by Susan J. Elliott, J.D., M.Ed.
Copyright 2017 All Right Reserved
This may not be copied or duplicated without the express permission of the author
One of the most common questions I receive every single month since I started writing my blog in 2008 is, “My ex has moved on so fast, what do I do?” Since the advent of social media, it has gotten so much worse. It seems the “replacing” behavior is now very public. Now it has become, “My ex has replaced me in a very public (social media) way. What do I do?”
In the Getting Past Your Breakup book I ask, “Does it hurt when you do?” and if the answer is “Yes.” Then the response is “Don’t do that.”
The other thing I hear, a lot, is “It’s not about (Facebook, Instagram, Snap Chat, whatever the hell, the ex, the ex’s new partner)…” and when I hear that, I usually say, “Chances are, yes it is. That is exactly what it is about.” If you’re being slammed by your ex’s social media posts, it’s time to detox from social media until such a time when you can handle it. It’s time to block the ex and (temporarily) any mutual friends. If you can’t do that, it’s time to get off social media altogether.
When you are obsessed with what the ex is doing, most of your sentences begin with, “How could he…” “Why is she…” “When will they…” It almost never starts with, “Why am I doing what I am doing?” The focus is almost totally on the ex and the new partner. Listen to your questions. Who is the main focus? If it’s the ex and the ex’s new partner, your focus is in the wrong place.
You become obsessed, fixated and “other oriented.” You forget your life to focus on two people who couldn’t care less if you fell off the Earth tomorrow. In fact, one or both might applaud if you did. Life is short. They’re busy living their lives and you’re busy watching them live their lives instead of focusing on you and your life and putting it back together after a traumatic breakup.
You have to take responsibility for the fact that you have put the very thoughts you are being plagued with inside your own head. Does it hurt when you do that? #DontDoThat.
You need to make the decision to stop. You need to exercise your self-restraint when you have visions of your ex and the new partner inside your head. You need to turn your attention to you and stop wallowing in thoughts of them.
They are focusing on getting on with their lives and building a life together and what are YOU doing? Watching it build brick by miserable brick. This isn’t good, isn’t healthy and doesn’t help you do what you need to do. Move on.
You may wonder if it’s a rebound or if your ex is really in love. It doesn’t matter which it is. It’s really none of your business. It doesn’t change who you are and where you are today.
The feeling of being replaced is like all the other emotions of grief after a breakup. It’s hard and it hurts. But everyone is replaced, usually, at some point. It’s not a good idea to watch your replacement stroll off into the sunset with your old love. But, there is no good reason to pay admission for the fairy tale. Go see something or someone else.
People wonder, “Does my ex miss me?” What if I told you, no he or she does not. You don’t like that answer? Why? So what if he or she is missing you?
What good would it do if he or she was missing you? None at all. He or she is not acting on it. He or she is content to let the feeling pass. He or she isn’t coming back. It doesn’t matter if he or she is sitting at home pining for you or frolicking on a Caribbean beach with his new sweetheart. It doesn’t matter.
Missing you is worth nothing. The 2-billion-dollar question is: Why don’t you miss you? Where is your life? Where has it gone? If you don’t miss you and your life why would someone else? Forget anyone else missing you…You need to start missing you and what used to be or could be your life. You’ve become terribly uninteresting. No one wants that in a mate. You have to get interested in being interesting. Focusing on your ex makes you pathetically uninteresting. Do you like being pathetically uninteresting? If not, DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.
Stop torturing yourself with the life you think they are building because you don’t know if the pretty photos on Instagram and the updates on their Facebook timelines are real or not. The only thing you know — really know — is that looking at it, fantasy or not, is making you nuts. And what else is making you nuts is comparing everyone else’s outsides with your insides. It’s happy apples v. miserable oranges and the comparison doesn’t work.
What we wish on most exes (a string of bad luck and misery) is NOT what people post about on Facebook, so, chances are, you’re never going to see the bad days on social media. They’re not taking photos of their arguments. They’re not taking photos of breaking down on the side of the road and blaming each other. There are photos of laughing, smiling faces on a boat on a gorgeous day. You die inside because you’re not happy and smiling. Are you posting photos of your depression? No. Not you or anyone else, including the ex. I’m sure that the ex’s new thing has had days and days of life spent crying into their ice cream or getting sloppy drunk or getting really crazy over a number of things for no reason…Everyone has that…no one puts it on Facebook.
People don’t put their fights, disagreements, pet peeves and the day I threw the iced tea at him and stomped out, on social media. They don’t post their doubts, their pressure, their issues with their partner and the dramatic details of their recent falling out. They show you the sunny side of the street.
Repeat after me: I will stop comparing my insides to others’ outsides.
Are you ever going to know what is really going on? No you’re not. And do you need to know what is going on? No, you don’t. Why?
Because it doesn’t matter.
Repeat after me: I am a full-time job and becoming and the staying happy, healthy and sane is my responsibility to myself.
You have a responsibility to yourself. They don’t care about you and when you are engaging in this behavior you don’t care about you. So that makes three people who don’t care about you. But you have a responsibility to care and they do not. And you have a responsibility to not care about them. All the energy you put into them and what they are doing and when they are doing it and how they are doing it, is energy you could you be using to build your own new life.
What you are doing with this social media obsession is to abdicate your responsibility to yourself. And that’s not ok.
As it says in the GPYB book, do your grief work, do your relationship inventory, do your affirmations and put the focus on you. Stop caring about whether or not you’ve been replaced and how could he? Forget about whether or not they’re really in love.
No matter what thoughts are circling around your head, doing your grief work, putting the focus on you and eventually getting to the Relationship Inventory will free you from the prison you have constructed for yourself. Go to Getting Back Out There (it is NOT a dating book!) and go to the Standards and Compatibility Inventory…start LOOKING at what you NEED in a future partner…work at this…put your heart and soul into this…THIS is where your attention should be. Get Getting Back Out There—get the book NOW and start working on your future YOU. (To know how to work the books TOGETHER go HERE ).
Stay off social media. It’s hard but as one who has done the social media detox, I can tell you it is very freeing. The more you stay away, the less you care.
You don’t have to be happy for your ex. You don’t have to be anything for your ex. Let him or her worry about him or her. No one says you have to hate them or feel anger. But you do need to stop focusing over there. You need your attention and you’re not getting it.
The ex moving on so fast might seem cruel but it’s not being done to hurt you. It’s just being done. Stop taking it so personally. Some people cannot stand being alone. Give yourself credit that you are learning how to be alone and how to create a happy, healthy life on your own. Because that is what healthy people are attracted to…not dependency and heartache. Acting like the victim of the year is not going to get you another great relationship. It’s going to get you more of the same. And you don’t want that.
Starting today, you have to take the focus less on them and more on you. You have to stop worrying about answers to questions you’re never going to get. You have to stay off social media and stop talking to mutual friends about the ex. You need to go your own way and make your own path.
You will be much happier and healthier than they are in the end. You will find a good and true relationship if you do your work and concentrate on you and your future. To be obsessed with them is to be unfocused and dysfunctional and to continue to hurt long after you need to.
Some of our Facebook group members ONLY come onto Facebook to be a part of our group. They ignore the (false) hap hap happy photos of others and avoid Instagram and Twitter and every other social media site…and you can too!!!
Start being good to you. Start by putting the focus back on you.
Copyright 2017 Susan J. Elliott, J.D., M.Ed.
“I Teach What I Know. I Have The Degrees, but I Have The EXPERIENCE and I don’t ask anyone to do anything I have not done.”
All Rights Reserved No Duplication is Allowed Without Explicit Permission of the Author
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If a post has a tag PT Article it means that it was once on Psychology Today and I am recreating and re-publishing for the blog…it takes a while. I recognize, by the amount of email I received and the traffic and comments my articles had, that my articles were VERY POPULAR. But I had over 100 articles on Psychology Today that helped everyone. I’m trying to recreate them as fast as I can. They’re ALL coming – eventually….but I did my outline for the articles on my local machine, uploaded to PT and edited them there so I have to recreate the process…it takes a while..but I’m writing as fast as I can!!! Read about the HORRIBLE PT breakup HERE
*Included here because it’s the most popular GPYB post/video over the history of the blog/book etc.