Crazy ex girlfriend still from "we definitely should not have sex right now."
Credit: The CW Television Network/YouTube

Because breakups are so hard, it’s not uncommon for us to slip back into hold habits and try to get back together with our ex. No one likes to do hard work, and breaking up — even when it’s undoubtedly for the best — takes a whole lot of effort. It can take almost as much effort as making an actual relationship last. With that in mind, If you want to make a breakup stick, there are some hard and fast rules you have to follow.

Slipping back to an ex is so common.

We’ve all been there — one lonely night with too much wine, a holiday or birthday that makes you miss them, or just the consistent, always-there fear of being alone. Or Tinder. In fact, the realities of the dating world are usually enough to throw you back into the arms of the person you were really sick of just weeks before. It happens to the best and strongest of us.

Which is why you should do certain things just after a breakup to ensure that you don’t go back to a bad thing. Remember: You broke up for a reason. Here’s how to make a breakup stick.

1Cut the cords.

If you think you’re not going to be able to make the breakup stick, you have to make sure you don’t talk to your ex. It’s over. You can always reconnect on social media or something later, but for now, unfollow them on social media. In extreme cases, to prevent snooping, block them so it’s like they don’t even exist. You might want to take their contact information out of your phone, too, so that you don’t accidentally text or call in a moment of weakness.

2Ask for help.

Tell your friends that you’re nervous about slipping up and ask them to hold you accountable. Actually, tell your ex that you don’t want to be in contact, and make sure they stick to that rule. Sometimes it’s hard if your ex is the one reaching out; You’re not a heartless jerk, after all. But you really have to make sure that everyone around you knows what’s up. That way you’ll be more likely to stick to your rules or be called out on “bad behavior.”

3Write it out.

There will be times that you will want to talk to your ex. Maybe it’s to tell them a funny story. Maybe it’s because you finally came up with the perfect speech in the shower about how much they piss you off. Don’t dig up their email or text them, though. Sit down and write it out in a journal instead. Or ask a friend or therapist to be a stand in so when you want to give your ex a piece of your mind, you can pick up the phone and talk to them. Don’t open up any doors that you really want to stay closed.

4Try something new.

Or old. Anything that you like as an individual. It’s hard to remember in the throes of a breakup that you’re still a fun and awesome person. Try that one thing you always wanted to do your ex wasn’t that into. Go eat at the restaurants you love and hang out with you friends.

5Watch your words.

Remember that this relationship is over, so you have to change your tenses. Start using the past tense when you talk about them and the relationship. In fact, try to check yourself and not talk about them at all. You don’t want to erase the memories of a special time and person in your life, but lingering on the past can get in the way of moving into your future.

6Do not sleep with them.

Hopefully, if you’ve cut some contact and are trying new things this will be physically impossible. But we know you didn’t actually block your ex’s number and secretly messaged them last weekend. Yeah, we see you. If you want a clean break, you will not be getting naked with your ex anytime soon. We get that it’s hard, but don’t say we didn’t warn you.