It’s OK to admit that you still follow the lives of your exes on social media or choose to
block them entirely — there’s no wrong answer. Amicable or otherwise, breakups can leave a soft spot of interest that’s easily reignited regardless of how much time has passed or if it’s fueled by hurt or just curiosity. When something big happens in an ex’s life, it’s hard not to look. When your ex gets engaged, it’s even harder to look away.
No matter how you feel about your past partners, it's completely normal to take note and be interested in an ex’s engagement announcement. You had an intimate relationship with them in the past, and
seeing them commit to someone else could bring back some strong emotions — and not always positive ones — even if you’ve long moved on. You know it’s not your fault at all, and their choice to be with this person has nothing to do with you. But still, your first thought might be to wonder what made your ex choose to settle down with someone else.
“As far as your brain goes, it's like having a severed limb,”
Nicole Richardson, a licensed relationship therapist, tells Elite Daily. “Finding out that your ex is getting married is a lot like being reminded, ‘Oh, hey, remember when your leg fell off? Remember how much that hurt?’” It brings back those old wounds even after you’ve worked hard to heal them.
If you find yourself feeling some type of way about an ex getting engaged, read on to find 10 things to keep in mind.
It Has Nothing To Do With You
It’s easy to view your ex’s choices as reflections on how they feel about you, even if you know that’s not true. An ex’s engagement might make you question why things didn’t work out with you, because at one point, that relationship was something you wanted. “There was a dream or a fantasy that it was going to be you, and even if you left the situation, it was probably because it didn't go the way you wanted it to,” Richardson says. “You didn't get your dream outcome that you longed for.”
And that’s OK — don’t take it personally.
Cherlyn Chong, a breakup recovery and dating coach, recommends taking your ego out of the equation. “Everybody has a different path, right? Does it mean that the grass is greener on the other side? No,” Chong says. “So we have to take away the ego, and really accept that they have their own path.” Your ex is an independent person, and marrying someone else doesn't mean they think the other person is better than you.
Removing your ego will also help if you begin down the long downward road of comparing yourself to your ex’s new partner. “It's not necessary that the new spouse in your ex's life is a better person that you,” Chong says. “The reason why you think they are a better person is because of a fatalistic mindset of feeling shame that you're not good enough.”
You'll Find Someone You Connect To Better
Maybe you already have! Your ex isn't the only person you're ever going to vibe with, and them choosing to marry someone else doesn't mean your own romantic ships have sailed.
“Just because that relationship failed doesn't mean that your whole life is all doom and gloom,” Chong says. “And that doesn't mean that just because this guy or girl rejected you, you will be rejected by everybody.”
There Are Reasons You Broke Up
how the relationship ended, something wasn’t clicking enough for it to work out in the long run. According to Richardson, sometimes revisiting the reasons why the relationship failed with a pen and paper and making a list is helpful in remembering why you two are better off apart.
“It doesn't have to be that they're a monster and you hate them, but it didn't work for a reason,” Richardson says. “Their authentic self and your authentic self just weren't coming together.” Keep in mind that the person your ex is marrying isn't better than you — they're just different. And that’s a good thing.
Even though sometimes it can feel like you are
in competition with your ex in terms of happiness and moving on, in reality, you have nothing to prove. There is no winner or loser after a breakup. If your ex is getting married quickly, this isn’t an indication that either of you is moving on better than the other.
“The success that he has or she has in her own life doesn't mean anything about the success that you have in your life,” Chong says. “Comparing won't help you in any way, because you cannot do anything about somebody else's happiness, right?”
“Happiness is the best revenge,” Richardson adds. “You're not ever truly happy when you're trying to prove something to someone else. It's about turning into yourself and loving yourself well, and living authentically to you.”
Everyone Commits At Different Times
Getting married can mean more than just loving another person — it can also mean wanting to settle down and start a new phase of life. Your ex marrying someone else might just mean they're in a life phase that they weren’t when you were dating.
“When an ex does get married, it's very devastating because you have essentially been replaced,” Chong says. “But if your ex is able to move on into another commitment and find happiness, you can, too.”
No matter where you are romantically (single, dating, engaged, married, divorced), it doesn't mean your ex is developing faster or slower than you — everyone chooses a different time to commit.
It's OK To Feel Sad About It
If you’re feeling upset that your ex got engaged, try not to worry about it. Just because you're sad about it doesn't mean you're not over them (and if you aren't over them, that's OK, too). Sometimes,
just seeing someone's life change can make you feel strong, confusing emotions.
“I think it's completely reasonable, even if it's years later and you're in a different relationship, to go, ‘Well, [why can] my ex give it to this new person, but they couldn't give it to me?’ It's important not to dwell there,” Richardson says. “But I think it's completely reasonable to have hurt or sad or resentful feelings about that.”
Repressing your emotions will only make things worse. It’s healthy to accept that your ex’s engagement might make you feel momentarily vulnerable. Give yourself space to feel. “Nobody's a light switch,” Richardson says. “Let yourself have your feelings. Acknowledge them — just don’t get stuck there.”
You’re In Charge Of Your Happiness
Part of letting yourself embrace your authentic emotions is knowing when to stop sitting in them and pick yourself back up. If you let yourself stew in negative feelings for too long, you might get lulled into a regressive spiral.
“Be a project manager, and treat your recovery period like a project with deadlines,” Chong says. “If you want to be sad, you can be sad. You can sit here and wallow in despair, but the end result still is that you have to work on bringing yourself happiness.”
You Don't Have To Interact With The Announcement Post
No one will notice if you choose not to ”like” or comment
on your ex’s post. If their engagement makes you sad (or feel anything negative), you can just mute them. You can even unfollow.
“You’ve got to remind yourself to stop staring at your ex’s Instagram, because you're just deliberately provoking yourself,” Chong says. “You’ve got to stop making yourself seem like the worst person on earth and be very, very strict about putting yourself first.”
It's your account, so make it work for you and your wellbeing.
Your Relationship With Them Still Mattered
When you see your ex commit to someone else, it can be easy to wonder if you meant anything to them at all. After all, they're now marrying someone who isn't you. Still, it’s important to remind yourself that your relationship with your ex mattered and was an important part of both of your lives, regardless of who you are both with now.
“Loving yourself well means letting them go and letting them have the life that they're going to have,” Richardson says. “You can look back and still appreciate that person even after you’ve moved on.”
The most important thing you can do is to be compassionate with yourself in a moment where you might feel alone and unwanted. “The only way to counteract ostracism from loneliness you might be feeling is to go back out there, get connected with people again, [and] build up your self worth,” Chong suggests.
“Don’t give yourself a hard time,” Richardson says. “Go do something for yourself, whether it's going for a walk or doing some other self care thing that puts that energy into loving you.”
When an ex gets engaged, it's totally normal to pay attention and feel your feelings. No matter where you stand with your ex, it can feel strange to watch them grow with someone else. You don't have to feel guilty for any feelings that arise when they're marrying someone else, and it's normal to spend some time thinking about it. Just because they've found someone to commit to doesn't mean you won't (or haven’t already). As long as you put yourself and your own happiness first, you’ll make it through.
Experts: Nicole Richardson , licensed relationship therapist Cherlyn Chong , breakup recovery and dating coach