Tips to Get an Old Love Out of Your Head

When a relationship comes to an end, the process of healing and moving on hopefully begins. The person you’re trying to let go of may be a recent part of your love life or an old flame. Now comes the task of wiping the slate clean, so you’ll be ready when a new partner enters your life.

Here are 15 practices that will help you leave the past behind:

1. Keep a realistic perspective of the person. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, and every relationship has good and bad times. Acknowledging both assures you that your old love was not, in fact, ideal.

2. Clean your emotional house. Honestly inventory the strong feelings left over–pain, anger, regret–and then take time to heal. Proven techniques for doing that abound. Find the ones that make sense to you and get to work.

3. Clean your physical house. You might still have reminders of the relationship you’re trying to leave behind — photographs, mementos, and letters. Boxing them up can have a cleansing effect, a signal to your subconscious mind that a new beginning is underway.

4. Burn the bridge completely. If you know the relationship with your ex is truly over, then there’s nothing to gain from trying to be “just friends” or other variations. The best break is a clean break.

5. Watch your language. Meaning, watch how much you talk about your old relationship. The more your ex’s name comes out of your mouth, the more that person stays in your thoughts.

6. Close anything left open-ended. Whether they left your life weeks ago or years ago, you might have things you still need to say, amends you need to make, items you should have returned, or feelings you want to convey. Bring closure by taking care of what you need to.