The breakup of a romantic relationship is difficult on so many levels. Hurtful things can be said, and the loneliness you’re left with afterward is tangible and real. But one of the most difficult factors in a breakup is when your ex moves on—that distinct moment when you’re certain that he’s truly gotten over you.
Maybe your ex has found a new partner. Perhaps he deleted all his pictures of you from his social media, or you heard he got rid of everything you gave to him.
It’s especially difficult if he was the one to end the relationship. Regardless, it’s difficult to understand and process that someone you cared so deeply for no longer feels anything for you. If you’re going through this, here are some tips to help make things easier for you.
Don’t Stalk Him on Social Media
If social media is what gave you the sense that he moved on, the best thing for you to is to stop looking at it. Stop torturing yourself.
As tempted as you are to follow his every move on social media, this will only serve to negatively impact your positive sense of self, and impede your process of moving on. Unfriending, unfollowing, and blocking are perfectly acceptable reactions to the breakup.
Being an upstanding post-breakup citizen on social media extends far beyond your views and posts. Don’t waste time and energy airing dirty laundry, shaming, or public bashing. If you feel the need to vent, seek a willing friend or a trusted therapist to bear the brunt of your fury.
Be Prepared to Run Into Him
Encountering your ex after he’s moved on can be depressing and draining. It helps if you’re prepared if you’ll be in a situation where there’s a chance, you’ll run into him.
- It will be uncomfortable. But it won’t be nearly as uncomfortable as you think.
- Prepare a mental script for the conversation.
- Avoid all physical contact with him. Don’t hug him. Don’t kiss him—not even on the cheek. That’s too intimate right now.
- Keep things short and sweet. Make eye contact, smile, and nod. You probably want to avoid a deep conversation. Honestly, he probably does, too.
- Focus on the present. Keep things light, and don’t bring up your past.
Of course, if you feel like you can’t bear even a brief conversation, don’t force yourself to just grin and bear it. You aren’t obligated to talk to him. If you’d rather not have a conversation, just excuse yourself.
He Moved On Very Quickly
It can feel brutal when your ex has quickly moved on after a breakup. It may make you wonder if you really meant anything to your ex, or if he started having feelings for his new partner before his relationship with you ended.
But overthinking the situation will only depress you more. Ruminate for as little time as possible on the possible reasons behind his seemingly hasty healing process.
What you’re interpreting as him moving on may simply be his coping mechanism. You don’t have a reliable way of knowing how he truly feels anymore. You don’t know for sure if he has emotionally moved on or not. You can only perceive what’s going on from a distance, so avoid making assumptions about what he’s feeling.
Not knowing these things likely feels frustrating. You may feel as though you’ve been abandoned in emotional limbo. But obsessing over him and engaging in difficult and awkward discussions with him about your defunct relationship will not help you get over him—it will only make it more difficult. Here are six tips to help you cope if your ex moved on too quickly for your liking.
- Don’t pretend it didn’t happen.
As the old saying goes, “ignorance is bliss.” It may feel less painful right now to ignore the realities of your situation. But ignorance will not help you long-term. Instead, acknowledge things and process them as they happen. Think through your breakup. Talk about it. Be sad. Leaning into tough experiences and feelings will help you move forward more effectively.
Talking to someone else may also help. It feels good to open up. However, not all breakup conversations are equal. Don’t talk to your ex—this will only open up wounds. Instead, cry on the shoulder of a friend, seek a professional therapist, or bend the ear of a bartender. Just do not contact your ex.
- Reflect on your own behavior.
Most problems in romantic relationships are two-way streets. To move on and explore healthier and happier relationships, we must take responsibility for our actions. Everybody makes mistakes. Each one of them is an opportunity. Acknowledging your mistakes will help you grow. It will also reduce the level of anxiety that results from regret, anger, and guilt.
- Ask yourself empowering questions
There’s significant emotional potential in asking ourselves empowering questions. Empowering questions yield better answers. You’ve probably been asking ineffective questions lately, such as, “Why did he leave?” or, “What am I gonna do now?” (They even sound whiny, don’t they?!) You’ll get helpful, constructive answers by asking empowering questions, such as “How can I be happy for him?” or, “What am I grateful for?”
- Take care of yourself.
Regardless of the role you played in the breakup, you need to care for yourself, both emotionally and physically. In terms of brain activity, the pain of heartbreak resembles physical pain because in long-term relationships, your biological rhythms are affected by your partner’s. Your diet, exercise habits, sleep patterns, even your blood pressure can be impacted, so be sure to eat well, and make time for adequate exercise, self-care, and sleep.
- Focus on your purpose.
Striving to reach new goals will motivate you to move forward. Find a new project that excites you and makes you grow. Growth leads to happiness. So, tackle something new that interests you. Take a cooking class. Learn a new language. Join a gym. Or take a road trip. This new focus will also make it easier for you to move on.
- Look at the bright side.
Have confidence that the breakup was, in the long term, a good thing. Your ex’s moving on may involve confusion, frustration, and pain in the short term. But over time, you will move on, too. You’ll find somebody else too, and be happy again.