Post-breakup as you endeavour to come to terms with the loss of the relationship, it’s not uncommon to fret a little (or even a lot) about whether you’re on the ‘right track’. 

If you’re No Contact, the enforced distance can cause you to wonder if you’re really moving on. You might feel alright but then worry about how you’d react if you heard from them. There can be a level of anxiety about whether how you’re thinking, feeling and acting reflects that you’re moving on. Even without No Contact, previous break-up experiences along with a sense that you should be ‘over it’ by now or ‘soon’ can trigger creeping anxiety about the progress of your efforts. 

For example, let’s say you feel as though you struggled with a breakup before. Odds are, you’re going to think that it might take a long time now. You’ll expect to have a similar experience even though they’re different relationships. That, and you may have evolved since then, even if you don’t realise this.  

Breakups, including No Contact, are one of those things that if you clock-watch them, it feeds a vicious cycle.

It creates hyper-aware of your experience. You’ll have a picture in your mind of how you’re supposed to be feeling and acting at this point. Whatever your idea of being ‘moved on’ or ‘over it’ is, because it doesn’t reflect some or all of that picture, you start to worry about whether you’re keeping up. Next thing, you’re caught up in your perception of progress while ignoring real progress. This is the pressure of your idealised self at work. 

But how you feel is how you feel. And what you’re doing is what you’re doing relative to whatever is going on in your life, as well as how you’ve learned to navigate, not just your feelings but previous losses. 

‘Right track’ post-breakup can look and feel differently depending on what you need at that time. For instance, being upset several months down the line doesn’t mean you’re ‘behind’. Relative to your own experiences, if you don’t normally allow you to feel, expressing your upset is progress. Not putting you under pressure to date can be progress. Allowing you to have a go at dating can also be progress. 

While No Contact, in particular, takes some getting used to and initially takes willpower and likely some back and forth before you settle in to it, the aim is to get beyond focusing on not being in contact. Instead, it’s about self-care and living your life as best as you can. 

You know that you’ve accepted the breakup when you’re not trying to change your ex or get back together so that you can ‘win’.

All-too-often, humans ruminate about and crave getting back together, not because it’s the right thing for both parties but because they feel as if they lost. Restarting the relationship, then, becomes about winning

When you’re beginning to move forward, you become more immersed in your life. So much so that one day, it hits you that you’ve not been thinking about your ex so much. Or at all. Side note: It might feel weird to no longer be so consumed by them. As you accept it though, you recognise that you’re also OK with it. You’re no longer so bothered about what they may or may not be doing. 

Getting over your ex means that you gradually arrive in that space where you’re willing to take responsibility for you. 

When you experience thoughts about them or even fleeting temptations, you don’t jump on that train of thought. You become aware of some of the thought habits you developed in the relationship, and you are mindful of feeding them. There’s a level of recognition that thinking about your ex or NC or the wrongs of other people in your past flags up where you’re trying to escape from something. And then instead of trying to escape, you confront the hidden feelings behind it. Or you simply go, ‘I see you, anger/hurt/resentment/fear, and that’s OK’.

Getting over an ex means accepting what you know about them wholly and fully. And you do so without judging yourself for who they are or aren’t. It means that each time you try to tell an old story about the situation or you say something mean about you (or them), you try to catch it. 

Grief isn’t linear.

Ultimately, if you’re feeling more connected to you even though it might also feel deeply uncomfortable and confronting at times, you’re on the right track. 

Are you ready to stop silencing and hiding yourself in an attempt to ‘please’ or protect yourself from others? My book, The Joy of Saying No: A Simple Plan to Stop People Pleasing, Reclaim Boundaries, and Say Yes to the Life You Want (Harper Horizon), is out now.

The Joy of Saying No by Natalie Lue book cover. Subtitle: A simple plan to stop people pleasing, reclaim boundaries, and say yes to the life you want.
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