Seems rather strange that a few ideas from Buddhism can provide a solution on how to get over an ex boyfriend.
Just the word Buddhism invokes an image of a monk, sitting for hours on end, meditating. They seem to have some mystical powers of the mind as they appear to be at peace with everything.
And in a way, you too can learn how to be at peace and get over your ex using these three key ideas from Buddhism:
Notice the simple and easy to remember acronym AIM. This will remind you of your “AIM” to get over your ex boyfriend.
Okay, that was really corny. But it was better than my other choices, MIA (Missing In Action) or IMA(?).
Anyway, the order of it doesn’t really matter. It flows from one to the other. But it makes it easier to remember when you think of it as “AIMing” to get over your ex.
Attachment and how to detach from your ex
Buddhism teaches you that attachment brings us suffering and pain. That we need to become detached to the things that are causing our suffering.
In your case, attachment to your ex boyfriend.
In Samantha Joel’s article, how to get over your ex, she reveals that in romantic relationships it is normal to form an attachment to your partner because of the close bonds of intimacy and interdependence.
Psychologists call it the “attachment figure – i.e., a person who you rely on for validation and support.”
And if your ex is the first person that comes to mind when you need validation or moral support. That means he is still your primary attachment figure.
This was true for me. When I received a promotion at my job, my ex was the first person that I called to celebrate with. The conversation was short. After telling her about my promotion there wasn’t much else to talk about after.
You want to let go of your ex as the primary attachment figure. One of the biggest reasons is that relying on your ex for validation and support is deleterious to your progress of moving on.
Fortunately, there’s a way to detach from your ex. Samantha suggests that your friends and family become the new attachment figure.
In other words, you are replacing your ex with a new confidante. Someone who will be there for you when you need support.
Understandably, there will be times when you may want to contact your ex.
Don’t do it.
Staying in contact with your ex will only prolong the recovery process.
When you do feel the urge to contact him. Write down what you want to say but don’t send it. File it away.
Eventually, your attachment to your ex will dissipate as you continue with no contact and forming stronger attachments to friends and family.
Impermanence and how your feelings for him will change
In Buddhism there are no absolutes in this world: there is no unchanging, everlasting thing. Everything comes and goes.
Including those thoughts, feelings, and emotions that you have for your ex.
This is impermanence.
When someone says that their former partner was the only “one”. Their true love. That they will never find another like them.
I feel for them, because I felt that I wouldn’t find another like my ex. To me she possessed qualities that I wanted in a partner. She was kind, caring, smart, and beautiful.
But over the years my feelings for her changed. As I looked back on the relationship, my rose-colored glasses came off and I was able to see the good and bad of it.
When you become heartbroken you are bias about your ex. Only seeing how great the relationship may have been. And you build evidence of this by looking at only the good things about it.
But you need to recall the bad things as well to put everything in perspective.
As for your pain. It’s a deep hurt and it seems superficial to say that it will lessen with time.
But think of it this way. When you have a bad day and you get a little upset. You may feel like your day is ruined. But the good news is your bad day is not permanent. There’s always another day.
Also, you can change your attitude in that moment. Your attitude is not permanent. You’re not a grouch all the time. Or are you?
Anyway, impermanence is a profound truth. There is a simple phrase that captures its meaning. That is…
This too shall pass.
All the good things that are happening right now in your life. Such as partying it up with friends or having a robust young body. Will pass.
And so will the bad things.
Mindfulness, the key to stop thinking about your ex
When asked why his disciples, who lived a simple and quiet life with only one meal a day, were so radiant, the Buddha replied:
“They do not repent the past, nor do they brood over the future. They live in the present. Therefore they are radiant. By brooding over the future and repenting the past, fools dry up like green reeds cut down(in the sun).” (Dhammananda 2002)
Mindfulness is about being present in the moment.
Being aware of the things that is happening around you. Aware of your movements, actions, environment and thoughts.
And with impermanence in the background. Mindfulness is to live life in the present knowing this moment will pass.
It’s a simple idea.
But you lose perspective of this when you experience a breakup. Becoming lost in your past relationship. And ruminating about the future. Wondering if you will ever love again.
Practicing mindfulness frees you from these debilitating thoughts. Helping you to stay focused on the present and working on the process of getting better everyday.
One of the simplest ways to start practicing mindfulness is to pay attention to your surroundings.
Take a moment to notice the things around you with a curious mind. Try not to apply any labels to them. Such as, that is a book or that is a chair.
Just observe. Be present. Looking at it and noticing things about it.
On the days that I take my morning nature walks. I practice mindfulness by noticing the finer details of a tree. But in the moment I try not to label it as a tree but just a thing.
When I’m able to do so, I see how wonderful the tree is. It’s weird, considering you see a tree all the time but with mindfulness you see it in a new way.
I’m not spiritual in any sense of the word. But mindfulness sorta gives you a spiritual feeling of calm, peace and joy.
But you don’t have to go for nature walks to experience this. You can be mindful of anything in your life. Such as how you eat by eating your meal slowly, savoring the flavor and enjoying it.
Mindfulness brings you back into the present moment. And helps you to forget the past and your ex for the time being.
With mindfulness you may even see your world in a new light.
Overall, using AIM can help you to get over an ex boyfriend by learning how to become detached, to see that things will change, and to be reminded about living in the present moment.
1. Joel, S. (2012). How to get over an ex. Dating Decisions. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/dating-decisions/201209/how-get-over-ex
2. Dhammananda, K. Sri. 2002. What Buddhists Believe. eBook. 4th ed. Kuala Lumpur: Buddhist Missionary Society Malaysia. http://www.buddhanet.net.