There’s something I hear from so many of my clients and it’s heartbreaking: “My ex is dating someone else and it hurts.” It doesn’t matter if you’ve spent months, years, or decades with someone—learning that they are dating someone else after your divorce can be so painful and difficult to process. Simply finding your ex’s dating profile can be enough to trigger feelings of sadness, anger, and rejection, and can send your anxiety into overdrive.
There’s no way around your feelings about your ex dating someone else, but there are always better and worse ways of dealing with them. Here’s what you should know about this very tricky part of a divorce: accepting your ex dating someone else isn’t easy, but it’s doable, and believe it or not, you are going to be just fine!
Here are 5 tips for “My Ex is Dating Someone Else and it Hurts”
1. Don’t Avoid Your Feelings
When the news drops that your ex is dating someone else, your first instinct might be to push it all to the back of your mind and try to get on with your life. But no matter how tempting it may be, you’re just compartmentalizing your feelings, not dealing with them. Instead, taking time to engage with your feelings will actually improve your mental health in the long run.
Ignoring anger, sadness, jealousy, and other negative emotions is also called “avoidance coping.” According to a 2021 study, passive avoidance coping techniques like withdrawal and resignation can increase stress and contribute to anxiety disorders and PTSD.
So, how should you deal with less-than-enjoyable feelings? One tactic that can help is practicing mindfulness. By observing and acknowledging what’s on your mind, you can begin to non-judgmentally unpack your baggage and get that dirty laundry into the washing machine. Once those feelings are folded and back on the shelf, you’ll be well on your way to facing a new day!
2. Cut Yourself Some Slack
According to a study that appeared in Clinical Psychological Science in 2020, contact with an ex after a divorce is tied to psychological distress…but you probably didn’t need scientific research to confirm that. Situations like these can be unpleasant for everyone involved, and that’s doubly true if you run into your ex while they’re spending time with a new partner.
When that happens, you might find yourself feeling irrationally jealous or compare yourself to your ex’s current significant other, potentially affecting your self esteem in the process. Additionally, you could start having regrets about your breakup or even start wondering if you made a big mistake (psst: you didn’t!).
No matter what you feel in this situation, give yourself the compassion and forgiveness you need to move forward. Thinking about your former spouse with somebody else can be painful, but with a little bit of resilience and self-control, you’ll be able to recover before you know it.
3. Find Healthy Ways to Cope
Even if you’re going through an amicable divorce and want nothing but the best for your ex and their new partner, you’ll need some time to adjust to this state of affairs. Take the opportunity to focus on you, and create some opportunities to help yourself heal! They can include:
- Creating a self-care routine
- Engaging your creative side by writing or drawing
- Joining a support group
- Refocusing with a healing wellness retreat.
If these steps aren’t enough, seeking assistance from a qualified therapist or divorce coach may be a good idea. Therapists can give you the space and techniques you need to truly process your divorce, while divorce coaches can offer support and guidance as you move forward.
4. Know When You’re Ready to Date
Of course, accepting the idea of your ex getting together with someone new is only part of your recovery process. Eventually you’re going to be ready to meet the partner you’ve been dreaming of, and focusing on when that’s right for you is a major part of putting old demons to rest and finding your special angel. And of course, don’t rush it! Timing is everything, and if you’re still experiencing one of the following you might not be ready yet:
- Feeling dating could help you avoid loneliness or emptiness
- Still having regular extreme emotions over your ex
- Keeping mementos/photos of your former spouse on display
- You’re just not up for dating…but feel like it’s what you’re supposed to do.
Only you can know when it’s time to start looking for someone new. But by keeping an eye out for these signs, giving yourself time to heal, and taking an honest look at your own mental/emotional state, you’ll have a better sense of when it’s time to get back out there again.
5. Get the Support You Need
If you’re struggling with your recent breakup, you’re not alone. My name is Paulette, and I went through an 8.5 year, fully-litigated divorce that left me broken and depleted. I created Better Divorce Academy because divorcing with dignity and healing your wounds are the first steps towards discovering you best, most empowered future. If you’re having trouble accepting your ex with another person, we’re here to help you to start thinking about what’s next instead of what you’ve left behind.
Trust me: it gets better. And I’lll be with you every step of the way.