Even if the breakup or divorce was your idea, that doesn't mean you'll automatically feel fine when your ex starts dating someone else. After all, you were in a committed relationship with this person—maybe even married them and assumed you'd spend your life together—so the realization that they've moved on with someone else, whether it's serious or just a fling, isn't exactly an easy pill to swallow. These feelings of sadness, longing, or even regret may come as a bit of a surprise and make you question why you care, but it's completely normal and, in some cases, to be expected.
While it's important to acknowledge your feelings, try your best not to dwell. You may be a little overwhelmed at first, but consider this your guide to coping with your ex dating someone else. It isn't easy, but it is possible, and it may even inspire you to start dating again.
Here are six tips that will help you process those negative emotions.
Feel Your Feelings
Whether you were together for a few months or more than a decade, living apart or together, in a long-term relationship or married, your ex meant a lot to you at some point. During the time you were together, you probably considered them the love of your life or life partner at the very least. Seeing them with someone else may trigger feelings of bitterness, but that's normal.
It doesn't mean you are still in love, but it does mean that you still care. You may feel insulted or sad that your ex was able to move on so fast, but when you meet someone else and fall in love, you'll probably feel a little bit less bad about your ex having moved on. Trust us: The fact that they're dating has nothing to do with you.
Allow Yourself to Be Jealous
This goes hand-in-hand with feeling your emotions. However, while you may expect to feel a bit sad about your ex moving on, you may be surprised or confused at the feelings of jealousy that are bubbling up. You may feel jealous because the person who was supposed to be your partner is with someone else, and it feels like they're cheating. On the other hand, you may feel jealous that they were able to move on before you.
If you're negative feelings are too much for you to bear, try talking to a therapist who may be able to help you work through your emotions in a constructive and helpful way.
Remember Why You Divorced
Breaking up with a serious partner or getting a divorce is generally not something a couple does without a lot of consideration; you probably had valid reasons for splitting up. Keep these reasons in mind when you start to feel sad or jealous at the idea of your ex with someone else. Do you want them back? If the answer is no, remind yourself why. Doing this whenever you start to feel negative emotions about your ex and his new partner will help you accept what's going on—and it may even help you move on, too.
Try to Move Forward
Something else to consider: Could you be uncomfortable with the idea of your ex dating someone else because you are still stuck in the past? If you feel so strongly about your ex dating that it's forcing you to overthink every little thing and effectively ruining your day, take a step back and try to help yourself move on. The idea of putting the past in the past may sound intimidating like you're officially closing a book you used to love, but it's the best way to remind yourself that you are the most important in your life, and you are the person you need to keep happy.
Know That You Aren't Being Replaced
No matter how in love with his or her new partner your ex is, remind yourself that they're not trying to replace you or reproduce what you two had. Each relationship is different because it's perfectly tailored to the parties involved.
What you two had will always be unique to you two. Also, them making new memories with someone else doesn't force out the memories he shared with you. The most important thing to remember when it comes to coping with your ex dating someone else is that this new relationship is not a reflection of you or your relationship.
Try to Be Happy for Your Ex
No matter how much conflict there was during the breakup or divorce process, ask yourself if you genuinely want your ex to be unhappy. Even if the immediate answer is yes, that probably isn't true deep down. After all, you married them believing that they're a good-hearted person who deserves love and respect, right? Letting go is a process, and it will take some time and effort to get there, but when you do, you'll probably realize that you want your ex to be happy—even if that means they're happy with someone else.