How To Emotionally Recover When Your Ex Moves On From You

Saying that breakups are hard is an understatement. Healing from a breakup can be an incredibly long and painful process. But if your ex is on to greener pastures, it’s time for you to follow suit and begin processing and then closing the book on your relationship and breakup. Here are some tips to help you recover when your ex moves on before you.

  1. Validate your feelings. Breakups trigger a lot of difficult feelings. And watching an ex move on can amplify those feelings. Right now, your emotions might be all over the place, and it might feel unbearable. But remember, those feelings are normal. Recognize that you’re not only getting over a breakup; you’re grieving a loss. Like with any type of grief, it’s important to allow yourself to experience the feelings (though don’t act on them!). Be patient and compassionate with yourself through the grieving process.
  2. Don’t compare your timeline to theirs. After a breakup, people recover in different ways. And even if it looks like your ex is already moving on, they may just be dealing with the heartbreak differently than you. Or, they may not be facing the breakup at all, instead distracting themselves with new people and dates. Either way, their style of coping and timeline has nothing to do with you. Focus on yourself and your own healing.
  3. Cut off all contact. You likely already know it, but it can’t be said enough: don’t message your ex! Deep down, you may believe there’s a way to win them back by keeping in touch. But think of it this way: even if you do win them back, you would likely always second-guess the relationship and their commitment to you. When you contact your ex, you almost never change them and their feelings. Instead, you only stifle your own healing. Even knowing this, you may still feel the urge to send a late-night message. That’s why it’s important to delete them from your phone and block their social media profiles.
  4. Surround yourself with the right people. Sometimes, it takes spending time out with friends to interrupt those hours spent looking at old photos of your ex. And that’s okay! Surround yourself with friends, family, and other loved ones who can help remind you who you are and why you’re worthy of love. And though it might be hard, now might not be the best time to hang with mutual friends you share with your ex. It won’t help you recover or move on and you deserve better.
  5. But also spend some time alone. Spending time with trustworthy people can help you heal during a breakup. But it’s important to embrace time alone too. While nearly everyone has experienced an overwhelming heartbreak, and your friends may have encouraging advice to share, you’re the only one who can mend your own heart. Take time to reflect, journal, read books on breakups, or just rest. Your time alone will help you get to know yourself and gain perspective after your breakup.
  6. Embrace being single. If your ex has already moved on to someone new, it can make being single feel especially lonely and shameful. How are you ever going to recover? In reality, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being single. This stage of your life will be a big change from the time you spent in a relationship. And you can find love again in the future. But for now, embrace being single. Notice the freedoms you have and the decisions you’re empowered to make. Appreciate the power you have in your own life as a single woman. Remind yourself that being single has its own benefits worth savoring.
  7. Redefine your identity. If you’re not totally over your ex yet, your identity and self-concept may still be stuck in your old relationship. It might be hard to imagine yourself without your ex. If you spent a lot of time together and shared hobbies and interests, this is understandable. But now, you have an opportunity to redefine who you are. That doesn’t mean you have to start over from scratch. Instead, combine who you were before your relationship with what you’ve learned now. You’ve likely grown in many ways since you started dating your ex. And you also may have neglected parts of yourself during this same timeframe. Revisit old interests, values, and goals. And use what you’ve learned through your breakup to establish a new, stronger identity.
  8. Date again when you’re ready. Some may believe that it takes a new partner to get over an old one. But serial dating is more likely to hinder your emotional recovery after your breakup. That’s why it’s important to refrain from rushing into the arms of someone new. Instead, take your time, and only date again when you’re truly ready. Whether you opt for casual dates or prefer a serious relationship, take it slow. And even as you start meeting new people, remember to continue focusing on yourself throughout the dating process. After all, you don’t heal once you welcome someone new into your life. You’ve healed once you welcome a new you into your life.

It can be hard to recover when your ex moves on before you. Why couldn’t it be you? However, with a little concentration and time, you can get over him, promise.

Relationship educator, writer, host of the Relationship Reminders podcast, and mental health advocate hailing from the US and currently based in Tokyo