Get Over Your Ex Already

After a tumultuous breakup, we have all found ourselves imagining gouging an ex’s eyes out with a butter knife to avenge the heartache that we feel.  Thoughts can flow through our minds like “I hope she gets attacked by a flock of bats in the middle of the night while sleeping”.


I’m kidding.  Sort of.

As a therapist working with clients reflecting on past relationships, I can’t help but further explore the meaning of “getting over someone”.   What does being “over” an ex look like? 

I recall cuddling on the couch with someone I was dating and asking if he felt like he was completely over his ex-girlfriend. 

He replied:

“Almost?…. the relationship was too toxic that I would never entertain or consider that we would ever work out….but I don’t know…..does it mean I’m not over her if I still have love for her?” 

He averted his eye contact bracing himself for my response. 

I felt a pang of jealousy combined with relief as I felt I could relate.  I had an ex with several years distance between us that I felt I would always love and that had a special place in my heart.  Yet, I would firmly declare that I was over that ex and the idea of “us”.  Essentially, I would never consider reuniting with that ex for more reasons than you have time to hear about but that doesn’t change the sentiments described above.  Some might argue that lingering feelings of love challenge the notion of being over someone.  Do you?

Do the main facets of being over an ex simply entail releasing the possibility and desire to resurrect the relationship?

Could you still love an ex but be fully accepting, comfortable and certain that that relationship is indeed over for good reasons, hence you are over it?

I asked a few friends what truly being over an ex looked like for them:

I knew I was over my ex when I stopped checking his social media and resumed spin class on Tuesdays”

“I was able talk to her and see her without feeling anxiety.”

“They don’t occupy my thoughts daily anymore”

“When I was able to stop putting my dog's sh*t in their mailbox”

“I know I’m good when I don’t cringe knowing that they are dating again”

As you see, it’s different for everyone.  What would you add to the list?  What does being over an ex look like for you?  Is it the end of the world or a detriment to a new relationship if you aren’t completely over them?  Dish!