Overheard On Campus: I have a problem getting over my ex and it’s really stressing me out. We talk once in a while, but she’s rude to me. What should I do?

Contributed by Amanda Anastasio, M.S.W., L.C.S.W., Brooke Vanevenhoven, R.N., M.S.N., A.P.N.P., & Rebecca Smith, M.A., L.C.P.C., C.S.A.T.
Introduction by Tyler Achilles, B.A.

It’s never easy getting over an ex-boyfriend or girlfriend, so when we got this question from a student on MyStudentBody we decided to ask some of our experts and contributors for their advice. Check out the three responses below.Two young people having an argumentAmanda Anastasio, a licensed mental health counselor, says …

It sounds like you already know the cause of your stress, so congratulations; you are ahead of the game!  So many people lose sleep over things they can never put their finger on.

When you recognize these sources of stress, it’s important that you take steps to alleviate it so it doesn’t turn into more of an ongoing problem. Stress can create negative thinking patterns for you and eventually could cause more severe mental anguish and even physical symptoms.

If you can’t be friends and have a positive relationship with your ex (which is difficult right now because of the lingering feelings of hurt or anger), then you should cut off communication until time can heal these feelings. If she is “being rude” it could simply be her way of handling the stress associated with an ended relationship.  No doubt she has mixed emotions and is also finding communication difficult. You are not alone in that!

Try to step away and let yourself take a break from this situation. Increase time with people who make you feel good, whom you laugh with and can be yourself with. Try a new activity that interests you, and maybe even make a new friend. It’s important to keep in mind that feelings will subside, but you shouldn’t lose sight of what and who is truly important in your life. By trying something new or focusing your energy on an activity you enjoy, your brain can essentially create fresh patterns and rewire itself in order to dig out of the stress-pit you are in. Time will take care of the rest.

Brooke Vanevenhoven, a nurse practitioner, says …

Start by considering why you are still communicating with your ex. Are you hoping that she’ll take you back? If she is being rude to you, I’m guessing she’s trying to tell you that she has moved on and wants you to do the same.

It’s time to give yourself some space from her and take care of your own personal needs. Make sure you are sleeping well and eating a nutritious diet. Get to the gym and burn off some of the frustration on a cardio machine.  Keep up with school and work responsibilities. Avoid indulging in alcohol or drugs, food, cigarettes, or inappropriate sexual behaviors as a way to feel better. Immediate gratification gained from these activities is very short-lived. Spend time with people who care about you and treat you respectfully. Know that it is normal to feel stressed and upset regarding the loss of a relationship. There are no rules about how long it should take to “get over it.”

Finally, if you continue to struggle with your emotions related to the break-up, consider talking to a professional counselor who can help guide you. No one said a break-up would be easy, but if you continue to talk with your ex you are only setting yourself up for false hope and more heartbreak.

Rebecca Smith, a college counselor, says …

Most people find it’s hard to stay “friends” with an ex, usually because the boundaries are unclear and hurt feelings are easily expressed in anger. This may be why your ex is rude to you. She may be using anger to cover up other vulnerable emotions she doesn’t want you to see now that you aren’t together. It is easier to move on if you cut off ties with an ex, even though that sucks. There is no “quick” way to move on either. Time helps, but you have to do some work as well. Acknowledging the loss of the relationship is important. Let yourself feel sad or upset. You can process your feelings on your own or by talking to someone you trust. Balance that with doing things that are fun or relaxing. Go out with your friends, watch a movie, or read a book. Do something that gets your mind off your ex. I find that people either dwell on the loss too much or distract themselves from it totally. You need to do both of them to move on in a healthy way. Remember to take care of yourself, learn from past mistakes, and keep moving forward. Good luck!

Sounds like there are some recurring themes here: time will help, but try to give yourself some space and do things that you enjoy to get your mind off of the situation.

You can share your own advice in the comments!

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