By Leah Sheppard
Whether it happens immediately after your breakup, or a year and a half down the line, seeing your ex with someone new while you are still getting over them is one of the biggest tests in your recovery. Ultimately, you always knew it was going to happen; but you are never really able prepare for it…
I remember the day I saw my ex with his new partner. It was just under two months since we had broken up, and they were tagged in a photo together from a work Christmas Party. Who the hell is that? Surely he doesn’t have someone else ALREADY? Why has he got his arms around her? And why does he look so happy, when I’m so miserable?
Inevitably when people split up we are likely to get new partners, even though at the time it feels like you’ll never find anyone again. But the injustice of it all comes from our perception of how the other person should be feeling relative to how we do: It’s not like we would ever admit it to anyone, but they should be sad - for the same amount of time that I’m sad; anything less just shows how little they really felt for us, right?
Over the time we get to know our partners we establish a bond; and that bond doesn’t just go away when our ex does. Irrespective of our knowing that the relationship has changed, and all the sorrow and heartbreak that comes with that; we still have all the feelings of love, loyalty and desire for our partners. When we see them with someone new then, it sets off all those alarm bells in our brains that indicate a threat to our bond. That’s where I should be; that’s my place next to him.
The fact is that this person has, for whatever reason, decided that they are looking for something else; something different to what they believed they can find in a life with you. This does not by any means confirm that a life with you is at all bad. It is simply not what this particular person, at this particular time, that you happen to have met and spent a part of your journey with wants for their life anymore. And that is ok, just as it is ok for you to do the same.
Ultimately, as free-willed individuals we need to be able to source a path for ourselves that will create happy and meaningful lives. If the person you thought loved you does not love you anymore, you must pick yourself up and move on.
Sometimes our exes find another partner quickly because they are feeling so sad; it is just so unbearable being alone and out of their pattern with you. Nevertheless they have decided that there is something missing in their lives that they need to find somewhere else, so we need to let go.
Acknowledge that the heartbreak is a sign of your respect for them, and have gratitude for the time you got to spend with each other. But pay respect your own history and future by acknowledging the end of it. They were who you needed in your life then, but make room for what you need now and going forward. You will have someone in your life eventually, but at a time that is right for you.