Why Can’t I Stop Thinking About Him? How To Move On

Updated May 6, 2024by Regain Editorial Team

If you’ve recently been through a breakup and now feel like you can’t stop thinking about him, you can rest assured that this behavior is very natural. It can be very difficult to move on from someone after heartbreak, but there are steps you can take to help you find closure and move forward. If you can’t stop thinking about this person and you want to let them go, read on for a few suggestions. Here, we’ll explore why it can be so hard to stop thinking about someone and offer a few methods for how to move on.

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Moving on after heartbreak can be hard

Why you can’t stop thinking about them

In a 2010 study, researchers studied a group of men and women who had recently experienced heartbreak but still reported feeling intensely “in love.” Under a brain scan, the participants first had to look at a photo of the person who had broken their hearts. Then they completed math problems as a distraction, almost like a brain palette cleanser, then they looked at a photo of a person they knew, but towards whom they didn’t experience romantic feelings. 

Afterward, the scientists compared the parts of the brain that reacted when the subject viewed the first person instead of viewing the second person. When the subjects viewed the person who had rejected them, parts of the brain associated with craving and addiction became active. Other active parts of the brain included motivation, reward, and even physical pain. This study demonstrates that people in situations of heartbreak really are experiencing a form of addiction—so if you can’t stop thinking about an old flame, this can make complete sense.

How to move on

As you try to move on from this person, consider trying some of the approaches below:

1. Try to learn from this experience

It may be helpful to consider what lessons you can take away from your experience with this person. Perhaps one of the reasons you can’t stop thinking about them is because you haven’t fully processed the experience and haven’t yet gleaned all the lessons you could from the relationship. 

As you reflect, you might think about things you are grateful for from the experience, things you’ve learned about yourself, things that it taught you about relationships, and things that you now realize matter to you moving forward. You can think about how you would have carried out this relationship differently if you’d met this person today, and about how you will act differently in important relationships in the future. You can also think about the things you did well and the behaviors you’d like to repeat. Your moving on process may take a long time. You may have revelations, then realize later that there was still more baggage left to unpack.

In some cases, you may even start to feel grateful for some of the difficult experiences in the past. These experiences can teach us valuable lessons and help us grow into better people. You may find that you start to feel thankful for this person, because even if things didn’t end how you once hoped, they’ve helped you become the person you are today.

2. Try to stop idealizing them

If you can't stop thinking about someone, that can make sense and be very common; but, it can be important to investigate your thoughts and make sure you’re not building this person up in your head. If you are missing someone, it can be easy to remember only the good times, good traits, and best moments with this other person, and to long for those positive memories together, while overlooking the negatives. 

Try to unpack exactly what ideals you have projected onto this person. What was it you were really hoping for? What role did they fall into? What ideal did you think they fulfilled? How does that ideal differ from who they are in reality? Try to reflect on the experience with more objectivity, and you may find that it helps you gain a new perspective.

3. Reduce contact

Perhaps you are constantly thinking about this person because you’re still in very frequent contact with them. Staying in close touch with someone you are missing can be tempting, but it can also make it even harder to move on. If you are eager to put this person out of your mind, you may want to consider reducing contact. 

Reducing contact doesn’t just mean in person. If you are frequently texting, messaging, or calling him, you may want to consider if all of that contact is really serving you. All the time you spend speaking with someone or chatting with someone can add fuel to those thoughts you have of them swirling in your head. 

4. Work on your confidence


In some cases, one of the reasons you can’t stop thinking about this person might be because you think they were the best option you will ever have. You may think that you can’t possibly find someone else who will be as great as this person was. If this rings true for you, it may be helpful to work on improving your self-confidence and self-esteem.

Personal growth can come from exercise, self-care, and spending time doing things that you love. You can take the time you used to invest in this person, and invest it in keeping your space clean, a new friendship, a new hobby, a new career goal. As you invest time in your own interests, you may also meet new people who like the same things as you.

5. Speak with a counselor

Figuring out how to stop thinking about someone from your past can be very difficult, and it is often easier said than done. If you would like additional support in processing a past heartbreak and figuring out how to move on, online therapy can help. Research has shown that online therapy can be effective for a range of concerns, including improving self-esteem, which, as mentioned above, can be very important for your mental health during this time. 

For some people experiencing frequent thoughts of an ex, it may be helpful to be able to reach out for help in the moments when those uncomfortable thoughts pop up. With online therapy through Regain, you can do just that; in-app messaging allows you to reach out to your therapist at any time, and they will respond as soon as they can. 

6. Practice meditation and mindfulness

Moving on after heartbreak can be hard

Mindfulness is the practice of bringing your attention to the present moment. Through mindfulness, you can watch your own thoughts like a backseat observer and understand them without judgment. As you try to move on from this person, it may help to take a little time to meditate and focus on your breath every day. 

After a time, this may help you to break old thinking habits and form new, healthier ones. Whether you’re thinking about this person out of habit or because you subconsciously don’t want to let them go, meditation and mindfulness may help you to gain more control over your thoughts. If you’re new to meditation, you may find it helpful to start with guided meditations. 


If you’re having trouble with constant thoughts about someone from your past, you can try some of the tips detailed above for how to move on. It may help to try to learn from the experience, stop idealizing them, reduce contact, and practice meditation. You can also connect with a licensed counselor online for further support. 

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