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Date & Relate
by Sara Hodon

When Your Ex Moves On

Isn’t it great to finally feel like you’re moving on after the end of a bad breakup?  Isn’t it empowering to take stock of your mistakes, throw out whatever crap he still had left at your place, and get a new lease on life?

The trouble is—that’s what he’s doing, too.  And sometimes, he’s way ahead of you.  He could be engaged by the time you’ve finished deleting all of the lovey-dovey emails he sent you in the early days.

How dare he!  Doesn’t he know that you’re the only one allowed to move on from your relationship, and his burden to bear in life is that he’ll never, ever find someone as wonderful as you?! 

I think we’d all like to think that we would be the bigger person—if we hear that our ex has recently met someone, or we see them around with their new flame, we like to think that we’d be happy for them.  We want to wish them well and give them both big hugs and walk away with a smile on our face and that warm fuzzy feeling inside.

But let’s be honest—it takes awhile to get to that point.  It takes some recovery time in which there is much eating of ice cream and wearing of sweatpants.  A time in which our best friends automatically remind us that we’re so much better off without him as we ask “What went wrong?” for the millionth time.

So, it goes without saying that when we hear our ex has found a new love, it stings a little.  

True, there’s no set timeline for getting over a relationship.  Some people only need a few days or a week to recover from a breakup, while others still haven’t fully moved on after a few months or even a year.  The recovery time usually depends on the length of the relationship, the seriousness of the couple’s commitment, and the factors that led to the breakup.  For example, walking away from a cheater?  Simple.  Realizing that the relationship has no future and deciding to end it?  Not as simple.  In those kinds of situations, it’s easy to second guess yourself and wonder if things would have improved (probably not) or if there was anything more you could have done. 

Whatever the reasons, you should never feel guilty about doing what is right for you.  Now, the tricky part is constantly reminding yourself of that even after you know that your ex has moved on.   The next important step is not going all crazy on your ex once you find out that he’s seeing someone else.

It’s harder than you might think.  Believe me, I’m about as easygoing as they come, and definitely not the jealous type, but my last breakup was pretty hard to get over.  I’m sure that it’s caused some lasting damage, even though my life is so much better now and I’ve never, ever questioned my decision to end that relationship.

The problem came afterward, when I heard that my ex was seeing someone after only a few months.  Our relationship had been pretty serious, so of course I thought there was going to be some kind of future.  Wrong!  Due to reasons I’d rather not get into, we decided to split but remained on fairly good terms.  Since the reasons that had led to our breakup were pretty clear to him, I thought that he was going to work on those issues and be smarter and more self-aware the next time around.  Wrong again! 

He was with someone else within months, as I said.  And he still had the same issues as before!  So why rush into something without any kind of recovery time, instead of caring enough about our relationship and trying to work things out?   I can’t help it, I went right to that crazy teenage girl mindset—“Why her and not me?”, “Why can’t I find someone else that quickly?”, “What could they possibly have in common?”, “What about your issues? That’s why we broke up in the first place?!”  I heard that next relationship was a disaster, and we’ve both moved on (thankfully) since our breakup, but for me, at least, it was no easy road.

All you can really do after the end of a relationship is to find some closure.  Obviously, if he’s already moved on to someone else, I hate to say it but he’s not thinking about you that much anymore.  Again, your closure will depend on the reasons for your breakup.  If he cheated, then you obviously know that you’re better off without him (and, really, if he cheated once, odds are he will again!).  Your self-esteem will take a hit, it’ll be a tough journey for awhile, but once you find a man worth your time, energy, and love, you’ll forget about the jerk who couldn’t appreciate how awesome you are. 

Related Articles:
> Getting Over an Ex and Dealing with the Breakup Pain
> Dealing with a Breakup and Getting Relationship Closure


Date & Relate is published every Thursday by Online Dating Magazine columnist Sara Hodon. She can be reached at

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