Ask Stef: My Ex Moved on Before Me


Stefanie Marshall

Dear Stef, 

Four months after my ex and I broke up, I found out that they have been seeing someone since right after the breakup. I have been doing a lot of healing, but hearing this news just set me back so much. How could they have been happy, in new relationship bliss, this whole time while I was trying not to cry whenever I was by myself? To top it off, several of my friends knew about this new partner but didn't tell me.

Feeling like a Fool


Dear Feeling like a Fool,

First, I want to address your friends. Try not to be angry with them. More than likely, they were trying to keep you from pain by not communicating this knowledge. I KNOW that feeling of betrayal you are sensing. It’s so much better just to let it go and try not to think into it too much. This kind of omission of truth is most likely because they are trying to protect you. No matter how frustrating that is or how pissed off you are, try to remember it’s probably coming from a place of love.

Now, let’s get to the heart of this. Your heart. That is what is most important here. Everyone grieves and heals differently. And you probably need time and distance and reflection. Other people need to immediately distract themselves with something (or someone) else. Most of the time, when we are still in pain, still wallowing, what we need - or want rather - is for the other person to be doing the same thing. I want to send you all the love and light I can because I know hard this is. Most of us do. It’s the worst, and it sucks. BUT IT GETS BETTER.

I don’t know your ex. I don’t know the person he’s dating. But history tells us that jumping into one relationship before processing the end of the last usually doesn’t end well. Maybe he was so sad he needed to hide the pain by dating someone else. Maybe he was ready to exit your relationship before he ever admitted it. Maybe this girl is just a distraction. You could drive yourself to the brink of insanity with maybes and what ifs if you wanted to. But the bottom line is none of them matter.

But you matter. Your heart matters. Your feelings matter. At the end of every day, we need to take care of you. How do we heal your heart? How do we get you back to good? Let’s focus on that. It’s painful to see him with someone else so soon, and you’re allowed to experience that. You’re allowed to wallow. But then it’s time to pick yourself up and remember that this relationship ended for a reason. Find it in yourself to remember why you were feeling better, and try to get back on that path. Jealousy keeps so many of us from moving on as we should. There is that whole mentality of “I don’t want them, but I don’t want them to be with someone else.”

Forge ahead. You are not this relationship. You are not this breakup. And you are not a product of whatever he is doing now. You are the sun. You are the light. It’s up to you to remember that.

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