Photo of a sad woman with a couple dancing as her background representing How to Deal When Your Ex Moves On

How to Deal When Your Ex Moves On

We have all been there… witnessing our Ex moves on without us. As both a therapist and breakup recovery coach who has walked with many people through the breakup recovery process, as well as a fellow human, I know that if you’re in the early stages of getting over a breakup or recovering after divorce, it can feel like a flaming knife is stabbing you in the gut when your Ex moves on with someone else. One surefire way to suppress your appetite would be to take a look at your Ex’s Instagram a few weeks after breaking up. So how are you supposed to deal, when your Ex moves on?

Breakup Recovery for When Your Ex Moves On: Understanding the Power of Attachment

First, start by understanding what’s really going on. When you’re in terrible pain after a breakup, it’s because you are grieving the loss of an attachment. A romantic attachment is when you feel a sense of safety, security, and closeness to another person. It’s “the feeling” that most people are looking for in a loving relationship. When you break an attachment, it’s common to lose your sense of security, and feelings of loneliness and longing can set in. Breakup expert Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby does a great job of explaining how working through a break-up is like letting go of addiction – that’s how powerful our desire to feel love can be.

So consider what’s psychologically going on – take your experiences of sadness and longing seriously. Ask yourself, “What am I doing to stop this feeling from continuing to happen?” And, “What am I doing to make sure this feeling doesn’t return again?” Healing after a breakup is an active process. Time alone does not heal. Here are some strategies to help you move forward after a breakup:

Stop Stalking Your Ex on Social Media

One simple solution to move away from the feelings of insecurity that inevitably arise when seeing that your Ex moves on is to stop having contact with this person. Chances are you do not HAVE to follow this person on social media. And if you don’t, you should halt any communication (and or “social media monitoring”) with your Ex as soon as possible. If that seems hard – take an approach borrowed from the recovery world: take it day by day. Don’t make any long-standing commitments to NEVER talk to this person again, but rather make the choice to not talk to them today. Tomorrow you will have the same choice and it’s okay to wait until then to make a decision.

It’s important to remember that your choices impact your feelings and your healing process. Take time to consider what behaviors would be the most effective for getting you to commit to ending the attachment (aka, “quitting your addiction”). For example, clicking on your Ex’s Instagram page and reading all the comments is a cognitive choice you make. You have options: you can either choose to look at the photo with the awareness that you will continually feel bad or you can choose to put your phone down and do something more positive.

Healing after a breakup is an active process. Time alone does not heal.

Asking yourself to stop what you’re doing and put the phone down can be hard, even when it makes you feel awful. Romantic attachments are meant to pull us back. It’s often more compelling to indulge in our desire “to know” even if it leads to pain, but you have the strength to make singular choices. Every time you have the opportunity to connect with that person – treat it as though that is the only choice you have to make. You don’t have to decide if you are going to talk to this person 5 years from now. All you have to do is decide what you want to do at this moment. I hope that you choose to prioritize your happiness and emotional well-being.

What to Do When You Have to See Your Ex

Here’s a tricky situation: let’s say you already stopped contacting this person and unfollowed them on social media but you work together or maybe you live in the same building as your Ex. That makes things a little bit more complicated. Sometimes you’re going to have to live with this other person in your life and see them when they fall in love again. So I’ll give you some steps to follow to help you cope with this especially triggering situation:

Do a Personal Inventory

On a scale of 0 to 10 of how affected are you when you see this person, “0” meaning that you don’t think twice about your past relationship when you see this person to “10” meaning that you’re about to burst into tears every time you’re reminded of this person. If your number is higher than you’d like it to be, we must first work on mindfulness.

Let’s Talk.
Schedule a Free Consultation Today.

Mindfulness: A Core Skill For Breakup Recovery

I describe mindfulness as the practice of observing without judgment. Mindfulness is crucial to your breakup healing process because you can feel so disjointed, confused, and boxed in during a break up that you feel like you’ll never escape the grief. Mindfulness helps to regulate your emotions when you get triggered so you can listen to your rational thoughts. (And listening to your rational thoughts is key to your well-being when you’re recovering after a breakup).

If you’d like practice in mindfulness – try this grounding exercise below…

  • Take a deep breath and then breathe it all out.
  • The next breath you take, breathe in for four seconds and then breathe out for eight seconds.
  • Do this 10 times.
  • As you breathe, allow thoughts to come in and out of your mind and practice observing them without giving them meaning or power. Sometimes people can see their thoughts floating past them like leaves in a river. Practice externalizing your thoughts so that you can find a sense of peace with them.

If you already have a mindfulness practice, I encourage you to continue working towards acceptance of the present moment in your work. [Check out: Mindfulness For People Who Hate to Meditate]

Using Empowering Mantras to Heal After a Breakup

Once you feel a stronger sense of stability by grounding yourself in mindfulness, the next step is to create a helpful mantra (or three). A “mantra” is a saying that you repeat to help you with concentration on intentions. Mantras are different from grounding exercises in mindfulness. Mantras allow you to quickly focus your concentration on something else when you are triggered. You can use mantras to redirect yourself when you find yourself thinking about your Ex and their new relationship or if (God forbid) you actually see your Ex with someone new.

When you choose your moments, you are once again back in control of your life.

For example, say I’m in the grocery store and I see my Ex with a new partner. My mind may want to go directly into a panic, but as soon as I am aware this is where my brain is going (because of my mindfulness skills!) – I can then pause and say my mantra, “I made the right decision,” or “This is for the best.” Saying this to myself as much as I need to can change my perspective on the situation. My mind and emotions are no longer completely out of control. Instead, I have a plan and a saying that helps me remind myself that I have control of myself and my thoughts right now.

Some Examples of Mantras For Break-Up Recovery:

  • I’m allowed to be happy
  • I live for the present, not in the past
  • I can and will move on

You Have the Power to Control Your Thoughts, Your Feelings, and Your Behaviors

Here’s an empowering new idea: You can choose to allow yourself the freedom of only focusing on what you want for your life right in this moment. If you have intrusive, painful thoughts about your Ex, you can mindfully let them go without judgment. You can remind yourself of what you want, instead of what you don’t want through your mantras. And you can choose behaviors that support your happiness and your healing. When you are focusing on what you need, whatever your Ex is doing or not doing is irrelevant.

When you prioritize yourself, take charge of your inner experience, and intentionally create positive new experiences for yourself so you can create a collection of healthy, affirming moments that you can be proud of. Lives are built of moments. When you choose your moments, you are once again back in control of your life.

I hope these ideas help you move forward, after a breakup.

Markie

Growing Self Counseling and Coaching

Let’s Talk: Start With a Free Consultation

If you’re ready to grow, we’re here to help. Connect with us, and let us know your hopes and goals. We’ll follow up with recommendations, and will help you schedule a first, free consultation.

Divorce and Breakup Recovery Resources

66 Comments

  1. Hi in Australia was wondering if could help me ,was left after 7 years finding hard to move on , He is and hurts so much ,cant help feeling jelous please help me.

    1. I’m sorry to hear this Monica. Yes, we have a lot of great support for you here on this site. Use the search bar at the bottom of the page to type “breakups” and you’ll get flooded with tons of articles, podcasts and free advice for ways to cope. You can also join our free online breakup support group by messaging me on Facebook and requesting to be added.

      You might also consider checking out “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to an Ex Love” in order to understand what is going on with you, why you’re feeling the way you do, and learn some new ideas that will move you forward in your recovery.

      If you’d like a more active level of support you can take our “Heal Your Broken Heart” online breakup recovery class, and / or connect with one of the amazing breakup counselors on our team (including one based in Australia!) We have so much to offer you Monica, to support you in your healing. I’m so glad you have found us, and I wish you all the best in your journey of growth and healing. Yours sincerely, Lisa Marie Bobby

    2. Hi Monica,
      I’m going through the same thing & I am so jealous it hurts. I wish I could move on that quickly but I know I’m in no frame of mind for it. This website & Dr Bobby ‘s ideas are very helpful, the podcasts are great. Wishing you all the best in your recovery.

    3. Hey Monica! I’m going through the SAME DARN THING right now. I was with this man for a year and a half, and within a month of our break up, he is exchanging “I love you” with another. Sure, it hurts, but not as bad as I thought it would, because I believe I know what’s going on (lonely, remorseful, angry and attaching himself to the nearest fish in the sea like a parasite), and adding logic to the situation helps calm the emotion surrounding it. Literally this Thanksgiving weekend was spent in the hospital with my ex, as his new love could not be there for him during a life threatening infection (the new boyfriend did something stupid and wound up in jail… he found a real winner!!!!) All he did was talk about this guy. And really it didn’t get to me as much as I thought it would, but I’m glad I was there in his time of need. It brought back up a whole slew of emotions that were starting to fade away with the coping methods I’m about to share with you. Any who, I’m going to tell you what I’m doing to help me cope, because it’s working very well. Seeing him with someone else doesn’t bug me as much as I thought it would, but every time the conversation comes up there is naturally a butterfly in my stomach, like “why couldn’t this happen with me?” “how come we didn’t have that?” “what does he have that I don’t?” But I don’t let it mess with me for more than a minute. And I’ll tell you why, hopefully it helps you!

      My self esteem doesn’t come from him. It comes from me!!! And that’s what I hope to help you learn so you can feel better about yourself and move on. Everyone deserves love and respect, but most importantly, you need to first love and respect yourself before seeking it from others. Your self esteem comes from you, not others. Focus on yourself, be your own hero in your time of need, figure out what you need and do it for yourself!!! Rescue yourself from your own pain. A lot of people like to rescue others, while neglecting themselves; I’m very guilty of this. Put that into perspective. You need help, rescue yourself. If you cannot help yourself, you cannot help others. It’s a simple fact. Get your priorities in order. If this man has moved on, he should no longer be a priority. Sure, it’s impossible to stop thinking about the past, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start focusing on more pressing matters in the present like getting yourself straight emotionally and getting your own life in order, so that you can focus on YOUR future. Where you want to be whether a passionate lovelife is present in the moment or not. Focus on yourself baby girl. You deserve it. Everyone does. Be a little selfish for your own sake 😉

      7 years is a lot longer than a year and a half, however I was actually with someone for 7 years as well, and I still think about and love this person years after our divorce, even though in the end, I am the one who left. I really do get it. It’s hard if not impossible to let go of these feelings, but that doesn’t mean you cannot heal, move on, and find peace with the situation. It took me years to really calm down enough to talk to him, but I also was not implementing proper coping methods. I was drinking, a lot, to kill the pain in the moment without resolving the issue at hand. What really helped after my 7 year relationship was doing things that made me fulfilled and raised my self esteem because I was proud of myself, and it was very intentional, which brings me to my next point.

      Do things for yourself. Do things you know you are going to feel fulfilled with, things that you can look at the next day and smile and say “I did that! Wow I’m proud of myself!” Things that last. Keep the house kept how YOU want it, keep up with the laundry and dishes, don’t ALLOW yourself to fall into depression, if you fall YOU have to pick YOURSELF back up! Get back into your hobbies. When these feelings get overwhelming, crochet/knit a blanket, build a table, carve a duck from a piece of wood – something you can look at the next day and be proud of yourself. Find what fulfills you and gives you joy beyond attention from your ex lover. Get back into your own routine. There is nobody to stand in your way at this point now is there??? Make your own rules!!! Do you girl!!!

      And if it helps you, as it’s helped me, start writing or typing a journal. I’ve even found it helpful to put on my voice recorder on my phone and just start ranting from time to time as if I’m talking to someone. I’ve found it very helpful, because there are things we just can’t share with others that we need to get off our chest! Get your emotions out, figure out what went wrong, make your apologies (to yourself!) and make amends by promising to never do those wrongs again, don’t even direct them toward your ex, direct them toward yourself and FORGIVE YOURSELF for being human, identify the past problems, THEN focus on your present situation and plan how you want your future to be. Get it out one way or another. It doesn’t always have to be blowing up someone else’s ear. Maybe you can blow up your own and find better perspective. It certainly helped me and I hope it helps you. A journal has helped me go over and analyze the past, let me put perspective on the present and start making goals for my own future, how I want it. And I hope it helps you sweetheart. I hope you are well.

      1. This is excellent advice. I’m still getting over a divorce that was finalized over 2 years ago(I was married for 14 years). But, this is so spot on! Thank you for this insight.

      2. William–

        You are so insightful and your words are soothing–thank you. I wish you were one of my friends! I recently left an on/off relationship that lasted around a year. While this was short compared to my other old relationship, it had more depth. This was the relationship that challenged me and helped me grow. I found the worst and best version of myself here. Unfortunately, at the end of it, my ex was unable to fully commit. He uses the need for space as an excuse to escape us when things got tough. I found myself begging for everything–his care, attention, understanding. I found myself at my lowest while giving him my 110%, researching, strategizing for a game plan, and being an advocate for real, positive change. However, it doesn’t seem like he’s on the same page. This went on for days until I couldn’t take it anymore. I told him I give up and cut off communication. He’s tried communicating since, although he never addressed the long and thoughtful messages I sent him recently. His messages were short and were merely bids to talk on the phone, or for me to be there fore him, etc.

        I am torn because I don’t know if I’m doing the right thing. I am haunted by the idea of him moving on because of loneliness, and this hampering any chances of us ever being together again. While it may work so for some, I’m just not someone who could try again with him if there are new ghosts along the way (his past has been a great factor in our relationship’s demise throughout the year). I feel like I’m at a loss. This has been my biggest heartbreak to date, and I just feel weak and confused and directionless.

        Hoping for your insight, if at all possible. Have a good one!

    4. I broke up with my baby’s mother a year and some change ago, we recently tryed to work things out, but out of no where she stopped talking to me and now I find out that she’s going out with some guy, it’s bin about 2 weeks I think, I can’t stop thinking about her or the things she might do or not do with her new partner, and I can stop seeing the picture of her Facebook profile of them kissing outta my Head….. Help me!! I’m literally dying inside, I feel hopeless and guilty at the same time because I know I’ve done some bad things in the past, it was a rough but beaui 6-7 years….. 😭

  2. I am worried my wife has emotionally moved on.

    She has said in the past two weeks:
    I love you but I’m not in love with you
    We are best friends
    It feels like we are more roommates than husband wife
    I want to be on my own
    I don’t want to hear about changes and won’t attend counseling

    We were looking at forever homes 3 weeks ago and have 3 small children. We did neglect our relationship for awhile just getting into daily routines. We both work full time but she gets home earlier and completes all housework and kids needs before I get home. I come home and say I love you with a cheek kiss and I’d head to the couch to have beers while she watched her shows upstairs. I thought it was a tough patch raising kids and both of us working very hard. It came out of left field initially and makes me wonder if there’s someone else. I agreed to sell the house and hope that once away she decides to return. I’ve since left work earlier and picked up the kids and done most of the house chores. We are friendlier than we have been in years. I want it to work but her words and the non touch rule make it awkward. If nothing else I’m getting additional time with my children before the impending shared custody likely ahead. I just don’t see how it could go from a warm normal to completely dead. I’m a wreck but in person I put up the front that all is well.

    1. I’m sorry you’re going through this buddy!!! Write a journal, take a personal inventory. What do you want, what do you DESERVE??? What didn’t you get? What didn’t she get? What could’ve been done better on both sides??? Not to linger on the past but to help you in the future. I’m doing the same, going thru a breakup myself, and this journal is working wonders. Don’t go getting drunk to kill the pain, i’m guilty of this in the past, because once the buzz wears off the pain returns. RESOLVE the issue, don’t let it linger. Get those emotions out, it will help you put things into perspective, not only for your side but also for hers and maybe problems can be resolved so it doesn’t get nastier. I’m very sorry this is happening. I was a child when my parents divorced and it was nasty, so please make sure whatever serious conversations you have are not around them, for their sake. Every parent wants their kids to take sides, but please understand, that’s very unfair and harmful, because every child loves both of their parents equally. Keep you two between you two, and the kids’ necessities in priority. <3

  3. I date a guys for 8 months and his was breaking up with me 1 week before my birthday and my 10 days before state Exams I just falling apart help

    1. Whenever you’re “falling apart” and feel like you can’t function you need to find professional support, stat. You mention exams, so I’m guessing you’re in school? Please take yourself to your college counseling center or to your guidance counselor (if you’re in high school) and let them know that you need support, asap. Good luck to you Christina.

      1. It’s 4 am in the morning and my ex of five years moved on from me less than a month after breaking up and it’s killing me. I can’t stop seeing her face in my dreams and it automatically makes me go and scroll on her page I just don’t know what to do. I want her back I just don’t understand how she can do this to me so easily…

        1. Hi Curtis. Yes, this is so traumatic and emotionally painful. Are you currently doing some growth work around this? If not I do hope you get involved in breakup recovery counseling, or at the very least take advantage of our online breakup recovery program. Either one can walk you through this experience and teach you the specific skills and strategies you need to detach yourself from this relationship, learn how to stop obsessing about your Ex, release the pain and anger, heal and grow, and move on.

          I wish I could solve this for you in a simple reply, but the truth is that your healing is going to be a process, not an “event.” There’s work to do Curtis, and putting it off will only prolong your pain and suffering.

          All the best to you,
          Lisa Marie Bobby

  4. My ex and I didn’t date for long, but now he is dating the girl that he flirted with all during our relationship. During our relationship, I kept telling him that I was worried about them getting together. He said that they weren’t flirting, and that she was just his ”homie”. Now, today, I found out through a mutual friend, that they are ”talking”. Also, he gave her a hickey in the class that all three of us have together, when I wasn’t paying attention. I have a very long class with him tomorrow, class with her everyday, and I don’t know whether to be mad or just upset. I know I can do better and I know that I deserve better. But he lied to me all of that time and so did she. She told me that she would never ever date him, but here they are. They couldn’t even tell me, themselves. His new girl is an acquaintance of mine, and I promised myself that I would always be on goof terms with my exes. But I don’t think that I can forgive him or her.

  5. Hi I was seeing a girl for 3 and half years I couldn’t commit to her properly because of my mental health when we finally got together we was so happy and life seemed great a year and a half later she had life changing surgery and we was never quite the same I was selfish arrogant and took her for granted at fines time but I deeply loved her she was my world we spilt up last November then got together a month later and it was never quite the same again she had her demons whilst I was more determined that ever to make this work 4 months ago I got drunk and made a fool of myself and she ended it telling me she didn’t love me anymore and she felt like this for a while I txted her didn’t get much of a reply we spoke on the phone a few times but nothing looking like it was going to happen I started to manage myself properly again I came off the weed and started working out I started feeling better about myself with some hope that we would work it out one day I txted her last night to ask if I could call but she doesn’t wanna know anymore she said she’s moved on and so should I and tbh I feel pretty suicidal I can’t think straight and feel very unhappy at how stupid I was in our relationship I have a big heart but my depression and anxiety changed me from time to time and now I’ve gotta accept I messed up and it’s too late I’m struggling to see some sort of path for me as I cannot stop thinking about her and checking social media I really do need help before I do something stupid I’ve had so many ups and downs the last 10 years that the light at the end of the tunnel is looking further and further away

    1. James I think I’m hearing that you’re becoming aware that you have some important personal growth work to do in order to have healthy relationships in the future. I hope that you use this insight and motivation to get involved with a good therapist who can help you do the important work ahead. Given that you’re describing mental health issues (rather than just garden-variety personal growth goals) it would be best for you to do this work in person with a licensed local therapist. In the meantime, If you feel suicidal, please call the national suicide hotline for immediate support: 1-800-273-8255. Wishing you all the best, Lisa

  6. My ex-boyfriend of 10 1/2 years broke up with me and has moved on with some one 2 weeks after we broke up. I wish I can get over him but we have a 7 year old daughter and it hurts. He has been totally disrespectful towards me and I don’t understand why.. I did everything for this man. We even lived together for a year. I hate that I still have to deal with him because of our daughter. I never saw myself to be a “baby mama” I saw myself as someone’s wife. I have to meet his new girlfriend because she’s going to be around my daughter. I believe she has already met my daughter without me getting to know her.. My emotions keep going up and down and it is hard to keep it together when my daughter is around. I have a journal but sometimes that doesn’t help. I can’t really express how I really feel because my family doesn’t like him well, they never really liked him. I just want to stop feeling like this and I want to get over him.. I am so angry because I did everything for him only for him to move on so quickly, I’m hurt because he lied and broke his promises to me and doesn’t give a damn about what we’d been through together, and I am exhausted for crying and hating him so much. I wish I never met him, ever lived with him, or had a baby with him. He made me feel like everything was my fault and that I didn’t do anything right when that was the complete opposite. I’m sorry if this is too long.. I am just very angry and hurt because I trusted him with my heart, my body, my mind, and more importantly, my soul.. Now I don’t trust anybody!!

  7. I’m really glad I found this page because I needed to hear these stories. My ex and I were on and off for 2 years. I was in school so we were doing long distance. We loved and cared for each other a lot but he had a problems with our different cultures, religion, and distance. We recently ended things officially and stopped talking to each other. A few days ago he texted me saying that he’s met someone and that she had to go back to Costa Rica for school but he’s going to visit her soon and that he’s sorry for hurting me but he’s doing what he thinks is right. Apparently she’s finishing school soon and I guess she’s going to live in america with him after. He also mentioned that they are the same religion and that it’s better for him. This hurt me a lot because he’s moved on to someone with the same exact problems that we had and so fast. It’s sucks because I don’t think this is a rebound and seems more like a real relationship. He knows how much I care yet he threw it all away and so fast for someone he barely knows.. what do I do? I’m so sad and hurt.

    1. Roxanne, I’m sorry to hear about this. I can understand how you’d be feeling hurt and sad. I wish there was a quick “okay, do this and it will all be better” suggestion I could give you, but unfortunately that’s not how this works. Healing is not an “event” — it’s a process. I would recommend getting involved with a recovery program that can help you start working through this and moving forward, rather than churning in the pain. Working with a good breakup recovery coach can be extremely helpful, or you might consider working through an online breakup recovery class like the one we offer here at Growing Self. But whatever you do, just do something: Time alone does not heal this, and I’d hate for you to be stuck in these bad feelings for a minute longer than necessary. It can get better, but you have to do the work to get there! Wishing you all the best, Lisa Marie Bobby

  8. Hi Dr. Lisa,

    First of all, thank you so much for all the information you share on your website and podcast, also for creating the breakup recovery programme and the happiness class. I have been in therapy for 1 year and even tough she has been a great support for me, indirectly you are the one helping me to really move on and become the person I always wanted to be. It’s a shame I found you 4 months into the breakup because you are great and I could have been further down the line already.

    Around this time last year my ex (we are in our early 30’s and were together more than a year) started having questions about his feelings for me. 3 months after being in a “I love you, I am not sure if I love you” relationship he asked me to stop living together as he said he needed a bit of space. When I moved out 2 weeks after I found out he met another woman on holiday with who he became friends. He assured me that he wanted to be with me, he asked me not to give up and he promised that there was nothing between them but deep down I knew there was more of a story which I overlooked at because I loved him so much. She is very pretty, they share the same language (we are from different countries) but she lives 2000 miles away from him and has a son. 2 months after being living in different places I couldn’t cope anymore with such emotional roller coaster so I asked him to make a decision as he was dragging me down while deciding what was best for him. As expected she wasn’t just a friend so he left me for her and 6 months later I know they are still together trying to work out their relationship long distance.

    Its worth mention that he left his ex of 15 years just after he met me and that he left me for this woman to whom he cheated on with me as 2 months into the breakup we bumped into each other and something happened. I spent the last 10 months devastated even if I got to understand that he is toxic as he showed me that the moment he stopped loving me he only cared about his feelings no matter the damage he was causing me. I was always doing good by him (my therapist says that one day he will realise that he was the one losing here) but due to my lack of self love unconsciously I made him responsible for my emotional well-being which wasn’t fair. I know I was as responsible as he is for what happened to me as I failed to protect myself and ultimate I allowed him to disrespect me and treat me like if I was nothing.

    The good news are that I am in the best place I have ever been with myself so far and only starting my journey and that I am very proud of who I am becoming due to this whole experience. The problem is that even if intellectually I know my worth, I know that I deserve much better and I know his behaviour is linked to his own personal problems, deep inside he still holds power over me as I cant get over the fact that he is happy with the woman he left me for making me feel that she is better than me and that he will make it work with her as I was just a phase not worth fighting for. Any advice on how deal with this deep root feeling? I had suffered from low self-esteem my whole life due to the high expectations I have put on myself and the constant negative inner talks but now no matter how much effort I am putting on changing that with my therapist or your programmes this is keeping me stuck.

    Apologies about the testament above and thanks so much in advance 🙂

    1. Elena, thanks for sharing. Feeling more empowered and confident about your own worth is not something that passively happens. You have to go get it.

      I would encourage you to ask your therapist if you could shift away from “exploring-the origins-of-my-deep-rooted-self-esteem-issues” type work, and into a cognitive-behavioral approach. This approach emphasizes a very intentional and deliberate creation of a new narrative, as well as strategies to stop and replace old, unhelpful ideas that are clearly dragging you down.

      This is an active approach that will require you to do the work, and learn and practice new skills. It’s also faster and easier to get results than you might think it would be IF you’re committed to applying new cognitive skills. You will have homework! You will be held accountable! And… here’s the good part… you will be free.

      I have every confidence that with this approach the day will come where you think, ” “. Get it? YOU WILL NOT THINK ABOUT YOUR EX AT ALL. Your confidence and belief in yourself will be unquestionable to the point that it’s not even worth reflecting on — you just live it. Like breathing.

      I believe you can create that reality Elena! Evidence-based cognitive strategies will teach you the skills you need to get there.

      Wishing you all the best,
      Lisa

  9. Your style is really unique in comparison to other people I’ve read stuff from. Many thanks for posting when you’ve got the opportunity, Guess I’ll just book mark this blog.

  10. Hi in Australia was wondering if could help me ,was left after 7 years finding hard to move on , He is and hurts so much ,cant help feeling jelous please help me.

  11. I’m sorry to hear this Monica. Yes, we have a lot of great support for you here on this site. Use the search bar at the bottom of the page to type “breakups” and you’ll get flooded with tons of articles, podcasts and free advice for ways to cope. You can also join our free online breakup support group by messaging me on Facebook and requesting to be added.

    You might also consider checking out “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to an Ex Love” in order to understand what is going on with you, why you’re feeling the way you do, and learn some new ideas that will move you forward in your recovery.

    If you’d like a more active level of support you can take our “Heal Your Broken Heart” online breakup recovery class, and / or connect with one of the amazing breakup counselors on our team (including one based in Australia!) We have so much to offer you Monica, to support you in your healing. I’m so glad you have found us, and I wish you all the best in your journey of growth and healing. Yours sincerely, Lisa Marie Bobby

  12. I am worried my wife has emotionally moved on.

    She has said in the past two weeks:
    I love you but I’m not in love with you
    We are best friends
    It feels like we are more roommates than husband wife
    I want to be on my own
    I don’t want to hear about changes and won’t attend counseling

    We were looking at forever homes 3 weeks ago and have 3 small children. We did neglect our relationship for awhile just getting into daily routines. We both work full time but she gets home earlier and completes all housework and kids needs before I get home. I come home and say I love you with a cheek kiss and I’d head to the couch to have beers while she watched her shows upstairs. I thought it was a tough patch raising kids and both of us working very hard. It came out of left field initially and makes me wonder if there’s someone else. I agreed to sell the house and hope that once away she decides to return. I’ve since left work earlier and picked up the kids and done most of the house chores. We are friendlier than we have been in years. I want it to work but her words and the non touch rule make it awkward. If nothing else I’m getting additional time with my children before the impending shared custody likely ahead. I just don’t see how it could go from a warm normal to completely dead. I’m a wreck but in person I put up the front that all is well.

  13. Hi Monica,
    I’m going through the same thing & I am so jealous it hurts. I wish I could move on that quickly but I know I’m in no frame of mind for it. This website & Dr Bobby ‘s ideas are very helpful, the podcasts are great. Wishing you all the best in your recovery.

  14. Hey Marco, sorry to hear about this situation. I can understand how this would be a very stressful and confusing time. If you haven’t already, you might check out my “How to Stop a Divorce and Save Your Marriage” episode of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast. I hope that you find some tips in there that might help you, if it’s not too late. Wishing you luck with this… Lisa Marie Bobby

  15. Hey Monica! I’m going through the SAME DARN THING right now. I was with this man for a year and a half, and within a month of our break up, he is exchanging “I love you” with another. Sure, it hurts, but not as bad as I thought it would, because I believe I know what’s going on (lonely, remorseful, angry and attaching himself to the nearest fish in the sea like a parasite), and adding logic to the situation helps calm the emotion surrounding it. Literally this Thanksgiving weekend was spent in the hospital with my ex, as his new love could not be there for him during a life threatening infection (the new boyfriend did something stupid and wound up in jail… he found a real winner!!!!) All he did was talk about this guy. And really it didn’t get to me as much as I thought it would, but I’m glad I was there in his time of need. It brought back up a whole slew of emotions that were starting to fade away with the coping methods I’m about to share with you. Any who, I’m going to tell you what I’m doing to help me cope, because it’s working very well. Seeing him with someone else doesn’t bug me as much as I thought it would, but every time the conversation comes up there is naturally a butterfly in my stomach, like “why couldn’t this happen with me?” “how come we didn’t have that?” “what does he have that I don’t?” But I don’t let it mess with me for more than a minute. And I’ll tell you why, hopefully it helps you!

    My self esteem doesn’t come from him. It comes from me!!! And that’s what I hope to help you learn so you can feel better about yourself and move on. Everyone deserves love and respect, but most importantly, you need to first love and respect yourself before seeking it from others. Your self esteem comes from you, not others. Focus on yourself, be your own hero in your time of need, figure out what you need and do it for yourself!!! Rescue yourself from your own pain. A lot of people like to rescue others, while neglecting themselves; I’m very guilty of this. Put that into perspective. You need help, rescue yourself. If you cannot help yourself, you cannot help others. It’s a simple fact. Get your priorities in order. If this man has moved on, he should no longer be a priority. Sure, it’s impossible to stop thinking about the past, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start focusing on more pressing matters in the present like getting yourself straight emotionally and getting your own life in order, so that you can focus on YOUR future. Where you want to be whether a passionate lovelife is present in the moment or not. Focus on yourself baby girl. You deserve it. Everyone does. Be a little selfish for your own sake 😉

    7 years is a lot longer than a year and a half, however I was actually with someone for 7 years as well, and I still think about and love this person years after our divorce, even though in the end, I am the one who left. I really do get it. It’s hard if not impossible to let go of these feelings, but that doesn’t mean you cannot heal, move on, and find peace with the situation. It took me years to really calm down enough to talk to him, but I also was not implementing proper coping methods. I was drinking, a lot, to kill the pain in the moment without resolving the issue at hand. What really helped after my 7 year relationship was doing things that made me fulfilled and raised my self esteem because I was proud of myself, and it was very intentional, which brings me to my next point.

    Do things for yourself. Do things you know you are going to feel fulfilled with, things that you can look at the next day and smile and say “I did that! Wow I’m proud of myself!” Things that last. Keep the house kept how YOU want it, keep up with the laundry and dishes, don’t ALLOW yourself to fall into depression, if you fall YOU have to pick YOURSELF back up! Get back into your hobbies. When these feelings get overwhelming, crochet/knit a blanket, build a table, carve a duck from a piece of wood – something you can look at the next day and be proud of yourself. Find what fulfills you and gives you joy beyond attention from your ex lover. Get back into your own routine. There is nobody to stand in your way at this point now is there??? Make your own rules!!! Do you girl!!!

    And if it helps you, as it’s helped me, start writing or typing a journal. I’ve even found it helpful to put on my voice recorder on my phone and just start ranting from time to time as if I’m talking to someone. I’ve found it very helpful, because there are things we just can’t share with others that we need to get off our chest! Get your emotions out, figure out what went wrong, make your apologies (to yourself!) and make amends by promising to never do those wrongs again, don’t even direct them toward your ex, direct them toward yourself and FORGIVE YOURSELF for being human, identify the past problems, THEN focus on your present situation and plan how you want your future to be. Get it out one way or another. It doesn’t always have to be blowing up someone else’s ear. Maybe you can blow up your own and find better perspective. It certainly helped me and I hope it helps you. A journal has helped me go over and analyze the past, let me put perspective on the present and start making goals for my own future, how I want it. And I hope it helps you sweetheart. I hope you are well.

  16. I’m sorry you’re going through this buddy!!! Write a journal, take a personal inventory. What do you want, what do you DESERVE??? What didn’t you get? What didn’t she get? What could’ve been done better on both sides??? Not to linger on the past but to help you in the future. I’m doing the same, going thru a breakup myself, and this journal is working wonders. Don’t go getting drunk to kill the pain, i’m guilty of this in the past, because once the buzz wears off the pain returns. RESOLVE the issue, don’t let it linger. Get those emotions out, it will help you put things into perspective, not only for your side but also for hers and maybe problems can be resolved so it doesn’t get nastier. I’m very sorry this is happening. I was a child when my parents divorced and it was nasty, so please make sure whatever serious conversations you have are not around them, for their sake. Every parent wants their kids to take sides, but please understand, that’s very unfair and harmful, because every child loves both of their parents equally. Keep you two between you two, and the kids’ necessities in priority. <3

  17. This is excellent advice. I’m still getting over a divorce that was finalized over 2 years ago(I was married for 14 years). But, this is so spot on! Thank you for this insight.

  18. William–

    You are so insightful and your words are soothing–thank you. I wish you were one of my friends! I recently left an on/off relationship that lasted around a year. While this was short compared to my other old relationship, it had more depth. This was the relationship that challenged me and helped me grow. I found the worst and best version of myself here. Unfortunately, at the end of it, my ex was unable to fully commit. He uses the need for space as an excuse to escape us when things got tough. I found myself begging for everything–his care, attention, understanding. I found myself at my lowest while giving him my 110%, researching, strategizing for a game plan, and being an advocate for real, positive change. However, it doesn’t seem like he’s on the same page. This went on for days until I couldn’t take it anymore. I told him I give up and cut off communication. He’s tried communicating since, although he never addressed the long and thoughtful messages I sent him recently. His messages were short and were merely bids to talk on the phone, or for me to be there fore him, etc.

    I am torn because I don’t know if I’m doing the right thing. I am haunted by the idea of him moving on because of loneliness, and this hampering any chances of us ever being together again. While it may work so for some, I’m just not someone who could try again with him if there are new ghosts along the way (his past has been a great factor in our relationship’s demise throughout the year). I feel like I’m at a loss. This has been my biggest heartbreak to date, and I just feel weak and confused and directionless.

    Hoping for your insight, if at all possible. Have a good one!

  19. I date a guys for 8 months and his was breaking up with me 1 week before my birthday and my 10 days before state Exams I just falling apart help

  20. Whenever you’re “falling apart” and feel like you can’t function you need to find professional support, stat. You mention exams, so I’m guessing you’re in school? Please take yourself to your college counseling center or to your guidance counselor (if you’re in high school) and let them know that you need support, asap. Good luck to you Christina.

  21. It’s 4 am in the morning and my ex of five years moved on from me less than a month after breaking up and it’s killing me. I can’t stop seeing her face in my dreams and it automatically makes me go and scroll on her page I just don’t know what to do. I want her back I just don’t understand how she can do this to me so easily…

  22. Hi Curtis. Yes, this is so traumatic and emotionally painful. Are you currently doing some growth work around this? If not I do hope you get involved in breakup recovery counseling, or at the very least take advantage of our online breakup recovery program. Either one can walk you through this experience and teach you the specific skills and strategies you need to detach yourself from this relationship, learn how to stop obsessing about your Ex, release the pain and anger, heal and grow, and move on.

    I wish I could solve this for you in a simple reply, but the truth is that your healing is going to be a process, not an “event.” There’s work to do Curtis, and putting it off will only prolong your pain and suffering.

    All the best to you,
    Lisa Marie Bobby

  23. I broke up with my baby’s mother a year and some change ago, we recently tryed to work things out, but out of no where she stopped talking to me and now I find out that she’s going out with some guy, it’s bin about 2 weeks I think, I can’t stop thinking about her or the things she might do or not do with her new partner, and I can stop seeing the picture of her Facebook profile of them kissing outta my Head….. Help me!! I’m literally dying inside, I feel hopeless and guilty at the same time because I know I’ve done some bad things in the past, it was a rough but beaui 6-7 years…..

  24. My ex and I didn’t date for long, but now he is dating the girl that he flirted with all during our relationship. During our relationship, I kept telling him that I was worried about them getting together. He said that they weren’t flirting, and that she was just his ”homie”. Now, today, I found out through a mutual friend, that they are ”talking”. Also, he gave her a hickey in the class that all three of us have together, when I wasn’t paying attention. I have a very long class with him tomorrow, class with her everyday, and I don’t know whether to be mad or just upset. I know I can do better and I know that I deserve better. But he lied to me all of that time and so did she. She told me that she would never ever date him, but here they are. They couldn’t even tell me, themselves. His new girl is an acquaintance of mine, and I promised myself that I would always be on goof terms with my exes. But I don’t think that I can forgive him or her.

  25. Sounds like a terrible betrayal. I can understand why you’d be feeling angry and hurt. Thank you for sharing with us… Lisa Marie Bobby

  26. Hi I was seeing a girl for 3 and half years I couldn’t commit to her properly because of my mental health when we finally got together we was so happy and life seemed great a year and a half later she had life changing surgery and we was never quite the same I was selfish arrogant and took her for granted at fines time but I deeply loved her she was my world we spilt up last November then got together a month later and it was never quite the same again she had her demons whilst I was more determined that ever to make this work 4 months ago I got drunk and made a fool of myself and she ended it telling me she didn’t love me anymore and she felt like this for a while I txted her didn’t get much of a reply we spoke on the phone a few times but nothing looking like it was going to happen I started to manage myself properly again I came off the weed and started working out I started feeling better about myself with some hope that we would work it out one day I txted her last night to ask if I could call but she doesn’t wanna know anymore she said she’s moved on and so should I and tbh I feel pretty suicidal I can’t think straight and feel very unhappy at how stupid I was in our relationship I have a big heart but my depression and anxiety changed me from time to time and now I’ve gotta accept I messed up and it’s too late I’m struggling to see some sort of path for me as I cannot stop thinking about her and checking social media I really do need help before I do something stupid I’ve had so many ups and downs the last 10 years that the light at the end of the tunnel is looking further and further away

  27. My ex-boyfriend of 10 1/2 years broke up with me and has moved on with some one 2 weeks after we broke up. I wish I can get over him but we have a 7 year old daughter and it hurts. He has been totally disrespectful towards me and I don’t understand why.. I did everything for this man. We even lived together for a year. I hate that I still have to deal with him because of our daughter. I never saw myself to be a “baby mama” I saw myself as someone’s wife. I have to meet his new girlfriend because she’s going to be around my daughter. I believe she has already met my daughter without me getting to know her.. My emotions keep going up and down and it is hard to keep it together when my daughter is around. I have a journal but sometimes that doesn’t help. I can’t really express how I really feel because my family doesn’t like him well, they never really liked him. I just want to stop feeling like this and I want to get over him.. I am so angry because I did everything for him only for him to move on so quickly, I’m hurt because he lied and broke his promises to me and doesn’t give a damn about what we’d been through together, and I am exhausted for crying and hating him so much. I wish I never met him, ever lived with him, or had a baby with him. He made me feel like everything was my fault and that I didn’t do anything right when that was the complete opposite. I’m sorry if this is too long.. I am just very angry and hurt because I trusted him with my heart, my body, my mind, and more importantly, my soul.. Now I don’t trust anybody!!

  28. James I think I’m hearing that you’re becoming aware that you have some important personal growth work to do in order to have healthy relationships in the future. I hope that you use this insight and motivation to get involved with a good therapist who can help you do the important work ahead. Given that you’re describing mental health issues (rather than just garden-variety personal growth goals) it would be best for you to do this work in person with a licensed local therapist. In the meantime, If you feel suicidal, please call the national suicide hotline for immediate support: 1-800-273-8255. Wishing you all the best, Lisa

  29. I’m really glad I found this page because I needed to hear these stories. My ex and I were on and off for 2 years. I was in school so we were doing long distance. We loved and cared for each other a lot but he had a problems with our different cultures, religion, and distance. We recently ended things officially and stopped talking to each other. A few days ago he texted me saying that he’s met someone and that she had to go back to Costa Rica for school but he’s going to visit her soon and that he’s sorry for hurting me but he’s doing what he thinks is right. Apparently she’s finishing school soon and I guess she’s going to live in america with him after. He also mentioned that they are the same religion and that it’s better for him. This hurt me a lot because he’s moved on to someone with the same exact problems that we had and so fast. It’s sucks because I don’t think this is a rebound and seems more like a real relationship. He knows how much I care yet he threw it all away and so fast for someone he barely knows.. what do I do? I’m so sad and hurt.

  30. Roxanne, I’m sorry to hear about this. I can understand how you’d be feeling hurt and sad. I wish there was a quick “okay, do this and it will all be better” suggestion I could give you, but unfortunately that’s not how this works. Healing is not an “event” — it’s a process. I would recommend getting involved with a recovery program that can help you start working through this and moving forward, rather than churning in the pain. Working with a good breakup recovery coach can be extremely helpful, or you might consider working through an online breakup recovery class like the one we offer here at Growing Self. But whatever you do, just do something: Time alone does not heal this, and I’d hate for you to be stuck in these bad feelings for a minute longer than necessary. It can get better, but you have to do the work to get there! Wishing you all the best, Lisa Marie Bobby

  31. Hi Dr. Lisa,

    First of all, thank you so much for all the information you share on your website and podcast, also for creating the breakup recovery programme and the happiness class. I have been in therapy for 1 year and even tough she has been a great support for me, indirectly you are the one helping me to really move on and become the person I always wanted to be. It’s a shame I found you 4 months into the breakup because you are great and I could have been further down the line already.

    Around this time last year my ex (we are in our early 30’s and were together more than a year) started having questions about his feelings for me. 3 months after being in a “I love you, I am not sure if I love you” relationship he asked me to stop living together as he said he needed a bit of space. When I moved out 2 weeks after I found out he met another woman on holiday with who he became friends. He assured me that he wanted to be with me, he asked me not to give up and he promised that there was nothing between them but deep down I knew there was more of a story which I overlooked at because I loved him so much. She is very pretty, they share the same language (we are from different countries) but she lives 2000 miles away from him and has a son. 2 months after being living in different places I couldn’t cope anymore with such emotional roller coaster so I asked him to make a decision as he was dragging me down while deciding what was best for him. As expected she wasn’t just a friend so he left me for her and 6 months later I know they are still together trying to work out their relationship long distance.

    Its worth mention that he left his ex of 15 years just after he met me and that he left me for this woman to whom he cheated on with me as 2 months into the breakup we bumped into each other and something happened. I spent the last 10 months devastated even if I got to understand that he is toxic as he showed me that the moment he stopped loving me he only cared about his feelings no matter the damage he was causing me. I was always doing good by him (my therapist says that one day he will realise that he was the one losing here) but due to my lack of self love unconsciously I made him responsible for my emotional well-being which wasn’t fair. I know I was as responsible as he is for what happened to me as I failed to protect myself and ultimate I allowed him to disrespect me and treat me like if I was nothing.

    The good news are that I am in the best place I have ever been with myself so far and only starting my journey and that I am very proud of who I am becoming due to this whole experience. The problem is that even if intellectually I know my worth, I know that I deserve much better and I know his behaviour is linked to his own personal problems, deep inside he still holds power over me as I cant get over the fact that he is happy with the woman he left me for making me feel that she is better than me and that he will make it work with her as I was just a phase not worth fighting for. Any advice on how deal with this deep root feeling? I had suffered from low self-esteem my whole life due to the high expectations I have put on myself and the constant negative inner talks but now no matter how much effort I am putting on changing that with my therapist or your programmes this is keeping me stuck.

    Apologies about the testament above and thanks so much in advance 🙂

  32. Your style is really unique in comparison to other people I’ve read stuff from. Many thanks for posting when you’ve got the opportunity, Guess I’ll just book mark this blog.

  33. Elena, thanks for sharing. Feeling more empowered and confident about your own worth is not something that passively happens. You have to go get it.

    I would encourage you to ask your therapist if you could shift away from “exploring-the origins-of-my-deep-rooted-self-esteem-issues” type work, and into a cognitive-behavioral approach. This approach emphasizes a very intentional and deliberate creation of a new narrative, as well as strategies to stop and replace old, unhelpful ideas that are clearly dragging you down.

    This is an active approach that will require you to do the work, and learn and practice new skills. It’s also faster and easier to get results than you might think it would be IF you’re committed to applying new cognitive skills. You will have homework! You will be held accountable! And… here’s the good part… you will be free.

    I have every confidence that with this approach the day will come where you think, ” “. Get it? YOU WILL NOT THINK ABOUT YOUR EX AT ALL. Your confidence and belief in yourself will be unquestionable to the point that it’s not even worth reflecting on — you just live it. Like breathing.

    I believe you can create that reality Elena! Evidence-based cognitive strategies will teach you the skills you need to get there.

    Wishing you all the best,
    Lisa

  34. This made my day. I’m literally crying right now. It’s almost year now and I honestly think I’ve moved on until I start getting the triggers again. Thank you so much for sharing. I know for a fact that getting my life together and living the life I’ve always dreamed of will definitely make me happier so henceforth I’m going to concentrate on my growth and working on achieving my life goals.

  35. Hi Roxanne,
    I had quite similar story myself and I understand your pain. It’s been several months now and I cannot move on. He also told me that he is in a relationship with someone he barely knows and it doesn’t look like a rebound. I hope you are feeling better and please share if you found a way to cope with the situation.
    Take care, Yve

  36. Hi William,

    Your reply was divine sent, and I can’t thank you enough for sharing your thoughts and your experiences. Reading through really allowed me to find common ground with you, and thus feel safe and secure and find hope through your words. It is a stinging feeling, sharp and chronic at times, to know that your ex has moved on and wondering how on Earth will you ever. I’m hurting so much right now. And I appreciate your words so very much. Thank you once again. My love and blessings for your beautiful journey ❤

  37. I made a series of terrible mistakes while with a past Ex, and since she left me, 13 years has passed. She was not only whom I believe to be the true love of my life, but she was also my best friend. She recently got married, and though I thought I had moved past her, once I learned of the wedding, it was like the day she left me, all over again –both physically and emotionally. She has never expressed even a mild interest in my well-being for the last 13 years, but still, I can’t seem to move past her and it is literally ruining my life to a degree that can only be described as, “devastating.” Please help. I’ve tried everything.

  38. Jon, how hard it must be to carry this around for so long. I wonder what meaning you’re giving to her and the relationship, the breakup, that might be prolonging your recovery, making it harder to move on. It does take time, as attachment doesn’t end when a relationship does, necessarily. But there are steps we can take to move ourselves through the stages of recovery, toward detachment. You can read about those stages and what to do in my book “Exaholics.” I hear some regret, some self-blame, and think it would be good for you to work through those with a counselor, if you haven’t already given that an honest shot. My best wishes, Lisa

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.