Why Did My Ex Move On So Fast?

Even if you have come to accept the breakup, seeing an ex move on can be disheartening. You’re left wondering why the healing is taking longer for you than it is for them, and whether or not what you meant to each other can be that easily forgotten.

The truth, however, is that often the act of moving on quickly is perceived by many exs as a way-out of insecurity and the hollowness that accompanies a breakup. A fear induced quick fix. Many exs will attempt to fill the absence of affection and attention by seeking new relationships. Unfortunately for all involved, healing takes time. And the grass is hardly ever greener .

The rebound relationship

Are they now with someone else? Next’ing your ex by getting with someone (usually anyone) new is a common mistake. While initially passionate and energetic, your quintessential rebound relationship usually ends in tears. The classic rebound usually ends when either your ex’s self-esteem begins to re-solidify, or  once they realize that next’ing doesn’t always curb past emotional pangs — it can actually catalyse them instead.

Just because your ex has found a new shoulder to lean on doesn’t mean they have moved on. The reality is usually the reverse. That finding someone new was done with the intention of getting over it.

This doesn’t mean rebound relationships never work their way out of their precarious initial intentions, and that your ex hasn’t found someone they can truly love. But most relationships that begin swiftly after an old one tend to run out of emotional steam quite quickly.

If you wish to reconcile in the future, don’t sit back and wait for the relationship to crumble. It may never happen. Take this new romance at face value and take a decisive step towards putting your own life first.

hiding behind computerThat severed connection

Once your personal connection with your ex has been lost, it becomes impossible to know every facet of their emotional existence. The best we can do is over-analyse whatever evidence we are presented, and draw rough guesses as to how they are really doing.

Just because their social network accounts are now full of happy, smiling poses does not mean that they are free of their feelings for you. Healing, it bears remembering, takes time. Even bad breakups lead to some measure of grief that needs to be taken care of.

However, due to the fact that we no longer have that connection, we simply don’t know how they are truly doing. Taking communication at face value is the only sane option we have. If you catch yourself over-analysing make a conscious effort to stop yourself — the erection of hopes and illusions, once they don’t come to pass, can reset the healing process in an infinite loop of grief. If you have questions you are better off asking your ex honestly and openly. But remember that closure comes from within, and most certainly does not require external validation.

Fake it till you make it

Breakup pain, while something the vast majority of human kind can relate to, is also something that you don’t necessarily want to socially advertise. Your ex will usually do their best to move on with their lives, and hope that the pain will diminish with time.

In the majority of cases (even when they have no wish to reconcile), the aftermath of a relationship breakup is an extended fake it till you make it routine. The pain, grief and loss are not something superficial and apparent . The effect to outsiders (including their exs — yes, that’s us) is that it can look like they are moving on swiftly. This synthetic compartmentalization of pain is particularly true of strong or prideful people. For whom the idea of self-victimization is simply not an option.

Manipulation and resentment

working outMany manipulative exs attempt vainly to bring their ex down in the hopes that revenge (appearing to move on fast is one way of attempting to do this) will buffer their own broken self-esteem.

  • If you were the dumper – they may want to make you rue dumping them by showing you and others that they deserved better, that they are now free and not prisoners of their own guilt or pride.
  • If you were the dumpee – Your ex may blame you internally for having ruined the relationship, leading to pent-up resentment and anger. In order to dig in what you have lost they may make a show of improving themselves and moving on swiftly.

While manipulation is common, with both parties playing an egotistical (yes, most of us do this) game of cat and mouse to see who got the better end of the bargain by breaking up. Once again bear in mind that we can’t know for certain how they feel.

The bottom line is to take all post-breakup shenanigans at face value by focusing on your own life and by not depending on anyone other than yourself for validation.

Images courtesy of Adamr and Digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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  1. Christina says

    Okay, so I dont expect you know the right answer, but I’ve been thinking about something. My ex broke it off 3 months ago. The reason was me being sad all the time. I know how unreasonable I can be when Im sad, so I really dont blame him, because I WAS sad all the time, and I didnt know why. (I think the main reason for my sadness was I moved to his city 4 hours away from family and friends. I didnt get any new friends and I was feeling very lonely)

    I understand his actions. But except for that only thing our relationship was very good. When Im talking with my friends, Im wondering why they’re fighting for stupid things with their boyfriends. All of my friends are talking about small things their boyfriends do as if its a big problem. Like he’s never cleaning, he’s playing playstation all the time, he’s flirting with other girls and I could go on.

    I am very thankful for the relationship we had. Compared to other relationship I’ve heard about, we were the perfect match. So it’s hard for me to move on, because I still see the good things in the relationship and I cannot find any flaw. I keep thinking that he’s the only one and I’m so afraid that I’ll never find anyone like him. We didn’t fight over stupid things and I was never annoyed by him.
    All “moving-on”-advices are mainly about realizing that the relationship wasnt that good anyway, but I really think it was? Then what can I do?

    I hope you understand my point. I am really bad at explaining myself especially in english :)

  2. James Nelmondo says

    Hello Christina. I do understand your point and your English is excellent!

    Does he know how you feel? Perhaps he misread your sadness as being unhappy regarding the relationship. Insecurity and poor communication (you still seem a little uncertain why you were sad) can generate needless amounts of stress. If you weren’t sure why you were unhappy, how could he?

    If the relationship was that idyllic, I am also confused as to why he would simply say enough and move on without a hitch. But then again, for whatever reason, his feelings were strong enough to lead to a breakup, and then maintain it (which is far harder). Either pride or confusion have propelled him forward, or he doesn’t share your view regarding the past.

  3. Christina says

    Thank you for your quick answer!

    Well, we have talked about it afterwards. He told me that was frustrated him the most was me being understanding about the problem, but never did anything about it. We both knew it was because of my situation with me moving from the capital to a little town without work and social network. He is very considerate so he ended up being with me everyday and night. He never saw any of his friends and he even began to hate the town aswell. When we had our conversation after the break up, he told me that he had a newfound energy to see his old friends and now he could study without bad conscience.

    Okay – when I’m writing it here I can see why he broke it off and why he’s not regretting it. But it still doesn’t change my feelings about him. We didn’t have all the small problems but we had that big one. Now when I’ve moved back and I’m feeling more positive and happy about my life, I don’t see why we couldn’t be together now. Maybe it’s just too late, but I’ve never understood that feeling when you stop loving someone you cared so much about. I know you can’t explain feelings and often there’s no reason.

    I really don’t know what to do now. I’m trying to move on, but it’s difficult when I still see him as a good person and remember the relationship as a good one.

  4. James Nelmondo says

    I know exactly what you mean.

    I’ve never understood that feeling when you stop loving someone you cared so much about

    Yes, I suppose that’s the hardest part to accept. However I feel that it’s rarely about lack of love or caring, and more to do with our understanding of what a relationship is “meant” to be. Some of us look for care, security and companionship, while others look for someone to help catalyze their drive and spur them on. At least, from my own experiences, that’s the impression I get. Otherwise it becomes impossible to make sense of situations such as yours (and mine).

  5. Peter says

    firstly let me thank you for the wonderful advice that you give on this blog. i truly believe its one of the best breakup support sites ive seen so far. thank you again and i hope you continue to inspire us…

    i have a question:
    my ex broke it off 3.5 months ago in a very bad way via text message and a bunch of flimsy reasons etc but no proper clarity and closure. we had been in a committed relationship together for 3.5 years and i am thankful for the time we shared and happy memories. i was and still am broken hearted over the way she dumped me (i believe she had started moving on gradually but i was in so much of my own problems that i did not notice this) i was upset and broken over why she did not have 1) the decency to tell me what was wrong so that i cud fix it and 2) have the decency to end things with class and closure…

    people that i know have suggested that she possibly found someone secretly and hence she moved on months ago before deciding to dump me

    what has been confusing though is while she threatened to block me off all social media (should i harass her) she hasnt though. however being mature enough i respected her wishes and have not contacted her for 3.5 months.i have not stalked her or her friends etc. i did block her on some social sites initially bcuz i was so hurt seeing her pics . however it was only until recently i logged into g-talk and seeing her online i was emotionally sad and so to help with the pain i blocked her there too…

    i have been slowly trying to heal and i think i am ready to return to social media (facebook), blogging, writing etc . my question is basically this 1) why did she not remove or block me uptil this point ? what cud be the reasons ? after all she had the courage to leave me damaged so why not delete me also?
    2) if i return to facebooking and i genuinely post stuff (not with the intention of getting her back or anything) how wud that not be interpreted by her as a fake it attempt or an attempt to show her im good etc when it is genuinely not? should i block her instead ?

    although the hurt she gave me was so bitter i am not bitter about it anymore. i have also been coming to terms with forgiveness instead of hate. i have made my peace and im moving on with my life

    your answers would be a great help


  6. Peter says

    i forgot ask this too…

    1) after 3.5 months of time she has not made any contact etc.as i am the dumpee i have respected her wishes. i just want to confirm that its right that i do not try to contact her at all ? (if she wants she should make contact first)

    2)what are your thoughts on the dumper holding on to gifts?in my case she still wears a watch i had gifted her once. does this mean shes holding on ? or does it mean she wears that object without any feeling now? of the many things i have that she gave there are some personal family photos that she gave me? shud i return those? i feel terrible to have to throw them out shud they be of value to her

    pls advise


  7. Peter says

    at the time of the break up i had asked her for an option that we be friends but she did not answer anything. what does this mean? ive read conflicting posts on this being a sign that she is not over or something ?

    what wud u think of the same…


  8. James Nelmondo says


    Sorry for the late reply, and thank you for your kind words.

    1) Unfortunately, from my perspective, not blocking you on the social media is not a surefire sign she wants to keep her options open. It is entirely possible that the sadness which afflicts you when you watch a slideshow of her life without you ticking away does not effect her the same way it does you.

    Of course, I could be wrong. And reconciliation will always require communication, and it may be a way of keeping an avenue open — but since it is anything but a certainty, I would assume the opposite. Unless she begins to iniate contact, I would assume that it simply may not be as painful for her as it is for you. I don’t relish saying this of course, because I know how terrifying and patently unfair this can seem (when we’re the ones who are dumped).

    2) You should do, and say, whatever you feel you want to, and begin to distance yourself from how she will “take” your words. The connection has been severed, and so too should the overanalysis. I would personally judge by my own intentions only, should she choose to misinterpret you, that’s her problem — and her insecurity. Should she have questions, you’ll be there to answer them. This is all assuming an indirect game for attention is being played, but judging by your words and tone, I highly doubt that’s the case.

    3) Regarding the gifts, when it has happened to me I initially wanted them back. But I realize retrospecively it was all a way of attempting to belatedly keep a connection that may not exist alive. Looking back now, I am objectively happy she got to keep something personal of mine, even if she did decide to throw it away (I have no way of knowing). Afterall, despite the battles and pain we meant something to each other and thus a tangible relic seems fitting now. P.S: It also provides a communicative avenue should she wish to reconcile, and a reason to meet up).

    I’m sorry if this all seems a little dire, however in cases such as these I find that it is better to focus on certainties than to indulge in games of wishful thinking. While the chances that you may — at least — talk about initiating some kind of relationship or friendship down the line, there’s never any guarantee this will happen. And for our sanity’s sake, it’s better to live in a binary world of 1’s or 0’s and accept our predicament as is, than to find a chain of emotional snake oil to latch on to.

  9. Maggie says

    I have a question for you if you don’t mind
    My boyfriend and I broke it off mutually because we wanted different thing in a relationship. We both, however, still like each other. I wanted to want a serious relationship (which is what he wanted) in hope that I would want it at the end of summer. We made a deal to try to make it work then, but until then, having an open relationship. It’s been 4 days since we broke up and he has already started dating someone else. He says hes not over me but then his relationship is unloyal and dishonest? I still like him and I don’t want to get over him because he is a great guy I just feel like he always wants a girlfriend. This, however, makes me unsettled. What if I was just a girlfriend because I can be one? And, I accepted that he may date other people during the summer but its not even summer yet (our school schedule.) He still wants to be friends but its hard for me because I feel betrayed and weird because I still like him. What should I do? I don’t want him to get over me but I find it hard to talk to him.

  10. João DIas says

    Hi guys, i’ve dated my ex for 6 years, two months ago, she broke it up and i am devastated because we were highschool sweethearts, she had a bit of a problem because she was never really into a Physical relashionship with me, but she always told me it wasn’t important, but lately she has struggled with that and broke it up, i tried to do what i could, when to the gyn and got thinner after we broke up to see if it would fix it, she told me that she still loved me but couldn’t really cope with what she felt, even after she told me lots of times during our relationship that i was perfect for her because she wasnt into a lot of physical stuff lige holding hands and hugging in public.
    a few days ago i found her with her new boyfriend, holding hands, something she never really liked to do with me because she felt embarassed.
    I have to admit that i struggled with no contact rule, and we talked alot even after because she kept telling me she was still in love but confused, and wanted to be friends, i couldt do it so now we are in total no contact, i also begged her a couple of times to come back witch she told me only got her further away, also when i saw her with her new boyfirend she noticed that i cried… and since i was hot headed i called her a ****… is there still hope? the guy is totally my oposite and shes doing thigs with him that she didnt like with me, also, something that didnt work in my favour was that her grandmother and her dog died a few weeks ago and he was there for her to confort her, i also tried but got shunned… also when she started out with him e told her he wasnt right for her, and i really think he’s not, but she keeps telling me he’s perfect and that she’s happy…

  11. anynomous says

    Hello. I was with my boyfriend for 3 years and we just broke up a 3 weeks ago. We for the most part had great memories and a great relationship, except I had a hard time opening up from time to time. We lived together for a year too. Not even 2 days after we broke up he’s dating someone else. He said that he wasn’t happy for the last 6 months of our relationship but couldn’t hurt me. BUT his actions didn’t change until the last month (which he was already interested in this other girl) He met this girl through a mutual friend. It has been known he has been talking to her via text back and forth for at least a month in the end of our relationship. I have also have not contacted him at all. I of course asked him and he denied it. I haven’t been in contact with him for a week now. I did some snooping because i was insecure, but he said that wasn’t the only reason. He said he needed time to be alone because he felt empty and dead inside because of his moms death which was 5 yrs ago. He said he felt guilty (she had ALS) so it wasn’t his fault. But some to find out by several of his best friends and others that was an excuse for a way out. His best friends are also on my side and keep bashing him telling him how stupid he is, and that I was the best for him. They also said the new girl is not welcome they don’t like her, because she knew he had a gf. I know it takes 2 to tango. I also don’t see how someone can dare use death as an excuse! I was wondering if this a rebound and will he be back? I love and miss him so much! Thank you!

  12. Dan says

    My Ex and i broke up in march he cheated last year and we try working it out but he kept seeing other people behind my back is sadden me because raise his child with him for 13 years the whole time i was with him i send him to college helped him with depression and he moved out this march by may he had someone new we’re still friends and he has never apologize. i should and part of me is happy for him, another part of me wonders if he knowns who much i put up with and did for him and is he even thankful.