It all starts with a honeymoon phase.
You and a drop-dead gorgeous guy run into each other at a happy hour. The two of you exchange flirty glances over the rims of a few gin and tonics, and, before you know it, his number’s in your phone.
You continue this flirtation via text (and probably use more emojis than you’d ever imagined yourself using).
Then, the first date comes along. He’s charming, chivalrous, and chatty in the right way—a true gentleman in every way.
The date goes well, and you talk, text and spend time with each other for the days, weeks, months, or years that follow.
But his charm doesn’t last forever.
What was once a bond you never thought could break is now a relationship that’s way past the point of life support.
If you’ve recently ended things with a guy and are struggling to erase him from your mind, then look no further!
Here are ten things to do when you can’t stop thinking about him.
1. Stop analyzing everything
First things first: Put. Down. The. Phone.
Sure, at a glance, your Galaxy S8 doesn’t look like a trap in the traditional sense of the term.
It’s not surrounded by claws that’ll clasp shut around your wrist if you try to type a text.
There’s no chunk of cheese that lures you into getting stuck to a poisonous sticky pad. And you probably won’t trigger a trip wire while you’re walking around with it.
But scrolling through past conversations with a fine-tooth comb can—and, if you do it long enough, will—set you up for a stressful series of nonstop thoughts about this guy.
Few things in life are easier than getting hung up on the written word.
Because texts have neither tones nor inflections, the chances that you’ll read too much into a message (or the amount of time between messages) are astronomically high. You don’t have to block his number and delete your chat history.
However, taking a break from those shared speech bubbles should help you keep your cool.
2. Date yourself
The average theater doesn’t require you to buy two movie tickets.
As far as I know, the same stands for basketball games, city zoos, plays and wherever else you’ve always thought about going with him.
So, if you’re a die-hard fan of rom-coms and rhinos, why not invite yourself to check them out?
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with riding solo in public spaces.
I repeat: absolutely NOTHING!
You don’t need a guy in order to gain access to that new Thai fusion restaurant down the street, and, yes, you have every right to watch the Knicks and Nets square off without him.
Take advantage of this opportunity to go on the one-woman date of your dreams!
3. Reconnect with friends
Has your best friend been getting the unintentional cold-shoulder ever since you started having eyes for this guy?
How about the rest of your group?
Does it feel like you’ve totally forgotten what your roommate’s face looks like?
Never fear— you’re far from alone.
In fact, I, too, am chronically guilty of prioritizing the dude-of-the-moment over the dedicated friends who have stayed by my side through some seriously sour dating experiences.
What it truly comes down to is the issue of dedication.
Many of us get caught up in romance’s distracting charm because our friends have proven—time and time again—that they’ll always be there to pick up the pieces after things stop looking so rosy.
Therefore, instead of focusing your efforts on plotting an elaborate scheme or penning an emotionally-charged message in an attempt to win him back, channel them into making sure your closest friends know how much you love them and appreciate every ounce of support they send your way.
4. Catch up with family
Your friends aren’t the only ones who are wishing for a little more you time.
If you’re having a heck of a time remembering your own roommate’s face, then I’m willing to bet your brother, sister or favorite cousin has been waiting either patiently or very, very impatiently to grab lunch with you.
Again, the issue here is that getting distracted by a guy leads you to leave behind the people who have your back through everything so that you can pour your heart and soul into making the relationship work.
You love them and love any and all opportunities to be around them, but your bonds are already solid.
The one you’re attempting to construct with a man who hasn’t responded in over a week, on the other hand, is quite the opposite.
Rather than clutter your mind with the various what-ifs that crop up when this guy is constantly on your mind, take a weekend trip to visit your mom.
Tie on an apron and cook cauliflower pizza with your dad. Pick up the phone (for this, you have my complete permission to do so) and call your cousin!
Building more strength into your family bonds will definitely help you forget about him.
5. Find your center
Speaking of strength, there’s a lot to be said about a laser-sharp mind.
Having the ability to close yourself out of every sound, Snapchat notification and way-too-bright desk light long enough to get in touch with your inner self is incredibly difficult.
Does it ever feel like the entire world—including he-who-shall-not-be-named—is asking for your attention at all hours of the day and night?
Believe me, I know where you’re coming from. The sea of questions that floods my mind when things aren’t working with a potential partner is powerful enough to keep me up until the crack of dawn.
Should I have been clearer about where I wanted things to go with him?
Is he also wide awake right now?
Would it really be that bad if I sent him a simple “How are you?” text?
Yeah, the combination of racing thoughts and tired feet isn’t exactly the most enjoyable experience.
To save yourself from this sleep-depriving dilemma, devote at least ten consecutive minutes of each day to meditation.
This is one of the more challenging tips because, when you first dive into it, meditating might feel a little counterintuitive.
You’re trying to avoid a pretty persistent train of thought, so why would you ditch all available distractions and leave yourself with nothing but your thoughts?
The key is to have just one thought throughout these ten minutes: breathing. Fill your lungs, find that highly sought-after center of yours and, for as long as you can, forget him.
Namaste, my friend.
6. Hit the gym
You may not find yourself in a state of calm, deep breaths after taking advantage of this tip, but why not work out to work him out of your mind?
Meditation motivates you to steer clear of this guy’s existence by slowing down the many elements of your life.
Though tapping into your high school track skills or losing a gallon’s worth of sweat during a dance aerobics class speeds all of them up, exercise is an equally effective method because it is its own type of distraction.
When you climb onto a treadmill, call dibs on a dumbbell or grab a good ol’ fashioned jump rope, it’s all about you and whatever your proverbial finish line may be.
You’re thinking about running at a faster pace. You’re thinking about the number of squats you’ll be able to do before your knees scream for you to stop.
You’re thinking about reps and sets and your favorite post-workout stretch.
You know what you’re not thinking about? Exactly.
7. Channel more energy into your job
Take a good, hard look at your desk. It’s probably piled sky-high with half-finished assignments, half-empty coffee cups, and ideas that have yet to come to fruition.
If your career took a backseat to this guy, then it’s time to reclaim your rock-solid work ethic.
One of the best ways to get ahead at work is to make your boss and supervisors aware of your ability to see steps that can be taken to set the company up for success.
Most higher-ups tend to take this as a clear-as-day sign that you deserve a raise. Does your office have a decades-old filing system that’s in desperate need of an upgrade?
Could the magazine you write for benefit from a new section? Who knows—pitching new ideas might push him out of your mind and put more cash in your wallet.
8. Pursue a new passion
While you’re busy brainstorming ways to do well at work, direct some of those thoughts toward the hobbies and interests you’ve always just kind of/sort of thought about exploring.
Because your job will only fill part of the equation, picking up a passion ensures that this guy’s off your mind before, during, and after work.
You could become the best brownie baker on your block. You could train your way to the finish line of a full marathon.
Heck, you could even learn how to master the never-ending collection of DIY projects you’ve been bookmarking (and, consequently, ignoring) over the past few months.
Your productivity is his loss.
9. Pick up a book
How long has it been since you last found yourself completely engrossed in the pages of a thriller, or the plot of a comedy, or the points of a best-selling memoir?
If thoughts of him are getting in the way of your ability to remember a single title, then I think it’s time to find yourself a new story.
Reading is an excellent thing to do when you’re in need of a good distraction.
Along with expanding your vocabulary and teaching you things you may never have learned otherwise, cruising through the chapters of a book makes you one with the characters.
You’re right there with them as they backpack through Europe or search for signs of paranormal activity in Portland, so their experiences and, more importantly, their thoughts become your own.
Pick up an epic page-turner, and you’ll find it much easier to put away those pesky reminders of him.
10. Remember who you are
No tip is nearly as important as this. We lose ourselves in the throes of our romantic and sexual relationships.
The chase consumes us, the relationship itself consumes us, and, as you’re experiencing right now, the end does everything it can to swallow us whole. But you’re so much stronger than that.
You’re intelligent. Mature. Determined. Focused. Funny. Friendly. Kind. Caring. Compassionate. And yes, you’re lovable.
Regardless of how this guy feels about you, you’ve got a ton of positive traits working in your favor.
It doesn’t take a man to prove that they exist, and it shouldn’t take a man to encourage you to recognize their existence.
So think long and hard about who you are, what you enjoy, and where you see yourself in the next five, ten, or fifty years.
Not a single thought about him is required.