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Why Do You Feel Jealous of Your Ex’s New Relationship?

You are scrolling through your Instagram feed and suddenly come across a picture of your ex, hand in hand with their new partner.

You feel a strong pang of jealousy like someone is physically ripping your heart into shreds. You struggle to understand this feeling since you thought you had long decided that moving on was good for you.

“WHY do I feel jealous of my ex’s new relationship?” you ask yourself out of exasperation. The jealousy is even more bewildering when you are the one who ended the relationship.

Although it might be confusing, these feelings are totally normal – let us start by discussing why they might be popping up.

1. You were not ready to see them move on

Yes, the relationship might have ended, and you might have made peace with that. However, you did not expect to see them get over it so soon and so easily – and the fact that they did, hurts you.

2. You still have feelings

Deciding to move on from a relationship does not mean that the feelings magically disappear. We do not have a switch to simply turn our emotions off, and it is okay if you need more time to recover than you thought.

If you find your mind drifting towards your ex and their new relationship or partner, remember WHY you ended the relationship and that they are your ex for a reason.

3. Your ego program wants to control them

When you see your ex get into a relationship with a new partner, it might channel feelings of insecurity. Your ego program wanted to control your ex even after you ended things with them, and their ability to move on maddens your ego.

Sometimes, you like the idea that someone has feelings for you, even if you are unable to reciprocate them. It makes you feel wanted and desired. It is soothing to know that someone out there is still stuck upon you. Seeing your ex get into a new relationship shatters these illusions.

4. You wonder if they are treating their new partner better than they treated you

Your mind is probably still pounding you with questions like, “Are they a better partner than they were to me?” or “Have they changed themselves? If so, what could have changed?”

The truth is that every relationship is different. Perhaps their new partner does not want or need the same things as you did. Or, maybe they learned from their time with you and are now using those lessons to improve themselves as a partner.

5. They were your first love

It is not necessary, or even likely, that your first love ends up being your last. However, it is hard to forget them and to stop feeling protective of them, even long after they have left.

Since they were your first love, they had the entirety of your heart. It is normal to feel possessive about them and think that nobody else deserves to be with your ex.

6. You get nostalgic

Nostalgia can lead you into believing that the past was better than it really was. So, when you see your ex into a new relationship, it can make you reminisce about your relationship with them and make you think that you are missing the times you spent with them.

7. You start thinking that your relationship was irrelevant to your ex

When you see your ex get into a new relationship so quickly after ending things with you, it makes you question the importance of your relationship.

You might start thinking that you were just a pastime for your ex or that they never really saw you as a long-term partner. It is even possible that you start believing that your ex cheated on you and was seeing their ‘new’ partner well before they ended things with you.

8. It is the final nail in your relationship’s coffin

Even if you are content with your decision to move on or are in a new relationship yourself, seeing your ex dating someone else can spark the same feelings of pain and hurt you felt at the time you broke up. These feelings can masquerade as jealousy towards your ex’s new partner.

9. You feel like a failure

When you invest your time and effort into a relationship only to see it come down crashing, it can make you feel as if you are not good enough, and seeing your ex happy with someone else can compound those feelings of failure.

However, it is essential to remember that you cannot clap with a single hand and that your ex also had a role to play in your breakup. 

10. Their partner is entirely different from you

Which makes you think, “How can your ex get into a relationship with someone so different than their previous partner?”

Also, since their new partner is different than you, you could be compelled to think about all the qualities they have that you don’t and wonder if your ex wasn’t always searching for someone with these traits.

11. Their partner is a LOT like you

Perhaps they look a lot like you, or have the same tastes in music, food, or sports (as evidenced by their social media accounts). Either way, you cannot help but dwell on the fact that your ex got into a relationship with someone who is so much like you, as if they wanted to replace you completely. 

12. You compare yourself to your ex’s new partner

Building up from the previous point, social media allows you to access a lot of information about almost anyone.

Learning things about your ex’s new partner – such as her college or her favorite drink at the bar – forces you to compare yourself to them; you might even lead yourself into thinking that your ex has upgraded you.

Regardless, the constant comparison will trigger feelings of jealousy, even if you have moved on and do not want your ex back.

13. The heart craves for what it cannot have

This happens mostly when you were the one who ended the relationship or it was done mutually. Either way, now that they are with someone else, they are beyond your reach.

Seeing someone else want and have your ex can instigate feelings of possession and jealousy, even though you do not want to patch things up with them.

14. Sometimes, detaching yourself is hard

Although you are convinced that moving on is right for you, you probably still have some dormant attachment to your ex-partner. These feelings of attachment are activated when you see your ex being in a relationship with someone else.

As I mentioned previously, it is common to feel jealous of your ex’s new partner or relationship, especially if your breakup is relatively recent.

However, frustrating as they might be, these feelings of jealousy do go away, and you can take the following steps to make that happen:

1. Normalize feeling jealous

It is normal to feel jealous even if you and your ex have separated on good terms.

Remember that feelings of jealousy and loss are not linear, and usually occur in waves. One day, you might feel that those feelings have subsided, but they might erupt with a vengeance the next day. It is okay.

To get over your jealousy, you need to stop beating yourself up every time the feeling shows up. Being jealous does not make you pathetic – it makes you human.

2. Give yourself the time you need to heal

Remember that everyone has a different healing process. Just because your ex has moved on does not mean that you need to follow suit. Take as much time as you need to process your feelings, emotions, and thoughts. No rush.

3. Stay away from your ex

Stop contacting them. Cut them off your social media and get rid of all texts and pictures stored on your phone. Try and avoid venues where you might run into them. Do not try and get updates from mutual friends, and do not allow them to give you any.

I understand that it is hard to resist the temptation to stalk your ex and keep tabs on their lives, but this addiction is going to drain you and make the healing process harder and longer than it needs to be.

4. Do something you have always wanted to do

By getting into a new relationship, your ex is prioritizing themselves over you – it is time for you to do the same. It does not mean that you have to get into a new relationship, but simply focus on doing whatever makes you happy.

Start exercising. Read good books. Join an art class. Take yourself out for a treat at your favorite restaurant.

More interest and hobbies will take up more of your time and thoughts, and your busy schedule will keep you from thinking about or missing them.

5. Express gratitude

If you find yourself stuck up thinking about what you do not have (in this case, your ex), counter those thoughts by focusing on everything that you do have.

Be thankful for all the blessings on your life, from food on the table to friends and family that you can reach out to whenever you need to.

6. Do not isolate yourself

It is possible that you feel the urge to distance yourself from everyone, but that will just make it that much easier for the negativity to suck you in. Instead, you should reconnect with people and form uplifting relationships.

However, make sure that you are not spending all your time discussing your former partner or relationship. The objective behind socializing is to distract you from the negatives rather than to keep you fixated on them. 

7. Maintain a sense of normalcy in your life

When you are reeling from a breakup, it is going to be tough for you to carry on normally with your life.

However, to alleviate the pain and keep yourself occupied, it is important to keep living your life. Keep going to work, attending classes, and hanging out with your friends. Develop a ‘new normal’ for yourself.

8. Maintain a journal

Pull out your journal whenever you feel tempted to look at your past relationship with rose-tinted glasses.

List down all the things that were wrong with your relationship or your partner and the reasons you were happy to end things.

9. Make positive affirmations

Consistently positive thoughts can nullify your consistently negative thought patterns. Some examples of positive affirmations are:

  • “I am a beautiful human being and deserve to be loved.”
  • “I will heal and grow from this.”
  • “I will love myself and focus on my needs.”
  • “I am not responsible for what other people think, feel, or do.”

10. Consider going to therapy

Therapy can help you find the origins of your jealousy and understand it. Apart from being supportive, a therapist will view your situation with an objective lens and provide valuable education and insight. Moreover, you will learn new ways to cope with your emotions.

11. Do not act impulsively

When people feel jealous towards their ex, they might be willing to do anything to lessen the pain or maybe even let their ex get a taste of it.

They indulge in behaviors such as doing drugs, sleeping with other people, humiliating their ex on social media, or even begging them to come back.

However, remember that such behaviors will not lessen the pain; if anything, you might regret these actions in the long run and add to the hurt that you are already suffering.

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