7 Effective Science-Backed Tools To Forget Your Ex-Girlfriend

No matter what he tried, Deion could not forget his ex-girlfriend.

He went to a therapist. It didn’t help.

He tried to force himself to think of other things. He thought about her more.

He avoided the places they visited together. He still found reasons to think about her.

None of it worked.

“It’s been almost 3 months and every night I’m stuck thinking about her for hours on end before I finally fall asleep,” he told me. “And then I wake up in the morning and I start thinking about her again. Shit, I can’t even go by places we went to together without my stomach hurting. I hate feeling like this. I just want to forget about her and move on. Why is this so hard?”

There’s nothing wrong with you if you are in a situation similar to Deion, even if it’s been months, or years since you and your ex-girlfriend broke up. It doesn’t make you less of a man to miss your ex-girlfriend. The fact that you miss her isn’t evidence that she’s the one, or that you’re broken, worthless, or unlovable.

I regularly work with clients who still can’t forget their exes years later.

Related: Read This If You Still Love Your Ex 5 Years Later

And as it turns out, there are several biological and psychological reasons that you can’t forget her. You evolved over millions of years to fight to protect your love, tooth, and nail, not to “forget about her and just move on already”.

If you think that sucks, blame Mother Nature. She’s a cold hard bitch who doesn’t give a single flying fuck about how much you logically know you need to move on.

Damn nature, you scary.

Once you understand the underlying biological and psychological mechanisms that make her so hard to forget – it becomes easier to actually stop thinking about her.

And we’re going to do just that in a bit, so stay tuned.

I’m also going to expose all the gloriously juicy details about:

  • Why the firecracker relationship with your toxic, abusive, or unfaithful ex-girlfriend feels impossible to forget, even though you really want to forget her;
  • Whether or not you can click “delete file” and erase all the memories of your ex-girlfriend;
  • What me and yo momma did last night. (Good to see you’re reading and not skimming)
  • How you can use science bitch! to help you forget your ex-girlfriend and move on;

This is a big topic. And since you came here for evidence-backed information that actually delivers results, I’m going to give it to you raw and uncut.

Is that a dick joke? You be the judge.

While you’re doing that, sit down, get comfy, and let’s start by diving headfirst into the science behind why your ex-girlfriend is so damn hard to forget.

We’re going to have a good time.

kid running off the diving board bellyflop gif
Into the breach we go boys!

3 Key Reasons Why It’s So Hard to Forget Your Ex-Girlfriend According To Science

Tell me if this sounds familiar. Logically, you know you need to forget about your ex-girlfriend. But emotionally, it feels like you just can’t forget about her no matter what you try.

And once you start thinking about her, it feels impossible to stop, right?

Because just like the IRS does at tax time, your ex-girlfriend finds a way to weasel herself into your thoughts.

If she’s going to live in your head, at least make her pay rent.

In what world are you able to forget your keys, your wallet, your phone, and your dignity every time you leave the house, but not your ex-girlfriend and that wonderful vacation you took together?

Even though thinking about that vacation probably feels about as good as taking a cheese grater to the face.

You might be thinking “What the fuck is going on? Is there something wrong with me because I just can’t ‘move on’ like everyone else says I should? Even though it’s been 6 months? Am I going crazy?”

If I’ve described you or you relate to what I just said, take a deep breath with me.

You are not crazy.

You are not a beta.

You are not a simp.

There are a lot of people out there who have told you to “forget about her” and “move on already” and I’m not going to be one of them.

There’s nothing wrong with you because you can’t forget her and move on.

There are numerous valid reasons why you may be struggling to forget your ex-girlfriend and move on. For our purposes, I want to focus on 3 particular reasons you may be struggling to forget your ex. You have little control over these automatic biological and psychological responses – yet the grief they cause is very real as you have experienced.

So why is it so damned hard to forget your ex-girlfriend? Even though you know you need to?

1: You Are Built To Love Her Deeply

Ron’s relationship with his ex-girlfriend Tanya was checkered.

They had both cheated, fought constantly, and nearly broke up several times. Ron described their relationship as “emotionally exhausting” even at the best of times. But when Tanya finally decided to call it quits, Ron expected to feel relief after the shock wore off.

He didn’t. He felt sad, and lonely. He thought of her every morning and every night, even though he knew their relationship hadn’t been great. “It’s pathetic,” he told me. “Everything I look at reminds me of her”.

Ted’s relationship with Melissa was the opposite.

In Ted’s words, Melissa was his “biggest supporter”. It wasn’t hard to see why. She had followed him from her country to his, had been by his side through the passing of several family members, and always encouraged Ted in everything. But after a year where they hardly saw each other because of Ted’s job, Melissa went home and ended things with Ted.

Ted’s focus evaporated. He lost his drive and his motivation and had several poor months at work. His boss put him on a performance improvement plan. But the anxiety at work only made him think of Melissa more. More than anything, he just wanted Melissa back, even though the distance made that impossible.

How could two very different men in two very different relationships both struggle with the same problem?

The answer is that we depend on love for our survival much more than almost everyone realizes.

The fact that you hurt, miss your ex-girlfriend, and can’t stop thinking about her means that you are normal. It means that you depend on love for your survival, at least evolutionarily. A bond that you have evolved to cherish has been broken. And now you hurt because you were built to. Not because you are unworthy, broken, or anything like that. You are normal.

Now that I’ve told you that, this is the part in the story where the sappy music plays, I give you a meaningful bro hug, and there is an audible “AWWWWW!” from the audience.

Cue the music!!!

Alright my brother, now that we’ve had our touching moment, it’s time for us to step into my hot tub time machine. Instead of going back to the 80s, we’re taking a one-way trip back to when your ass was just a year old.

I’m going to assume that’s you, over there on the left wondering what the fuck is going on.

Also – how are all my dads doing?

Now I realize that you probably feel helpless right now. Trust me, I get it. It’s hard to forget your ex-girlfriend.

But when your ass was a year old, you were actually helpless.

You were a little bag of smiles, drool, and destruction who happily shit his pants. Without loving and supportive parental care, you would have been in trouble. You needed a parent or guardian to feed you, protect you, clean you, and love you. Without that care, you weren’t making it to your second birthday.

As far as 1-year-old you was concerned, if you couldn’t get their attention, you were screwed.

Fortunately, you were born with a neat set of behaviors designed to get your parents as close to you as possible, as fast as possible. And you, being the smart 1-year-old you are, you use these attachment behaviors (ranging from crying, screeching, crawling around the room, squealing, etc) to get their attention whenever you are scared, anxious, or in need of love and support.

And as soon as you feel the support you’re looking for, you calm down and return to happily sticking your foot in your mouth.

But if you don’t get the attention of your parent,

This is everything from

As a result, children are born with an innate set of behaviors to get the attention of their parents. According to the attachment theory, this is called the attachment behavior system.

The attachment behavior system is activated when babies are hurt, distressed, or frightened – and includes behaviors like crying, reaching, and crawling, which are supposed to encourage the parent to take care of the child.

When the child feels the love and security it’s looking for, it goes back to happily exploring and interacting with its environment. The parent or guardian is known as a secure base – essentially a place for the child to look for comfort and reassurance when shit hits the fan. [1]

You can see a visual representation of this below.

But what happens when the child doesn’t get the love and security it’s seeking?

He protests.

He screams and he cries,

Bad things happen. So many bad things. These naughty consequences include:

  • Diminished emotional development and language skills [2]
  • More likely to develop behavioral issues, such as ADHD [3]
  • Negative neurological, emotional, psychological, and physical development and functioning [4]
  • Trouble forming platonic and romantic relationships as an adult;

Considering all the bad stuff that can happen

And considering how human beings are a social species that until very recently could not survive without the help of a social group,

So – evolutionarily speaking, that child has a gre

But our need for love doesn’t stop as soon as we turn 18 and are kicked out the door into the great wide world.

2: Highly Emotional Memories Are More Vivid

According to the BeThe basic functions of memory are:

  • Encoding: How we learn to take in information;
  • Storing: How we hold onto that information;
  • Retrieving: How we access the stored information;

The short answer: it’s so hard to forget your ex-girlfriend because you are wired to love and socialize. Even though you know that rationally you need to move on and forget about her, you feel like you can’t, right? You just can’t?

How we forget things: when we’re trying to forget something, we need to mentally separate and then block off the “bad” information.

But when we add an emotional association with the event, it’s difficult, if not impossible to forget it. [1] Our brains are wired to forget mundane events, but more l

It’s hard to forget

It’s not because your ex-girlfriend is special – even if you feel like she is.

3: You’re More Likely To Think Well Of Her And Less Likely To Accept The Breakup

Before you run off and assume that you can’t forget your ex-girlfriend because she’s the one (she’s not) or she’s special (she’s not) here’s the truth.

There are 3 factors that make

Across 3 studies, Austrian psychologist Ursula Athenstaedt and her colleagues examined the use of these and other recovery strategies in a sample of 876 young adults who’d recently experienced a breakup with a romantic partner.

Fortunately, you’re not. It’s normal to want to forget her, and logically know you need to forget her but not be able to

The issue isn’t your desire to forget her. You can’t forget her because you’re literally wired not to forget her. And in some cases, your

Why am I unable to forget my ex-girlfriend?

It Can Be Especially Difficult To Forget Your Ex-Girlfriend If She Cheated On You

Can You Truly Forget An Ex?

Ultimately, once enough time passes, you will forget about your ex-girlfriend who dumped you. The pain you are feeling right now will fade. While you can’t control the pain you’re feeling, you can speed up the healing process, and potentially shave months off your recovery curve.

Practice each of these, and you will be able to forget your ex and all of the negative emotions you have wrapped up in her.

1: Go no contact to forget an ex you still love

No-contact is the most powerful weapon in your arsenal and will help you forget your ex 100% of the time if you use it correctly. I’ve written extensively about it, which you should check out here, here, and here, as it will make this concept even stronger.

Going no contact is also going to be the hardest thing you’ll do on this list.

To go no contact, delete your ex’s number and block her on social media. Your job is to remove any way for you to contact her, or her to contact you.

After you’ve just gone through a breakup, your brain resembles that of an addict looking for his next hit.

Trust me, you will be tempted to reach out. Your brain will be begging you.

Think of no contact as your chance to cut this addiction out of your life the right way.  

It’s designed to limit your access to your ex-girlfriend’s life, so that you can focus on your own recovery. You won’t have to worry about dealing with what’s going on in your life and hers.

Your job now is to get your priorities straight, and it will be easier to accomplish this if your ex isn’t lurking in the background.  

Removing your access to her will help prevent you from wondering what’s going on in her life, or from being hurt by the things she’s doing. These completely irrational emotions can damage your healing process and rule your thoughts.

Each thought you have while you’re in this vulnerable state is precious. Because you ultimately become what you think about, and what you focus on.

By removing your ex from your thought process, you now have the space to think new thoughts, and ultimately translate those into a new you.

2: Understand why you want to forget about your ex-girlfriend

After you’ve gone no-contact, it’s important to take the time to do some honest reflection, as it will strengthen your resolve to remain in no-contact.

You want to truly understand the concrete reasons why you’re maintaining no-contact. You also want to be able to see it visually.

You’ll need to make a list. List every reason you want to get away from your ex that you can think of. One of the best successes after my first breakup was using the list.

In fact, I keep the exact piece of paper in my journal for a good smile. Start each entry with “I won’t”.

My list had items including:

  • I won’t feel badly for dating women that are a better fit for me.
  • I won’t lose focus in school or in the gym
  • I won’t feel burdened by the relationship failures
  • I won’t feel like I let the “one” get away
  • I won’t feel like I’m not desirable

Once you’ve made the list, stick it somewhere where you will see it every day. I had mine on my mirror and reviewed it each morning before attempting to tackle my day. It sounds cliché but try it. It works.

Read the list every morning, and any time you’re even thinking of contacting her.

While this won’t stop you from thinking about her, it will keep you from contacting her, which causes more than just fleeting thoughts that you can’t control.  

3: Stay out of your bedroom/house

Once you’ve come to understand why you want to forget your ex, it’s time to get out into the world. Get out of your bedroom. You should only be there when it’s time for your head to hit the pillow.

Spending too much time in your bedroom is directly linked with heightened rates of anxiety, inactivity, a poor diet, and most importantly: overthinking.

You don’t want to be alone with your thoughts too often! While I did just recommend a period of reflection, you don’t want to be reflecting too much, especially right after a breakup.  

You just won’t have the frame of mind, or the necessary distance from the situation to come to any meaningful conclusions. You’re just going to cause yourself unneeded turmoil.

Getting out of your house is going to force you to interact with others. Socializing has been proven to increase your physical and mental health, but more importantly it will keep you engaged in outside stimulus, which will keep your mind focused in the present, and off your ex.

I’m willing to bet there isn’t much going on in your bedroom besides a TV, your phone, and your game system. Because you control everything in your bedroom, your flow of consciousness is only going to depend on you, which makes it easier to fall into negative thoughts. Why do you think most recluses are negative, miserable people?

Reacting to outside events will keep your mind working over thoughts that don’t include your ex. The more time you spend without thoughts of your ex, the easier it will be to maintain that state over time.

As Newton said, an object in motion tends to stay in motion. Once you get moving, you’ll find it hard to stop.

4: Avoid triggering thoughts and situations

The more time you spend with your ex, the more possessions and places you’ll come to associate with her. Seeing these will trigger memories of her, which isn’t helpful if you’re trying to forget her.

If you haven’t yet, get rid of anything that makes you think of her. Give her back all of her stuff as quickly as possible. Then, anything that’s left that reminds you of her should go in a trash bag.

Do a sweep of your place. Did she leave a shirt behind? Hair ties? Do you keep a folder of her little notes? If you want to forget about her, get rid of them.

Afterwards, avoid situations that’ll make you think of her. Don’t go to the favorite restaurant you two shared and avoid the gym you know she’ll be at.

Avoid your mutual friends, unless they are strongly on your side, which isn’t always a given. At best, they’ll remind you of her. At worst, they’ll bring you news of your ex-girlfriend, which isn’t allowed while you’re on no-contact.

The other piece of this, is if you have nude photographs or videos of her, delete them. You want to avoid fantasizing about your ex in every way, and that includes sexually. You want to keep your focus away from your ex.

5: Have a plan in place for how you want to improve your life

The best way to stop focusing on your ex is to focus on something else. Enter a new set of goals.

I know you’ve had goals over the years that you’ve not achieved, and now it’s time to bring them to the forefront of your life. You’re going to grow through your goals.

You need to set goals because it will give you something to advance towards. After a breakup, your life seems to stall. Having a well-crafted goal and working to achieve it will help keep your from feeling stagnant in your life, which can cause you to start thinking about your life before the breakup and how “happy” you were.

When I discovered goal setting as a means to forget your ex, I was initially very skeptical. I set a goal to strengthen my body. The first day I set foot in the gym after the breakup was the first day in over 3 weeks that I felt like I was alive again.

Your goal can be anything from learning the guitar, to trying a new sport, to building a new business. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what – as long as it’s something you really want.

Don’t pick something just because you think she’d like it, for example. Be selfish. What’s something you’ve always wanted to do?

Once you have something in mind, set a measurable, time-sensitive goal.

Post this goal directly next to the list of reasons why you want to forget about your ex-girlfriend.

Then, list out EVERY step you can think of in order to complete it. If there’s something you don’t know, just add a step to learn that thing you need.

Each day make sure you’re checking off at least 1 item on the list. You’ll be surprised how good you’ll feel after checking off an item for a week in a row.

Having a plan and executing it will help you focus your mind.

When you take the plan a step further and execute it, you’ll begin to build confidence and consistency.

The real secret to using a breakup to grow is picking the right goal, focusing on it, and making it happen. Channel all the emotional energy into whatever it is that drives you, and you’ll be amazed what you can create.

The focus required to achieve your goal will keep your mind busy, and help you forget your ex.

And in the end, you will be able to reap the rewards of your heard work.

6: Set a daily schedule that supports your goal and stick to it.

Now, think about the most successful man you know. What does their life look like?

I’m willing to bet you that whomever you’re thinking of lives a very deliberate, structured life built on a backbone of discipline.

Do you think this man would get moved off his path because a girl broke up with them?

The answer is no.

People with a clearly defined life structure and schedule are more resistant to stress, and less willing to cave to the demands of others. A structured lifestyle also avoids long periods of alone time, which as we mentioned, you want to avoid.

People without life structure are more transient, and have difficulty setting and accomplishing goals, which we already know is a major component to recovery.

Your girlfriend breaking up with you probably upset your life structure. I know it did for me.

My prior routine was smashed into a million pieces. I stopped going to the gym, I stopped going to class, and I stopped doing the things I enjoyed.

I ended up spending a lot of time in my room. Did it make me feel better?

Absolutely not. It wasn’t until I forced myself to get back into my routine that I finally started to recover.

Use your breakup to really assess what matters to you, and then work on re-structuring your life so it’s in line with the goal you set.

This level of consistency will help keep you grounded, and keep you moving in the right direction – away from your ex.

7: Keep your nutrition, physical activity, and sleep in check.

Your mental and physical health are so closely interlinked that you can’t have one without the other. If you want to improve your mental health, improve your physical health.

This one has been done to death, so I’ll keep it brief.

Everything starts with a regular good night sleep. A good night of sleep will improve your mood, boost your focus, and help your body recover.

More importantly though, having a consistent bedtime and wakeup time will help you build the discipline you need to execute the master plan you laid out in step 7.

Discipline carries over to all areas of life. The discipline you build by sticking to your sleep cycle will help you resist the urge to text her, or think about her.

Pus, getting consistent sleep is going to also help keep you physically active, especially because it’s time to hit the weight room.

There’s no quicker way to forget an ex than to get someone better and packing on some lean muscle will help you catch the eye of eligible women. Aim to get at least 3-5 hours of vigorous exercise per week.

Exercise will help keep your testosterone levels high. The confidence boost associated with high testosterone will keep your mind occupied, and away from thoughts of your ex.  

You should also be eating a balanced diet that supports your T-levels. A balanced diet can help regulate your mood, and it will also help you sculpt your body into something worthy of art.

Improving in these areas is also going to make you considerably more attractive to other women – who can play a major role in forgetting your ex.

8: Spend time with other women

A wise man once said, “the quickest way to get over an ex is to get someone better”.

While you should avoid dating seriously until you’ve completely recovered from your breakup, spending time with other women will help you to grow, as well as shake the misconception that your ex is the only source of intimacy you deserve.

As human beings, we need physical intimacy and touch. Touch is a healing art, and can soothe a troubled mind and sore body, and you should absolutely seek it out.

Once you’ve got a good goal, and a good schedule to support that goal, keep your eye open.

You might see a woman smile at you in passing. Make it a point to go talk to her. Or fire up Hinge and Tinder and go on a date with a new woman. You won’t be thinking about your ex when you’re making out with a gorgeous new woman.

If you can escalate to sex, the act itself will 100% help you forget your ex-girlfriend. Not only will it boost your confidence, it will remind you that there are other women out there who like you.

Moreover, it will help you realize that your ex isn’t the only woman who will ever like you.

Keep it casual, and just focus on having fun. Avoid labels and commitment, at least until you’ve gotten over her completely.

Allowing yourself to have experiences with other women is part of your healing process. You’ll learn to identify things in women that you like and don’t like, which will give you a frame of reference when you’re ready to start seriously dating again in the future.

Of course, seeing new women shouldn’t be the only thing you do to shake up your routine.

9: Experience new things and new people

Part of the reason your brain wants to keep thinking about your ex is because it floods your brain with dopamine. It’s the same behavior as an addict trying to get his fix.

Of course, you’re here to forget your ex. So how can we give the brain the dopamine it’s craving?

You do new things, and you do them often. Experiencing novel situations will help rewire your brain to stop thinking about your ex and flood it with dopamine, which will make you feel great. Plus, getting outside your comfort zone will help rebuild your confidence.

Whether it’s traveling somewhere new, trying a new hobby, or just hanging out with new people, try something new as often as you possibly can! Focus on trying new things that will bring you into contact with other people.

The more connections you make, the more people you’ll have to spend time with, and consequently, the less you’ll think about your ex.

I always recommend traveling to new places on the weekend to the guys I coach. There’s no excuse not to – because it doesn’t have to cost any money. Spend a day hiking or walking new places in your city.

Those don’t cost a cent, but they’ll pay dividends in long-term happiness.

10: Forgive your ex!

Forgiving your ex-girlfriend is one of the fastest ways to dissipate the negative emotions you have surrounding her. It’s a visceral emotional experience that when done right, can open your eyes in a way you’ve never quite felt before.

When you go through a breakup, a lot of emotions get wrapped up with your ex. Sadness, jealousy, anger, fear, and regret are common.

Jumpstart the process by writing on a piece of paper that you forgive your ex for everything she made you feel.

Then, list out everything she did that hurt you.

After you’ve completed the list, take a breath deep into your diaphragm.

Then, write that you wish them all the best success in life, and after another deep breath, burn the piece of paper. As it flames into oblivion take another deep breath and exhale all the resentment.

From that moment forward, if you ever catch yourself thinking about your ex in a negative way, remember that you forgave her, and let it go.

By forgiving her, you’ll heal the pain in your heart – and ultimately be in the best possible position to let her fade into a warm memory looked at down the road.

That was your goal all along, right?

How Long Does It Take To Forget an Ex Girlfriend?


[1] – https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0022103106001156

Talk soon my friend,

Coach Jack

PS: Got a burning question about your ex-girlfriend or your unique situation that you want my expert advice on? Click here to learn how I can help you.

Coach Jack

I'm Coach Jack, the owner and founder of Men's Breakup. I help over 1 million men a year radically transform their lives for the better after being dumped. My breakup recovery method for men combines science, first-hand experience, and critical analysis to show you how to either get her back, or get over her by building a life of long-term, masculine happiness.

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