The next thing that happens after you break up with someone – this is after the tears, the drama, the denial, the anger, the acceptance, maybe a sneaky shag, more anger, more acceptance and then closure – is moving on. In an ideal world, you’d be the one to get in first and have a new man to throw all of your energies into, and if you admit it deep down, you probably wouldn’t mind your ex hearing about how happy you are. But the reality is that it’s probably not going to happen like that and it’s a littttttle bit childish. Does it really matter which one of you starts dating first and does it matter that he’s dating?

A little bit of bruised ego is natural but if you become consumed by his new relationship or exploits, it may be time to ask whether you’re really over him, and if you are; what is it about your own life that makes this news so unbearable. Often you’ll find that the reason it bothers you is because you have taken his actions as some sort of reflection on you and the past you shared together. It is easy to want to compare yourself to your ‘replacement’ and wonder what he sees in her, but the reality is that you’ll probably never know and you’re burning up energy better used elsewhere.

Some people start dating to force themselves to move on, some to bury the pain and yes, some are just ready to jump back in the saddle. Whatever it is that governs their choice, you’re unlikely to know what that is, and you really don’t need to. You should be focusing on yourself and your own future rather than worrying about his. Whilst it’s unfair to generalise, some men are very much ‘out of sight, out of mind’ and because some won’t shed tears, hide at home and bury their heads in tubs of icecream, they will propel themselves back into the dating pool and ‘get on with things’ rather than dwell on the emotional fallout from the breakup. Whatever his reason, he’s getting on with his own life whilst you’re focusing your energy on thinking about him. The two things don’t match!

You may think it’s too soon, and maybe it is, but that’s not for you to worry about. Instead of thinking ‘Oh sh*t, the bastard can’t have cared that much if he can get over me so quickly!’ remind yourself that if he has truly dashed out too soon, it will probably end up with a negative result. If you have had the chance to lick your wounds, heal, learn and move on, you stand a better chance of happiness. And yes, some people’s recovery rate is quick and just have to deal with it!

Whilst you don’t need to do a cartwheel, true closure and the ability to leave your ex in the past, means that we need to either find a way to be happy for them regardless of who they’re with, or just not care. I’ve often found myself in the latter corner and you tend to find yourself there when your ex has gone beyond the point of no return, there’s closure, and you recognise that you’re actually better off without him.

But here on some tips to help you cope:

1) Cut off your information sources – that means if you’re keeping in touch with your ex either stop the chit chat about your respective exploits or better still, stop talking. People don’t move on by switching straight from lovers to friends. There must be time to heal. If it’s friends feeding you information, tell them to stop giving it.
2) Put the focus on you – It’s all very well him getting on with his life, but are you living your life as much as you should? If you’ve spent the past while recuperating from the break up, it may be time to dust yourself off and get on with life. Catch up with friends and family, ramp up the social life and enjoy plenty of me time where you get to be and do exactly what you want.
3) Don’t view it as a reflection on you – Not everything is about you. What this means is that you can’t evaluate yourself and how you feel based off what he is doing with someone else. Unless he is a spiteful git, he hasn’t moved on to spite you, he’s moved on because he’s getting on with his life. You have no control over him or his life but you do over yours.
4) Remember that breaking up does mean moving on – It doesn’t mean that you remain stagnant and grieve over the relationship forever more.
5) Accept that you are bound to feel a bit strange – Jaysus we’re human and it means that when you find out initially it will feel very weird. But that’s normal and don’t jump to the conclusion that what you’re feeling is a signal that you want him back.

Someone does have to be first unless you can orchestrate a dead heat.


Dedicated to helping people improve their emotional and relationship literacy, think of me as emotional baggage declutter, shady relationship buster and self-esteem booster all rolled into one! Find Out More | My Books | 30-day projects | Weekly Podcast .
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7 Responses to Coping With When Your Ex Starts Dating First

  1. John says:

    It is correct to move on even for the women. A new relationship is the best healer for seperation.

  2. Marika Smereka says:

    I will write you tomorrow, I am so sad, unhappy and confused, hurt and incredible pain and loneliness, my ex husband has a 20 yrs.younger woman, he lest for more sex, violent and avusive and lovelss and childless marriage.
    He got over and healed through her “love”.

  3. Rach says:

    Im writing this as i just wanted to say that i have come out of a 2 year relationship where my bf cheated on me and i couldnt take anymore. i met and fell in love with a lad within the 2nd month of being single. i have been with him now for just over 3 months, but i have just heard that my ex is now in a relationship, and i feel so weird. its not like i want him back or anything, but i just feel like he was never arsed about me, and that he could have done so much more to save the relationship but he didnt. i cant help but partly blame myself. however my ex told me that he still loves me, and to be honest a part of me is not over him yet, but does this mean his new relationship is a re-bound thing and hes doing it get over me or what??? i need some advice as to why im feeling like this, can anyone help.??

  4. jen says:

    I just broke off with an EUM about 6 weeks ago. I did offer to work it out, for I know that I too have my EU challenges as well, for in the past I would never open up, get frustrated andleave.

    The ex, unfortunately, works with me, albeit our company has 700 people and he is in a different department, and we do not overlap at all. He has been acting weird at the cafe for the past 2 weeks when I see him there (funny how he is ok when we are one on one, which i did only 3 itimes). Friday I actually saw him sitting alone and he was in my path as I was leaving. He did not see me approach, I took him by surprise. Weird he was sitting alone as he is usally with his department… He reacts nervously like I caught him doing something… he could not even respond. Then a woman sits down, she did have a nice smile, and all i said was “bon weekend” and left.

    I was crushed, but I remember that:
    – I did things as healthy as I could
    – I shared who I was
    – I cut the cord
    – he was controlling, overtly, manipulative and frightened me at times

    I know that he is only continuing his painful cycle. He never made any promises, said that he did not love me (even though I did). He was very clear from the beginning that he is the type to see how things go. I started ending it with him after 2 months, I admit he said he wanted to continue, yet he never invested. So to protect myself I travelled a lot to sever the cords…

    (ok, maybe too much backgorund)..

    the bottom line? it did hurt, yet briefly. i feel for this new woman, she will interpret his controlling behavior as kind and supportive. she will never know who he is, he is secretive, does not answer the hard questions, will not share who he is.

  5. Lisalisa says:

    My ex left and has moved on.

    I am still struggling 8 months on, but I have done good things for me.
    I do still miss him every day. I know there is no point as he is seeing someone else. We were together 10 years…that’s the hard thing to adjust to. I am coming to the point of wanting him to be happy. I know I have insecurities, low self esteem and low self confidence, and that contributed to our relationship demise. I know I can’t be in a healthy relationship until I get that sorted out.

    He deserves to be happy. We both do.

    So why do I still struggle so?

  6. Ivy says:

    Me and my boyfriend went out for a week and he said we had no connection. Once I saw that he was in a relationship with someone else I started feeling really mad. I don’t know why because I didn’t feel a connection either. I think I may still have feelings for him but I’m not entirely sure. Someone please tell me how I can get over this feeling.

  7. Paula says:

    I have been separated from my husband for a little over a year and he had just started casually dating an aquaintence of mine. It really shook me. I spent a year learning to live alone (we were together for 25 years) and never really thought about venturing into the singles scene. Now I feel I want someone too. Is this just a knee jerk reaction?

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