If your ex is getting married, it's OK to feel sad about it.
10 Things To Remember When Your Ex Gets Engaged

It’s OK to feel your feelings.

by Ginny Hogan and Claire Fox
Originally Published: 
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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 — and when your ex gets engaged, it’s even harder to look away. If your ex just got engaged, chances are, you’re feeling some type of way — and let’s be real, it’s totally natural to have mixed emotions.

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
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It’s easy to view your ex’s choices as reflections of 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, even though it (obviously) can feel super personal. If you find out your ex is getting married, 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 — nor does it say anything about your worth.

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 than 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.”

Learning that your ex-partner is engaged can be a tough thing to accept. If you’re feeling down or need a self-esteem boost, try making a list of your personal strengths. A 2011 study published in Personality and Individual Differences found that finding ways to use your personal strengths in everyday life can lead to increased well-being over time. For example, if you excel at being creative, try channeling your difficult emotions through writing, painting, music, or another channel that will allow you to express yourself. If you’re super social and adept at bringing people together, now might be a great time to plan a trip with friends. Don’t be afraid to tap into your strengths when you’re feeling low. You can also talk to a trusted friend about what you’re feeling or even reach out to a therapist who can help you process what’s happening.

You'll Find Someone You Connect To Better

Let’s be real: Finding out your ex just got engaged doesn’t necessarily feel great. It can remind you of how strong your connection used to be, and you might even fall down a rabbit hole of the fun times you had together. Maybe you’ve already begun doomscrolling and thinking, “Will I ever find someone like this again?!” While no two relationships are identical, chances are, you will find someone else who makes you happy — and 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
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No matter 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.”

If you’re still having trouble processing your ex’s engagement — or find yourself falling into a comparison trap with their new boo — 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.

It's Not A Contest

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, and despite society’s (unrealistic, outdated) standards, there’s no contest or prize for who settles down first. If your ex is getting married quickly, this isn’t an indication that either of you is moving on better than the other. After all, everyone’s timeline is different.

“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?”

Instead, try to focus on your own best interests. “Happiness is the best revenge,” Richardson adds, and says that the more you try to prove yourself to others, the less satisfied you’ll probably end up in the long run. “You're not ever truly happy when you're trying to prove something to someone else,” she says. “It's about turning into yourself and loving yourself well, and living authentically to you.”

Everyone Commits At Different Times
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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 you’re processing your ex’s engagement, it’s important to remember that everyone commits at different times in life, and you aren’t “behind” in some way if marriage isn’t the stage of life you’re in.

“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. Trust in your own timeline and know that you can always move at your own pace, even when it feels like others are moving in their own directions.

It's OK To Feel Sad About It

If you’re feeling upset that your ex got engaged, try not to worry about it — even though it’s a lot easier said than done. 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.”

Along with feeling sad, resentful, or a mix of both, you may start to feel straight-up jealous about your ex’s engagement — which can be a slippery slope. Kati Morton, a licensed marriage and family therapist, previously told Elite Daily that jealousy can be harmful to our mental health, and Dr. Danielle Foshee, a doctorate of psychology and licensed clinical social worker, says that jealousy can spiral you into fight-or-flight mode, causing “intense anxiety,” “potentially obsessive thoughts,” and “feeling sick to your stomach.”

If you’re feeling jealous about your ex getting married, know 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 — and it’s OK to explore those feelings, write them down, or share them candidly with someone you trust. 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
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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; but by “strategizing” your healing process a bit, you might be able to turn those difficult emotions into a constructive learning experience.

“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

Although your ex’s engagement may feel like the biggest announcement of the year, the truth is, 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 read that right: Despite social media making us feel like we have to be plugged in 24/7, you don’t owe anyone a thing — even if you feel like your ex is still an important person in your life.

“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. No matter what you’re feeling right now, know that it’s more than OK to take social media breaks and step away from your feeds every once in a while. And if someone asks about your ex or tries to bring up their engagement, guess what? You still don’t owe them a response.

Your Relationship With Them Still Mattered
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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. Their new relationship doesn’t invalidate the time you spent together.

“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.”

But if you’re struggling to let go of your ex, you’re not alone. Getting over someone can feel impossible, and sometimes, it’s not that you miss the actual person, but who you were in the relationship. Todd Baratz, a psychotherapist who specializes in relationships, previously told Elite Daily, “Some people think that if you miss your ex, you’re not over them. Don’t listen. It’s OK to miss someone."

Be Kind To Yourself

If your ex is getting married, 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 says.

“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.” A 2013 study published in the Journal of clinical psychology found that practicing mindful self-compassion — aka being kind to yourself — can help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, and increase your overall life satisfaction. By tuning into your thoughts and emotions more mindfully, you’re not only are you helping yourself feel better, but you’re setting yourself up for more healthy relationships and connections in the future.

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. But 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. You’ve got this!


Nicole Richardson, licensed relationship therapist

Cherlyn Chong, breakup recovery and dating coach

Kati Morton, a licensed marriage and family therapist

Dr. Danielle Foshee, a doctorate of psychology and licensed clinical social worker

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