Why Seeing Your Ex Moving On Always Hurts So Much
Phoebe Kirke's analysis of her own feelings below is probably correct. But I also think it illustrates a great divergence between male and female attitudes towards breakups. Like Phoebe, most women see a breakup as a occasion to spend time "working" on themselves, presumably to become more independent of men. Their interest in men during that time is minimal. The period concerned can last for years.
Men, by contrast are much more likely to go by the motto that the best cure for a broken heart is a new love. And they move on to another partner rapidly if they can -- as Phoebe reports.
The surprising thing is that women seem to see their slow recovery from a disappointment as a virtue, not a loss. And the quick recovery by men is seen to indicate a weakness of some kind. Perhaps because I am a male I see it the other way around: I see it as rather sad that women are so emotionally weak as to be unable to move on promptly. They waste valuable years of their life wallowing in negativity, when they could possibly have the joy of a new love
But I am no doubt biased. I have very clearly followed the typical male pattern in my life. When my second marriage ended, for instance, I met my third wife just two weeks later -- leading to a ten-year marriage that produced a child. What is there to criticize in that? I can see nothing but it is probably contemptible to many women
So how can women avoid the pain that they undoubtedly suffer in a breakup? I also suffer emotionally from breakups but I have a way of minimizng that pain. I go to considerable lengths to remain friendly with an "ex", including being very forgiving. Resentment is for fools. Remaining friends is not as good as remaining lovers but it goes half way and helps greatly with adjusting to the new circumstances.
Just to illustrate that: The third wife I mentioned above and I separated a quarter of a century ago but I had a very pleasant dinner with her last night, even though -- true to male form -- I do have another partner
Truly forgiving another person can be difficult but it is a great Christian virtue and well worthwhile in adjusting to breakups
Shortly after I broke it off with my ex, he started a new relationship. I was devastated. Not because I wanted him back, but because I wanted him to hurt just as much as I did. And I wasn’t ready for a new relationship, so why was he? I found that being at peace with the relationship ending doesn’t automatically translate into no longer feeling anything when finding out that our ex has moved on. Why is that?
You’re not in love or loss — it’s a normal reaction.
It’s weird to feel hurt after seeing your ex with someone new, especially if you’ve moved on and are currently dating someone new. However, it’s a normal reaction. And it certainly doesn’t mean that there are still feelings involved or that breaking up was a mistake.
See, after my last breakup, I was devastated. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and how I would continue without him — note, I was the one finally leaving after the relationship had inevitably broken down. Slowly but solemnly, I started to build my life in a new city, job, and apartment.
Yet, despite my efforts and trying to become my true self again, I was hurt to hear he had a new girlfriend only weeks after I left him. They were parading around; he’d take her to mutual friend’s parties while I was left alone in another city, trying to focus on myself. Did I doubt my decision to leave him during that time? No, I didn’t.
However, the thought that I could not be important to him and, therefore, he quickly found someone else was very difficult. I then asked myself how it could be that he just put away our relationship so quickly. Were the wonderful experiences and moments together for nothing? After a while, I understood that it was less about him dating and more about him obviously not mourning that he had lost me.
Seeing your ex move on has more to do with your ego getting bruised than wanting your ex back.
Let’s be honest, ego is a factor in dating and relationships. We can’t get hurt and not take it personally. If we’re in it, we’re in it. And when we lose, we need time to find our way back to ourselves. An exciting journey, I found.
Here’s how long it takes until we don’t care anymore.
In my opinion, being completely over someone is the moment they move on, and it doesn’t provoke any reaction. However, it takes time to get to that place. But how much time must have passed until we’re at a place where we literally couldn’t care less about the ex?
It takes half of the time the relationship lasted.
Why exactly half? We concluded that it’s because, as humans, our memory is very forgiving in many ways. We forget quickly, paint the dark truths a bit brighter, and have a selective recollection of past events. I don’t think we could overcome heartache if it weren’t for these little tricks.
Everybody who has ever suffered from a broken heart knows it will heal. But, obviously, like any other injury, it will leave scars. And yes, mending a broken heart changes us in both positive and negative ways. Sure, we become more careful with our hearts and don’t give them away so easily anymore. But a failed relationship also allows us to find out what we want in life and what we want our next relationship to look like.
If we take our time and admit that it is quite normal not to be completely unaffected by the ex’s actions, then I believe that time will work for us all by itself. With each new day, each new acquaintance, and each great evening with friends, thoughts of my ex visibly disappeared.
And then, exactly halfway through the time our relationship had lasted, it became clear to me: I didn’t care anymore. It was exhilarating.