Who among us hasn’t gone through a breakup? Feels like your heart’s shattered into a million pieces. Worse, when your ex moves on, you either feel everything at once or nothing.
It’s like being stuck in a loop of constantly checking their social activity, going through old pictures, and re-reading chats. Feeling jealous when your ex moves on is natural but how painfully we regret following them then!
Breakups increase tension and stress levels, loss of appetite, and poor sleep. Almost like we’re physically hurt and not just emotionally wounded. Studies agree intense social rejection is associated with physical pain. They demonstrated this by having people who recently experienced an unwanted breakup view a photograph of ex-partners as they think about being rejected — activated areas that support the sensory components of physical pain. So how does one do it? How to move on after a breakup, especially when your ex moves on?
Why Does It Hurt When An Ex Moves On?
A 2020 study by the University of Colorado at Boulder has a clear solution to feeling jealous when your ex moves on. The study expresses that it’s hard to obtain distance in the digital age. It can be almost impossible to move on if you are constantly being bombarded with reminders in different places online. Even if you’ve unfriended or unfollowed your ex, you could still find their activity either through a mutual friend’s page or the memories feature popping up to remind us of our past love.
If you ache with feelings like “Seeing my ex with someone else kills me”, your best bet when your ex moves on is to take a break from social media for a while until you are in a better place, according to the study.
Related Reading: 15 Tips To Cope When You See Your Ex With A New Girlfriend
Before talking about the ways in which we can move forward with our lives, it is important to first come to terms with why it hurts when your ex moves on. It hurts because when your ex moves on with someone else, all your insecurities, self-esteem issues, and fears start to rise up.
If you’re dealing with figuring out how to cope with seeing an ex you meet every day, watch our popular expert video. We’re rooting for you.
Whatever the reason for the breakup may be, we feel intense anguish and a wounding ache. Here are the reasons it hurts a lot when an ex moves on:
1. Waves of grief
When your ex moves on, it is a world of hurt. You’ve lost someone you proudly called your significant other. Whatever your partner’s or relationship’s reality was, your love and bonding persisted. Losing the feeling of loving someone and losing all the love that they give you is bound to put you in a spiral and it is just the beginning of the stages of grief after a breakup. It is a magnitude of hurt that feels hard to measure.
Related Reading: Why Am I Sad When I Broke Up With Him? 4 Reasons And 5 Tips To Cope
2. A massive change in your support system
Your life had included, up until now, a friend and a lover that was always around to support and care for you. But once the relationship is over, so is the joint role of the two partners as it was. You have to learn to do everything on your own again and get rid of habituated behavior.
You may always have your close friends with you but the love that a partner gives is unique.
3. Drastic changes in expectations and future plans
Getting over a breakup also includes coming to terms with the fact that all your plans for the future and goals will now change. For instance, you might have been planning to live together or take a trip together, or even get married.
Moving on from the stages of breakup grief will take you on a rollercoaster of emotions, but little by little you have to come to terms with the reality. It is natural to feel clueless and scared about moving on to a single future. On top of that, when your ex moves on quickly while you’re still hung up on them, you are rendered speechless. All your expectations plummet.
4. Regrets and a shaken sense of self
It can be scary when your ex moves on right away. You are bound to have regrets after a relationship goes bad. You replay conversations and scenarios in your head, trying to make sense of your partner’s perspective. Maybe you were overbearing at times and you regret that now.
Regret may bring self-criticism and comparison, and a negative voice that says “My ex has moved on but I haven’t”. Your sense of self is bound to be questioned and that can result in increased frustration and despair.
The Science Of Feelings After A Breakup
We have intriguing insights from people and scientific studies about breakups and how it affects men and women contrastingly:
Related Reading: Man Vs Woman After Breakup – 8 Vital Differences
A 2019 study by the Journal of Loss and Trauma undertook 286 undergraduates who took part in surveys to identify factors associated with positive and negative outcomes following a romantic breakup or loss. Only a quarter (22.4%) of the relationships had ended by mutual agreement. In general, first breakups were associated with fewer positive outcomes. Interestingly, the positive and negative effects of breakups were:
- 60.1% of the responders felt a sense of relief
- A sense of freedom (53.1%)
- No longer being anxious (42.3%)
- Happiness (42.0%)
- Sadness (67.8%)
- Jealousy (33.6%)
- Loss of self-esteem (30.1%)
- Anxiety (29.7%)
Quotes from the study:
- How did you feel when the relationship ended?
I felt really upset because everything was perfect and then it wasn’t. I was trying to be somebody that I am not.
- How did the breakup affect your mental health?
I thought something was wrong with me at the time but all the anxiety went away so that was a plus.
- Describe any positive effects of the fact that the relationship ended.
I was in an abusive relationship so I was happy to be out of it, ready to move on and I became more independent too.
A Reddit user shared their words of wisdom: “Why focus on the rearview mirror when you have an entire highway of possibilities right in front of you?” Another Reddit user shared their story of moving on, “Last week I woke up in a panic. I had moved on. My feelings for him are gone. Over 4 years are now behind me. I feel indifferent. I have grown so much since then, I am a completely different person. I am hopeful, happy, and excited for the future.”
More so, a recent study published in the Social Psychological and Personality Science journal, discovered that men view their ex-partners more favorably than women do. Post-breakup, women engage in more constructive coping than men, which provides women with stronger feelings of closure, including greater assurance that their ex was not a good partner for them.
Men often remain emotionally attached long after the breakup, are less likely to believe that their ex was not right for them, and retain a soft corner. So don’t forget to do the work that you owe to yourself even when your ex moves on. A haircut may be therapeutic, but how to deal with the unrest? What to do when your ex moves on quickly?
Related Reading: Why Do Breakups Hit Guys Later?
9 Ways To Cope When Your Ex Moves On
You weren’t over the hard-hitting breakup yet, and suddenly, you take another hit when your ex moves on. Coping with it all is hell and you aren’t wrong. We’ve all felt it when someone says, “Seeing my ex with someone else kills me.”
Here’s what to remember when your ex moves on, though. It may seem scary, painful, and shocking at first but as you let yourself be sad and feel all the emotions that come with it, you can have peace in the fact that what has transpired had to, that you may be better off without each other. The separation may have been the worst, but things don’t stay the same forever. Prepare to embrace the stages of a breakup.
Better days are coming. Here are a few ways to cope when your ex moves on:
1. Being sad and feeling hurt is totally natural
Cue Olivia Rodrigo’s Drivers license, switch on your breakup playlist with all your favorite sad breakup songs and breakup movies and let yourself cry, and feel everything. Here’s what to remember when your ex moves on – Your pain needs an outlet. After what’s happened, tears are inevitable. To cope with your loss you need to process all the hurt, support yourself through the process, as well as comfort and soothe yourself.
You can always call over a close friend with whom you feel safe to share your pain and lighten the load. This will even make your bond stronger. It is vital to take some time out and grieve to move on, especially from a toxic relationship.
2. Bring on the distractions
It is one thing when your ex moves on but another when your ex moves on before you. Healthy distractions are necessary to break our thought loops wherein we’re stuck in a mode of inaction and tend to feel drained.
Distract yourself by doing something you like, for instance, reading a book, completing pending work, finishing household chores, or taking a stroll in a park. Bring your attention to life around you that’s still going on and a whole world out there unexplored.
3. Consider therapy
Sometimes, the end of a relationship is a nasty breakup. You may see the dark, even violent, sides of your partner. It’s okay to fall apart for a bit especially if you don’t have the right voice around you. You might end up isolated and you don’t know what’s the right thing to do.
Also, when your ex moves on with someone else, you end up resenting how they get to move on with their lives, while you are still stuck. It is natural to need someone to talk it out with, like an expert who can help you understand yourself better and guide you through your healing journey. Needless to say, breakups are traumatic and sometimes we require some extra support to get through the healing journey. Learning to cope with the strong emotions that come after a breakup, will be healing.
4. What to remember when your ex moves on – physical movement
Exercise! Studies show health benefits from regular exercise include an improvement in various aspects that are linked to better mental health, better sleep, alleviating stress, improved mood, and energy levels, and overall well-being. So, go take a walk for your mental health.
5. Meditation, journaling, and mindfulness
We’ve learned about why it hurts when your ex moves on, yet getting over a breakup also means diving into what went wrong, how you may have been out of line, or how you let them break your boundaries. Mainly, you try to learn new perspectives, change your reactions, and understand the relationship and the issues more deeply.
Mindfulness, meditation, and journaling are all healing practices that, if done regularly, help you clear your mind, stay present and focus on the task at hand, and also help let go of all burdens and negativities.
6. Take it one day at a time
When your ex moves on right away, it’s almost as if they’re mocking us. Yet, understanding that their actions are just a projection of their emotions and not a personal attack on us is important. Accept the situation and move on with a smile. The crux of the situation is complete acceptance and moving on to becoming a better version of ourselves.
It will not happen overnight, you have to do the work involved, and relearn your good aspects as well as unlearn the toxicity. Every day, do something you love even if it’s just for five minutes, and see your life change as long as you’re consistent.
7. Stop stalking your ex
“My ex has moved on but I haven’t!” – a complaint by so many. Our digital world makes it easier to show us the activities of everyone we’ve known with just a tap and a swipe. It isn’t healthy to fall into a spiral of stalking your ex on multiple platforms for any reason. Something that is concluded has to be left behind. We cannot always hope for things to be how we’d like them to be, maybe our future is something we can’t even fathom yet. If you’re wondering whether you should block your ex, you probably should!
8. Detachment and forgiveness
Buddhist teachings define detachment as a healthy form of moving on from a person or situation. It is important to forgive your ex no matter what the situation is, not for their sake but for yours. You have to let go of the extra burden you’re carrying, you don’t have to hold on to the pain. Rather, just feel it and let it go.
Feeling jealous when your ex moves on comes naturally, yet we need to understand that comparing our lives with other people only brings us agony. Eventually, forgive, detach, and move on for the better.
9. What to do when your ex moves on quickly? Travel and find your own solo adventures
A breakup boot camp for you to take your life to the next level. Recall the movie Eat Pray Love. After eight years of marriage, Elizabeth realizes she cannot continue being unhappily married. Something inside her instills a sense of restlessness. She embarks on a journey to rediscover her true self. One of the best things to do after a breakup will surely be a self-fulfilling solo trip where you can take your time to heal and figure out your next move.
Nothing can stop you from blossoming into the best version of yourself, even when your ex moves on before you. An opportunity to start fresh, get rid of old burdens, and build a relationship authentically with yourself is awaiting.
We have learned over time that strong emotions and tough situations, no matter how hard, bring out the best in us. We tend to become more mature, feel things clearly, and understand ourselves better after every instance. Our fear dissipates and we finally realize that life is fleeting. You may not be okay today, but you’ll be fine soon.
Related Reading: Moving On From A Toxic Relationship – 8 Expert Tips To Help
- Science points out how the strong emotions you feel during social rejection like breakups are closely related to the same sensory components as physical pain
- Studies also discovered men have more favorable feelings toward their exes while women are more proactive in taking steps to detach and move on in a healthy manner, which isn’t the case for men who usually mask their pain
- Moving on from your ex feels like a sad commercial coming to life. Life feels dull and everything makes you feel either sad or numb. You go through all the stages of grief
- Moving on may not be easy yet you’ll come to accept it. Take things day by day, cry as much as you want, make new habits – get into new healthy distractions like exercise, journaling, meditation, dance, or talk to a therapist who can help you navigate through the swarm of overwhelming feelings
Everybody’s healing journey is varied from the other, some people prefer working out the pain, while some want a holiday in the mountains. Whatever works for you, stick to it and let it transform you for the better.