Are You Addicted to Your Ex?

Heartbreak is a drug from which it is difficult to break free.

How to Quit the Heartbreak Addiction

Getting over heartbreak has many similarities to quitting other types of addictions, like drugs, cigarettes, alcohol, or gambling. You need to take seriously the pressure your mind will create to get you to seek contact with the drug/person/activity, because you will have to resist this pressure and find ways to manage the intense cravings you will feel.

  1. Go cold turkey.

To get over your ex, you have to eliminate all contact points with them, at least temporarily, or to the extent you can if circumstances do not allow a full disconnect. That means deleting them from your phone, blocking them on social media, and copying pictures and video to where they are least accessible. 

  1. Use mindfulness to ride out the cravings.

Cravings come in waves. If you feel overcome by the need to reach out to your ex, focus on your breathing, meditate, and ride out the wave of need until it subsides. The peak intensity of such waves typically passes within a few minutes.

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  1. Distract your mind.

Keep yourself busy. The goal is to fill your mind with whatever you can, so there are fewer openings for your ex to pop into your thoughts. Since we cannot tell ourselves to NOT think about something — we can, but it doesn’t work — we need to think of something else instead, and keeping busy and engaged with whatever you can is the best way to do that.

  1. Slips make the cravings stronger.

Recognize that you need to be as disciplined as possible, because slipping up and, for example, going through happy vacation pictures of you and your ex will set you back and increase the intensity of your cravings.

  1. Reframe what your ex means to you.

When you were together, your ex was a source of happiness, security, and stability. That was then. Now that they’ve broken your heart, they are something else — heroin. Stay away; he or she no longer provides happiness and security, just emotional pain.

The key to recovering from heartbreak is to recognize that you are addicted, and that you need to break the addiction. Doing so requires the same determination and fight it takes to get over any addiction. Be strong, be determined, persevere, and you will win.