Few things are more painful than finding out that an ex has moved on. Even if our feelings are a shadow of what they once were and we don’t want them back, it still hurts to see the person we shared so much with starting over again with someone new.
Unfortunately, nearly all of us experience this kind of pain at least once in our lives. And in all honesty, nothing can make it stop hurting. Especially if we’ve still got feelings for the ex, or it’s been just a short while since we broke up, the only remedy is time.
Although we can’t stop the pain that comes from an ex moving on, there are certain things we can do to cope with the experience. Like all things, it will pass, but we can take action to make ourselves a little more comfortable while we ride out the wave. Some of them are trickier than others and seem to go against our natural instinct, but ultimately, they’ll all help us to survive this bumpy phase.
Just as there are things we should do to help us cope when our ex moves on, there are also things we should avoid doing. Check out our list below to find out what’s helpful and what’s not!
21 Be Grateful For What Was Learned
Gratitude might not be the miracle fix for all of life’s problems, but it sure helps to take the edge off most of them. By focusing on the positives of any given situation as opposed to the negatives, you’ll lift your mood. When it comes to your ex moving on, the positive would be that you learned something from your time with them.
According to Melanie Schilling, relationship expert on Married at First Sight Australia, “The best thing to do on an intellectual level post break-up is to extract the lessons. Consider the positives and negatives of the relationship, reflect on who you were in the relationship, the things you liked and disliked about yourself and the things you’d like to do differently next time.”
20 Concentrate On What’s Important, Not The New Girlfriend
It’s very easy to start obsessing over the person your ex has started seeing, but the relationship gurus don’t think that’s the best course of action if your goal is to get over them ASAP. Rather than focusing on the new partner, and how they appear to have everything you don’t, instead focus on what’s important: yourself.
“This is your opportunity to re-fill your emotional cup after a draining experience,” advises Schilling (via Smooth). How can you nurture yourself physically, emotionally, intellectually, spiritually? It’s important that you restore your settings to your ‘normal’ before stepping into your next relationship.”
19 Take Control Of Mental And Physical Health Again
That leads to our next point! Part of concentrating on you rather than the new girlfriend or boyfriend is to take control of your health, in both the physical and mental sense. When it comes to staying on top of your physical health, limit how much time you spent lazing around in bed and eating unhealthy food.
Be kind to yourself and do what feels good to cheer yourself up, sure. But eventually, you have to get back on the horse and start taking actions that will make you feel better in the long run. As far as your mental health is concerned, let yourself cry it out when you need to.
18 Make The Decision To Stop Talking To Them
This is often the hardest step, but one that is absolutely crucial if your ex has moved on. Pull off the Band-Aid, cut all ties, and stop speaking to them. Although you might think that having them in your life at all will bring you comfort, it will really remind you of the fact that they’re not yours anymore.
Chances are you’ll feel pretty bad when you see your ex and the new girlfriend together, in photos or in real life, so why do that to yourself if you don’t have to? Wish them well, and move them on out of your life.
17 Avoid Going Where They Might Be
Love Panky advises that avoiding seeing your ex and their new lover should be one of your top priorities when coping with all the pain their relationship is causing you. In addition to cutting ties with your ex, it might also be a good idea to take it to the next level and actually avoid the places where you might run into them.
As long as you’re not changing your whole life around, it’s just easier if you lower the risk of having an unpleasant run-in. And as an added bonus, if you start frequenting new coffee shops and grocery stores, who knows who you might meet?
16 Remember Why The Break Up Was A Good Idea
This is good advice whether your ex has moved on or you’re just struggling with the pain of the break up in general. Remind yourself why you broke up in the first place. That way, even if your heart longs to be with them again and feels hurt that they’re dating someone else, your brain will know that it’s all for the best anyway.
“Seeing [the reasons why you broke up] every day will help reinforce your decision that this guy should stay in your past and help you look towards the future to someone way more awesome and better suited for you,” say the love experts at All Women's Talk.
15 Organize Some Distractions
Distractions are a great coping mechanism for any kind of pain. Getting your legs waxed. Count the number of green things you can see. Running on the treadmill. Listen to music. Dealing with an ex who’s moved on before you? Find some way of distracting yourself. All Women's Talk vouches for this technique, and in our experience, a couple of good girlfriends are priceless when you need to take your mind off your love woes.
Music is extremely helpful, not only for distracting you but also getting you to feel things and express your emotions. You could try taking up a new hobby, setting an exercise goal, or even having a movie marathon.
14 Be Empowered By The Single Life
Although many people fear being on their own, the truth is that there are a lot of perks to the single life that tend to fly under the radar. Rather than feeling like the world has ended because your ex has moved on and you’re still alone, you could embrace being single and let it empower you.
Take the chance to do things that you couldn’t do when you were with your ex. Book a spontaneous vacation without considering what anybody else wants to do. Go where YOU want to go. Eat at restaurants that YOU want to eat at. Once you start being a little more selfish with your decisions, you’ll see how empowering being a single gal can be.
13 Start Dating Again When The Time Is Right
On the flip side, you might find that you’re the type of girl who’s the happiest when she’s in a relationship, and that’s okay too. As long as you don’t feel like you need to be somebody’s girlfriend in order to survive, it’s fine to crave a partner.
When the time is right for you, jumping back into the dating game will be a good way to help you forget about your ex and their new partner. At the very least, you’ll be reminded that there are so many different people out there, that the thought of getting hung up on just one is quite strange. According to Zoosk, “If they’ve moved on, you need to too.”
12 Resist Jumping To Conclusions
If your ex starts dating someone else, you should assume that things between you are officially over. At the same time, though, there’s no need to jump to conclusions. Don’t let your mind start picturing your ex getting engaged and living happily ever after with someone they’ve known for two weeks.
Even if that might happen somewhere down the line, those images will do nothing but cause you pain if you’re still feeling a little fragile. We’re not saying to hold onto the hope that they might come back to you one day—just deal with what you see in front of you rather than catastrophizing things.
11 Try Not To Feel Personally Attacked
It’s a hard blow when the ex moves on first, especially if only a little time has gone past. But according to the gurus at Love Panky, you shouldn’t let this get you down. Ultimately, you don’t know what’s going on in another person’s life, and if they do move on from you quite quickly, it doesn’t necessarily have to say anything about you.
Your ex might just be the kind of person who moves on quickly. They might be the type to bounce from relationship to relationship out of fear of being alone. Or they could still be hung up on you and dating on the rebound just to deal with it. Try not to feel like it’s a personal attack on you.
10 Remember That The Ex Deserves Happiness Too
Time to play the devil’s advocate. Unless your ex did something unspeakable, chances are they deserve happiness too. And if moving on will make them happy, then so be it. That can be a tough truth to swallow, but remembering it can help you to feel less resentful.
Live About explains that “Letting go is a process, and it may take you some time and effort to get there.” But acknowledging that your ex deserves to be happy too is a huge step in your own personal growth and development, and releasing the anger that you feel towards them for moving on will be a weight off your shoulders.
9 Be Okay With Feeling Sad
Breakups are sad. Finding out that the person you loved, or still love, is involved with someone new is sad. While all these techniques will help you to cope with the pain of it all, the truth is that nothing can erase those negative feelings but time.
What you can do to help yourself is allow yourself to feel whatever comes to you, whether it's sadness or anger or something else. “It’s important to allow yourself the time and space to process the relationship and its ending, to reinvest in yourself and have some fun distractions on hand for when you’re feeling blue,” advises Schilling (via Smooth).
8 Remember That The New Relationship Will Not Erase The Old One
One of the reasons why seeing your ex with someone new is so painful is because you might feel like the relationship you had has been erased. That’s the world we know—when something new pops up, it takes the place of something old. But relationships are different.
Just because your ex is in a new relationship does not mean that your relationship never happened, or was never important, according to the love experts at Bustle: “Your relationship was unique and special and nothing can ever take away from that. Your ex will never experience with this new person exactly what they did with you.”
7 Practice Mindfulness To Get Through It
Practicing mindfulness is an effective way to get through any tough time in your life, and dealing with your ex moving on is no exception. Growing Self defines mindfulness “as the practice of observing without judgment. Mindfulness is crucial to your breakup healing process because you can feel so disjointed, confused and boxed in during a break up that you feel like you’ll never escape the grief.”
To practice mindfulness, take some deep breaths, in for four seconds and out for eight seconds. While you’re breathing, allow your thoughts to flow without giving them meaning or power. Simply co-exist with them.
6 Think Helpful, Not Unhelpful, Thoughts
Your mindset makes all the difference when it comes to how well you cope with your ex moving on. It’s a good idea to come up with some mantras that you can repeat to yourself when negative or panicky thoughts take over.
Growing Self lists the following mantras as particularly helpful when you have to deal with the pain of a break up and an ex who’s moving on: “I’m allowed to be happy,” “I live for the present, not in the past,” and “I can and will move on,” will all help you to keep a positive frame of mind.
5 Don’t Stalk The Ex On Social Media
It’s tempting and easy, and a lot of people do it, but please think twice before stalking your ex (or their new partner) on social media. If your goal is to feel better or move on, giving in to your curiosity is not going to be your friend. If you commit to breaking contact with your ex and focusing on yourself rather than on the new partner, there should be no reason to check their social media.
We would recommend unfollowing or unfriending them so the temptation is not there. If that’s going to cause too much tension, you could always mute their posts so you don’t have to see them. Looking at their page will more than likely make you feel worse.
4 Don’t Rush Into A New Relationship To Keep Up
Remember that moving on is not a race. Although you and your ex have just come out of the same relationship, you’re still two different people. It might be a good time for one of you to move on, but that doesn’t mean the other will be ready. That isn’t necessarily because one is still hung up on the other one, either.
Maybe you’ve got some emotional things to deal with before you get into a new relationship, or you want to take some time out to be single. If you rush into a new relationship just to keep up, you’ll probably find that you’re getting involved with someone else who isn’t right for you.
3 Don’t Compare The Old And The New
It’s natural to compare what you and your ex had with what they’ve got with their new partner, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. If you do compare, you’ll be your own worst enemy. One won’t necessarily be better than the other, but the relationships will always be different.
Comparing is just pointless, like weighing up apples and oranges. All it does is make you feel like you’re lacking because you didn’t have what they have. If you can’t help but compare, try not to follow their relationship closely so you don’t have anything to hold against yourself.
2 Don’t Lash Out Against The Ex
Anger might be one of the emotions you experience when you see that your ex has moved on. That’s okay, and you should accept those feelings rather than ignore them. But let them into your life in a healthy way. Whatever you do, don’t lash out at your ex! Literally no good can come of it.
You might feel a moment of temporary relief and satisfaction, but in exchange, you’ll let everyone know how hurt your feelings are while proving that you possess the emotional intelligence of a toddler. There are healthy and safe (and legal!) ways to express your anger that don’t involve lashing out at another person.
1 Don’t Try To Resurrect The Relationship
Sometimes, the first reaction you have when your ex dates someone new is to want them back. If someone else is interested in them, they must have something to offer, right? If you feel like this, you might be tempted to try resurrecting your relationship, but that’s not a good idea.
Firstly, they’re with someone else. It’s not fair to the new partner or to your ex for you to come back into their life now. Secondly, the reason that you broke up hasn’t suddenly changed just because someone else is involved with them. Your ex might look shiny and new again, but don’t be fooled: it’s just the same old ex.
Sources: Smooth, Bustle, Love Panky, All Women's Talk, Zoosk, Growing Self, Live About