How to Get Over The Last Man Who Broke Your Heart

How to Get Over The Last Man Who Broke Your Heart

I invite you to think of the last time you were emotionally invested in a man.

It could have been a promising prospect you met online, it could have been your boyfriend of five months, it could have been your fiancé.

The common denominator is that this man, who took your breath away and gave you hope, ultimately left you.

Because you weren’t the one who ended things, your feelings remained as strong after you were dumped as they were before you were dumped.

I know how it feels. Most people do. You stake your dreams on the integrity of your relationship, only to find out that he had eyes for someone else, that he had major issues with you, or that he wasn’t ready to commit to you.

This can be devastating. It can make you mistrustful. It can make you lose faith. It can stop you from dating entirely.

But the hardest part is how, far too often, you never quite get over him.

Because you weren’t the one who ended things, your feelings remained as strong after you were dumped as they were before you were dumped. It makes perfect sense. He might have broken up with you, but that doesn’t mean you love him any less.

This exact scenario happened recently with my client, Wanda, who was still recovering from a short relationship with a man she met on JDate.

They had gotten physical after 5 dates, took down their profiles, and gave an exclusive relationship a shot. Two and a half months later, he broke things off. Said he wasn’t feeling what he thought he should be feeling. Said it wasn’t her fault. Said he wanted to remain friends.

So Wanda has remained friends with her ex – and has remained in love with him as well.

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Comments:

  1. 1
    Karl R

    I agree with Evan’s way of viewing the situation. I have an even simpler way of viewing it.

    Of all the partners whom you’ve dumped (for whatever reason), How many of them would you take back?

    For me, that number is zero.

    And that’s the exact same number as how many would take me back. The women who dumped me aren’t taking back any of the men they dumped. I’m not betting on being the exception.

    1. 1.1
      Marie

      That’s a very good way of putting it. Thank you.

  2. 2
    cindym7878

    Easier said than done; but very well stated and something to read a few times over until it sinks into your heart!

    1. 2.1
      nancy

      I agree..needed most for me..at this point of my life

    2. 2.2
      Ellie Katching

      would you want it to sink in tho

  3. 3
    Steve

    The easiest way to get over someone is to cut yourself off from them and get BUSY with a project.   One day you look from what you are working on and realize you feel better.

    1. 3.1
      Ellie Katching

      I did all that for years, only to find the man I question found a way so I was in part of his life, as a friend, I’m trying to date men, but find I can’t, guilt hits, even thou we are not in a  physical friendship, I want take that step, 

      1. 3.1.1
        Barbara

        You have to be strong.  This is a true test of how much you love you first.

  4. 4
    Honey

    Hm.  I haven’t been hung up on any ex of mine since I was 23 (and to be fair, that was Lance, who is awesome, though I knew there was no way we’d get back together since we broke up because I moved over 2000 miles away).

    In the past when I was still hung up on an ex, it was because I allowed myself to remain in contact with that person.  After I started the “clean break rule” and didn’t try to stay friends, I never had that problem.  Of course, I am “friends” with most of my exes now on Facebook, but I don’t think I friend requested them and I wouldn’t have accepted their requests if I still felt anything residual.

    1. 4.1
      Maurene

      The “clean break” rule is probably the best idea I’ve ever heard. Especially in a break up that is painful. It is difficult to grieve a long standing relationship and the future you thought you’d have. But I think by trying to be “friends” never allows you to really let go.

      Thank you for that little piece of reasoning… for me, that’s HUGE!

  5. 5
    Diana

    I am so very grateful that after knowing each other for 30 years (26 of them married), my divorce and all that came about because of it hasn’t left me feeling mistrusting or thinking all men are dogs, lose faith, etc. I have always embraced, and always will, the many good memories I was fortunate to be blessed with.
     
    For anyone who’s trying to mend from a broken heart, it does take time. I recall reading something that Evan wrote a while back that said for every 10 years you are with someone, it takes about a year to move on. So for me, the three year mark was about right. Even though I was the one to “break up” our marriage by filing for divorce, after three failed attempts on his part to leave the other person, I will not likely ever get over him completely because of our children. The challenge for me is to be true to who I am, in terms of forgiveness, gratitude, kindness, and maintain an open and giving manner in regards to our family, while also not allowing myself to return to before. It is made all the more challenging by a man who is filled with regret.
     
    If someone breaks up with you, as painful as it may be, trust that they were not the right person for you, nor you for them. Take the good with you, learn what you can from the situation, and when the time feels right, move on. Don’t fill yourself with bitterness, hatred, and so on. I have seen this happen to so many people. You may feel like you’ve moved on, but you haven’t really. Liberate yourself (and them, too) with the real meaning of love, and you will go on to live a happy and fulfilling life.

    1. 5.1
      Nelle

      Thanks Diana for this piece of advice.

      1. 5.1.1
        Powhatan

        Thanks Diana.I needed this especially now.I just broke up with my ex I knew he was not worth it because in our entire relationship he was always  took me for granted  and I still love him:((Its hard to move on:((

        1. pauline

          I just realised my guy is cheating on me and I don’t know how to move on because I don’t know if I’ll ever get a man like him..he was my type head to toe n I loved everything about him n I still do..its hard really..I’ll stop dating for a while n stay single till I’m tired of it

    2. 5.2
      Jen

      Wow Diana, You too, give us something to think about. Thank you for taking the time and wisdom to post, and thank you to Evan for this article that …Helps. And that is what we want if we are here, Help. These Do help and I thank you both.

    3. 5.3
      NAMPOGO STEPHEN

      Stephen

      Thanks Dianna for piece of advice

  6. 6
    JoJo

    Thank you for this Evan.  I was in the same situation.  I became exclusive with my ex after 5 dates, and then he broke it off 3 months later.  He said how I deserved better and that he wanted to stay out of the market for a while.  He wanted to remain friends but I chose to cut it off because that’s the only way I’d be truly able to move on.  He actually sent me an email on my birthday telling me how he’s been wanting to call me but he just didn’t know whether I wanted to talk to him or when the right time was.  He also said that I was a very special woman and that he would not forget me.  I still think about him and wonder if we would get back together some day. he’s the one that I commented about on the prior post.  After some of the commenters accusing me of being controling, I felt as if the break-up was my fault.  Evan even stated that the guy probably had to put up with more than I did.  It’s hard for me to let go because I can’t let myself off the hook.
    Now Evan writes “Face it; your ex isn’t as great as you think he is.  He was willing to let you go.  Well, guess what?  That guy SUCKS!”
    Evan, I’m just a little confused because I felt as if you thought I deserved to get dumped, and now you say that guy sucks because he let you go. 

    1. 6.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Thanks for your story, JoJo. Yes, I said both things. No, they don’t contradict each other. If you made a mistake in how you treated your boyfriend, own it, and vow to never be that way again. That’s called taking responsibility. By the same token, don’t put up with a man who actually treats you poorly, verbally abuses you, makes you feel bad about yourself, and has no desire to get married in the future. Just because he was a crappy boyfriend doesn’t mean you were a perfect girlfriend. Be the best girlfriend you can be, and let the jerkoffs walk. That’s all you can do.

      1. 6.1.1
        nancy

        I love the this reply.If a person let you go for any reason in the world,be sure that he never saw how great you are.Let them go.

        1. love faith cha cha

          nancy you are right dear

  7. 7
    JoJo

    Thank you Evan, that makes so much sense.  I do take responsibility for my part because I’m sure I could have handled certain things better.  Overall, I guess I wasn’t that bad of a girlfriend; since he considers me to be a special woman and won’t forget me. 

  8. 8
    Denise

    #8 JoJo

    You can do better than that man JoJo, just be patient and keep working on yourself.

    1. 8.1
      Jen

      I like your reply, Denise.

  9. 9
    starthrower68

    Remaining friends after a guy breaks up with you is about as self-protective as stepping in front of a speeding bus.  Cut off all communication and don’t look back.  We can’t depend on closure from others; we have to get it for ourselves.

    1. 9.1
      mcKiwi

      This is not always  possible if you have children. Sometimes you simply have to face the ex and at the same time deal with all the associated hurt and anger.  I was dumped for a family friend, when my children were 4 and 2 yrs old. Gosh there were some battles with bitterness but I won in the end. We started off as fake friends but now 10 years later I would say there is an element of genuine friendship. Even a kind of love. I got there by quietly celebrating the differences (got to start somewhere!), acknowledging my own role in the demise of the relationship, forgiving myself and him, learning what I need to learn (thank you EMK and others, you were a god send) and simply getting on with life regardless.

    2. 9.2
      Di

      Starthrower68’s reply is great. You cannot be more right. If the person who left you betrayed you or had a pattern of negative behavior, you have to put distance, or it will affect how you interact with new people.

  10. 10
    Denise

    #10

    Well said!  It takes a lot of courage to do that–the reason for the breakup matters.  If it was a drama ridden unhealthy relationship, this is easier to do; if it was a relatively good relationship, but bad timing, goals, etc., more difficult.

    Ever heard that song by John Mayer, Friends, Lovers or Nothing? 

    1. 10.1
      RHB

      I agree with you. I broke up with my partner of 13 years and it was a good relationship (he broke up with me)but timings were wrong. It leaves me questioning why we can’t make it work. It leaves me with unanswered questions.

      He started dating straight after we broke up which makes me wonder if he really loved me at all? He never told me about her, she made a point of making sure I found out. He said he didn’t say it as it’s complicated and he doesn’t think it will last this long. He didn’t want to stop talking to me even though she was pushing for it. If I didn’t text or talk to him in a wk then he messages to see if I was ok. This was probably him being nice but I took it as him still having feelings for me. We stayed friends up until last wk when I suddenly realised I was hurting myself by being friends with someone who I was madly in love with but he was over me.

  11. 11
    SouthrnPhoenix

    I struggled with this for a while and wasn’t able to put it past me until I forced myself to cut out all reminders of him from email addresses and pictures to a couple of t-shirts.  As long as there was something around to remind me of him, I couldn’t really let go, and I really wanted to.  I could say to myself that he wouldn’t fit me, but until I put him behind me, I would not find the man that was right for me.  You inspired me, Evan, with your posts and emails to find a way let the past go, and  I have lately been able to judge new men based on themselves instead of a distorted reflection of someone else.  Thank you!

  12. 12
    Kim

    Boy, did I need to read this. I wasted a lot of time on the last guy who broke my heart, and now I realize he just wasn’t worth the tears and the energy I put into it.  I don’t hate him, but I sure as hell don’t want to see him ever again.  We can’t be friends, even though initially I wanted to be.  But as soon as he met someone else, he cut off all contact with me, and told me quite bluntly that I was no longer part of his life, and that his new girlfriend wouldn’t tolerate me being friends with him, so I needed to go away and move on.  This from a guy who told me that he would love me forever when we were together.  I had a real hard time letting go and I felt really betrayed.  Now, I realize that I have so many good friends and dating prospects, that I don’t sit home on a Friday night anymore (I had 3 date requests for Friday night this week, and a date on Saturday!).  I realize that at some point, I will meet someone who will sweep me off of my feet, but if I hadn’t gotten over the ex I wouldn’t be ready for that possibility now.  Cut off all contact, I say, and don’t try to be friends.  If you have any feeling for the guy, when he starts dating someone else, you will be shoved aside anyway and that will hurt worse.

    1. 12.1
      mss

      “If you have any feeling for the guy, when he starts dating someone else, you will be shoved aside anyway and that will hurt worse>’

      YES!! So true! Wish them well, wish them happiness, but don’t stay friends if you’re still in love with them. you will get hurt AGAIN. And he gets to feel you are always in his back pocket.  

      1. 12.1.1
        ama

        Well-Said, and Thanks.

      2. 12.1.2
        Powhatan

        Great advice mss!I am still hoping that he will get back to me but I knew he started seeing anyone else.I’m just hurting myself.Its time to accept it and move on..

    2. 12.2
      mary

      Thanks for the post, you are right.

  13. 13
    Twilight Princess

    I think I might print out a copy of: “Face it; your ex isn’t as great as you think he is. He was willing to let you go. Well, guess what? That guy SUCKS!” and put it in front of my face every time I feel down about my last break up. That statement makes me feel better because I’m confident that I was a great girlfriend. I deserve better. I may find it; I may not. Either way, I’d rather be single than be in a relationship where I’m treated like crap.

    1. 13.1
      Jeanne

      I totally agree with this!!! Better to put your efforts into someone worth while and not just someone 🙂

  14. 14
    starthrower68

    @ #12,

    Phoenix, it sounds silly going to the extremes of deleting e-mails, phone numbers, etc.  However, it occured to me that by doing that, it’s an action that is causing me to close out that chapter in my life.  It might be symbolic, but it does keep one from feeling so helpless and out of control, by being able to take action over something.  You can’t make a person love you or stay with you, but you can get rid of those things that keep you from moving on.

  15. 15
    M

    Ok EMK…I am a long time reader, and you know I listen to your advice, but this post is kind of frustrating. I completely agree that if a guy dumps you it’s his loss. He should have never been willing to let you go. And I agree the only effective way to really be able to get past an ex is to cut all ties, at least for awhile while you heal, but I think its misleading to say that’ll get you over them. I think hurt and hope are two different things. I am not sure how to get over the hurt of a broken heart, they all say it just takes time, when I figure it out I’ll let everyone know, but holding out hope that one day he’ll come back is different than feeling hurt. You couldn’t care less if he comes back when you know you deserve better, but that is a long shot from over the hurt of the lost relationship, lost faith, and lost love.
    So faithful readers, who are always willing to lend advice, how do you get over that hurt and stop that hurt from sabotaging a future relationship? That pain and betrayal doesn’t seem to really go away. You think your better, and then one day something brings you right back to where you started. How do you actually get over the loss of the last man who broke your heart?

    1. 15.1
      Brandie

      M-Please!! When you figure it out let me know!! I am tired of crying! He isn’t worth my tears!!

    2. 15.2
      Barbara

      It starts with remembering you before you met him- the good times in your life.  The things that made you laugh, and smile.. it’s all there— just blocked by the experiences you had with him. You can’t turn off love for someone, but you can open your heart to love from others TOO.  Slowly, it will fade, but you have to love you most, more than anything- because at the end of the day, you are all you got….all of us…

  16. 16
    Annie

    #16.

    Time for starters.

    Have you asked yourself the question, if you really loved him for who he was, wouldn’t you want him to be happy? If he’s happier not with you, than with you, wouldn’t that be best?

    The last man who hurt me, I removed contact for a while. But I just cared about him as a person so much, that I really just wanted him to be happy. We are now good friends again, and I feel no pangs of heartache whatsoever.

    I wonder sometimes what we miss the most. How some-one makes us feel? Being in a relationship with “some-one”? Or the  individual in question?

    It’s definately a tough one.

  17. 17
    Joe

    Go back to Karl’s post #1.

    Have you never dumped a guy before?  If not, then you can justify feeling so “woe is me” post-breakup.  If you have, then what you’re feeling after being dumped yourself is just the turn of the karmic wheel.

  18. 18
    aT

    after so many months without any news frm him…u re rite i supposed…he never love me and never will…

    1. 18.1
      Barbara

      It doesn’t matter if he loved you- do you love you?

  19. 19
    Diana

    To M #16, I don’t think there’s any particular way to get over the hurt of a break-up. All break-ups are different, depending on the circumstances with varying degrees of hurting, too. For example, breaking up with someone you’ve only dated for a few weeks or months is not the same as breaking up with someone you’ve created a full and committed life with and all its attachments.
     
    I think that sometimes people do not actually allow themselves the gift of grieving, as well as processing all of the other emotions they go through. One of the worst things a person can do is to not feel their feelings. I know that at certain points, my grief was so profound, I experienced “broken heart syndrome,” which thankfully, causes no physical damage. It’s natural to feel like you progress one day and then regress the next. When you are caught in grief, it is difficult to see how you will one day feel any better, but you will. And there’s no set time limit, so please don’t expect that of yourself either with thoughts of like, “Oh, it’s been six months, so just get over it already.” If you were truly over it, you wouldn’t be thinking such thoughts.
     
    I had the love and support of several very good friends. Writing about some of my experiences was good, too. I also did a tremendous amount of self-reflection (that’s how I am anyway), so that I could learn from my experience rather than blame either party. I began to recognize certain triggers, too, and how better to respond to them. And I read, read, read. 🙂
     
    I am in a good place now, and in time, you will be, too.

    1. 19.1
      Hurt81

      What did you read read and read..im right now in the middle of such a heartbreak..and reading this article and your comments…feel im not alone in my confusion lows and high

    2. 19.2
      Kim

      “Oh, it’s been six months, so just get over it already.” I’ve heard that one. Get out of the pity party.
      I am 10 months into our breakup and although I am better today I held out hope (and he fed into that) for 5 months.  At that point he started moving on and I just kept thinking the distance would make him miss me.  It didnt work like that for me. He finally told me last month that he began dating. Broke my heart all over again.
      Its easier said than done moving on so quickly. I have never in my life felt like this about anyone. This is all new and quite overwhelming and literally depressing.
      I think until it happens to you, there is no way anyone can tell you how to feel.
      Unfortunately, so many of these articles I have read on this site could be my story. So many people go through the exact same pain.

    3. 19.3
      mae

      Been reading a lot too when I was in a deep abyss of pain, hurt that is why I smiled upon reading this comment… I should say, I learned from my readings much more than from being emotionally attached with that person.My consolation though is that, I met my end in that episode in my life…

    4. 19.4
      Tracey

      Thank yo

      I am so tired of being told “just move on” or “just get over it” 15 yrs I gave my absolute all to him.I love him more than myself.I hurt so much at times it really feels like I may die. So how do you just move on or get over it.. I haven’t really had anyone to lean on. And am having to deal with alot of things after being so dependent on him.We have a young child and he left us both. I needed to hear someone say.. It takes time.It’s okay to hurt this much.It’s not easy. I understand because I’ve been there.

      1. 19.4.1
        rheal

        Hey tracey, i might say that we have atleast a common situation here. The difference is that my ex and i were together for 9 years and we also have child. But i just recently learned that he has another girl and got that girl pregnant. We ended our relationship because of that. But he said that he loves me so much and that he wants me to stay. It hurts. I cant..they’re living under the same roof now with their newborn child. It really hurts. Really really hurts. I dont know what to do or to think because i love him so much. There’s a lot of questions in my mind, unanswered.

    5. 19.5
      Donna

      To Diana # 19

      your post really resonated with me. Did you have any real breakthroughs that you thought helped you ?

  20. 20
    Denise

    #16

    You got good advice like time and other projects to distract you.

    Here’s some other suggestions:

    1.  Focus on self improvement.  Seriously think about, and kept remind ing yourself, of all that you’ve learned from that relationship and how you can use that going forward.  Don’t focus on the negative, force your thoughts to positive, rework the way you talk to yourself.  That relationship was in your life for a reason, he was in your life for a reason–what was that reason?

    2.  Recognize you will have some down feelings here and thereabout what might have been.  They are just feelings though, they don’t define you and they rule you (unless you let them).  When  you’re feeling those feelings, consider things you can do for yourself right at that moment to make yourself feel better–go shopping, call a friend, journal, read, take a walk, go to the gym for a really hard workout, a cry, etc.

    2.  DATE and flirt with other men!!!!  This is probably the BEST way to get over a relationship that has ended.  Don’t say you can’t,  you most definitely can—it’s just a matter of will or won’t you, it’s your choice.  This will boost your feelings of femininity that have just taken a hit.  Maybe you just start with smiling at men, and talking with new men, then move onto dating–however you  might approach it, move forward with this.

    1. 20.1
      Heartbroken

      Thank you! Great advice. I will work on it…

    2. 20.2
      Barbara

      And DO NOT compare them to him!  EVERYONE is different- and brings different things to the table.  OPEN your mind to a new fresh outlook.  Keep the ex precious in your heart in a box, and take it along, but don’t open it.  Eventually, you will be able to put that box in storage, and know your love for him is in there, and don’t need it with you.

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