6 Brutally Honest Phases Of Breaking Up When Your Partner’s Met Someone Else

There are a lot of reasons why people break up and none of them feel especially great, but possibly the most painful is breaking up when your partner’s met someone else. There are just so many layers of betrayal there. Did they cheat? How did they move on so quickly? When they said "I love you," did they ever really mean it? On top of a broken heart, you feel gaslit and confused. It's really rough stuff. What you are dealing with is an "overlapper" — someone who, before ending their current relationship, has to start a new one. They are terrified of being alone, so when they sense there are problems in the relationship, rather than confronting them head on and risk being on their own for a while, they seek a replacement partner.

It's cold-blooded and can leave a former partner devastated in what feels like a double emotional gut punch. But here's the thing: Every breakup, even an extra gnarly one like this, is survivable. You will come out the other side smarter, stronger, and more resilient. You just have to power through to the light at the end of the tunnel. When you're still stuck in the post- breakup darkness, it may feel like it will never come, but it will. Here are the phases you'll go through to get there.

The Paranoia

You don’t know for sure yet that your partner has met someone else, but your spidey senses are tingling that something is off in the relationship. There has been a shift. They are subtly pulling away but not saying anything. In fact, they deny it when you ask. But in your heart you can feel a difference and it's turning into acute paranoia. You ask yourself if you're just being crazy or if they are actually up to something. Maybe you start looking through their phone, their pockets, and anywhere else they might leave some evidence. And then you find it, the proof you hoped you'd never actually find. But also, you're relieved because you knew something was up all along. And so you confront them.

The Shock And Horror

Well, it's all out on the table now. You've gotten the brutal news that not only is your relationship over, but your ex is already with someone new. The news hits you like a ton of bricks. And even though you suspected it all along, your brain goes into denial mode and shuts down as you try and process all the information. It's just too much to handle all at once.

The Despair

Once the initial shock wears off, the pain and heartbreak quickly fill the void. Your heart is broken but, even worse, you're just so confused. Did they cheat? If so, for how long? Did your relationship ever actually mean anything? Because if it did, how did they move on so quickly? Was it all a lie? Add to this the pain of being replaced, and the grief feels crushing, like a physical weight on your body. This phase sucks. A lot. But, the next one is better, because...

You get mad as hell.

Oh yes, this is the phase we've all been waiting for: the anger. It feels justified, righteous, and good. You're done internalizing everything — blaming yourself and beating yourself up, because there's a new object to direct all your feelings at: them. And, TBH, they really do have it coming. Instead of asking, "What's wrong with me?" you begin to ask the real question: What the hell is wrong with them? Are they really so mindless that they couldn't talk to you about what they were feeling, instead of wimping out and looking for someone else? Or they didn't have the guts to, ya know, break up with you before moving on? Along with the anger come waves of disgust, and riding them feels good. Enjoy it, because it won't last long.


Being furious may feel amazing (especially after all that despair), but it also takes a lot of energy to maintain, so it can't last forever. Eventually you're going to have to face reality. Regardless of how or why it went down, your relationship is over and it's time to mourn it. This phase is a huge bummer but it's also the most important one, because this is the phase where you do all your real growing and learning. Plus, there's probably a lot of wine and you get to finally catch up on all the shows that have been stacking up on your DVR because your ex didn't want to watch them.

During this time, you'll spend a lot of time rehashing and analyzing the relationship. It's going to hurt, but you're going to learn so much. You're also going to probably make some bad decisions. So here's my disclaimer: No haircuts, no hooking up with Marlon Randos (at least not without condoms), and stay off your ex’s social media. There is nothing, I repeat nothing, on there that is going to make you feel better. Block, delete, and keep it moving.

It finally gets a little better.

Day by day, it starts to get better. You think about your ex less and less and start to get a little excited about the idea of getting back out there. Without realizing it, you are in the final phase: healing. You've learned that you are stronger than you knew, and that overlappers are a thing to be avoided. While it may still be a little bit before you're completely over your ex, you are well on your way.

Hang in there kiddo, it just gets better from here.

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