Breakups are always hard, but they're worse when your ex moves on before you. When you find out your ex has a new partner, it's important to use healthy ways to process the news. Then, you can deal with your feelings by acknowledging how you feel, talking to friends, and journaling. If you haven't already, set strong boundaries between yourself and your ex. Finally, focus on your own happiness to help yourself move on.
Processing the News
Avoid comparing yourself to their new partner. Don’t try to learn more about their new partner or question what they have that you don't. Resist the urge to ask mutual friends for details! You will only make yourself feel worse.
When you compare yourself to others, you're never fair to yourself. That's because it's easy to see what others have that we don't, but it's hard to recognize what's great about you.
Remind yourself why you’re not together. No matter how sad you might be feeling, there’s a reason you broke up. Remember all their bad habits and inconsiderate behaviors? Now their new partner has to deal with them!
Write down all of the bad things that happened while you were together.
Think about all the ways they let you down.
Distract yourself with fun activities. Don’t give yourself time to dwell on your ex’s new relationship. Go out with your friends, do something creative, try a new hobby, challenge yourself physically, or go on an adventure. Fill your life with awesome activities, and you won’t have time to worry about your ex.
Try something you’ve always wanted to try.
Do the things you used to enjoy before your relationship with your ex, such as girls night, hot yoga, or taking an evening art class.
Don’t trash talk your ex to make yourself feel better. This works temporarily, but it’ll hurt you in the long run. It keeps you stuck in your breakup rut. Your ex’s relationship with someone else won’t stop you from living the life you want. Only you can do that!
It’s okay to vent on occasion, but don’t let all of your conversations turn into rants about your ex.
If someone changes the subject, don’t try to change it back to your ex.
Dealing with Your Feelings
Name the emotions you’re feeling instead of fighting them. It’s normal to feel a range of emotions when you find out your ex is dating someone new. Don’t try to force yourself to stop feeling them. Instead, acknowledge what you’re feeling and let it pass.
It’s okay if you need to cry sometimes.
Talk to your friends about your feelings. Meet them in person for coffee, or text them whenever you need to talk. Let them know if you need to vent or would like advice.
Choose the people you trust the most.
Try to avoid talking to mutual friends, as they might inadvertently mention details about your ex.
Journal about your thoughts and feelings. Keeping a journal allows you to work through your feelings on your own. You could write in it every day or when you’re feeling upset.
You could keep a paper journal or a digital journal, depending on which you prefer.
Forgive them if they hurt you. Don’t hold onto your hurt feelings. It may feel like forgiveness is for the other person, but it’s really for you. Forgiveness will give you the freedom to move on. Look for their good qualities in addition to the bad, and realize that they likely weren't trying to hurt you.
Let go of your anger and resentment toward your ex. Holding onto anger only punishes you.
Remember the good parts of your relationship, as well as the lessons you've learned. Although they hurt you, some good likely came from the relationship.
Talk to someone about your feelings, such as a friend or therapist. Writing in your journal can also help you work through these feelings.
You might even write a long letter to your ex about how they hurt you. Burn it or throw it away instead of sending it.
You don't need to let the person back into your life. With forgiveness, you can actually let go of them forever, if that's what you want.
Don’t let one bad experience prevent you from finding happiness with someone else.
Cut off all contact, if you haven’t already. It’s hard not talking to someone you care about, but it’s the best thing for you! Resist the urge to reach out via phone, text, or email. When you feel tempted, contact a friend instead.
If they keep texting you or you feel tempted to text them, block their number.
If you must stay in contact with them because you share children, keep your communications focused on your children.
Don’t try to be friends with them right now. It’s possible you could eventually be friends with your ex, but first you need to get over the breakup. Give yourself the time and space away from them you need to heal.
If they ask you to be friends, tell them you need space. Say, “I’ll think about it, but right now I need to do my own thing. I need my space.”
Unfollow them on all social media. It’s hard to sever the ties after a breakup. It might feel scary to lose contact with someone who was once special to you. Plus, it’s likely a tiny part of you wants to spy on them to see if they’re doing better than you. However, this will just make you feel crappy and make it hard to move on.
It’s okay to taper off your social media contact with them, if it’s too hard to hit unfollow. However, you need to eventually break those ties.
Additionally, resist the urge to ask mutual friends about what they’re doing. You might even unfollow some of your mutual friends who often post about your ex until you're over the breakup.
Avoid the places they frequent. You likely know many of your ex’s habits, so use that knowledge to your advantage. Stay away from their favorite restaurants, coffee houses, and other haunts. Don’t visit their workplace, if you can help it. Until you’re over the breakup, do your best to keep your distance.
Seeing them out on a date would hurt, so don’t risk it.
Visit places you used to enjoy before you dated them.
Set a goal to try out all the cool new places you’ve never tried before.
Focusing on Your Own Happiness
Forgive yourself for your past relationship mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes! Don’t beat yourself up for the issues in your relationships. Think about the lessons you’ve learned instead.
Write down how each relationship has improved you.
Recognize the work you put into the relationship.
Embrace self love. Instead of trying to find love, give love to yourself. List the things you love about yourself, including your personality, body, and talents. Use positive self talk to create a good outlook about yourself.
To use positive self talk, notice when you’re telling yourself negative things. Replace those thoughts with honest, positive statements. You can also use positive affirmations.
Date yourself! Go to the movies, go out for coffee, eat dinner in a nice restaurant, go for a nice walk in the park, and get tickets to a concert you’ve always wanted to see.
Tell yourself you deserve someone who wants the same things you do. You and your ex broke up for a reason. Even if you didn’t want to break up, it’s important to remember your ex had their reasons. They may not have wanted the same things you did, and they clearly didn’t love you as much as you deserve. Look for the person who will.
Make a list of everything you want in a relationship and how your ex didn’t fulfill those needs.
If you broke off the relationship, remember why you wanted to part ways.
Take a step toward a goal you have. This will help you direct your energies toward personal fulfillment, not your ex. Even a tiny step toward your goal can help you feel better. Do something easy, then keep up the momentum!
Break your goal into small, manageable steps. For example, if your goal is to run a marathon, you might start by training for a 5K.
Do one nice thing for yourself each day. You deserve a treat! This will help you feel better about your life and yourself. Here are some ideas:
Go out for lunch.
Spend time on a hobby.
Buy yourself a coffee.
Pick up a dessert to-go.
Buy yourself something you’ve been eyeing.
Focus on the positive things in your life. Instead of looking at what you don’t have, meaning your ex, take note of what’s going well in your life. Think about your career, friendships, hobbies, goals, etc. Here are some things to consider:
Look at your life the way you’re looking at your ex. Turn your own highlight reel into a story about how well your life is going.
If you’re having trouble finding things to celebrate, ask those closest to you to help point out the good things in your life. Chances are they’ll be able to list off several awesome things you’re overlooking!
Work out your feelings through exercise. Get at least 30 minutes of exercise each day. Choose an exercise that lets you blow off some steam, like kickboxing, dancing, or running.
You might try high-intensity training or interval training. The high intensity portions of the workout will allow you to release built up emotions. The recovery periods will give you time to catch your breath.
Tend to your self care. When you’re going through a tough time, it’s normal to neglect your self care. However, it’s extremely important that you take care of yourself. Give yourself the care you need, such as the following:
Begin dating again only when you’re ready. Don’t rush into a new relationship or go out looking for a one night stand. While there’s nothing wrong with exploring the dating scene, wait until you’re fully ready. Not giving yourself enough time to recover will only make you feel worse.