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.