It’s especially difficult if you have a special connection to your ex and you’ve been through a lot together. Therefore, it is crucial to go through all stages of moving on to ensure that you do not bring any comparison or baggage into a new relationship – it’s unfair on your new partner, and it’s an unhealthy dynamic for you.
Moving on a from a relationship is much easier said than done.
When it comes to break-ups, a lot of people turn to cliched sayings to guide them through their tough times. “Plenty of other fish in the sea.” “If you want to get over one person, you have to get under another.” “If it’s meant to be, they’ll come back.” But as Mount Spero Counselling points out, no saying or formula is going to go deep enough to actually help you stop comparing people to your ex … because you are not over them.
So, how do we grieve? The only thing that is really going to help you stop comparing people to your ex is grief.
If you want to stop comparing everyone you meet to your ex, you have to fully grieve the loss of the relationship. It’s the only way to accept that things are different and let go of your attachment to them and the dead relationship.
So, how do we grieve?
You must dig deep and allow yourself to feel the sadness in any way that your brain and body want it to come out. Crying. Screaming. Going to a rage room and breaking things with a bat. Writing a letter to your ex with everything that you want to say, and then burning it. Cutting and dying your hair. Anything that helps you leave the past behind, and feel the feelings that you need to is going to help the grief process move along, and help you stop comparing new individuals to your ex.
There is no appropriate timeline for moving on from a relationship, but a key indicator of when you are ready to start dating again is when you can see a new person that you fancy and not compare anything about them to your ex. This is a great indicator of when you are ready to enter a new relationship and treat your new date fairly, as that is what they deserve. Frankly, no one deserves to be treated as second-best to your ex.
So, once you have properly grieved your ex and moved on, how do you start enriching your new relationship by leaving the past behind?
- Remember that everyone is unique, with their own set of experiences and beliefs. Psych Alive advisees to start looking at your new date’s positive qualities and enjoying them for who they are, regardless of what your ex was like.
- Think: Ice Cream and Pizza. If you are in a new relationship, and something triggers you to compare your new partner to your ex, remember your two favourite foods. Maybe you love pizza, but you also love ice cream. They are two very different foods, but you love them both. The same can be said for your new partner. They may not have the same qualities as your last partner, but that doesn’t mean you should love them any less. They are both great in different ways!
- Focus on the positives. As Psych Central points out, when a pessimistic thought arises in the context of comparison, write a list of everything that you cherish about your new partner instead of romanticising the past one. By focusing on the positives and what is great in the present, you do not leave room for the negativity of comparison to arise.
Ending a relationship is one of life’s greatest challenges, but there is not a ‘one size fits all’ for moving on. Moving on from a relationship requires grieving the loss of your partner, and accepting the change that has occurred. Once you have properly grieved and stopped romanticising the past (rather, remembering why it ended and the negative parts as well), then you are ready to date and treat a new partner fairly. Everyone deserves to be treated well in a new relationship and celebrated for who they are, not who you want them to be.
Maclynn (formerly Vida) is an elite, multi-award-winning international dating agency. We’re world-renowned for bringing together highly compatible singles, and our estimable matchmakers are relationship experts in their own right. If you’ve experienced a painful breakup and want to talk about it or find love again, we can help. Get in touch today, and together let’s help you find your way back to yourself.