I went through a big breakup last year. In the months that followed, I did a lot of healing, growing, and moving on, and got into a really good place. Then my ex started dating someone new, and it suddenly felt like I was going through the break up all over again. As someone who’s always working on my mental health and mindfulness, I delved into ways to feel better and heal anew. Here’s what I’ve learned about coping when your ex is dating someone new.
How to cope when your ex is dating someone new:
1. Allow yourself to feel your emotions
Seeing that your ex is dating someone new undoubtedly opens up old wounds. It’s totally, completely normal to feel sad, hurt, or angry even IF you thought you had totally moved on from the situation. Like a random post I saw on Instagram said, “It is entirely possible to miss something whilst knowing with complete certainty that you do not want it back.” If you need to cry, cry. If you need to vent to a friend, vent to a friend. If you need to scream-sing along to Olivia Rodrigo’s SOUR album, scream-sing away.
That said, know this – your sadness is not telling you that the situation is wrong. Your emotions simply affirm that the situation is sad, but that doesn’t mean it’s supposed to be different.
2. Try to find your rational brain
While you can feel all of the emotions, make sure to seek out rationality as well. Know that what you are feeling is a normal response, but is also a temporary response. Remind yourself of how well you were doing before you found out about your ex’s relationship status, and assure yourself that you will get back to that place. Your emotional brain is doing all of the talking right now, but your rational brain exists too and will reappear!
3. Don’t compare
Whatever you do, don’t compare your relationship to your ex’s new relationship and don’t compare yourself to your ex’s new boo. You are probably better looking, yes, but does that knowledge really help anything? Thinking poorly of the new relationship or significant other doesn’t help you heal.
In the same way, don’t glorify their relationship either. Don’t immediately assume their relationship is better than yours ever was. They may be experiencing the same issues you experienced in your own relationship, or they may have entirely different struggles. Here’s the thing – you don’t know. And it’s better not to know.
4. Avoid digging
I know it is so tempting, but do not go down the rabbit hole of trying to find out more about their relationship or their new significant other. If you feel like you’re getting stabbed in the gut every time you see a pic of your ex and their new fling on social media, that’s probably a sign that you should not be looking at their social media. Mute them, unfriend them, block them, do whatever you need to do to keep from seeing anything that will hurt you further. You can even take a social media break entirely if you know you can’t avoid the temptation of peeking in. (Definitely not speaking from experience…) Digging for information changes nothing about the situation and only hurts you.
5. Redirect your thoughts
If you find your thoughts about your ex’s relationship are spinning out of control, distract distract distract. You might find yourself wondering what they might be doing together, whether they’ve met each other’s families, or when they’ll say I love you. Don’t let yourself! When you start thinking these hurtful thoughts, force yourself to think about anything else instead. I saw a girl on TikTok who did 10 push-ups every time she thought of her ex. Since I can’t even do one push up, I instead decided to offer each bad thought to God and ask him to carry it away from me. With enough distraction, you’ll eventually train your brain to stop thinking about it altogether.
6. Remember that people are allowed to change
A typical thought to have when your ex is dating someone new is, “What if they’ve changed for the new person?” Chances are, they probably haven’t. But if they have, that’s okay, too. People are allowed to grow, change, and improve. Maybe your ex couldn’t prioritize you over their friends when you were dating, but they can for this new partner. That doesn’t mean that they could change for you – evidence shows that they didn’t! And so what if they change for their new person? It’s just another sign that you two weren’t right together.
7. Remind yourself why you broke up
Here’s where your rational brain will really come into play. You broke up for reasons, and those reasons are still valid even though you are hurting. Revisit all of the reasons why you broke up, and remind yourself that those issues are still valid. If you were supposed to be together, you would be.
8. Know that it has nothing to do with your worth
Remember that your ex’s new relationship doesn’t take away from the importance of your previous relationship in their life. You both shared an important, unique experience together that will never be erased. You are an entirely separate person from their new significant other, with just as many perfections and flaws. Just because your ex found someone new doesn’t mean they found someone who is superior to you. They might have found someone more compatible, or their new partner could be a fling that just lasts a few months. Either way, it has nothing to do with how worthy you are of love.
9. Don’t let fear do the talking
Seeing your ex with someone new might make you think that you’ll never find love again, or that you made a mistake in breaking up. That’s fear talking! As mental health professional, Nick Viall (okay fine he’s a previous Bachelor contestant), says on his podcast, “Usually when people second guess their break up, it’s because they’re impatient with finding something better.” Just because your ex moved on first doesn’t mean you’re out of time to also find love. Everyone is on their own journey! Yours will unfold for you exactly when it’s meant to.
10. Focus on yourself
This is cliché to say, but keep focusing on yourself. The flex isn’t moving on the fastest, it’s becoming the best version of yourself to move forward confident, healed, and sure of what you want and deserve. Don’t let this bump in the road trick you into thinking you’ve veered off path. Keep working on yourself knowing that you’re putting in the necessary effort to achieve the most fulfilled future.
I hope this has helped you to take some steps toward healing when your ex is dating someone new. If you have any other tips to share, please share in the comments!