6 Things I Went Through When My Ex Moved On Before Me

The summer before my senior year of college, I experienced the most difficult breakup of my life (to date).

My boyfriend and I had been together for a little over two years. Even though we'd been having some problems, the idea that the relationship would end never really crossed my mind. I was unhappy with certain aspects of our communication, but I genuinely believed all my grievances were fixable.

All that changed when I was blindsided by a breakup. An argument turned into not hearing from my partner for over 15 hours, which then turned into those dreaded words: "I think we should break-up."

Although my partner was done with our relationship, I most certainly was not. I mourned my loss, going through all the stages of grief many times over in convoluted cycles. I cried for weeks, wished we could get back together, talked to my friends for advice, isolated myself, rebounded and pretty much every other behavior you can think of—healthy and unhealthy—as I struggled to let go of our romance.

Riverdale: Cheryl crying

(Riverdale via The CW)

Finally, I started to feel a little bit better. I wasn't completely over our relationship, but I at least wasn't experiencing the emotional insanity that had overwhelmed me in the initial weeks following our split. I actually felt like I was moving forward… until I found out he moved on.

As one does, I engaged in a bit of Instagram stalking when I came across the last thing I wanted to see. There, shining up from my phone screen, taunting my fragile emotional stability, was a picture of my ex with another girl. Suffice it to say, I was not happy. I had just started to feel better and now I had to face this? Would the pain never end?

Nevertheless, I made it through, but not without a few more emotional moments. Keep scrolling for six things I went through when my ex moved on before me.


The very first thing I felt when I realized my ex moved on was shock. I genuinely didn't believe what I was seeing. It had been about four months since our breakup, which was actually a fair amount of time to meet someone new, depending on your personal opinion. To me, it was far too soon. We had been officially together for over two years, and we'd been in a close, though undefined, relationship for months before that. There's no way he could move on that soon, I thought. Four months wasn't nearly enough time to heal.

In large part, my shock also stemmed from the fact that I was nowhere near moving on. I was casually dating, but to start a serious, Insta-official relationship? There was no way. My wounds were still fresh and festering—I wasn't nearly healed enough to jump into a new romance. Since I wasn't ready, I believed he couldn't be ready, either, making the sting of his new relationship status hurt all the more.

Grey's Anatomy: Meredith holding Cristina while she cries during "Didn't We Almost Have It All?"

(Grey's Anatomy via ABC)



Speaking of hurt, that was the next emotion to set in. After I came to terms with the fact that he really was seeing someone new, all the painful emotions I had worked through in the aftermath of our breakup came bubbling to the surface. It felt like he couldn't possibly have cared about me like I cared for him. If he did, he would never have moved on so quickly. His ability to find the next partner in what felt like the blink of an eye invalidated our whole relationship, in my mind. I felt betrayed and heartbroken all over again, even though he was definitely single and had every right to move on. It jolted me back to the beginning of our breakup, when the pain felt fresh, new and impossible to get over.



Amidst the pain, I also felt anger. How could he replace me that easily? Was I worth so little that he could just find someone new to fill my shoes? And even worse, why did I have to suffer when he was obviously fine? The whole situation felt unfair. In the time that I was trying to move forward, I imagined he was doing the same. Although I knew he was having an easier time with it, I still felt like he was suffering from the loss of our relationship in the same way that I was. His new partner blew those theories out of the water. While I cried, hurt and struggled to feel okay, he was happily dating someone new. In that moment, his happiness felt like a slap in the face. I was angry, and it didn't feel good.

Elle upset after Lee finds out she was secretly seeing Noah in The Kissing Booth

(The Kissing Booth via Netflix)



When I found out about my ex's new partner, I became a bit obsessed with their relationship. Suddenly, I had to know everything about their romance, and everything about who this new girl was. I honestly couldn't tell you why. It wasn't fun to see their pictures together, or realizing they were doing many of the same things him and I had done. Still, I stalked and stalked and stalked, fitting the pieces of their relationship together like a puzzle.

I think finding out all I could about their romance made me feel better in some warped way. After out split, I felt totally in the dark and completely disconnected from someone who had meant everything to me. If I couldn't reach out and talk to him, then I could at least gain a clear picture of what his life looked like without me. Should I have stalked the two of them that much? Probably not. Did it make me feel better to uncover more details of their relationship? In a twisted way, yes.

Zoey Staring at her Phone Grown-ish

(Grown-ish via Freeform)



Many people feel vengeful when their ex moves on before them, but not me. At least, not in the typical way. I didn't have an aching desire to hurt my ex or to find someone new just to feel like I was winning. However, I did feel a little indignant.

While conducting my stalking, I came to the conclusion that their relationship wasn't that serious. It seemed she had jumped the gun in posting about them, and that they maybe weren't "together" together, after all. It wasn't much of a comfort. In fact, it annoyed me even more.

I was irritated that his relationships were out on display, while no one had any idea that I was doing okay, as well. At the time, I was dating around and actually felt pretty comfortable in my position. I didn't have anything serious and had made quite a few mistakes in my newly-single days, but it wasn't like I was sitting at home with 10 cats, crying myself to sleep. I was out and about, but there was no way I was going to post about it.

It wasn't that I wanted to hurt my ex. In fact, I was pretty sure he'd never see it even if I did post something. Weirdly, my concern revolved around our mutual friends. To an outsider looking in, he seemed happy and fine, while I had disappeared off the face of the earth. It felt unfair. I wanted people to know that I was doing alright, and that I wasn't undateable just because the person I loved dumped me.

My pride prickled at the thought of other people thinking he was doing better than me. I cared less about my ex and more about onlookers who would draw conclusions about our lives following our relationship. To them, it would look like he was winning, even though I didn't feel that was the case. It felt unjust, and it only added to my anger and annoyance.

To all the boys i've loved before: lara jean rolling her eyes

(To All The Boys I've Loved Before via Netflix)



Encouragement feels like a weird addition to this list, I know. Let me try to explain.

Dealing with the negative emotions took some time. Accepting that my ex had moved on started a new stage of my grieving process, forcing me to deal with the wounds of our breakup all over again. However, as I came to terms with his new situation, I finally felt like I had the motivation I needed to move forward.

Until I realized that he found someone new, I think I was subconsciously holding out hope that my ex and I would fix things. I wasn't over our breakup and I was still under the impression that we had a good relationship. The moment of clarity that everyone eventually experiences after a breakup hadn't yet hit. I understood we were over, but I still didn't believe it was the right decision. As long as we were both single, I felt like there was hope for reconciliation.

When I found out he moved on, the thought that we would get back together disappeared. It was definitive proof that he no longer wanted to be with me—a fact that I had trouble accepting up until that point. Knowing he invested his emotions in someone new, I finally felt like I was ready to let go of that relationship.

I still didn't want to find someone new or start another relationship—I needed time to heal and recover. But it cleared my head and forced me to stop thinking of him as "the one that got away." Instead, the resulting frustration and bitterness forced me to look at the reality of our partnership, and I realized that it was never as perfect as I made it out to be. Knowing that he moved on gave me the ability to let go of him and look towards the future, instead of living in a romanticized version of the past. In a strange way, I was thankful that he moved on first, as it was precisely what I needed to leave that relationship in the rearview.


Looking for more relationship advice? Click HERE for how to tell if you're bored in your relationship, or just comfortable.