How to get over your ex: it starts with emotional availability

portrait of rachel russo

Ever felt heartbreak that left you reeling? Did you agonise about how to get over your ex? You aren’t the only one. In fact, in a recent EliteSingles survey, 91% of Kiwi singles admitted to having felt love-sickness at one time or another. (1)

It’s an incredibly common feeling that is never welcome but that, with time, can only heal and leave you feeling stronger. However, knowing where the hurt ends and the healing begins can be tricky. To help us define that line, we enlisted the help of expert Relationship Coach, Rachel Russo, who revealed that being ready for new love is all about emotional availabilty.

How to get over your ex: three key steps

A lot of singles wonder what men and women think about when looking for a dating match. In addition to good looks, charm, a sense of humour, and the brains to carry on a conversation, most people are looking for someone who is relationship-oriented. After all, it is pretty difficult to be in a relationship with someone who doesn’t want to be in one! Therefore, in the land of matchmaking, emotionally availability is king. That’s right: In order to form a successful romantic partnership, it is important that you have the ability to form an emotional connection. And, if your relationship readiness is being hampered by the fact that you still feel for someone else then you need to know how to get over your ex.

Step 1. Rebuilding after a breakup

If you are interested in becoming more desirable as a single, you have to make sure you present yourself as someone who is ready for love and willing to have a relationship.The biggest threat to this? Sacrificing your emotional availability because of an attachment to an ex. Unfortunately, a lot of people do not learn from their breakups and stay stuck in memories of an old love. This is a shame, as a breakup provides an incredible opportunity to learn from your past relationship, so that you can find someone who is a better fit with your life.

Breakups are also a great chance to take the time to work on your own character. By really examining your own feelings, you will have the chance to rebuild yourself even stronger than before. Not only will this give you insight on how to get over your ex, you will soon find that you become better able to contribute to a great partnership in the near future.

Quick fact: It’s ok – and even normal – to take your time with this step. In fact, 45% of Kiwi singles have said that it has taken them a year or more to move on from an old love.

Step 2: Learn how to get over your ex by analysing what went wrong

One way to become more emotionally available is to analyse your past relationship(s) and identify patterns or trends. Your strategy for finding the truth will be to sit down, do some thinking, and make some lists. To truly learn how to get over your ex, you need to see everything in black and white and distinguish between the parts of your relationship that were reality and the parts that were fantasy.

First, create a list that describes who your ex really was in the relationship. You should remember your worst times including forgotten birthdays, belligerently drunk shenanigans, and the whole antipasto. Recall your ex’s most irritating habits — the ones that made you cringe and contemplate a breakup every time you experienced them. Oh, and take a moment for gratitude while you are at it, because the irratating way your ex did (blank) will never make you feel annoyed again!

Your second list should be about who you fantasised your ex was. Lastly, you should make a third list about the person you want to date in the future. Get specific so that you can attract the right love match for you. You’ll have a lot of comparing and contrasting to do if you really dissect your past relationship, and this is going to be one of the greatest helps in your search for true, lasting love.

Quick fact: The most popular way for Kiwi singles to analyse love-sickness is to take time and talk things through with friends. 66% of our members picked this as one of the best ways to heal a broken heart.

Step 3: Learning from past love mistakes

If you don’t sit down with a pen and paper, you run the risk of keeping everything jumbled up in your head. If you don’t detangle and learn from your mistakes, you’ll just make them again with someone else. A really helpful strategy in making sense of it all is to write down all the facts and events that took place in the days, weeks or years since you met your ex. You should record all major interaction leading up to the breakup. If you have an inkling that you may be leaving things out or misconstruing what really happened, you need to check yourself. If you’ve kept a journal throughout the relationship, you can go back and reread your past entries for clarity.

If you were seeing a therapist or coach when you were with your ex, you can ask him or her to offer some perspective. If you don’t have these luxuries, you can talk to your friends and family in order to validate the truth. Go through your list with your best friend, and see if your list matches up with his or her view. After a breakup, you have a lot of questions to answer, and it doesn’t hurt to get several other opinions, especially those of friends who know you well. Once you fill in your blanks and figure out what really happened with your past partner, you’ll be more emotionally available for your future partner.

Quick fact: With 69% of Kiwis thinking that the lasting effects of love-sickness are underrated, it is clear that learning how to get over your ex is not easy! But, with time, patience and good friends – it can be done!

By taking Russo’s tips to heart and, most importantly, by being good to yourself, it is possible to get over your ex and move on with new love. Are you ready to take that next step? Then join EliteSingles today.

EliteSingles editorial, February 2014.

Rachel Russo is a US-based Dating, Relationship, & Image Coach. To learn more about her book, How to Get Over Your Ex: A Step by Step Guide to Mend a Broken Heart—Italian American Style, check out her website at


1 All statistics are from the EliteSingles ‘Love-sickness’ survey, 2014. Sample size: 778 participants from New Zealand, Australia, Canada and South Africa.

About the author: Rachel Russo

Rachel Russo is a US-based dating, relationship & image coach, and a guest contributor to ELITE magazine.

See more articles written by Rachel Russo