“My ex moved on like I was nothing.” “Why can’t I get over my ex who treated me badly?” — Is this what you’re going through? It’s gut-wrenching when your ex moves on before you. It makes you wonderpanel of experienced therapists if they even loved you in the first place. That’s why you need to know how to let go of an ex who has moved on.
Do you know you never walk out of a breakup with empty hands? It always teaches you a lesson. You just have to find yours that will help you come out of your misery. To find out if there are ways to move on from an ex you still love, we reached out to counseling psychologist Namrata Sharma (Masters in Applied Psychology), who is a mental health and SRHR advocate and specializes in offering counseling for toxic relationships, trauma, grief, relationship issues, gender-based and domestic violence.
She says, “If you want to have a fulfilling relationship with someone in the future, you need to move on from an ex you still love. Your ex moved on so quickly and you are still holding on to their memories. Stop right now and ask yourself how you want this breakup to affect you. Do you want this separation to make you strong or do you want it to shatter you?”
Why Is It So Hard To Let Go Of An Ex?
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When a relationship ends mutually because both the partners are steadily falling out of love with each other, then the partners heal eventually and move on. On the other hand, people might break up because of problems like:
- Trust issues
- Insecurity issues
- Incompatibility of conflict styles
- Addiction problems
- Mental health problems
- Parents not in favor of the relationship
- Inability to manage long-distance relationships
Or it could be any other problem that they think cannot be resolved, making breakup the only solution. That’s when it becomes difficult to let someone go emotionally, especially when you’ve spent your days and nights imagining a future with them.
Namrata says, “When a person is facing the loss of a relationship that meant dearly to them, their comfort, peace, and sanity are disrupted by this unpredictable event. This makes them anxious because they don’t know how to let go of an ex who has moved on while they aren’t even able to process the breakup. One of the primary reasons that people have a hard time letting go of an ex is because they are still deeply in love with them and have no idea what they are going to do with all this forsaken love.”
Some other reasons it’s difficult to let go of an ex are:
- Childhood abandonment trauma
- Fear of being alone
- Constantly relying on your romantic partners to determine your self-worth
- The past seems certain and the future seems scary
- You think you won’t be as happy as you were with your ex
- There are unresolved issues and your perspectives don’t match with your ex’s regarding the breakup
How To Let Go Of An Ex Who Has Moved On — Expert Tips
This person you fell in love with has given you so much happiness that you worry if you’ll ever feel that happy again. You’ve been with this person for a long time and suddenly the absence of them is making you fearful of the future. It’s making you wonder if you will ever find someone as charming, loving, and understanding as your ex. To help you cope with this breakup, Namrata shares some of the ways to move on from an ex you still love:
1. Grieve the breakup
Namrata says, “The first thing you need to do when you are trying to get over an ex who moved on is grieve. Staying strong is not an option right now. Let it all out because you are a human who is capable of feeling a hundred different emotions at once. You are not going to get this person back so it’s better to cry it out now rather than holding your feelings back.”
Saying goodbye is never easy. You have lost someone you loved dearly and it’s natural what you are feeling at the moment. Grieve the breakup. Cry it out. Namrata says, “It’s good that you are feeling this hurt. It means you aren’t trying to numb your emotions or suppress your feelings.”
Related Reading: Best Ways to Rekindle Romance in A Relationship
2. How to let go of an ex who has moved on – Draw a no-contact rule
Namrata says, “If the breakup was not your idea and this decision was solely taken by them, then it’s best to cut all ties with them. You are letting go of an ex who doesn’t want you. They’ve made that very clear by breaking up with you. But you are fragile at this moment and you aren’t able to think straight. You may end up calling them and begging them to take you back. To avoid coming off as needy and desperate, it’s best to block them from everywhere and establish a no-contact rule.”
Some people use the no-contact rule as a way to manipulate their partner/former partner. It’s a way to get their ex back. But that is not the case with you since your ex has clearly moved on. This is why the best way to cope with ex moving on from you is by blocking them on all your social media accounts. You don’t need to stalk them, drunk dial them, or send lengthy paragraphs to them.
3. Discard all the things that remind you of them
Ava, a 28-year-old nurse from New York says, “Why can’t I get over my ex who treated me badly? My ex moved on like I was nothing. As if our 4-year long relationship didn’t mean a thing to him. I smell his t-shirt when I can’t sleep at night. The pain I feel is unbearable and I don’t know if I’ll ever get over this.”
Torturing yourself with their t-shirt every night – This isn’t how you should be treating someone who dumped you.
- You can’t seek comfort from the person who put you in pain. They are the reason you are going through this tough time
- The way to move on from an ex you still love is to get rid of all the gifts, souvenirs, and their belongings that cause you grief
- You can give these things back to them, keep them at a friend’s place so they are out of sight until you heal, or donate them
- Also, delete all their pictures, messages, and videos if you’ve been going over this stuff obsessively
He/she is gone. These things will only remind you of them and it will make it difficult for you to move on.
4. Don’t put all the blame on yourself or on anyone else
Self-reflection is a great way to process the breakup and to not repeat the same problematic patterns in the next relationship. But don’t fall into the trap of blaming yourself for everything, especially when they didn’t treat you right or when they were as flawed as you were in the relationship. Avoid feeling sorry for yourself after breakup and saying things like:
- “If I were more loving and understanding, this wouldn’t have happened”
- “My ex wouldn’t have left me for someone else if I were a little more good-looking”
- “The new person they are seeing is the reason we broke up. They are responsible for disrupting my life”
- “I am such a fool. How did I not see this coming?”
- “My ex has moved on but I still love him/her. If only I had managed my work and love life in a better way, we would still have been together.”
Instead of blaming yourself, your ex, or your ex’s current partner, try saying things like:
- “It didn’t work out because we had different goals in life”
- “We just weren’t right for each other”
- “There were clear signs of incompatibility and the timing was off”
- “We weren’t destined to be together”
It’s all about changing your perspective on why you and your partner broke up. By staying strong and shifting your perspective, you won’t hold yourself or anyone else accountable for the breakup. Your emotions about the breakup will also change and you will steadily learn how to let go of an ex who has moved on.
5. Stop meeting their friends and family for some time
It’s best to avoid your ex’s entire circle at this point. The more you hang out with their friends and family, the more you will be reminded of them. You don’t have to throw these people out of your life, you just have to pause communication with them while you’re learning to cope with an ex moving on.
Here’s another perspective, though. When asked on Reddit on staying friends with ex’s family and friends, a user replied, “You can be friends with anyone. They may have been his friends initially but they are now also your friends. True friends don’t take sides in a breakup. They can remain friends with both parties.”
Related Reading: Effort In A Relationship: What It Means And 12 Ways To Show It
6. Find positive ways to release pent-up feelings
Staying strong in the face of a breakup is crucial when you are learning how to let go of an ex who has moved on. Right now, you must have a lot of complex feelings coursing through your mind and body and you don’t know how to handle them in a healthy way.
Jonah, a 24-year-old writer from Miami, writes to Bonobology for advice. He says, “Why is letting go of an ex so difficult? I end up numbing my feelings by drinking every day and going on multiple dates a week. I don’t know how to get over an ex you’re still friends with. I have to see them every day and I feel jealous when I see them happy with their new lover. I am not able to let go of them; the fact that my ex moved on so quickly has left me broken to be honest.”
If you are going through a similar situation, here are some positive ways to release your feelings:
- Meet your friends often
- Meditate regularly
- Practice self-care
- Journal your thoughts
- You must strictly avoid the abuse of alcohol and drugs
- Revisit old hobbies or develop new ones
- Follow a healthy diet and exercise daily
- Maintain a distance from your ex
- Seek professional help. If it’s help you’re looking for, Bonobology’s panel of experienced therapists are here to guide you through the process and paint a path for recovery
7. Realize that you will fall in love again
Namrata says, “He/she is gone. You have to accept it. But you don’t have to lose your faith in love. Believe that you will fall in love again and that you will find happiness again.”
Have faith, don’t lose hope. You will find the person of your dreams, someone a lot more suited for you than your ex. Your soulmate is still out there. Only when you get out of this toughest phase of your breakup, will you slowly heal and be able to love someone else. All of us are capable of having several great loves. Don’t give up.
- The fear and uncertainty of the future is one of the reasons that people find it difficult to move on after a breakup
- Letting go of an ex who doesn’t want you means you have to completely cut ties with them. Mourn the breakup and cry over the loss of your love
- Accept the breakup and don’t let negativity consume you. Don’t take all the blame for the breakup
The above-mentioned steps will help you move on to better things in life. One person’s exit from your life means another person’s arrival. You can’t heal if you keep holding on to pain. Love will knock on your door again. When you embrace it, it’s going to bring so much happiness in your life that you’ll forget your heart was ever broken.
If they did something to hurt you, then those hurt feelings may turn corrosive if you don’t handle them the right way. If the breakup was mutual, then you’ll probably move on in a short time. But if you’re still in love with them, then you will have a hard time battling these feelings. They won’t completely go away even if you moved on long ago. You will remember them with bittersweet feelings.
Yes. It’s completely normal to miss your ex after moving on. After all, the two of you have seen so many wonderful days together. You’ve shared ups and downs and a lot of firsts together. These things aren’t easy to forget. It’s normal to miss an ex but don’t dwell on these feelings. There is a chance that these feelings will hold you back.
If your ex has moved on, it’s wise to not contact them in any way. You may end up creating problems in your life and theirs if you try to do that. Deal with your feelings in a healthy way by talking to a friend or a therapist or by writing your feelings down.