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 catalyze 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.
That 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-analyze 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 humankind 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
Many 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