When You See Your Ex With Someone Else For The First Time, Remember These 4 Things
Picture this: You're a few months post breakup, and you're feeling good. You're not constantly crying anymore, you don't think about your ex every second of every day, and you might even be feeling ready to move on and redownload Bumble. But then, you see your ex with someone else for the first time, and it feels like all the healing you did just went down the drain. You may have felt ready to move on, but you probably weren't ready to see that your ex was already one step ahead of you. Chances are, you're going to feel a wide range of emotions, but according to experts, how you feel when you see them is a direct reflection of how your relationship ended.
"We all end relationships on different notes," Joshua Klapow, Ph.D., clinical psychologist and host of The Kurre and Klapow Show, tells Elite Daily. However, "over time, both individuals begin to establish their new paths. When we see our ex for the first time it is almost uniformly awkward. Old feelings arise: feelings of defensiveness, comparison, a desire to look and present 'well' all are common. And this is typical simply by seeing our ex. When our ex is with someone else, it throws an entirely new variable into the emotional equation, and it can cause a host of new and different emotions."
To cope with the emotions you're likely feeling after a run-in with your ex and their someone new, here are five things to remember about yourself and the relationship.
1. Your Relationship Ended For A Reason
Seeing your ex with someone else may very well cause you to start thinking about the relationship you shared. "When you see an ex it's not uncommon to start wondering 'what if' and 'why not me' more often than makes sense," Dr. Benjamin Ritter, founder of Live for Yourself Consulting and The Breakup Supplement, tells Elite Daily.
You may get flashbacks of the good times and wonder why it didn't work out. "It can feel really deflating to see them with another person, particularly if they broke up with you," Diana Dorell, intuitive dating coach and author of The Dating Mirror: Trust Again, Love Again, tells Elite Daily. "But remember, you broke up for a reason and even if you don't know why, if someone is meant to be in your life, they will be."
2. It's OK To Feel Weird
Awkwardness is likely among the wide range of emotions you'll probably feel when you see your ex with someone new. Sure, you may be over them, but it's still not the most wonderful feeling to see them with someone else. It's awkward and uncomfortable and weird, and that's OK! "It’s normal for it to feel awkward — it’s going to — and often, that awkwardness is the gateway to many additional thoughts that are not always accurate," Dr. Klapow states.
3. All These Thoughts Coursing Through Your Mind Will Pass
It's important to remember that all the thoughts that have flooded your mind since you saw your ex with someone else will pass, even if it feels like it never will. "Thoughts about the relationship, thoughts about where you are at right now," he says. "Thoughts about your life, their life, how you are doing, how they are doing. All of these thoughts can come rushing forward simply by seeing your ex with someone. It’s important to be ready for this experience as it can feel overwhelming — but it is fleeting."
4. You Don't Have The Full Story About Your Ex And This New Person
This can be especially important to remember if you and your ex just broke up. You may see them at the local movie theater or the lone bar in town with someone and assume they're already dating again, when they may not be at all. "Seeing your ex with someone does not mean you understand the story behind what you see," Dr. Klapow says. "Your brain will begin to draw up a storyline. Tell it to stop. Remind yourself that you don’t know how they feel, the status of their relationship (if there is one), if they are happy or sad beyond what you see."
So, What Should You Do If You See Them?
"Seeing your ex activates some of the neural pathways in your brain that were formed when you were dating," Dr. Ritter says. "The more emotional and intense the relationship, the stronger the connections will be."
"Approaching your ex is totally dependent on the nature of the breakup and where you are at with your ex," Dr. Klapow explains. "If it was an angry, hurtful breakup and the feelings are still raw on both sides, then, if convenient, it’s probably best to avoid the interaction. If things were relatively neutral or time has passed, and you are fairly confident that emotions have settled a bit then you do have the option to approach."
If you choose to approach your ex when you see them with someone else, keep it short and sweet, and don't push for an introduction to the new person, Dr. Klapow advises. "Be cordial but never feel compelled to have to fill them in or ask questions or associate more than being polite," says Dorell. "Hold your head up high, if you need to move away from them, honor that, but keep your thoughts as positive as possible."
Running into an ex with someone new can be awkward AF, but try not to worry about it too much. And while you can't control where, when, or how you run into them, you can control how you react and the vibe you put out. Make sure it's one you'll be proud of!