A Certain Kind of Sadness: How to Deal With an Ex Moving On

By Kristin Manganello, Copy Cutie

The fluffiest of pop songs can attach itself to a specific event in your mind, suddenly flooding you with memories whenever you hear the tune. In this respect, relationships and breakups are a lot like records, with each memory forming a groove into your mind. Even if you're mostly over a separation, seeing your ex move on with someone new can be confusing — especially if you haven't been as lucky in love since the two of you split. Peering into a future that you no longer have with them, a future he or she is now sharing with someone else, can be painful. A part of you knows you weren't right for each other anyway, but there’s another part that’s stuck on a numb feeling, like a broken record. But without the rest of the melody to frame it, that feeling has no meaning. Remember that it's just a dull reminder of your past.

“Love must be forgotten — life can always start up anew.” (MGMT)

To extinguish the few embers that still burn inside of you, try to remember why things ended. The two of you didn’t work out for a reason. Just because someone else has found happiness with your ex doesn’t mean that you would have. Don’t let these sudden pangs of wanting make you forget whatever happiness you’ve had since your breakup.

“I’m starting with the man in the mirror. I’m asking him to change his ways.” (Michael Jackson)

Concern yourself with you, and don’t compare your life to theirs. This isn’t a contest where the person who moves on first is the winner and the other is the loser. Distract yourself from these pesky feelings by taking the time to explore your interests. Dedicate yourself to an old hobby or pick up a new one — anything to get your mind off of your ex’s haves and your have-nots.

“You’re so vain — you probably think this song is about you.” (Carly Simon)

Music soothes the savage beast, but hit next when a breakup song comes on. These songs may make you feel better for a little while, but they’ll also keep you focused on the object of your disaffection. There’s a sad irony to singing along with a tune about how over the relationship you are. Instead, scan your library for songs that make you feel generally better and direct your energy towards the present … without your ex.

“You said that you could let it go, and I wouldn’t catch you hung up on somebody that you used to know.” (Gotye)

Cut off contact … if you have to. If your ex’s new life has deeply affected you, it’s OK to remove yourself from the situation. While remaining friends with an ex is admirable, this attitude can actually be really damaging for some. You shouldn’t willingly engage in a connection that causes you stress. Without the constant reminder staring you in the face, you’ll be able to concentrate more on your own happiness.

What are your tips for dealing with an ex moving on? Share with fellow readers in a comment below!