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Dan Dennick, Over Her Overnight, 2008

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Introduction Does This Have To Be So Hard? Do breakups have to be as painful as they are? Do they have to be as excruciating and crippling as the love songs on the radio and the movies make them out to be? Or is there a way of handling it that will get you quickly to a place of being single, integrated and happy again in a healthy way? The answer to that is YES. Its not a short answer though, as it is going to require many concepts, ideas and techniques for you to understand and use. This book, in other words. If you really want to get this area of your life squared away it is important you stick with this book all the way through. Youve already made the investment, so really spend the time. Before we start I want to share with you an insight I had that really changed the way I looked at this part of my life. Several years ago I went through a really painful breakup with a girl that I really liked. I had put so much energy and emotion into this relationship, as I was infatuated with her pretty much from the first moment I met her. Its clear now in hindsight that she starting losing interest long before she dumped me, but since I was so in love with her I didnt see it, and I was really adept at rationalizing reasons why she was acting . I remember right after she mustered up the courage to actually dump me, all I could think of was getting her back. I was convinced she was making the biggest mistake ever, and that she would never be able to get what we had (or at least what I thought we had) anywhere else. I figured it would just be a matter of time that she would soon come to realize it.
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Well, she never realized anything, despite several attempts on my part to help her along. Bottom line was, she had lost interest, she was no longer attracted and she was serious about moving on. I was so angry. I felt so connected to her, and she had become the center of my life, I couldnt conceive of that center just disappearing. It was too much of a stretch of my imagination I was sure that somehow this breakup was going to permanently damage me. Not only did I feel like I had lost the only person who could make me feel the way I did, and whom I had a history with I could never repeat with anyone else, but I also thought I would be scarred in a way that would keep me from ever enjoying it again even if I did meet someone else. Turns out I was very wrong. But you could have told me that a thousand different ways at the time and it would not have made any difference. Over the course of the next few years I was really fortunate to find a brilliant mentor in my life who really changed the way I looked at women, dating, romance and relationships. Part of the reason I ended up meeting my mentor is because of the frustration caused by this break up. I had started to do everything I could (mostly without knowing it) to improve myself, because I wanted her to want me back the next time she saw me. I fantasized about it one way or another in the back of my head, everytime I picked up a new endeavor to make my life better. Even when I would get a date with an exceptionally attractive girl, I would secretly hope my ex would catch us together and just totally lose it when she saw me with a girl that was hotter than her. Although initially it was the break up that spurred it on at first, eventually I become really addicted to the process of evolving and
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improving every aspect of my life so that it just became part of my identity. eyes. Then something interesting happened that really opened my

A couple of years later I ended up running into my ex. We hung out and talked for a while and I could tell she was surprised by how different I was. It become clear very quickly that she was attracted to me again, and she made it obvious that she wanted to start hanging out again. I remember walking away from that and imagining my old self, the old self that at one point had so desperately wished for something like this to happen, and giving him a high five. But there was definitely something wrong. It wasnt anywhere near as gratifying as I thought it would be. Thats when I realized I was a totally different person. I didnt care. It was nice to have a great interaction with my ex and feel really good about it, but it really didnt matter. My life since our breakup had been so exciting and so much had happened that I could hardly even relate to that old self anymore. I had met and dated many attractive, evolved women since then, she wasnt even the kind of girl I would want to spend time with anymore. But there was another part to this. Thinking back to what that relationship was like, I realized that in contrast, now I have a really strong sense of freedom when I date girls Ill talk more about that in the chapter about being single, right now lets talk about you and your ex-girlfriend
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Table Of Contents Introduction .......................................................... 2


Does This Have To Be So Hard? ............................................. 2 Table Of Contents .............................................................. 5

Chapter 1: Why Am I Reading This Book?.................... 8


The Guy You Dont Want To Be........... Error! Bookmark not defined. The Guy You Do Want To Be ................................................. 9 How To Get The Most Out Of Reading This ........................... 11 What You Arent Going To Get Out Of This ............................ 13 Your Reset Button ............................................................. 15

Chapter 2: Why So Much Pain? ................................. 16


Whats Really Happening? .................................................. 17 The Feedback Loop From Hell ............................................. 18 The Six Lane Super Highway In Your Brain .......................... 21

Chapter 3: Heartache 101 ........................................ 23


The Barrier Effect .............................................................. 24 What Is That Empty Feeling? ........................................... 24 Youre Not (Entirely) Crazy ................................................. 25

Chapter 4: How Do I Recover From This? .................. 27


What A Lifeguard Can Tell You About Heartache .................. 29 The Upside & Downside Of Down ........................................ 30

Chapter 5: Post Break Up Loneliness ......................... 32


What Is Loneliness? ........................................................... 38 Your Ancestors Were Never Lonely ..................................... 39 A Very Specific Kind Of Loneliness ...................................... 41 How Loneliness Distorts The Mind ...................................... 42

Chapter 6: How Do I Deal With Jealousy? .................. 44


You Ancestors Were All Jealous ......................................... 46 An Emotional Appendix? .................................................... 47 Dan Dennick, Over Her Overnight, 2008 Page 5

Why People Are So Weird About Jealousy ............................ 48 Men & Jealousy ................................................................. 49

Chapter 7: How Do I Stop Thinking About Her All The Time? ........................................................................... 51
Why Everything Reminds You Of Her .................................. 52 The Delayed Response ....................................................... 57

Chapter 8: Really Accepting That Its Over .................. 59


The Sneaky Reasons You Want Her Back .............................. 62 Rosy Retrospection ............................................................ 63

Chapter 9: The Days & Weeks Right After ................... 65


Cutting Off Contact ............................................................ 68 Your Friends, Her Friends .................................................. 69

Chapter 10: Resisting Temptation ............................. 71


Enlist A Friend .................................................................. 72 Give Your Logic A Vacation .............................................. 74

Chapter 11: Transitioning To Single ........................... 76


The Old You Must Die ........................................................ 77

Chapter 12: Friendships .......................................... 79


Friend or Frenemy? ........................................................... 80 How Popular People See The World ..................................... 82 Giving Value ..................................................................... 84 The Time Ahead ................................................................ 85

Techniques: .......................................................... 87
Rearrange Your Stuff ......................................................... 87 Burn The Anxiety .............................................................. 89 Cry................................................................................... 91 Plan & Book A Trip ............................................................ 92 Listen To All New Music ..................................................... 94 Plan 3 Novel Things To Do Per Week .................................... 96 Dan Dennick, Over Her Overnight, 2008 Page 6

Contribute ........................................................................ 98

Dan Dennick, Over Her Overnight, 2008

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Chapter 1: Stop Trying To Get Her Back

Lets face it. When you first break up with a girl, you dont WANT to move on Even if the situation is painful Even if you know its a bad idea to keep trying Even if the situation is hopeless or too complicated to fix... Even if she has already left Most of the time the only thing guys can think about when things go south is how to get back with their ex girlfriend But, in case you thought I was here to blow sunshine and moon beams up your ass You might be afraid that it may take you a long time and lots of pain to get over your ex girlfriend and that in the meantime it might do long term damage to other parts of your life. That, as it turns out, is a very legitimate fear. About a 1/4th of the hundreds of guys that I coached and interviewed personally were trying to get over a girlfriend they had broken up with over two years before. A good portion of those guys had not even been in contact with their ex for that whole time Yeah How much fun does that sound? There are guys who dont truly recover from the pain of a lost love and it ends up affecting their lives for YEARS afterwards.
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All the bottled up pain channels its way into other parts of their life and begins to effect the way they view themselves, other people, and the world. Sometimes the effects are obvious, but most of the time its subtle ones they arent even aware of. Because they didnt ever really get it handled, they tend to have a lot less control and power over things in their life. Their confidence becomes sapped and they start to believe this is just how things are for them, and worse yet, how they will probably always be. It also muddles and clouds their motivation and ability to achieve other goals and do the things they want to do in life. Much of their mental energy is spent thinking about a way to get the approval or validation of their ex, or another woman they think that might be able to take her place. As a result they dont even think about what they want. Hell, it doesnt even occur to them that they should. And maybe most importantly it can seriously affect the relationships in a mans life. Future girlfriends, friends, family and the ability to make new long lasting relationships in general can all be affected negatively. The one thing most of these guys did is that they waited it out. They viewed the break up as something that happened to them, not something they had control over.

The Guy You Do Want To Be

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There are also guys who go through the healing process very quickly. Sure, there is sadness and pain, there would be nothing to recover from if there werent. But it alleviates and releases in a healthy way. Very soon these guys are integrated, happy and single again (and in many cases that much more attractive to women because of the wisdom theyve gained). They come out of the break up with a feeling of control and power in their lives because they didnt let it throw them off course for very long. The have the mental energy, focus and motivation to keeping pursuing what they want in life and achieve their goals. And their social life is as lively as ever, even more so usually. Their new found time without a girlfriend simply allows them to meet more women and make new friends. NowArent you glad you get to be one of those guys? So what do these guys all have in common? The one biggest difference I saw in this group was not just in their personalities but one common theme in their stories about when things felt the worst. They faced it and they pushed through it. Im going to go into what that means a little more, but keep it in the back of your mind for now. Oh yeahjust for kicks, here are some other traits the quick recovering types all had in common as well. Emotional awareness- A deep understanding of how and why their emotions work.
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Mental toughness- Knowledge of what influences and thoughts are corrosive and which ones are empowering. Flexibility- An understanding and acceptance that change, externally and internally, are not only part of life but are necessary. Connection- Many close and meaningful friendships and a lifestyle that is always bringing new ones in on a regular basis. Purpose- Knowing what they value and want in THEIR life as well as what they are grateful and appreciative for. The themes in this book are going to revolve around cultivating these traits, especially focusing on emotional awareness, as this is the part I have found men consistently tend to have a problem with.

How To Get The Most Out Of Reading This Pretend you are about to go swimming and the beach is really cold... And you hate cold. More than anything. You are standing at the beach, and the water is at your feet, reminding you how cold it is. In fact, its pretty cold where you are standing too. But you have to go swimming. You want to go swimming. You know, somewhere in the back of your head that once you are out there, you will get used to the cold, and it will in fact be much more comfortable than standing where you are right now. But its almost impossible to imagine that because all you can think about is the immediate cold at your feet and the shock of first hitting the water. Its tempting to just stand thereor maybe just inch in slowly.
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What I need from you is for you to back up, take a deep breath and run full speed, screaming and wailing right into that water. You see, I am about to teach you some ideas, concepts and techniques to get you through the toughest parts of your break up. But they will only provide you with SHORT TERM relief unless you really commit to yourself that you are going to go through with it. You might be still thinking about ways to win back your girlfriend. Thats fine. After all you may still love this girl and being conflicted about this is very natural, but keep in mind you have been in enough pain to bring you to reading this book. Stop and think again about all the events that lead you to be in this conversation with me right now. You may be just now getting to the place where you feel like you are ready to start getting this handled and move on. Awesome. I need you to take one more step before you continue. I want you to commit to yourself that for the next few weeks YOU ARE GOING TO DO WHATEVER IT TAKES TO GET THIS PART OF YOUR LIFE SOLVED. What this means is that you are going to focus on getting over your ex-girlfriend. It means not waiting and looking for clues as to whether your ex might take you back again, or what she wants to do next. It means actively doing things everyday to move you closer to your goal of really getting over your ex and moving on.

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It also means challenging the assumptions and beliefs that are KEEPING you where you are at right now. new. It may mean doing things that might be uncomfortable and It means actually doing the things in this book. Revisit the ideas and concepts in this book regularly so they really sink in. Read and find what really resonates with you. Take the concepts and techniques that speak to you and work on those regularly. As you review the material different ideas will be meaningful to you at different stages of your breakup. Some techniques will focus on getting over the immediate pain, others with be on speeding up the entire process of moving on in a healthy way. Sometimes I am going to approach this in a manner that might seem extreme sometimes, but really my goal is to give you the tools that will make getting over her inevitable.

What You Arent Going To Get Out Of This Many of the things in this book can bring immediate change and relief no doubt, but it isnt a quick fix. There are only so many external things you can do fix something that is going on inside, and working on these internal things always takes some time. One of my favorite philosophers said, Everything is the way it is because it got that way.

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What this means is that nothing in your life is an isolated incident. The pain you are feeling is also trying to teach you something. The pain is not only about your ex, its also about an accumulation of many factors over the course of your life. Things like: Where you are at in your life in relation to where you want it to be. The beliefs and ideals you have about love, women and relationships. The self image you have of yourself. Unconscious patterns of thinking you have built up over your life. Cultural and family programming you had growing up. People in general dont stop to think about these things most of the time. They are just controlled by these influences behind the scenes and they dont realize it. As excruciating as this break up might be for you, this is the time when these things will become more apparent to you. So not only is this breakup an opportunity for you to rise up and overcome a real challenge, but it is also a chance for you to stop and see things about yourself that you may have not noticed before. There is a catch here though. Painful breakups can, and often do put otherwise psychologically healthy people into depressions. This is normal and I believe the awareness you can gain from this book can prevent that from happening. On the other hand, if you have preexisting conditions or you are feeling anything close to severe depression or suicidal, there is no replacement for genuine individualized treatment from a therapist.
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Real power comes from being able to truly acknowledge the level of help you need.

Your Reset Button I want you to hit your reset button just for the sake of this book. Just for now, bench all the ideals and beliefs you have about everlasting love, relationships, breakups, and women. It is important to try to approach this material with a fresh perspective and an open mind. Many of the concepts I talk about are going to challenge you to look at things in a new way and they will probably make you uncomfortable. I want you to expect to find yourself resisting a concept or idea because it may feel a little alien. Thats okay, notice it when it happens, but dont get too caught up in it just for the duration of this book. At the same time, dont entirely believe anything I say. Use your critical mind, and when youve finished the book then you can step back, look at everything and see what fits in for you. Also, if psychology and the human mind dont interest you, Im going to suggest you pick it up as an area of interest, even if just for a little while. This is about your inner world, your inner game so to speak, so you may deal with things that make you a little uncomfortable. This is actually a good thing, because any significant change (and I would say you going from being hung up on your ex a happily single guy with lots of options with women, a pretty significant change) always involves discomfort.
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Chapter 2: Why So Much Pain?

It would be so much better if someone had punched you in the face. An elbow to the head. Hell, a hockey stick to the groin would do. But thisf*#! It hurts! Heartbreak is a really strange kind of pain. The clenching of the chest, the dull but anxious feeling in your body both at the same time.
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Its like all the bad feelings you can possibly have are fighting over who gets the next turn. One moment you start longing to see your ex, but as soon as you start thinking about that you start to get pissed. You feel hopeless, then desperate. You feel like you got screwed over, you wasted your time and you failed somehow. You can feel this way right when youve been dumped or if you get rejected by someone you are really into. It also happens when the realization settles in that youre in a doomed relationship. Im going to guess there arent too many times where you have felt the way you do now.

Whats Really Happening? A simple way to understand why heartache feels so strange and intensely painful at the same time is to see that ALL LEVELS of your being are affected. Levels? you ask? We all operate on three levels. Emotional, physical and logical. This is based on the model of the triune brain, first conceived by Paul Maclane. The emotional levels are the drives and feelings that motivate us. Fear and anger are considered the most primitive of these, while love, lust, attraction, shame and jealousy are all also part of this.

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The physical level is our body. Our nervous system and everything that controls your breathing, heartbeat, digestion, immune system, etc. Then there is the logical level. This is really the mind. These are the conscious thoughts you have, the part of you that thinks, reasons and makes sense of things. Just as reminder, we are saying there are different levels just for the sake of simplification. In reality all of these parts of you are integrated and communicate with each other all the time, although some tend to take over and run the show depending on the situation.

The Feedback Loop From Hell Here is the bad news. All three levels have just been thrown into chaos. You are dealing with the impact of the separation, so on the emotional level the feelings are really intense. Anger, grief, rejection, loneliness, jealousy The cascade of emotions is so overwhelming that physically your body responds to this with a fight or flight reaction to the stress. Although in this case, there is nothing to do or run from so this results in a constant stress put on the body. All of this has a profound effect on your mind. With all this going on your logical mind cant think straight. Constantly the thoughts go back to your ex and it becomes REALLY hard not to think about it. Here is the kicker. All of these form a negative feedback loop. Picture it this way.

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All of these feed into each other. Changing one will strongly affect the other. If you start feeling heartache it strongly affects your physical state. This effects what you are thinking about, and the more you dwell on it, this fuels the heartache even more. But these arent all balanced in each direction. In fact, as an example, I want you to try something right now. Try your best to think of one for each one of the categories below. A reason why you and your ex werent compatible in the first place. Something she always did that pissed you off. Why there is no way you can repair the relationship at this point. SoFeel better? Kinda maybe? Not really huh? Thinking of these kinds of things as well as consoling comments from friends and family really do nothing for you at this point because they dont speak to the pain that you are going through. Why is that?
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This is because these things appeal to your logical mind. And your logical mind isnt running the show right now. In fact, its safe to say that it has taken a back seat entirely, as this is almost entirely dealing with the emotional level of your mind. Before I go on, I have to remind you that this is NOT necessarily a bad thing. Emotions play a huge part in everything we are doing whether we are aware of it or not. They are the way our minds have evolved to motivate us to do what is right for our survival and well being. More importantly, they are also the feeling of being alive. Arguably nothing in our lives has meaning unless there is emotion surrounding it. Your relationships with your family, friends, the causes you believe in, the things you love doing are all important to you because they make you FEEL a certain way. I believe the rational reasons we have for these is actually secondary. I hate to break this to you but you werent into your ex girlfriend for rational reasons in the first place. You liked being around her because of how she made you feel All the reasons you had you came up with afterwards, but you didnt question it or think about it because it felt good. People often have trouble accepting this. They regard emotions as something that is to be controlled, and that if someone is being emotional, that mean they are being irrational. I believe our emotions have far more intelligence to them than we can comprehend and most of the time they are sending us legitimate, important signals. Butthey can misfire and overreact.

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Understanding the relationship between your emotional mind and your logical mind is a huge part of whats going on right now, so lets zoom in on it for minute.

The Six Lane Super Highway In Your Brain So, the dilemma of heartbreak is that our emotions have so much momentum and strength built up around a person that is no longer there. You may know logically that its over. You might be able to think of a hundred convincing reasons why you should move on. But you still have this reservoir of emotion that has nowhere to go. It doesnt know that its over. It doesnt care. All it knows is that there is something wrong and its reacting to it. Think of your emotional mind and your logical mind as two different systems that operate mostly on totally DIFFERENT sets of rules. Imagine both of them have one way streets that are used to communicate with each other. Think of the street that goes from your logical mind to your emotional mind as a little dirt road. Now picture the one that goes from your emotional mind to your logical mind as a SIX LANE SUPER HIGHWAY. Picture the relationship between the two like this.

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So what this means is that all of the thoughts you are having about her and the break up are almost ENTIRELY being fueled by emotion. This is a tough one, but accepting that this how things are right now is so key to moving forward. Generally if you have strong emotion over something, your "thinking" or logical mind has very little power over it. Here is another example of this principle at work. Think back to the most recent time when you were really annoyed with someone you know (other than your ex). How hard was it at the time to think anything positive about this person when you were pissed off? Pretty damn hard wasnt it? Positive things about that person probably didnt even occur to you at the time. And if they did, it probably felt really unnatural. So if just being really annoyed with someone makes its really hard to positive thoughts about them Then what could it be like when the thought of someone makes you feel angry, in love, sad, longing, confused, betrayed, devastated, and rejected all at the same time? like. If you are feeling heartbroken then you know exactly what it is
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Dan Dennick, Over Her Overnight, 2008

Chapter 3: Heartache 101

Alright, you stuck with me through the most abstract parts. Congrats. So if the emotional mind is running the show, then what emotions exactly are they? Barrier effect Anger Grief Rejection at a very deep level Chemical withdrawal A very specific kind of loneliness Profound edginess A fight or flight reaction Jealousy (Optional) Emptiness

Obviously there is a whole spectrum of things going on, but I believe these really catch the significant ones.
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I talk about what to do about all of these in the coming chapters, but here a couple of the peculiar ones, these are more like brain glitches that are good to be aware of, but you really cant do all that much about.

The Barrier Effect

I was surprised to find out that this phenomenon was very well documented among sexologists (I know, sexologist...who gets those jobs?), and for once they even found a cool name for it. The basic idea here is that your girlfriend became far more attractive when she went from being yours to becoming unattainable or out of reach, especially once she made decision to leave. Go ahead multiply the effect by 10 if there is another man involved. This is huge. This very thing alone I think fuels many on and off relationships. The spike in love and attraction when this happens is really easy to mistake as a sign of true love so it can be really confusing. So it isnt just you being indecisive or crazy (though those dont help), because this is one of those glitches we all have.

What Is That Empty Feeling? Weird isnt it? I mean really, what is that? It turns out that very soon after you meet someone you are really into, while you are stewing in the soup of the initial excitement, great sex, and the general feeling of oh-my-god-this-girl-is-awesome, there is all this unconscious stuff going on behind the scenes.
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There is a school of thought that proposes that we are all walking around with unconscious needs, most of which were wired up when we were children and were the result of our early relationship with our parents. So all those needs get wired up, and then its almost as if they get sealed in a black box somewhere because we arent really aware of them. But they are there, and they are very influential on whom we are attracted to, and even more so on what we need from the person we do pick. Picture a desktop screen projector. All the colors, shapes, images are all inside the machine, but when it s on the light shining through takes all of them and puts them on the screen outside. Well, we are doing an equivalent of this with our own unconscious needs. Thats partially why when you first meet that girl and you are falling in love with her (men tend to fall in love faster than women by the way), she can do no wrong. She seems to have everything because you are projecting those things onto her. And get thisYou dont even know you are doing it. A bit of a tough one to swallow I know. So if you have all these unconscious needs and they are being met by someone you really like, what happens when that person is no longer in the picture? An unconscious void. Hello empty feeling.

Youre Not (Entirely) Crazy

Okay. Now I can hear you saying, So wait, how is any of this helpful making the heartbreak go away? Really, does knowing any of this stuff help make it any easier or change the overwhelming nature of what you are feeling? Honestly, probably not.
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It does do one thing though. Being aware that these elements are at play can give some clarity to the confusion that you are very likely to be feeling. You see, in the stories people tell me, often beneath the details of their situation, I would also hear Im a little bit freaked out at seeing myself like this. In the span of a few minutes I would hear sentences starting with I just want her back to I know its over but to Can you believe she had the nerve to? to I keep thinking about her with other guys back to It just doesnt make sense that she would do this to me Looking at what weve seen so far, it makes sensethat everything would be so confusing. Each and every single one of the things going on here is powerful just by itself, and being heartbroken is one of those times in life when they all happen at once. So it makes sense that when they do, it feels incredibly powerful. It is also important because then you will understand why certain things you do and think move you CLOSER to your goal of truly getting over her and why other things move you FURTHER from it.

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Chapter 4: How Do I Recover From This?

I hate to do this, but Im going to ruin the surprise for you. If you play your cards right, these intense feelings of heartache are going to dissipate over the next few weeks. But they are going to do it in a really peculiar way. The feelings you are going to have are going to OSCILLATE. Here is a crude visual for you.

Oscillation just means that the feelings are going to behave in a wave-like fashion. There will be stress, then recovery, then stress again. They arent going to feel the same all the time, they will spike and get a little better, only to spike again and then improve again. This will happen on a day to day basis. Maybe youll feel the worst on one part of the day (I have found it is most often nights, weekends and holidays for most people) and then better in others. Some days will be better than others, as will some weeks. Overall though as you are recovering things will improve. Understanding that this is part of process is going to help you have some perspective, especially during the tough times.
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It is important to remember that when things feel especially bad, that means shortly, they will get better. Also when you are feeling some relief, then chances are the bad feelings are going to return. They may come back slowly or they may flair up. Your mind, body and emotions are going to oscillate back to normal through a cycle of stress and recovery. Think about what happens when you get a fever. Often you start to feel sick and then your fever spikes. Usually close to when it firsts hits, its the highest. This goes on for a bit, then it goes down a little, only to go back up, but this time not as high and not as long. It keeps doing this, each time, the fever gets lower and lower. You also feel better in the spaces between them. If you have created the conditions to allow your body to heal itself, you soon wake up one morning feeling fine. Maybe you feel a little weak, but its obvious the sickness has passed. Heartbreak involves all of the systems in your body so it is more complex, but the idea is the same. But just like a fever, YOU have to create the best conditions to allow this healing to happen. Oh. Speaking of being ill. Depending on how fresh this pain is for you, in a real physical sense, you may be. Youre on your way to recovery, but in the meantime, treat this as if you really are sick. Which means no binge drinking, crazy drugs or overeating.

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Save those for a time you are mentally and physically fit. These will just mask over the pain, and inevitably make you feel worse afterwards while delaying the healing process. Now on the other hand you dont get to treat this as if you have the flu. Sitting around and watching television, playing video games and sleeping a lot are also just going to make things worse. Its a tough spot to be in, as now may be the time when it is the most tempting to do somethinganything to distract yourself from the pain. Its ironic, but now is the time you need all of those distractions to be HEALTHY for you some way or another.

What A Lifeguard Can Tell You About Heartache Think of everything you are feeling right now, the pain, anger, longing for your ex, everything as a powerful riptide youre stuck in and its taking you away from shore. If you swim against it, youll be fighting a losing battle. It will wear you down, and ultimately overcome you no matter what you do. But you just let it overcome you are going to be at its mercy and end up in a place you dont want to be. What do you do? When caught in riptide swimmers are told, first and foremost to not swim against the current. Instead they are told to start swimming parallel to the shore. As you swim parallel to the shore you are still under the currents influence, but eventually you can get out of the path of the current without having to resist it directly.

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Thats how we are going to approach this. Your emotions have to vent themselves naturally for this to be a healthy process. That means you have to not resist the current and give them room and appreciate their power. Most of us guys usually repress this stuff, mostly because we are really disconnected from it in the first place, and we dont really know how much it influences us. Not acknowledging or accepting what is going on internally is really the equivalent of swimming against that tide. Emotions are a lot like potential energyEventually they have to go somewhere. On the other hand we need to figure out all the things that are still fueling it. This includes your thoughts, your surroundings, people you are hanging out with, unhealthy cultural ideas, etc. There are a lot more of these then you may suspect. The closer we get to calmer waters the more leverage we begin to have. That means redirecting the current once it becomes more manageable. This involves doing things that trigger other competing emotions to take the place of the ones you are having now. The more ways we do this, the more the effects compound and add to each other and the faster the process goes. The faster it goes, the faster your emotional, physical and logical parts can heal and reintegrate.

The Upside & Downside Of Down

The end of relationship, or its eroding into something more painful than not, I think, is a kind of death.
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Seem like a big word to use for just a break up? I dont think so, especially if you were really in love. Ending a relationship with someone you care about a lot has the same finality and sorrow as the death of someone close to you. All the things you imagined and projected into the future, arent going to happen now. I believe there is a kind of "mourning" that you go through once you really realize these things will never happen. More importantly, for you to move on, you actually have to go through that mourning. For you to really go through it, you have to first accept that its over. I believe the healing actually starts when you actually grieve. Yes, I mean physically cry. You would be surprised how much headway you can make if you allow yourself a couple of good cries. Give yourself permission to grieve for a couple of days. Here is the catch though. There is something weird about sorrow, wallowing and sadness. It can be kinda fun in a way. But there is a self indulgent aspect to it too and it can become a habit. This may not be an issue for you depending on your personality, but if you have an inclination towards the dark, or history of depression its good to be aware of how much you are doing this. Which brings me to another point. Notice before when I was talking about being caught in a riptide, I didnt suggest you swim with the current Only YOU know what is going on inside of your head. You are the only one who can tell if you have crossed the line from healthy release into repetitive habit that will only hurt you. That is something you are going to notice is another recurring theme in this book Knowing that distinction. Talking about your ex to your friends, having conversations with your ex in your head all of these have a place in limited amount, but they all have a point where they cause more harm than good.
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I will give you some guidelines, but ultimately you need to build the awareness.

Chapter 5: Dealing With Decline

Why women send mixed signals When youre in that grey area of post break up friendship, and youre still hanging out, and things are on and off Maybe she says things every now and then that give you hope that she still likes you It could be that just as things get silent between the two of you, she calls and checks to see how youre doing. This can drive guys crazy, and there are two things to remember while this is going on She may genuinely be conflicted. She feels guilty and thinks she can help you through your heartbreak. She may want to keep the parts of the relationship that still work for her. This can make it so much easier for you to convince yourself to keep trying to get back together with her. How to tell if she has another guy in mind
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My perspective on why a lot of women leave men is that, although they may not actually be with another guy, they often will at least start picturing themselves with another guy (whether its anyone in particular or not) before they start to get restless in the current relationship. Before I get into a few quick you can look for to see if she has another guy in mind, there is something really important to know before you use them. There is a bias called the confirmation bias and basically what it means is that if you have a belief, your mind will often tune into things that confirm that belief and block out anything that contradicts it. If you are convinced your girlfriend is cheating on you, you are inevitable going to start looking for things that confirm it, even if most of the evidence suggests other wise. Keep this in mind if you when you find yourself looking for clues. If you are convinced that there will be some There will be some That being said, there are some things you can look for She cheated on her last boyfriend with you There has been a shift or decline in the sex Often sleeping with two guys at the same time makes girls uncomfortable and they will start finding reasons to not sleep with you and it may feel stilted or different

They arent going to feel the same all the time, they will spike and get a little better, only to spike again and then improve again.

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This will happen on a day to day basis. Maybe youll feel the worst on one part of the day (I have found it is most often nights, weekends and holidays for most people) and then better in others. Some days will be better than others, as will some weeks. Overall though as you are recovering things will improve. Understanding that this is part of process is going to help you have some perspective, especially during the tough times. It is important to remember that when things feel especially bad, that means shortly, they will get better. Also when you are feeling some relief, then chances are the bad feelings are going to return. They may come back slowly or they may flair up. Your mind, body and emotions are going to oscillate back to normal through a cycle of stress and recovery. Think about what happens when you get a fever. Often you start to feel sick and then your fever spikes. Usually close to when it firsts hits, its the highest. This goes on for a bit, then it goes down a little, only to go back up, but this time not as high and not as long. It keeps doing this, each time, the fever gets lower and lower. You also feel better in the spaces between them. If you have created the conditions to allow your body to heal itself, you soon wake up one morning feeling fine. Maybe you feel a little weak, but its obvious the sickness has passed. Heartbreak involves all of the systems in your body so it is more complex, but the idea is the same. But just like a fever, YOU have to create the best conditions to allow this healing to happen.
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Oh. Speaking of being ill. Depending on how fresh this pain is for you, in a real physical sense, you may be. Youre on your way to recovery, but in the meantime, treat this as if you really are sick. Which means no binge drinking, crazy drugs or overeating. Save those for a time you are mentally and physically fit. These will just mask over the pain, and inevitably make you feel worse afterwards while delaying the healing process. Now on the other hand you dont get to treat this as if you have the flu. Sitting around and watching television, playing video games and sleeping a lot are also just going to make things worse. Its a tough spot to be in, as now may be the time when it is the most tempting to do somethinganything to distract yourself from the pain. Its ironic, but now is the time you need all of those distractions to be HEALTHY for you some way or another.

What A Lifeguard Can Tell You About Heartache Think of everything you are feeling right now, the pain, anger, longing for your ex, everything as a powerful riptide youre stuck in and its taking you away from shore. If you swim against it, youll be fighting a losing battle. It will wear you down, and ultimately overcome you no matter what you do. But you just let it overcome you are going to be at its mercy and end up in a place you dont want to be. What do you do? When caught in riptide swimmers are told, first and foremost to not swim against the current.

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Instead they are told to start swimming parallel to the shore. As you swim parallel to the shore you are still under the currents influence, but eventually you can get out of the path of the current without having to resist it directly. Thats how we are going to approach this. Your emotions have to vent themselves naturally for this to be a healthy process. That means you have to not resist the current and give them room and appreciate their power. Most of us guys usually repress this stuff, mostly because we are really disconnected from it in the first place, and we dont really know how much it influences us. Not acknowledging or accepting what is going on internally is really the equivalent of swimming against that tide. Emotions are a lot like potential energyEventually they have to go somewhere. On the other hand we need to figure out all the things that are still fueling it. This includes your thoughts, your surroundings, people you are hanging out with, unhealthy cultural ideas, etc. There are a lot more of these then you may suspect. The closer we get to calmer waters the more leverage we begin to have. That means redirecting the current once it becomes more manageable. This involves doing things that trigger other competing emotions to take the place of the ones you are having now. The more ways we do this, the more the effects compound and add to each other and the faster the process goes. The faster it goes, the faster your emotional, physical and logical parts can heal and reintegrate.

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The Upside & Downside Of Down

The end of relationship, or its eroding into something more painful than not, I think, is a kind of death. Seem like a big word to use for just a break up? I dont think so, especially if you were really in love. Ending a relationship with someone you care about a lot has the same finality and sorrow as the death of someone close to you. All the things you imagined and projected into the future, arent going to happen now. I believe there is a kind of "mourning" that you go through once you really realize these things will never happen. More importantly, for you to move on, you actually have to go through that mourning. For you to really go through it, you have to first accept that its over. I believe the healing actually starts when you actually grieve. Yes, I mean physically cry. You would be surprised how much headway you can make if you allow yourself a couple of good cries. Give yourself permission to grieve for a couple of days. Here is the catch though. There is something weird about sorrow, wallowing and sadness. It can be kinda fun in a way. But there is a self indulgent aspect to it too and it can become a habit. This may not be an issue for you depending on your personality, but if you have an inclination towards the dark, or history of depression its good to be aware of how much you are doing this. Which brings me to another point. Notice before when I was talking about being caught in a riptide, I didnt suggest you swim with the current Only YOU know what is going on inside of your head. You are the only one who can tell if you have crossed the line from healthy release into repetitive habit that will only hurt you.
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That is something you are going to notice is another recurring theme in this book Knowing that distinction. Talking about your ex to your friends, having conversations with your ex in your head all of these have a place in limited amount, but they all have a point where they cause more harm than good. I will give you some guidelines, but ultimately you need to build the awareness.

Chapter 5: Post Break Up Loneliness

After a painful breakup, it almost impossible not to be broadsided with powerful feelings of loneliness. You have may have spent so much time with this person, that now you feel there is a lot of empty time left now since that person is no longer in your life. You might feel real anxious by yourself now that your ex isnt around, and if you are thinking about her all the time it might feel like nothing is fulfilling without that person around. First of all you its very possible you are going to continue to feel lonely for a while, whether you are finding comfort with your friends or not. There are several things going on here at the same time, which might make the loneliness you are feeling right now particularly intense.

What Is Loneliness?

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When I began to really look into how different men and women handle breakups one thing popped out at me. At first it seemed trivial, but now I see how important it really was. Men, in general, have less close ties to their family and friends, so often right after a break up the void left behind is actually bigger and more painful for men. Yeah, I know, surprising to me too. Women are far more social creatures than we are in general. It has been shown that women pick up on social cues better than men do and are more capable of empathic behavior than men are. When going through a breakup women usually have a bigger group of confidents and friends to fall back on, helping to ease the pain of loneliness. For us guys on the other hand it seems like a lot of us are attached to this idea of rugged individualism and we tend to keep the pain to ourselves. If you were really struck by loneliness after your break up it might also be because when you were in the relationship you stopped making new friends or you let existing friendships go stale. Im going to talk more about this in the last chapter. Your Ancestors Were Never Lonely Pretend you were at the zoo and you saw two exhibits side by side; one of a Bengal tiger in a habitat by itself and another one with an Emperor penguin also by itself. Im going to guess that something should strike you as odd about one of them. If you have grown up watching the average 2-4 hours of television per weeknight that is common in most English speaking countries, the exhibit with the penguin should strike you as strange because its all by itself.

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In fact, if you were a penguin expert, you would probably notice that the penguin was acting strange. He would seem to have no interest in food and sex, have trouble sleeping, and seem confused and nervous. He would probably seem like he was having the bird equivalent of a depression. In fact, if the zookeepers kept him like that, there is very good chance he would die. The same pretty much goes for humans. It isnt a coincidence that solitary confinement is used as punishment in prisons. The more research that is done on the human mind, the more we are seeing that we are hard-wired for social interaction. And not just social interaction, but meaningful emotional connections to others. Because you can still feel lonely if you are around people with whom you dont have meaningful connection with In fact many people in the modern world live this way. People often still fill isolated at their jobs and even if they are surrounded by people all day long. Although it is universal emotion, people often assume that it means bad things about themselves if they are feeling it. As it turns out, like jealousy, loneliness is a basic feeling that all humans have for a very good reason. If you stop and think about it, there is no word for the opposite of loneliness. Just like there is no word for not in pain. Thats because not in pain is how things normally are, and when you feel pain its your body telling you there is something wrong. When we dont have enough of those kinds of connections, our emotional mind starts signaling to us that something is wrong.
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Thats because in a very real way, something is wrong. At least in for your ancestors there would have been. Lets go back to our ancestors on the plains of Africa a few hundred thousands of years ago. Imagine what it was like living in a tribe of roughly 150-200 people your whole life, from birth to death. Well, first of all, your standing in the group was often fixed for a very long time, if not your entire lifetime. You not only knew everything about everybody, but everyone knew everything about you. Everyday involved you being around people who really know you inside and out, since birth. Being well established in the group was the norm and one thing you would have never seen very often was a lonely human. Thats because in those times, most often a lonely human was a dead one. If for some reason you were ostracized from your tribe, that meant something was very wrong. Without the support of your group you were very likely to die of starvation or get eaten by a predator. The feeling of loneliness is our minds way of signaling to us that we are in dangerous place and that we need to get back with the group. Its a different kind of signal than pain. Its mostly a subtle kind of anxiety that can flare up here and there, even though we may not know whats going on.

A Very Specific Kind Of Loneliness

Feeling lonely is not just about being alone, its about the level of trust, comfort and connection you have with the people you are with. Just imagine the difference in how you feel at a Thanksgiving
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party with family vs. a party with a room full of people you dont know. So chances are the relationship between you and your girlfriend was far more intimate than the 90% of the other relationships you have, if not all them. What happens during romance really is powerful, and the bond that forms most of the time isnt something you can go immediately get somewhere else. Now that you have broken up with your ex, you dont have that level of connection, or its seriously degraded, so now its as if you went from having a level 10 of intimacy in your life to a level 3. Its pretty hard not to feel that difference, and this is precisely why an intense kind of loneliness doesnt necessarily go away when you are around close friends and family right after you and your ex girlfriend separated. How Loneliness Distorts The Mind Feeling lonely doesnt just feel bad though. It actually changes the way that we look at the world and at the people around us. In recent studies they have show that people who feel lonely on a chronic basis are often more afraid of social situations, are less trustful of other people, are more negative and have less self control. Now, just reading that one may think that those people dont sound like that much fun to be around so it makes sense that they would be lonely right? Well here is the kicker. Its more of a catch 22. People who often feel lonely, first of all dont know that they are lonely, and they often want and need social interaction as much as anyone else. People become more mistrustful and more negative because they are lonely they arent lonely because they are unpleasant to be around.
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This becomes a feedback loop as well. Relief from loneliness requires being around other people and developing close connections, though ironically if we are lonely, this becomes harder to do. Now that you are newly single, this is an important part of your life to start really focusing on. Its very tempting to jump into another relationship to alleviate the loneliness you are feeling. Female friends are great for this time. Sex is great for this time, but getting into another relationship at this point would be like competing in a sporting event without having the training you need. So chances are if you are heartbroken or getting over an ex, you arent at your best and so you probably arent going to attract the best.

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Chapter 6: How Do I Deal With Jealousy?

If you were to stop and think about all the bad emotions you could feel, jealousy is such a strange one. I imagine that if bad feelings like frustration, anger, contempt, etc. were like weapons in an arsenal, jealousy would be like the chemical and biological weaponry. Jealousy in the context of a relationship is different than the kind you feel if you were dumped for someone else. In a relationship it can be a manifestation of insecurities, a method of control, or it can very well be a genuine insight into the failing of the romance. In healthy amounts it can be a sign of a real bond or an aphrodisiac. After a girl dumps you or there is cheating, jealousy takes on a different face. During or after a break up you are feeling jealous for one of the following reasons: Youre jealous because you know for sure she cheated on you with a guy that you both know. Youre jealous because you know for sure of a guy that she cheated on you with, whom she knows and you dont. Youre jealous because you suspect she cheated on you or she left you for another guy. Youre jealous at the very thought of her every being with anyone else. Theres hardly a time when I dont get some kind of stifled emotional reaction from a guy once I bring up the topic of the other guy, real or imagined. Losing a girl that we really like to another guy really ignites powerful visceral anger inside of usbut it doesnt stop there.
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Theres the humiliation part of it. Somehow its easy to imagine our manhood being mocked and ridiculed by our ex and her new lover (real or imagined) as well as our social group. Also our insecurities seem to rear their ugly heads. The idea of being rejected for a new lover has this way of yanking out all of our insecurities and displaying them for us all over again in an even bigger spotlight. Then there is the helplessness. Once your ex has made a choice, and you are past the part of protesting; now it feels like there is nothing you can do about it. And my favorite part is when they all stack. You get jealous, and then you get pissed off because youre feeling jealous. Now youre angry at your ex, but there isnt anything you can really do, so you feel helpless which then seems to be a good start for you to start ruminating on where you fall short. And before you know it, youre pissed off again Oh, and the guilt. There is a part of our cultural programming that tells us that jealousy is somehow wrong or bad or that it is a display of weakness so we question ourselves for feeling it. People often think they if they admit to feeling jealousy that they admitting some kind of personal flaw. I have been impressed over the years at how many people I have met that claim to not get jealous or so they have told me. These are usually the cases that I would be the most suspicious about, and I personally treat that as if they are saying I dont get angry. I am sure there are cases but Im personally convinced that wherever there is strong attachment/attraction/love there will always be some jealousy in there somewhere. Jealousy is an emotion. It is just as natural as any of our other unpleasant emotions.

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You Ancestors Were All Jealous So now that I have described what it feels like, what the hell is it and why do we have it in the first place. Despite what we have been taught to think or what the culture tells us, it isnt just a result of being insecure or being in an unhealthy relationship. Jealousy is an emotion, and that emotion is a kind of ADAPTATION. All of it really comes from two basic facts about male and female behavior in humans, and funny enough, all over the animal kingdom. Females want access to resources (food, shelter, territory, etc.), and control over their reproduction. Males want access to resources, and control over female reproduction. Now keep in mind when I say want here I mean that as our emotions are designed in a way that make us want. Animals of all species handle this conflict of interest with all kinds of physical and behavioral adaptations. Yep, you guessed it, one of which is jealousy. Apes, chimps, dogs, yaksyou name it, all have some kind of mate guarding behavior. And it evolved pretty much across board in animals. Now I want you to imagine yourself with an attractive girlfriend in a little tribe in Africa 150,000 years ago. Everybody knows everyone. Young, healthy, fertile women are rare and the competition for them is fierce among the men. But in this scenario YOU happen to not feel jealousy. You lead a relaxed, trusting and peaceful existence, and you let your girlfriend
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do her thing and you arent motivated to keep an eye on what she is up to. On the other hand, the rest of the men in your group DO have a drive to watch and guard their wives. On top of that, they are looking to take any of the side opportunities they can, so these men are also eyeing your girlfriend as well. So, out of all the people in the village, YOU are the mostly likely to end taking care of a child that is NOT your own. Back in our tribal days human babies were very hard to conceive in the first place, would often miscarry, and the mother or the child (or both) were very likely to die during birth. If a baby made it that far it would occupy the mothers full attention for years before she could conceive again. So there is a good chance you wouldnt get another shot. So then what happens to your no jealousy trait? They get replaced by jealous ones. Rinse, wash and repeat this process over thousands of generations and you havewell, you have us. An Emotional Appendix? Lets say a family lives on a dangerous steep cliff side that has 4 kids. Three of them are totally unafraid of heights and one of them is deathly terrified. Over the course of growing up the 3 fearless kids all fall to their death leaving the other one behind. He grows up to have children of his own who are also more likely to be scared of heights. With each generation of children, the children who are the most frightened of heights, are also going to be the most likely to survive.

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Repeat this over a few 100 generations and you end up with a population of people all deathly scared of high places. The key thing to notice here is that, these people may live a frightened and excruciating existence by those cliffs. But because this psychological trait is adaptive (i.e. prevents people from getting near the edges of cliffs) it is the one that is most successful. Take all the people from our cliff experiment and put them in a modern city. Now, there is no longer the same danger as before because the buildings are all safe. But the same fear response would be triggered anytime they looked out the window of a tall building. Then there is jealousy. In the modern age the scarcity of mates is no longer the same as it was when our minds were evolving. The conditions arent the same, and powerful jealousy is no longer needed to ensure we arent a genetic dead end. But our emotions dont know that.

Why People Are So Weird About Jealousy So why the long explanation of why we feel jealousy? I really feel like what people in general have a misunderstanding of why jealousy is important and an appreciation of just how POWERFUL it is. Jealousy was as important to our ancestors survival and reproduction as any other emotion. Back to one of our main ideas, the key to moving past something is accepting it and integrating it. Only then can you begin to manage it, redirect it and move past it. So it is important to look at jealousy as part of your pallet of emotions, however unpleasant.
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Think of a time that you were out with your girlfriend and she started talking to some other guy, and even though you knew there was no threat you could still feel yourself get jealous. Then when you think about it a few hours later it just seemed kind of silly that you were bothered by it. But famously, jealousy makes otherwise normal people do stupid things, like rummaging through the other persons stuff, checking cell phones, breaking into email, checking in to see where the person is, etc. This is usually about as bad as it gets, although its no small thing. Most people say after they have long recovered from a breakup that these are the kinds of things that still make them feel ashamed when they remember doing it. But when you stop and reflect on the fact that most domestic violence, stalking, and murders involve some element of jealousy one way or another then one can appreciate how powerful this emotion can be. Jealousy seriously makes people do CRAZY shit. Crimes of passion are speculated to be the most common reason for murder all over the world, and this is done mostly by men. I am not saying that people are in any way less responsible for doing things out of jealous, anymore than they would be if they did something because of anger. Men & Jealousy Based on what I explained before it makes sense that men and women would have a different experience of jealousy and based on the many studies that have been done on it, they really do.

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What makes men far more jealous than anything else is the idea of their lover having SEX with another man. Now there are many cultural and societal factors involved but it has been shown that infidelity on the wifes part is more often the deal breaker for guys for divorcing then it is for women. With women it looks as though its reversed. The idea of their mate developing an EMOTIONAL ATTACHMENT with another woman is the most disturbing idea for most women. We are social creatures, so there is a strong social element to this. Guys especially tend to also take being cheated on as an affront to their social status, and rightfully so. I think most of us have known that guy at some point or another who had the girlfriend who screwed around on him but he was clueless and was the butt of everyones jokes. I think some part of us worries about becoming that guy. Most of the time the worst thing we do about jealousy is that we torture ourselves with it. All the thoughts that we are already having about our ex can be fueled even more with jealous thoughts. Imagining our ex with the new guy and picturing her having sex with him. Thinking about whether she is enjoying it or whether we square up to her new lover or not. We think about the things this new guy might have that we dont and that stirs up all these other feeling of loss, inadequacy, and insecurity. Now that we understand that integrating jealousy is important instead of resisting it, we can start to do things that help redirect it.

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Chapter 7: How Do I Stop Thinking About Her All The Time?

In my own experience I remember a couple of times when I was so upset, so heartbroken that all I could do was think about my ex. Pretty much day in and day out I was replaying conversations in my head, thinking about what I would say, trying to come up with some answers as to why she had did this or said that Then there would be those times where I would kind snap out of it for a moment and realize how much time I was thinking the same thing over and over again. I was exhausted from it, and every time I would notice it I would tell myself to stop thinking so much about it. But I couldnt. Its as if then I would get sucked right back in, and there I was again, thinking about the break up, my ex, brooding over the basically the same things. So even though I didnt want to think about it, my mind wouldnt cooperate with me. Stop and think about that comment for a moment. My mind wont cooperate with me. Seems kind of like an oxymoron doesnt it? Even though I think reading it you probably understand what it means. In fact there probably arent too many times in your life when it will be this obvious that you actually dont have control over your own thoughts. These and all the other thoughts can be so overwhelming that they really become a drain. Most of the time you may not even realize that you are doing it, and when you do its usually by accident. I have found that most of the time when I have talked with guys they find that this is the most exhausting part.
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On an intuitive level they understand that these thoughts are really depleting them and they want to have some control. But its really, really hard. But there is a point where it is no longer related to the love that you had or about dealing with real sorrow of parting from someone you love. It just becomes painfully habitual, repetitive pain. Constantly the thoughts keep recirculating over and over. There are variations, but really its all the same thing. Even when we want to focus on other things that would make us feel better. We look for relief in ways to keep ourselves distracted, but ultimately whenever we are left alone with our thoughts, it goes right back.

Why Everything Reminds You Of Her Part of this is just the natural healing process. Something really important just happened and it is obviously unnatural and unhealthy (and pretty much impossible) to just not think about it. In an earlier chapter we discussed how these thoughts are being fueled by our emotional mind, and that this forms a feedback loop. Understanding this feedback loop is important to understanding what makes these thoughts so hard to stop. Here it is again.

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I had stressed before that the emotions are running the show, and that this process is grossly one sided. But now that we have accepted that, we still need to remember that it is still a loop. That means that what we think still triggers our emotions and so our thoughts are still is part of the process. The images, thoughts and things we say to ourselves still have a significant effect on our emotions, especially in the long term. If we take control of those and redirect them, the feelings will begin to weaken. It just takes a while. So you might be saying Wait, if its so hard to stop thinking about my ex in the first place, how do I do anything about it? The answer is, you do it very carefully. There are three parts in doing it. They involve: Removing direct triggers Replacing associations Redirecting thoughts consciously

If we look at it again its more like this.

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The reservoir of feelings for your ex is still there. Most of the time they do a fine job of directing your thoughts just by themselves, but whether or not you know it they are getting a lot of help. The most obvious is the triggers you have that remind you directly of your ex. These are more obvious ones like, pictures and places you used to hang out. There is a strong attachment to many of these things, and depending on the history you two have together these things may everywhere. Anything that reminds you of your life when the two of you were together are also associations. This means potentially well, potentially everything. Your apartment, the neighborhood you live in, the people you hand out with, the music you are listening to, the clothes you are wearing. No, Im not about to tell you to go all out Fight Club on me and destroy your apartment and everything you own.
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But, I am not kidding when I say that many people have found that one of the only ways they can really get over their ex is by moving to another town. They do this because of this very reason. Depending on how painful the breakup feels, everything around you can be like playing Six degrees to my ex-girlfriend. Most of the time this isnt a conscious process because associations work far more subtly than that. Now we are going into some more abstract stuff so put your thinking cap on. This may involve you focusing your attention on things you may have not noticed before. And again, come at this with your preconceived notions benched just for a little while. Since we have been talking about your thoughts, we are going to put some of these concepts into action. Most of the time we think without noticing it. We are so close to our thoughts that we identify with them and we exercise little control over them. The more emotional the thoughts are, the harder it is to even be aware that we are having them. I want you to stop and think about how you think. Yeah, I know, sounds a little out there but stick with me on this one. Im going to put our thoughts into 4 categories, and I want you to start noticing the differences. Building your awareness muscle is the important part of this. When describing these I am going to talk about stickiness. What I mean by that is the charge they have, and difficulty you have in controlling them. The sticky quality of thought means: How hard it is to control.

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How hard it is to be aware that you are having them. How much energy you are spending thinking about them. How tempting it is to think about them, painful or not. How many times you rerun them over and over again. Background noise: These are the words, half sentences, images, noises that are pretty much going on all the time. This stuff is bubbling up all the time, and they have almost no charge to them. Mundane thoughts: These are short thoughts like What am I going to eat for dinner tonight; I need to take out the garbage. These at the very most a have a tiny bit of the sticky quality. Charged thoughts: These are things you dwell on for a bit. Say if your boss said something mean to you, or you need to get something done and you havent done it yet and you're worried about it. These are sticky thoughts and you tend to think about them for a while before moving on to something else. Super charged thoughts: The thoughts you are having about your ex would fall into this category. You start thinking about them and before you know they build up steam and an avalanche of images, conversations and feelings follow. These can be so powerful once they have momentum that its almost as if a whirlpool has pulled you under and you have no control. They also have a very seductive quality so its really easy to keep running them through your mind over and over. When you manage to stop, sometimes it feels as if you just woke up out of dream. When this happens, just take note of it.

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Ask yourself. How long you were thinking about it before you stopped? Did you even know you were doing it at first? When you stopped, how much did you want to continue thinking about it? The more often you notice this the more of an awareness you will build as to how much you are actually doing it. You may be having these thoughts a lot more than you think, which may be a little disturbing once you begin to see it. It may also bother you that you dont have as much control over these as you might think you do. Thats okay, dont judge yourself. For now, just practice noticing them.

The Delayed Response Once you have started catching yourself thinking about it, the next thing is to consciously start thinking of something else. This is not a one time thing you can learn and just start doing. Buddhist monks spend decades mediating for hours a day exercising this very same muscle. So the bad news is if you start practicing redirecting your thoughts everyday, youll be long over your ex girlfriend before you perfect it (I suppose that really isnt bad news is it?) The good news is just catching yourself and doing it a few times a day can have a profound effect on your mood and how fast you move on. But it does take time. Fires will still burn for a while after you have stopped adding wood to them. After you have gotten rid of triggers, associations and started redirecting the thoughts the strong emotions that are driving everything will only have so much fuel to keep burning. Once the emotions start to dissipate, the thoughts will actually be easier to control. The easier it is to think about other things, the
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less strong emotion youll feelThis is where the negative feedback loop actually turns into a positive one. This is the tipping point I keep coming back to. One day you will find yourself thinking about your ex and youll decide you arent in the mood to go there, so youll stop, and you wont even think twice about it.

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Chapter 8: Really Accepting That Its Over

When I talk with guys about their breakups and really absorb their situation often they relax and feel very relieved to be able to talk about it and be understood. Something interesting happens though as we progress and we start to get to the topic of actually moving on and letting the relationship go. There is always a shift in the attitude of the person Im talking to. They clearly start to get uncomfortable, suspicious and they often change the subject back to why they are in pain. Over time I realized they were all saying something to me, verbally or nonverbally. What they were all saying was Hold on now I do want relief from this excruciating pain. There is no chance of me getting back together with my ex and relationship is broken beyond repair. But you dont actually expect me to try to LET GO do you? I mean, this is love we are talking about. This is totally cool. There are a variety of things going on here and I am going to talk to all of them, but I want you to stop and become aware of your own resistance to this idea. In fact, I want you to say to yourself: I am still holding onto the idea of being with my ex. Right now you have an idealized vision of what it would be like to get back with her. That is very much your own creation, and its very likely it wont be like the way you think it is. Here is why: She rejected you: I really dont know a more plain way of putting it. Your exgirlfriend at some point looked at the situation she was in and
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thought to herself that she could do better elsewhere. She probably now has something else in mind and you no longer fit what that is. She thinks someone else out there will make her happier, whether she has met him yet or not. For the most part she doesnt want you anymore. The might be parts of her that still want you or love you, but they arent strong enough anymore to be meaningful. If they are, she is clearly trying to move on, and she clearly has a head start on you. It may have taken her forever to realize it herself. She might still be conflicted and she is sending mixed messages. Maybe she led you on, or didnt come clean immediately. But now its clear. Do you really want to be that guy who is clinging to a girl, who in return is sorta kinda about you? Is that what your ideal relationship looks like? Does the idea of being in that situation make you feel like a confident, attractive man? If it feels like defeat, its okay. I once heard that if you want to succeed faster you have to start failing twice as fast too. So this where you take your lump, lick your wounds, and square yourself to be single again and eventually find love elsewhere. History is very likely to repeat itself: You might think that if you got her back she would see things differently and fall in back in love with you and things would work themselves out. You know whatanything is possible. I am big on optimism. Really. Even a little delusional optimism is good here and there. But you have to stop and think about the price you are paying. Because it is much, much more likely that it wont happen. When you and your ex were together you developed certain ways of acting and reacting around each other. This is mainly unconscious stuff, and although it is possible to change it very hard.
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Ever find that being around certain family members causes you to act in a way that you wouldnt normally act otherwise? Thats the same principle at work. So, if by some crazy Hollywood movie miracle you guys do get back together, after the initial excitement of being together again you are just going to fall back into those same patterns again. If she was dissatisfied, she will more likely become dissatisfied again. If she cheated on you, she will probably do it again. Even if she doesnt you may never be able to trust her in the same way you did before and that in itself will screw up other parts of your relationship. If she treated you badly, chances are once things settle in shell start doing it again. Then you will be back at square one. Youre going to have to go through the pain of breaking up again. Or worseyoull be in long, unhealthy, stilted relationship together. There will be a part of you that will wish you had faced the pain and pushed through with the breakup instead of hanging on. The clock is ticking: I have some bad news for you. Your energy isnt limitless. Your time on this planet isnt either. The more you guzzle your energy into fixing or getting this relationship back, some other part of your life is suffering. The other goals, dreams, existing and potential relationships are going be at a standstill. Mentally the friction you have is keeping you from something more worthwhile in your life, even if you dont know what that is yet. You cant really start to heal until youve really decided
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Every time you really start entertaining the possibility of getting back with her, you prolong the process of getting over her. Its absolutely natural to be conflicted. I dont think you would qualify as human if you werent conflicted on some level. Getting over someone you really like can really be hard. It takes a lot of willpower and above it takes the ability to subject oneself to pain. Intentionally. Really, who wants that? When you start considering getting back together with your ex, or you start thinking of ways to get her back, you are unraveling that hard work you are doing. There is another more insidious part of this as well. At some point the natural process of getting over your ex will hit a kind of critical mass. A tipping point so to speak. Youll know it when this happens, or more accurately you will feel different after it does. To reference the riptide metaphor, this is then you realize the current has significantly decreased. But if you backslide before that happens, ALL the progress you have made will slingshot in the other direction. Your mind will backwards rationalize the energy and strife you went through trying to get over her as a sign of how real your love for this person really is. The mind is funny that way. And there you will be again, at square one.

The Sneaky Reasons You Want Her Back Now I am going to ask you to reflect on some other, less than obvious reason you might still have trouble letting go of your old relationship.
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Do you think that somehow if you are back in this relationship all your problems will be solved? When you are thinking about the being back with her, are you remembering all the things you were dissatisfied with? Do you want the comfort and security that relationship provided? Are you scared of the thought of having to go out and date all over again? Does the thought of no more regular sex really bother you? Are there social pressures involved? Do you think your friends will view you differently if you are no longer in this relationship? Are you worried that you are going to lose a few friends because of this breakup? Do you think your peers or family will look at this breakup as a failure on your part? Is it because you just cant stand the idea of being dumped? That maybe if you got back with her you can show her how she was wrong? Did you feel like you screwed up somehow and that you need to win her approval to redeem yourself?

Rosy Retrospection After much deliberation, a year after I graduated college I moved from Tulsa, Oklahoma to New York City.

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Having visited many times I was in love with NYC but I couldnt muster up the courage to make such a big change. What made it even harder was that, from the outside looking in I had a perfect life in Tulsa. I had a house, car, beautiful girlfriend, and pretty comfortable life. It was tough leaving that all behind, and all though I wanted to move to NYC, my older brother had to do some convincing to get me to move up. He tried to alleviate my fears by offering to let me stay with him until I got established and on my feet, which was one of the hang ups I had at the time. What my brother didnt tell me was that I would be staying in a cold dark basement, with uneven floors and an occasional sewage smell. So very soon after I moved out there, needless to say, I started having second thoughts. While I was living in that basement, before I moved out, Im sure you can imagine all I could think of was my life in Tulsa, my car, deck in my backyard, fresh air, big king size bed with my (now ex) girlfriend in it And now here I was, single, living underground, didnt really know anyone. What the hell was I thinking? Why would I leave such a nice life for this? Well, the truth is, I wasnt happy in Tulsa. The stable life, if anything scared me, I felt at the time that I was too young for it and it was way too early to feel that settled. I knew that if I stayed there life would dry up for me. But it was really hard to remember that while I was in that basement. This is an example of another one of those brain glitches we all have, its called Rosy Retrospection. If you have ever been on a vacation that was kinda sorta fun, but nothing too memorable, only to find yourself a few weeks later in a boring class or in your office fantasizing about how great it was then you know what I am talking about.
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In my case, when I moved from Tulsa to NYC things got worse before they got better, so it was easy for me to start thinking about how great Tulsa was. Breaking up is probably the best example of this. When you first break up, things really suck. You're heartbroken, lonely, you're grieving, angry, you have the whole chemical withdrawal thing going on... Even if your relationship was mediocre, or the girl clearly wasnt that into you, she cheated on youhowever it was, it is going to seem much better than those first few weeks after your break up. After you break up, almost by definition, things really do get worse before they get better. This is why it is so easy to overestimate how good things really were. I think this another one of the reasons why many couples cant break out of the on and off trap. Especially if you are the one who is getting dumped, unless you jump straight into another fully intimate relationship, its very easy to mistake this temporary distortion of perspective of being a sign that you must really love this person. Oh by the way, this doesnt necessarily go away after you have gotten over your ex girlfriend. If you are single for a long time, and even if you are having a grand old time and loving it, every now and then you will think about having a girlfriend or being in a relationship. The desire to bond, to have a connection and a fulfilling relationship is a natural part of being human and this will come up for you every now and then while you are single. Youll probably think about this last relationship because of that.

Chapter 9: The Days & Weeks Right After

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In the course of your relationship you and your ex spent a lot of time together and you developed a friendship. Maybe you were friends before that and it turned into a relationship. So now you still want the friendship, or maybe she wants to still be friends. Possibly its crossed your mind that maybe just maybe you can get over her while still hanging out with, talking to or communicating with her. If you are really entertaining this idea I want you to pick up the nearest blunt object and hit yourself over the head with it. Trying to remain friends is easily the single biggest MISTAKE that you can make in this entire process. Long after a break up is over, one of the biggest mistakes people admit to making is trying to stay friends with their ex right afterwards. It draws the process out and makes it far more painful. And in most cases they end up not being friends at some point anyway because the friendship becomes imbalanced. I know, it sure sounds good. You may think its a mark of maturity, of classy behavior to still hang out and be friends with someone after youve broken up. It isnt. What it almost always turns out to be is a combination of self-torture, wishful thinking, and ultimately, dishonesty. While you might think you are being friends with your ex, this is what you are you are most likely going to be doing, whether you are aware of it or not. Looking for signs as to whether she is in as much pain from the breakup as you are.

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Saying and doing things to impress her to make her want you back. Evaluating everything she is saying to see if she is dropping hints as to whether she still likes you. Looking for clues as to whether she is dating or thinking about dating other guys. Now really. Does that sound like a friendship? Would you want to really hang out with anyone that made you act this way? As you are doing this, there will be a part of yourself that feels dishonest. Thats because having these feelings for someone who now regards you as friend is actually in some respect dishonest. Be straight with yourself. If you are heartbroken from your separation, you want to be friends because you still want her approval and validation, you still want to see if she wants you back, and you want to reassure yourself that she is not with any other guys. She may say that she still wants to be friends and she may completely be telling you the truth. She may be entirely over you already and it may be easy for her to see you that way. But this isnt about what she wants, this is about YOU moving on. If you have ever dumped a girl you know how this feels. You dont want to be mean, and having another friend sounds nicebut really, you arent going to go out of your way to hang out with this person. Good friendships after relationship can happen. But they almost always happen after the couple has taken a long break from each other and revisit the relationship later after they have both genuinely moved on. Honestly though, most of the time they dont happen. After talking with hundreds of men and women about this, a recurring theme is that when they revisited the friendship later after the
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attraction had faded, they found they had nothing in common and preferred to spend their valuable time in the company of their other, closer friends.

Cutting Off Contact Here is what I consider to be one of the prime directives of getting over an ex girlfriend. Cut off ALL contact for 8 weeks. Yes. This is easily the single most important action you can take to be able to move on with the rest of this process. I also understand that this is also may be the single most difficult one as well. You really have to take this one day at a time. Many of the techniques in this book will not work anywhere nearly as effectively if you dont do this. In fact, if you dont do anything else in this book, do this one. The first step in doing this is verbalizing your decision to your ex. I know this is easier said than done, but this is crucial for several reasons. Once you have heard yourself say this to her it will make your resolve stronger. After your ex understands this, she will most likely stop doing the things that will tempt you to contact her or hang out with her. It establishes that you are now operating on your own terms. This will allow you to make the final exit with dignity, which she will respect you for in the long run. Even more important you will feel far better about it yourself.
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After you have verbalized this to her, it will be harder for you to go back on your commitment. Not only will you see yourself as weak if you do, but at some level, so will she. If your ex has already cut off contact with you consider this step already accomplished. You still have to stick with the 8 weeks, but consider it a blessing that the heavy lifting has already been done for you. When you have this talk, keep a few things in mind. Be firm and honest at the same time. Be clear about what you are saying when you do it. Dont dance around the topic. This is the time to man up and do it, dont say or do anything just because you feel like it will relieve the tension. Tell her that it sounds appealing to be friends, but you cant because you need to take some time out. This means you dont want to see her or talk to her for a while. Tell her once you feel that you are ready youll contact her and maybe you guys can rebuild a friendship. Feel free to say that it is critical that if you are to ever be friends, this has to be done. Resist the urge to leave any doors open. There may be a part of you that wants to tell her that she can shoot you an email, drop you a line, or that in so and so situation she can call you. Dont. Also if there is any stuff of hers and yours, this is the time to arrange a pick up. Tell her that youll drop her stuff off at her house or she can pick it up, but you would prefer to do it in a way so you wont have to see her. The best solution to this is to have a friend do it.

Your Friends, Her Friends

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If you and your ex have been together a long time or if you met each other through mutual friends, sorting out how to handle your social circle can be really tricky. First and foremost, no matter how badly your ex treated you or screwed you over, do not expect her friends or your mutual friends to take sides. Not doing this can really test your willpower, but reserve any of the venting about how much of a bitch your ex was only to YOUR close friends. Really what you are doing here is taking the high road, because its not only your ex who remembers how you handle break up, but its your friends as well. In fact, its best to apply the no contact rule to her friends as well. Sure some of her friends might be your friends, but for now count them as a loss that goes with the loss of your ex girlfriend. You have to be honest about your motivations to stay connected with them, because often it isnt so much because you thought they were awesome people that you just have to have in your life, but its because you secretly want to secure some kind of future contact with your ex. Plus, her friends arent stupid, and chances are neither is she. Shell know that you actively pursuing relationships with her friends is and indirect way of you telling her that you cant move on. As for your mutual friends Be careful any dealing with them doesnt give you a reason to break the no contact rule. If you have to withdraw from that group just for a little bit its okay. I talk more about this in the last chapter, but try to use this time to make new friends that have never known you and your ex as a couple.
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Not trying to assert your friendship territory actually makes you look much better in face of all of your friends. You can be, and should be straightforward with your friends about not wanting to see her or talk about her for a while. But otherwise if you show them that you dont expect anything from them other than being your friend, it will give them the space to naturally gravitate towards you in this situation. Chapter 10: Resisting Temptation

First and foremost get rid of all of her stuff. This may seem like a no-brainer, but you have to be very thorough about this, because its not just her stuff. I mean anything and everything that reminds you of her or tempts you to contact her. Think of this as your first day at an AA meeting, and the first tenant is getting rid of the drug of choice. Now you may not actually have your girlfriend around anymore, but how smart is it for a recovering alcoholic to leave Budweiser posters and empty liqueur bottles all over his apartment. Okay good. Im glad youre with me on this one. Find a box and put all of her stuff in it, and put it somewhere where you cant see it until you can arrange to have someone give it to her or for her to pick it up (preferably while you arent there). Make the pick up a one time deal. If anything happens to be left over, throw it out. Its cool. Get on your computer and take all the pictures you have of her, you and her together, her friends, sex videos, etc. Burn them to a disc, put them on an usb or zip them and email them to a friend. Now delete everything you have.

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Tell your friend that he/she is not allowed to give them back to you for 1 year. Im going to bet, by then you will have totally forgotten about them. Go to your email account and delete everything you have from her. Again, if you cant bring yourself to do it, send these to your friend too. Delete them as soon as you do. If you have old voice or text messages on your phone delete all of them too. Now, go to all your IM accounts and delete her ID. Get on Facebook or Myspace or whatever your poison and unfriend them. This is going to keep you from casually checking to see what he is up to, when really you and I both know youre really just going to see if there is any clue about her being with other girls. I could only begin to tell you how many people I have interviewed who have told me that checking peoples profiles on these sites became an irresistible obsession, so much so that they had to delete their own accounts to get themselves to stop. Its just too easy to tell yourself youll just have a quick look while youre online So if you feel like you cant resist looking at her profile, stop logging on for the next 8 weeks. I know, I know. But there were plenty of ways you spent your time before Facebook and Myspace, and you can always pick it back up later. And dont worry about it offending her, youve hopefully by now you have already explained to her that you arent going to contact her for while.

Enlist A Friend Like most great accomplishments in life, it is hard to go about it alone. So for the next 4 weeks you are going to need the help of a friend.

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I am going to suggest that you have a female friend help you with this. Dont get me wrong, I got nothing but love for my fellow men, but generally we usually tend to really suck at listening. Female friends are great for many reasons, one of which is that they have better innate ability to empathize and listen. If you have guy friend like this, great. I have found that many guys in general dont listen well, and they often smooth right over to the part where they give you advice and more feel good comments. As it turns out, you are now in possession of a book filled with that. What you need now is someone who can really be there with you and make you FEEL UNDERSTOOD. Again this is why I suggest hanging out with girls if you can. Guys naturally tend to be fixers, and they will tell you how to fix things (I feel strangely self conscious as I write that ). Girls on the other are naturally better at empathizing and listening. You are going to tell your friend from the beginning that you are looking to get over this in a healthy way and you are going to need his/her help. Weve all been there, and most often friends are happy to help. This is what you are going to ask you friend to do. Be your support for the next 4 weeks. This means you get to talk about your ex with them, bounce ideas, frustrations, off of them and vent some anger if you need to. Each time you hang out with them you are going to limit your venting to a set amount of time. Tell him or her that you would like to talk about it for a while and then youll stop and move on. A time constraint is important, use a timer or an alarm on your cell if you need to. This way your friend can stay engaged, and you can feel totally comfortable talking about it. Then you and your friend are going to hang out, connect with each other, watch a movie, do whatever that does not involve you talking about your ex. Start telling you to shut up if needed. After 4 weeks your friends next task is now the opposite. He/she is no longer allowed to let you talk about your ex. He/she also has to not bring up your ex in conversation.
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Yeah, you heard it. 4 weeks of healthy venting is all you get. I believe that is where it is danger of turning into an unhealthy habit of dwelling, reliving the past and useless wheel-spinning. Coincidentally, this is also about the time that your friends empathy is probably going to start turning into a strange urge to punch you in the face the next time you mention your ex. Your friend has to handle any left over transactions between you and your ex. If there are logistical things that need to be handled, like returning her stuff, handing over keys, etc., then your friend is going to do that for you. More on that later. Your friend is also going to hold you accountable. Your friend has to make sure you do the things you are going to say you are going to do. In order for your friend to do this you have to tell him/her to be aggressive about checking up on you and you also have to give him/him permission to be a dick to you about it if necessary. you. In a couple of other techniques I will go into how they can help

Give Your Logic A Vacation Here are some scenarios that are similar to something that might have crossed your mind: She left her _____ at your apartment and swinging by to give it back to her is the right thing to do. Her favorite band, show, comedian is coming to town or on television and you just have to let her know about it. You ran into a mutual friend of you and exs and you just have to tell her how this person was doing. Its her birthday, a holiday, anniversary and it would be just rude not to call her and say hello. There was this hilarious thing that happened that you have to tell her about.
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In one of the earlier chapter we talked about how the emotional mind is pretty much running the show, especially in the roughest times during a break up. There is going to be no more of an obvious time then right after you cut off contact with your ex. In the coming weeks and days you are going to come up with so many reasons why you should talk to, text message, email or see her just one more time. Start to beware of the many, seemingly innocent reasons you have to just contact her one more time. The truth is, at times like this, people capacity for self-deception is pretty much limitless. Consider guys who stalk their ex wives or girlfriends. I know enough about this dark side of break ups that guys who do this dont say to themselves: You know, I cant control myself and Im going to stalk my ex; I think Im going to follow her around, break into her email, call her 20 times a day In their minds, as they are doing it, they have constructed a convincing rationalization as to why they are doing it. So if their ex works at a particular clothing store for example, they will find a reason why they need something specifically at that store during a time that she is working. Or if their ex hangs out at a particular coffee shop, they will come up with good reasons why that place happens to brew the best coffee. In the meantime they have all these fantasies they are playing out in their head as to what will happen when they just happen to run into their ex. Women do this too by the way. There are domestic abuse shelters all across the country that deal with this all the time. Women who are with men who literally beat them, will still rationalize reasons to go back.

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Think about that for a moment. Even with the threat of physical violence, after having been beaten numerous times, women will still rationalize why they should still spend time around these men. This should give you an idea of the power of what is really going on. I dont think men want to be seen as stalkers, and I dont think women enjoy being beaten, its just that they cant help themselves. Its not easy, but now that you have committed to doing everything you can to move on, start mistrusting any of your OWN reasoning for any kind of contact with your ex.

Chapter 11: Transitioning To Single

In your old relationship many of your ways probably became fixed and you werent aware. Your vision of the future, your relationship to your past, your personality everything probably seemed like it made more sense. Now that you are broken up, a lot of those ideas have been thrown into question. There are parts of your personality now fall into question. Your certainty about some choices youve made might waver. On top of all of that, your new future without your ex is uncertain. Suddenly everything feels off. A big part of your reality has shifted and now the rest of it is adjusting to line up with it. This will take some time. But how you handle readjusting is going to make all the difference.

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The Old You Must Die Any kind of big change is hard, and humans have a strong tendency to resist it in any way they can. In your mind you have an image of yourself. Everything about you, what you like, dislike, what your goals are, what you believe in, who you hang out with. Your tastes, where you fit in society, the roles you think you have with different people all make up this image of you. This next part is a tough one so you might want to take seat for this one. None of it is real. All of that is just a simulation you have running in your mind. I know, I know. It may feel damn real to you, but it isnt. Its just what you are used to thinking of yourself. When you were with your ex, many things were different. Everything from your ambitions to relationships with other people had a different feel to them because you were someones boyfriend or husband. Now that is no longer the case you are going to be transitioning from the old role to a new one. One of a healthy, integrated, fun single guy. So the discomfort you will be feeling has to do with you clinging to the old you. In reality for you to move on to your new life, some parts of you must wither away. The old version of you is going to have to go away for the new ones to take hold. The only way this can happen painlessly is for you start letting go of who you think you are.
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Part of that process is becoming comfortable with being out of your comfort zone. You are going to be doing things and behaving in ways that you arent used to. When you start doing this, two things will happen. You will feel strange doing them. There will be a part of you that wants your old comfort back and it will resist doing them. Expect this. On the other hand there will be a certain exhilaration you will feel. Other people will react different to you. People in general dont like change, even if that change is just the people around them behaving different. When your friends see you being different, when they have been so used to you being certain way it will jar them. Time and time again when I talk to people about their relationships they say that it was the time when they were single that they did the most growing, evolving and self discovery.

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Chapter 12: Friendships

This is such an important part of this whole process of getting over a break up that I am still tempted to make this into a separate book unto itself. I think one of the biggest issues guys have is really realizing how truly important this area of their life is. Women on the other hand, most of the time intuitively get how truly important having many meaningful strong connections with friends truly is. Over and over again, with guys that I have interviewed I began to notice a pattern emerging. Most of these guys would lose contact with many of their friends when things were going really well with their girlfriends. To some degree this is normal when we really start falling in love with someoneour focus turns to them and we are drawn to spending as much time as possible with them. But guys over do this one in many cases. What I saw over and over was guys who had a few good friends, maybe a couple of best
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friends, many of whom they would lose touch with. Then they would have their coworkers, whom they would spend a lot of their time with. When in a relationship these guys would often let many of their friends fall off the map, and often they would not be actively be out there trying to make new friends. Put bluntly, making new friends has to become part of your lifestyle, whether you have a girlfriend or not. Not only should it part of your lifestyle, it should in general be priority for you. Put simply, the more strong friendships you have in your life, the more: At a very deep level feel a sense of security and belonging. You meet a deep emotional need to connect with others. Power and influence you have over others. Leverage and resources you have to achieve what you want in life. The more you will constantly meet more people who are potential good friends. As a side bonus, more attractive, desirable women will come into your life that will be a good fit for you.

Friend or Frenemy? Most of us have had a strong friendship with someone and we know what it is like to have a best friend. But lets be clear about what a really good friendship is in the first place.

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You can go to a bar together, not talk to any girls or anyone else and have an awesome time together. You can call this person at odd times of the day and night and tell them completely random things and its completely normal, and expected almost. You would trust this person with any of your pass codes, pins or anything you have of value. You can list this person as an emergency contact. This person would sit in a waiting room somewhere with you. This person calls you to tell they have met a girl they think would be perfect for you. You can spend hours talking almost to the point of being nauseous. They can tell very quickly what kind of a mood you are in just by your tone (this I have found is a talent many female friends tend to have). You could show up at their house unannounced pretty much anytime you felt like. They are the first people to know about all the important events in your life. They are genuinely happy for you when good things happen to you.

Now ask yourself, how many people like this do you know? One? Two? Five? I have some dismal news for you. The average American male is his 20-30s has 0.75 people he considers to be close confidants.
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0.75. I dont even quite know what that means exactly (I suppose thats like the average of 1.5 kids) but it cant be a good thing. What would your life be like if you had 5 times as many of these kinds of friends that you do now? Is that kind of hard to imagine? To give this another angle, ask yourself how much less devastating would your last break up have been if you had this many close relationships in your life? Think about it. What would it take for you to make more of these friendships in your life? What would you have to do, where could you go, on a regular basis to make this a reality? It seems strange to most people. All of us at some level really want to have lots of close friends and meaningful relationships, but we dont know what to do about it. Most of us think it should just happen naturally. In sense, to some people it does happen naturally. But it is because they have habits, ways of looking at the world and interacting with people that they have had so long, that it comes naturally to them. How Popular People See The World I heard something a couple of years ago that I remember had really confused me at the time. It was a quote from Einstein; "The most important question that a person can ask is... (drum roll) ... Is the universe a friendly place?" The first time I heard this I remember thinkingWhat? Thats the most important question? I wrote it off, thinking it was pretty silly until last year a mentor of mine explained it to me.

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The idea here is, your answer to that question effects your perspective on everything. This becomes especially true when you interact with people. A person who really believes the answer to this question is yes will walk through life expecting people to be friendly, interesting, trust worthy, etc. As a result, people will often actually become that way around them. Its definitely an interesting phenomenom, and Im not sure why that is, though I speculate that we often unconsciously fill the roles and expectations people having for us. Psychology is buzzing these days with all kinds of experiments that are showing this to be true. Now on the other hand, as result of upbringing, conditioning, past experiences many people walk through life expecting people to be standoff-ish, unfriendly, selfish, etc. This assumption does a few really insidious things. First of all it causes people to unconsciously treat others as if this is all true, and then what happens? You guessed it. The people they meet begin to act in a way that meets the expectations of them. Something else comes into play here too. If you assume things about people, your mind begins to filture out any evidence that contradicts your assumptions. So what do you end up doing? You not only act in a way that brings out bad qualities in people, but you also have a filter on that causes you to focus on those things as well. Sounds pretty dismal doesnt it? In fact it should sound very similar to some of the behavior I described in the loneliness chapter. Now, take the time to stop and ask yourself that question. Is the universe a friendly place for you? Go further and ask yourself these questions too.
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When you meet new people, how do you assume they are going to act? Do you look to find what is interesting and what you have in common with people as soon as you meet them? Do you treat every new interaction as the potential start of new friendship?

Giving Value This is another perspective shift, that will really make a huge difference in how fast you make more friends. Many people think that relationships are all about give and take. To really be the guy who attracts amazing people into your life, you have to adopt the mindset of someone who gives value where ever they go. Now what does this mean exactly? Does mean you have to become the guy who buys everyone drinks and pays for everything? Well it can, but its not what Im talking about here. What is value then? Value can be Being the guy who introduces people to new friends. Knowing where all the cool events, parties, shows are> Genuinely making people feel good about themselves Introducing people to new ideas, teaching them things that are helpful. Helping them achieve things they want to achieve in their life. Being a good listener and really wanting to know who they are and what they are about.

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Being there when they need help, and doing things proactively when they need help but wont ask for it. Being genuinely excited for someone elses success

If giving of some kind of value all the time just becomes part of who you are, then you will begin to attract people in your life very quickly. It may start slowly but it will begin to have a snowball effect. But this has to become your whole way of dealing with people all the time. Yes there will be people around you who may take more and not give, and you can handle those accordingly, but dont let that sway you. The benefits of the this mode of operating are much bigger than the losses you might have to take here and there. Make it your general rule to give and not keep tabs, and to not expect anything in return. So basically you have to go from the give back mentality to the just give all the time.

The Time Ahead Remember the part at the beginning of the book when I mentioned that learning this stuff really changed the way I date, and ultimately the whole way I relate to women? It may very well just be my personality, but I happen to feel like I can tell very quickly if a girl is special to me. I am a bit of a romantic type, Ill admit it. The problem was that as soon as it was clear that I was dealing with one of these rare girls that I liked a whole lot, there would be a part of me that would immediately start to fear the pain of losing her. This often caused me to do a laundry list of things that werent natural and that really stifled my ability to connect with her in the first place.

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The freedom I feel now really comes from the fact that I really know that no matter what happens, everything will be okay. Fear of loss, heartbreak or rejection is no longer a significant part of the equation for me, and although its kind of hard to explain, this ironically frees me up to have more meaningful connections with people I date. Ultimately, this is what I really want for you. The confidence that comes from knowing that you have the ability to bounce back from anything that comes your way, if you can deal with a heartbreak as profound as this one, youll be able to overcome the fear of rejection that makes dating a nightmare for so many men. There is a freedom that comes with the knowledge that you can recover from any breakup no matter how painful. Now that youve read this book you are probably feeling 2 very different things at the same time. On one hand you might be excited that you have a new array of tools and perspectives to help you through your break-up. And of course there is the daunting feeling of having to go through all of it in the first place. Let me know how it goes. Also, I put a lot of myself into this book so if you have any stories you want to share, feedback or questions, drop me an email at Dan@getoverhernow.com. Talk to you soon, Dan

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Techniques: Rearrange Your Stuff Rearranging your space may seem like a trivial task but it has a powerful yet subtle effect. When you do this you are breaking associations your mind has so it can start forming new ones. If your living space feels a little new when you walk into it, your mind is being told every time that things are now different. Doing this in as many ways a possible is really effective, and for every new way you do it the power of it compounds. The great thing about it is you can do it all at once, and it will keep working for long after youre done. In fact, go do it now. If you are at home, stop reading and get up and try rearranging the furniture, the bookshelves. Switch a few things around. Angle things differently, swap pictures on the walls.

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Hell, if youre at work change things around in your office. Change your desktop theme or screen saver. Once youve done it set a time in the next day or so to do it more thoroughly. Change your sheets, comforter, put some new pictures up, new lampswhatever. Its only limited to your creativity. The goal here is that when you walk into your space it should jar you a little bit because it doesnt look the same. The next part of this exercise is to go through your stuff and start getting rid of things you dont need. Throw out the crap you dont use, clothes you dont wear and put all those old electronics on eBay. There is something about doing this that really frees up some of the friction in your mind and gives you a bit of a blank slate feeling. Once youve done all of this, every time you walk into your space the old associations you have will have less to hold onto, and things will feel different. This is one of the many ways you are going to structure your surroundings help your unconscious along.

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Burn The Anxiety To burn off the excess anxiety you need to exercise. But more specifically you need to cardiovascular exercise. I knowit may seem like the last thing you want to do, but ironically it is one of the most effective ways to instantly relieve yourself from the pain you are feeling. More importantly, regular cardiovascular exercise will set the stage for the mental, emotional and physical recovery you will go through for the following reasons. Tension release: Because you are burning all that built up internal tension, exercising is the single most effective emotional reset button. Remember, your body is having a stress reaction, which at its most primitive level is preparing you for action. If you arent using that potential energy it can actually become corrosive to your body in the form of stress. Mental clarity: During and right after exercising you are going to get some mental and emotional clarity that you may not have had all day. This is going to feel so great. It is also going to break the momentum of all the bad feelings you have been having. After you get that break after exercising, the bad thoughts and feelings are going to start bubbling up again. It may not take that long for them to back in full force. But each time you exercise the amount of relief you feel and how long you feel it will get longer and longer.

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Balance: A growing body of evidence is showing that cardiovascular exercise is as effective at treating depression as Zoloft (the most widely prescribed anti-depression medication). Exercise has been shown to provide much or the stimulation to the brain needed for it to naturally balance itself, especially during times of extreme stress when it is most likely to become imbalanced. This is especially important for PREVENTION of depression, so if you do this proactively it will make all the difference. Growth: New research is also showing that cardiovascular exercise also encourages what is called nuerogenisis which is the creation of new cells in your brain. You have a lot of change ahead of you as you are going to be replacing many old habits, thoughts and associations. Youre mind needs to be in an optimal state to be able to adapt to these changes. Control: There is something really interesting that happens when you consciously exercise to speed up your recovery. There are so many things that are going on right now with your breakup and with your own mind and emotions that may feel like they are out of your control. Exercising is one of the few ways you can DIRECTLY affect them with your own action and this shifts the sense of control back to you. The confidence you start to feel from this has a snowball effect and gives you the strength to do more things to start changing things. In short, if there is time in your life when you need to exercise the most, it would be now. After you get that break after exercising, the bad thoughts and feelings are going to start bubbling up again. It may not take that long for them to back in full force. But each time you exercise the amount of relief you feel and how long you feel it will get longer and longer. If you already exercise regularly then you may have to up it a notch or two to for it work. If you are used to exercising in the morning that is great, though this may be a good time to try doing it later in the day, especially if the nights are particularly painful for you. It will help you burn off all the tension that has built up so far.

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Cry I can hear you right now. What the f&%$#! do you mean by that? This is a tough one for guys. Numerous times I have asked people I am working with if they have cried yet, and in many cases I will promptly get an I never thought of that look from them. On one hand its blaringly obvious to some, but you may be surprised how many people go months, upset and depressed about their ex, but they never cry once. A common attitude about crying is that you are reducing yourself, or belittling yourself by doing it. As if it shows that you arent strong somehow. There is also a pride aspect to it. Often people tell us that we shouldnt cry because that person isnt worth it. Ultimately crying doesnt cost you anything, and one good cry can really make you feel so much better. So, I want you to start viewing crying as something you do to heal yourself. Its a great reset button, and it can really purge what you may have had bottled up inside for a long time. I have found that usually the healing process actually begins when someone actually cries and really acknowledges the pain they are in. Now on the other hand, if you do cry a lot, you get one more good solid session and then you need to practice pulling yourself together, a little bit at a time. But I have found for most people, its opposite, they have trouble getting themselves to do it in the first place.

So this may sound strange, but set aside a time to allow yourself to cry. To get the most out of this, there are a few things you should do.

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Put yourself in a place that you feel safe. Preferably where no one is around and you dont in any feel like you will be judged by anyone. Create the conditions that will help get you started. If you have a particular movie or song that helps you to start crying, use it. DO NOT JUDGE YOURSELF. Again, this is a purging, a healing process, this has nothing to do with who you are as a person. Cry as much as possible. As you get started, do or think whatever you can to keep yourself crying as much as possible. Only stop when you simply cant do it anymore.

Plan & Book A Trip Plan a trip to go somewhere in the next month or so for a few days outside the city you live in. And you thought this was all going to be hard stuff.

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The only thing that is hard about this is seeing how important it is and really doing it. This is a transitional time for you and you are going to be putting a lot of energy and willpower into getting through this, so you need to not only take a break but its important for you have something to look forward to. More importantly, you need a milestone. Something in your mind thats memorable and also marks an end of an era and the beginning of a new one. Also, think back to all the vacations you have taken before. Didnt everything feel a bit different? Its almost as if there is this switch that is flipped in your head and suddenly everything takes on a new light. Everything becomes interesting, youre more willing to talk to strangers and do things that are out of your comfort zone. This isnt a coincidence. Your minds reaction to new stimuli actually drives up dopamine, which is one of the chemicals it tends to become deficient on during potentially depressing times, such as now. Yes, I know. I can hear you right now. But I have workI dont have the money if only I had more time right now. Im sure you have plenty of legitimate and creative reasons why now is not a good time. But remember, this is YOUR LIFE and youve committed to doing everything you can in the coming weeks to get over your ex. Let your family or your co workers know that this is something you need to do. If time is an issue, plan a weekend trip. And I promise you; right now there is no better use of your vacation days. If you are creative it doesnt have to be an expensive trip at all. Take a day trip to a retreat. Drive out to the nearest national park if you can. Go visit some family you havent seen in a while.

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Obviously if you can bring a friend, the more the merrier. But if none of your friends can join you on this impromptu trip, do not let going by yourself be a reason to not go. Dont think too much about it either. Brainstorm for a little bit, get online and book the flight, make the reservations. Handle the details afterwards. Youll be surprised how is easy it once youve done it.

Listen To All New Music Yes Im going there. Im even going to meddle with your music. Music is a huge part of most of our lives, and we often forget how powerful of an influence it has on us. Music is so big for us because it really triggers our emotions directly. We often have images and memories that automatically come up when with music we have been listening to for a while. Have you ever listened to a song that made you think of a certain era of your life? The thoughts, outlook on the world, and state of mind you were all come bubbling back, sometimes vividly and sometimes just in little bits and pieces. But the music still has the power to bring all that back.

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Well, we are going to use that to our advantage. So, for the next 8 weeks I want you to listen to all new music. Music that you have never listened to before. Go to your mp3 player, your car music player or your computer playlists and delete all the songs that you have on there currently. Obviously you dont have to get rid of them entirely, but remove them all from any listening device. To replenish your collection go out and find at least 4 or 5 new albums that you have never listened to before. Ask your friends if they know of any cool music you can check out and be open minded to whatever they give you. Get on the internet and sample as much stuff as you can to see what you like. Give Pandora.com or other sampling sites a try if you havent already. You will be surprised how much new music you can accumulate if you put a little bit of time and effort into it. Think of this also as great opportunity for you to go out and find new music, which we often neglect to do until our collections get painfully stale. Oh yeah, there is a catch. No love songs. NONE. Just for the next 8 weeks, and then by all means you are welcome to revive your Best of Bee Jees, Michael Bolton and Aretha Franklin playlists. You may have to try some new kinds of music you havent listened to before. Techno, hard rock, hip hop, metalclassical, whatever works for you. I understand that there is a certain pleasure in listening to a love song that really speaks to where you are at. But for the next 8 weeks I want you to look at listening to anything that reminds you of your ex as another thing that may keep you from getting over her. At this point you probably have plenty of things that remind you of her anyway, so there is no need to hold onto the music that does.
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So, think of this as rearranging the furniture of your musical world. This new music is a blank slate for you, and therefore your mind has to start making new associations with it. In talking to many people after theyve done this, I have consistently received surprised responses as to how quickly it made them feel better.

Plan 3 Novel Things To Do Per Week This means things you havent done before or havent done in a really long time. Novelty is the key here. This is important for a few reasons. Doing new and novel thing breaks old patterns. You are sending another signal to yourself that things are different and new, and this helps make the change easier. Novelty affects the brain. The chemicals in your brain that made you feel so good when you were around your ex are no longer there regularly, which really effects your mood. As it turns out, novelty stimulates these same chemicals. Also, this keeps you away from your old haunts. The last things you need to find yourself doing is going to the places where you used to hang out together, even though it may be very tempting.

For a while it may feel like these things are no fun without your ex around. Many things are going to remind you of her. It may really bother you to see other couples and you might have the urge to tell her about things that you see, or something that reminded you of her, etc.
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Ironically, going through that is part of why this is so important. The more you do this, the more you will find yourself having fun (even sometimes by accident) without your ex around. The more you do this, the more you send a message to yourself that you can enjoy whatever it is that you are doing without her around. This may take some time, so that is why is really important that you make yourself go do this at least 3 times a week. Go to a museum. Visit a park you have never been to before. Try a restaurant or kind of food you have never tried. Find some new hangouts. Make it a point to go to some bars and clubs you have never been to before. Find some coffee shops at a different corner of town that you never gone to before. Revisit sports that you may have stopped doing or pick up a new one. Joining some kind of team sport is a great idea. This is only limited to your creativity, so make finding new things to do a fun task in itself.

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Contribute Especially when you first get out of a relationship and you are feeling the most hurt, it is really easy to see yourself as someone who is need of help. Over and over again people say that the biggest thing that helped them through the toughest parts of the break up were the friends they had in their lives. Often though it can be easy to get too used to being the victim in a situation. Its weird how this works, but the more you spend time in any kind of role, the more you will unconsciously fill that role.

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So it may sound counter-intuitive, but the times you feel the weakest are the times you get the most out of contributing. Finding a way to contribute changes the role you have for yourself. When you actively go do things help others it does several things: Changes the role you are projecting for yourself from someone who is hurt and in need to someone who is empowered and adds value to the life of others. You exercise compassion for others, and it will remind you of the things you are grateful for having. This might be the most important, it also puts you outside of you own head. When you focus on others and their problems, your own take a backseat. This will allow a break away from your own thoughts. It also gives you a very strong feeling of accomplishment afterwards. Now there really is a buffet of causes out there that you can go contribute to, so really its up to find what cause out there you feel the most connected with. Here are some questions to ask yourself when thinking about a cause: What is frustrating to you about the state of the world right now? How can you help, contribute or mentor people who are younger and in need? What makes you happy in your life that you think would make others happy too? What skill do you have that you think would truly add value to others if you taught them? Some ideas are: Big Brother program for youths
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Volunteer programs for at risk youths Friendly visiting for home-bound elderly Volunteering at your local animal shelter Tutoring children or high schoolers Working with abandoned or disabled children It isnt limited to these though. If there is anyone in your life that you think could use a random helpful gesture from you, go do it. Do you grandparents need help around their house? Do you know anyone that needs a babysitter so they can go out for an evening. Be creative, find someone that you can actively add some value to and go offer to do it.

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