Breakups aren’t usually mutually agreed upon or if they are, it’s a pretty rare phenomenon. When one person in the couple is left to pick up the pieces of an ended relationship, it can take a while to cope with not seeing, speaking, or texting that person every day—or several times a day. You may get to the point that you’re ready to give away all the old gifts and souvenirs she ever gave you. You may decide that those old concert ticket stubs and letters should go in the trash to help you at least try to get the person off of your mind.

And then, there’s always the dilemma of photos. With today’s technology, it’s so easy to click away and capture special moments, which results in an abundance of photos on your cell phone. Some of them are hard to part with, especially since they show somebody you loved and shared fun times with, as well as made a lot of wonderful memories with. The person was somebody who was in your life a great deal and consumed most of your thoughts.

According to a study by Friends Reunited in Britain, many people can’t bring themselves to get rid of photos of their ex-partners. About 21.6 Brits—or 43 percent– have kept photos of their partners after a breakup. One in five men hides their photos because they’re afraid their new partner will disapprove of them. While women are more sentimental than men, with 61 percent admitting to keeping photos as reminders of a part of their lives they want to remember, it’s estimated that 56 percent of men also save photos of their exes.

One in five men, or 20 percent, in a current relationship, stay attached to their photos of exes, and 17 percent said they sometimes felt guilty about keeping them from the other person. Only nine percent of women were fearful that their partner would discover the photos and disapprove of them, and about 11 percent of the females had haunting guilt about keeping them.

Why Do I Keep Looking at My Ex-Girlfriend’s Pictures?

Old photos bring back memories of the past and are reminders of some great times. According to Friends Reunited, the top reasons people hang on to photos of their exes are:

  • They remind you of a special event.
  • They bring back good memories.
  • It was a part of life and growing up you don’t want to forget.
  • You look great in the photo.
  • You think you have the possibility to get together again.
  • They’re funny.
  • You don’t like throwing your photos away.
  • You still have feelings for the ex.
  • To use against the individual one day.

Will I Stop Thinking About My Ex?

Sometimes it seems that you can’t get your ex out of your mind. You may text, call or think about them all the time. Just when you try hard not to think of them, something triggers another memory. Grades in school may start dropping, or it can interfere with your job. While well-meaning friends may be telling you the old saying, “Time heals all wounds,” it doesn’t make things better. You want to be able to put an end to the hurt you’re feeling sooner rather than later. You’re really impatient to stop feeling sad all the time.

A study from Binghamton University and University College Londonstudy from Binghamton University and University College London surveyed more than 5,000 people in nearly 100 countries to gauge both feelings and bodily distress caused by the end of a relationship from one, which meant no pain or feelings, to 10, which was intolerable. Findings discovered that females are generally more distressed over the end of relationships, but not by much. Women rated about 6.84 on the emotional pain scale compared to men who averaged 6.58.

Craig Morris, research associate at Binghamton University and the lead author of the study, said that men had progressed from sparring for the amorous interest of females. The male will usually be very emotional about a breakup for a good stretch of time, followed by realizing he must start competing all over to reestablish what he’s lost.

Morris said breakups are important because most people will experience about three by the time they’re 30 years old. It is considered that one of those relationships will affect a person sometimes for weeks or even months.

There’s good news—you will stop thinking about your ex eventually even if it does take a few weeks or even a couple of months. The not-as-good news is that, while it will take a little time, it will also entail some work on your part. When you have the compulsion to send text messages to your ex and check your phone for messages from them—which you’ve gotten used to from being with the person day in and day out for a long time–there are a few things you can do to gradually get on the road to stop obsessing about your ex.

Here are a few things you can do:

  • Resist the urge to check your cell phone, Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat. It’s easier said than done, but you can easily block your ex on the phone and remove them from all of those other sites.
  • When you set the phone to “do-not-disturb,” you won’t get those reminders that tell you the ex is trying to reach you.
  • Make sure you’re aware of the situations that are apt to cause you to check the cell phone or social media. You may feel the tug to check them when you’re out having a few drinks with friends or if you find yourself all alone with no plans in sight. When you figure out when you’re more likely to try to contact the ex, make sure you switch to doing something like calling a friend, meeting somebody for a cup of coffee, or even cleaning a room of the house.
  • Write your thoughts in a notebook. Sometimes jotting your feeling on paper feels better, especially when it allows you to get some of the stress out.
  • Avoid using drugs or alcohol, as well as overeating and indulging in junk food to deal with a breakup. You’ll only feel worse about yourself. Instead, take five minutes to exercise or meditate.
  • Make sure to stick to a nutritious, well-balanced diet. Skipping meals or going to the first fast food restaurant you see won’t help. Take care of yourself by making meals that are good for you.
  • Quality sleep helps to rejuvenate the body. If you’re having difficulties sleeping because of thoughts about the breakup, don’t resort to alcohol or substances. Keep a journal to jot down anxieties. Once they’re out of your head and on paper, you may find you’re able to sleep.
  • After a breakup, there’s an absence of pleasure-producing endorphins that can make you feel tired. Exercise increases the endorphins, so walking, joining a health club, or signing up for a dance class may prove just the thing to increase the endorphins.
  • If you feel like crying, let your emotions out. If you can’t talk about your feelings just yet, get that journal out and start writing.
  • Take time to enjoy activities you get the most pleasure from, such as sharing a cup of coffee and conversation with a good friend or taking a short trip to a place you’ve always wanted to visit. If you have a friend who makes you laugh, it can prove to be the best medicine.

Will I Find Somebody as Good as My Ex?

You may have thoughts that you’ll never find somebody as interesting or attractive as your ex. But, there will be more people out there who may make you feel even better and love you more than the ex did. Instead of the negative thoughts that whisper in your ear that you’ll never find true love again, it’s important to believe that you will.

While you may not think this now, there may come a time when you look back on your relationship with the ex as a learning experience. You learned that you’re able to be strong and overcome the pain of heartbreak. You‘ll find that you’re resilient and have the power to take control of your situation.

You won’t be doomed to be in this sad state forever. While you may be on the brink of tears now, there may come a day when you think about this time as just a fleeting memory.

Feeling Stuck After a Breakup

Everything was perfect—so you thought. The two of you spent every waking moment together: eating dinner at your favorite place down the street, seeing movies one of you didn’t really want to see, traveling out of town to see their aunt, making time to visit your parents, wasting away mornings in bed, and laughing into the night. You did everything together and that’s the way you liked it. You were not only happy but felt so wonderfully comfortable and safe. You looked at them and you saw the rest of your life. So how and when was there time for something to go wrong?

Now, you have all of the time in the world to yourself. All of the time to search for answers and wonder what went wrong. All of the time to scroll through your ex’s Instagram feed and Facebook page. All of the time to wonder if you’ll one day be as happy as they look in the picture they just posted. You can’t help but worry that you won’t. Or wonder if you’ll ever heal, if you’ll ever stop loving them, if you’ll ever find someone again.

Relationships can be so engulfing that when they end it feels as if the whole world has imploded and everything you thought was right is wrong. But this isn’t actually the case—your hazy, blurred view just needs to be corrected. Your spirits need to be lifted. Your heart needs to be repaired. So what’s the reality?

Will It Ever Stop?

Your memories keep flooding back. Her face keeps popping into your head. All of your attention is on the demise of your relationship. The thing is, grieving is good—its process frees your body from all of the negative emotions you’re feeling. And while it probably seems like this grief will last for eternity, it won’t. What felt like forever with her was but a blink in time compared to the rest of your life and what lies ahead.

Will I Heal?

It might be hard to believe right now, but you will be alright. I’m sure you’ve heard the cliché saying that everything happens for a reason. While this is indeed cliché, and sometimes not so reassuring, it’s true. There are so many possibilities for why the relationship wasn’t meant to work out: like you need to work on your independence, or an opportunity awaits you that wasn’t compatible. Whatever the reason, trust that something better awaits you. Doing so will allow you to more easily let go of the past and focus on everything you’ve got going for yourself right now.

Will I Ever Stop Loving Them?

You spent all of your days with this person and made special memories you’ll probably never forget. But this doesn’t mean that your heart will never stop longing for them or that you’ll never move on. You will—it will just take some time. While there’s no foolproof way to get over an ex, you should focus on yourself and doing things that make you happy—this probably means staying away from their social media accounts. Checking up on what they’re doing won’t help you move on. But it will probably make you jealous and bring other negative feelings flooding in. Instead, use your new free time in a productive way by actually working on yourself. Over time, your heart will be free again too.

Will I Find Someone as Good?

Remember when I said that there is an abundance of possibilities for why the relationship didn’t work out? Well, one of those possibilities is that there’s someone else out there who’s not just as good, but even better. Someone who will love you wholeheartedly. Someone you’ll, again, spend every waking moment with, only this time these moments won’t come to an end. Imagine how you felt and multiply it by a thousand because that is how you one day could feel. And when this does happen, you’ll be thankful that this relationship came to an end so that one could exist; you’ll look back at yourself and laugh at the kid who thought he knew what love is.

Love is many things: It’s beautiful, envious, tender, hurtful, happy, and complicated. Sometimes it’s meant to last and sometimes it’s meant to be merely experienced for a flash in time. These instances are hard to accept: the taunting loves, the ones that feel endless that suddenly come to an end. But we have to accept the amount of love we receive and allow it to fill our lives whole. And if it does come to an end, we have to remember that everything will be alright and love will visit again.