I remember the moment my friend showed me her phone and said, "Have you seen this?" She showed me a picture on Facebook of my ex-boyfriend with his arms around another woman at a festival captioned "loving life."
I could have screamed at my friend. I'd purposely deleted him off Facebook after our breakup so not to be exposed to things like this and avoid an emotional kick in the gut.
Here are the four stages of emotion I felt while going through this moment:
1. Shock And Tears
I had ended the relationship even though I didn't want to. It wasn't working. There was too much over compromising from my side and a serious lack of boundaries in place. Breaking up wasn't exactly empowering for me at that point, but it was needed. So ultimately, it was my call, and I made it.
But seeing this picture of him with his arms draped around someone else was torture. It was probably known that the picture would get in front of my eyes one way or another, and I remember the tears starting to fall into my tea.
It was a hot day, we were sitting outside of a coffee shop and I felt like such an idiot trying to conceal my tears yet again. I knew the relationship wasn't right, I knew he'd be around other women but I never would have thought that seeing that picture would make me feel so horrible.
2. Anger And Betrayal
When you break up with someone, you're expected to be OK with everything. You can't exactly show anger or resentment toward your ex for moving on because all that will get thrown back at you is, "Well this was your choice." But seeing your ex with someone else is like a stab to the heart.
The thing was, I'd gone on dates with other people. I know now though, that it was way too soon to date. I was torn with feeling so hurt combined with knowing it was logically unreasonable to want to scream at him, "How can you be enjoying yourself so soon?"
But when you've loved someone so much, all of this gets so confusing, and logic goes out the window.
It ruined the day for me. I think it ruined the weekend actually. My poor friend felt so guilty, but just didn't think about it. To be fair, the picture didn't represent anything but a bunch of people having a good time at a festival. But when we go through a painful breakup, we become ridiculously reactive and jump to all kinds of conclusions instead of looking at things objectively.
So, what I did was wallow (for too many days). The fact that he was out there with other women reminded me why I broke up with him and decided to get back on with my life.
4. Getting Back To Reality About The Situation
I knew this moment was coming, so at least the worst of it was over. Plus, was it really necessary to get myself so worked up over a picture on Facebook? Not really, because Facebook wasn't the issue. It was more about acceptance and the willingness to take control of my heart and emotions.
The more I focused on myself and in those weak moments, went back to all the reasons why the relationship was wrong (instead of feeling like I was missing out on him), the more it helped center me again. After that, any hearsay about who he's with and what he's doing becomes less painful. They bother you, but not so much that you spend the weekend stalking his social media profiles to see who he's recently added as a friend and try to decode his every move.
When the worst of the pain hits you, that's actually the good news. Because after that, it really does get better. Soon, you will move on and things, opportunities, events, feelings and people will come into your life that takes the spotlight off your ex. You just have to go out there and find them.