggered. 

So remove those triggers and stop texting, remove or delete pictures, pack up anything left behind, and anything else that will cause you to fire the painful neurons

2. Establishing NEW neural pathways through new positive experiences and stimuli.

So get out there and try something new, engage your mind and body through physical and mental activity, meet new people, and know that this build up of new neural pathways will start to overtake the old. 

It’s interesting how we have been programmed, or programmed ourselves, to desire pleasure and punish ourselves mentally and physically when that pleasure has been withdrawn, even if we have no say in the situation.

Accept Its Over - Even if it’s just in your head

Say it again, "Even if it's just in your head." This trick is important.

Try this for a few reasons. Remember when we said you need to look at things from your ex’s perspective? Think how they must feel when they see the third or forth text message of the day from you come through… 

ESPECIALLY if all text messaging is only initiated from you, one way, even if they occasionally respond, this is still a negative sign. Accepting its over mentally frees you up to more effectively pursue activities that may help you, and help stop you from doing the things that may be hurting your chances.

We’re not saying the getting back together is no longer an option or that you're giving up. In Fact, accepting the end could almost be a way of not giving up. It can help you with the strength to form a space that your ex can flow into, if they want to maintain that connection with you.

Either way you're pushing toward a resolution that much quicker, which is positive for you.

Rebuild and Create Attraction

Accepting it's over may feel counterintuitive at the moment, but remember, you’re not necessarily in the right mind space right now. One of the things you're trying to accomplish by this is building up feelings of attraction towards you. It's good to know what's commonly perceived as attractive and unattractive in potential romantic partners.

Unattractive Relationship Qualities

  • Desperation
  • Neediness
  • Insecure
  • Dependent
  • Overall Low Self-Esteem, Self-Confidence, and Self-Worth

Also, when someone feels they are being Forced, Manipulated, or Pressured, i.e. obligating someone by saying “you owe me” it will also have a negative effect and be viewed as unattractive. These are all Negative Tactics.

Positive Tactics “allow” people to interact on their own accord and make their own decision, by “influencing and cultivating” these feelings in others. This is significantly more effective than trying to mandate, control, or force like what happens when you give someone an ultimatum.

How can you balance this out and make them start initiating interactions with you as well?

Create a Pull and Stop Accidentally Pushing Away

Remember what you did or would do when you two first met...? Sure, there’s history now, so they kinda know what’s behind the curtain and maybe the mystery and curiosity isn't quite the same, but nothing is stopping you from creating a new curtain and figuring out ways to make them curious again! 

This is also when you need to really trust and accept that, if they're not reaching out, then there may not be a future for you two, now or in the future. That just means it wasn’t meant to be, and it's ok. Better to know sooner rather than later. Also, all the work you’re putting in will still pay off in moving you towards a better place and possibly a better romantic connection.

Attractive Relationship Qualities

  • Confident
  • Self reliant
  • Independent
  • In-control
  • Overall High Self-esteem, Self-confidence, and Self-worth

This is where focusing on yourself after a breakup comes into play. When you feel good about self improvement, you build self-esteem, which in turn increases your attractiveness.

The same can be said for self-confidence and attractiveness. Improving or even just maintaining self-confidence after a breakup can be a major factor in how quickly you recover and maybe even whether you get back together, if that’s what you really want.

Life experience plays a big part in this and whether the majority of that experience has been POSITIVE or NEGATIVE may determine your current confidence levels. There're always ups and downs, but ideally a net positive (up) will help sustain you during an acute negative blow caused by a breakup. 

The question is, "How can you intentionally boost confidence?" And, not just quickly, but also during a period of extreme strain on your current level of confidence? Constructing small easily obtainable goals that, when strung together, achieve a larger goal that significantly impacts your emotional and physical well being could help.

We keep coming back to the need to work on yourself and practice self-care and self-compassion. Because it works.

Understand the Impact of Your Actions

The main point here is that we've already been discussing how you may have a natural tendency to do something or act a certain way. These tendencies are most likely in response to what you wan or need and they may not consider your ex or even support your own goal.

This is when taking a moment to make sure that what feels right is also the correct thing to do.

Case in point: Texting your ex non-stop because you want to stay in contact and make sure they know you want to get back together is more effectively pushing them away. But, at least you feel better in the moment, right?

Whereas, controlling that urge and suffering through the fear and uncertainty, by not texting or only strategically responding to texts, effectively creates some healing and space that is more likely to influence and invite your ex back into that space. It hurts more in the moment, but helps you much more longer term.

One last thing regarding the pause on communication and the fear of losing or missing an opportunity. We're not talking months here. If thing are either so fragile or so over that 2 or 3 days is the difference between things working out or your ex moving on with someone else, then do yourself a favor and don't waste your time or just be glad it's over.

Like when we talked about self-worth, don't forget about your value.

The bottom line is that if your actions make someone else feel weird, uncomfortable, embarrassed, or anything negative - that person will want to continuously distance themselves from those feelings and whatever or whoever is causing them.

People gravitate towards and embrace things that make them feel good and push away or distance themselves from things that make them feel bad or uncomfortable.

The trick is to understand what actions result in which feelings… This may be a little easier said than done, but it's certainly doable. Some common things to avoid which are likely to “push away, are:

  • Being too needy or desperate: Desperation is often a turn-off. It's important to be secure and confident in oneself, as excessive neediness can be overwhelming and suffocating for the other person.
  • Not respecting their space: If someone needs time or space to think, it's crucial to respect that. Constantly trying to insert oneself into their life can be seen as intrusive and disrespectful.
  • Bombarding them with messages: Over-communication can be overwhelming and create pressure. It's important to give them room to breathe and process their feelings.
  • Focusing too much on the past: Constantly bringing up past mistakes or dwelling on the past can hinder progress. Instead, it's better to focus on the present and future, showing how things can be different.

Some common things that have been shown to create Curiosity, Interest, Jealousy, and Attraction, are:

  • Be patient and persistent: Don't rush them into making a decision. Show that you're willing to wait for them, but also persist in showing your interest in them. Strike the right balance between space and contact.
  • Maintain your own life: Space and less contact does NOT mean you're just waiting around for them. Continue focusing on your own hobbies, interests, and friendships. This shows that you're independent and have a life outside of the relationship, which can be attractive.
  • Show personal growth: Demonstrate how you've changed and grown since the last time you were together. This can rekindle curiosity and respect.
  • Maintain a positive attitude: Positivity can be very attractive. Try to maintain a positive outlook on life, even if things are difficult.

When you have effectively managed you impulses created some curiosity and a vacuum that invites them to interact by focusing more on yourself and BEING a person that most people find attractive - someone that’s confident, secure, exciting, fun, interesting, this is where new things come into play, and shows potential as a long term partner who checks their boxes.

I know we said they’ve already had a peak behind your curtain, but this actually goes both ways and you have a better understanding of what those boxes are. So when you start focusing on yourself and stop worrying about your ex - you will begin to achieve increasing your attractiveness. Then your confidence goes up, and your attractiveness, and so on. So work on you.!

Share the right things, in the right amounts, at the right time, which includes you personally being able to accept “crickets back” or maybe getting less than encouraging feedback. But this is good data regardless. You don’t want to waste time on someone that’s not interested. Also know that if it’s not well received now, it was at least received and that nugget or seed could potentially grow as they live their life.

Overcome Any Fear and Hesitation To Live

If you never begin focusing and working on yourself, then there won’t be any nuggets or seeds worth mentioning. You’ll just be the same old person that they left with nothing new behind the curtain and no reason to be curious or think that anything has changed.

Unchain yourself. Pull up the anchor. Whatever the imagery is that will work for you, do it by not worrying how your ex may interpret your actions and think about how you’d feel if you just hung around and waited for something that never happened. There can be many reasons why you may be hesitant to move on and, essentially, close the door on this past relationship.

The biggest one is that you want to get back together and don't want to anger, alienate, distance, etc… your ex partner in any way. Maybe? The best move, which solves both problems, is to move on with life while not necessarily moving on romantically right away. They can't get upset or angry about you doing new, fun, and interesting things or even making new friends.

This removes the stress of focusing on a “replacement” relationship, rebound, and the possible negative aspects this could have, not just on you and your possibility of getting back with your ex, but also on managing another person and their feelings, which may possibly be real. What if you’re just not in the right space for anything right now, this could make things even messier.

Exercise: Understood. You want your ex back. But, if you could pretend that in 3 months you would meet someone 10x more amazing than your ex, how would that change how you feel. What if you knew the only way you would meet them was to stop pining away for your ex and to be that confident, attractive, person that does new things and has a lot to talk about and offer!


Making the right choices after a breakup can be scary and difficult. When you feel like everything is on the line, it's sometimes hard to commit to a probability, possibility, or hypothesis. The best way to manage these fears and stick to your plan is to understand the how your actions will most likely be interpreted and the subsequent effects of those actions.

Removing much of this fear by routinely reinforcing the understanding that work, focus, and improvement of yourself is always value added and is critical to success during this emotionally unstable time. Take a breath and see the bigger picture down the road. Think about how you would feel or respond if you were on the other side.

Find that path to happiness on a road for one and you will certainly meet people along the way!

Related Articles:

The 7 Stages of a Breakup | And How To Recover Quickly

Interactive Breakup Support | Quiz

The 23 Best Breakup Support Books and Why

1000% Improvement After a Breakup | Celebrity Successes

Disclosure: This article was not written by a medical professional, unless specifically stated otherwise. Advice or support content is not intended to be either professional medical or mental health advice or recommendations. All support and advice is from direct and/or anecdotal contributor/author experiences and topic research. If you are experiencing a physical or mental health emergency or mental or physical abuse, please seek professional support. Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links, which can provide compensation to us, at no cost to you when you decide to purchase a reviewed product.


Get Our Monthly Newsletter, Directly Into Your Inbox!

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form
California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) Opt-Out IconYour Privacy Choices Notice at Collection