At some point, most people who have been through a divorce or major break-up discover that their ex is getting married (or recently wed). Whether the news comes via an innocuous Facebook share or through a wedding invitation in the mail, the information is likely a shock. You may find that you are surprised at the depth of your reaction. You rationalize that you shouldn’t care. But your heart isn’t listening.
You’re not crazy. And you’re not overreacting.
But you also don’t have to allow the news to derail you. At least not for long.
Here are 7 reasons that the news of your ex’s nuptials are hitting you hard. And 7 reasons that it’s not so bad.
It’s Really and Truly Over
You already knew it was over. Now you KNOW it’s over. In some deep, dark recesses of your mind, you may have been harboring dreams of reuniting and returning to the halcyon days. And those “I dos” act as a big, “I don’t” to any chances of rekindling your romance. It’s painful to face the finality of a relationship. Your ex getting married is the divorce equivalent of pulling the plug. There’s no going back.
However… This is really just perception. It was over before. The new marriage is separate from the end of your marriage. Don’t try to muddle them.
The Shock Stings
Even if you knew your ex was dating, the news of a wedding may come as a shock. And shock hurts worse because of the surprise. You’ve had time to process the end. You’ve been able to adapt to your life’s changes. And now this. At first, it may feel as though you’re back to square one as you struggle to come to terms with the new information.
However… shock fades. The surprise only lasts so long and once you have time to process this new information, its impact will lessen.
I’ve Been Replaced
The feeling of replacement is especially acute if the new spouse moved in to your ex’s life before the marriage ended. It’s so easy to become depressed over the feeling that he or she had some magic something that you did not. It’s hard not to compare and, in doing so, sell yourself short.
However… Remember that different does not mean better. Maybe the new partner has lower expectations of a spouse and will put up with behaviors that are unacceptable to you. Perhaps you were traded in for a younger model who will also be traded in when the body begins to sag. Worry less about the replacement and more about you. Besides, we all know original Coke was far superior to the new formula:)
It Should Have Been Me
One of the more painful losses in divorce is grieving the future you thought you would have. And when your ex gets remarried, it’s hard not to see this as your imagined future but with a new partner inserted where you once stood. And if their plans include the honeymoon you dreamed of, the neighborhood you coveted or the child you thought you would have together? Ouch.
However… Aren’t you glad it’s not you? After all, there is a reason you are no longer together. Remember that. You want the person you thought your ex was. Not the person they are. Find somebody worthy of your dreams.
It Makes Me Sad to See My Ex Happy
After the end of a relationship, we crave the feeling of being wanted. We would love to know that our ex’s are miserable, pining away for the one they left behind and lamenting the biggest mistake of their lives. And so when we perceive our ex’s as happy, it’s a slap across the face that we are not wanted. At least not by them.
However… Realize that the happiness you’re perceiving may be a front. After all, you show smiles to hide your tears. How do you know they aren’t doing the same? It’s also important to recognize that their happiness and yours are not mutually exclusive. And there’s only one you have influence over.
It’s Hard to See My Ex Moving On
Maybe you’re still in the Kleenex and swearing off the opposite sex phase and now you have to watch your ex sauntering off into the sunset, seemingly without a care in the world. It’s even worse than the lovey-dovey couples who can’t keep their hands off of each other in public, isn’t it? We have this image of people remaining frozen in time as we last knew them. And it’s painful to learn that they can continue on without us.
However… Depending upon your ex, he or she may not be moving on. Instead, they may be hiding, jumping into a new relationship to avoid having to face the ugly reality of the end of the last. Or maybe this is a wake-up call for you that you are allowing yourself to be stuck in the past and this is the kick in the pants you need to move on yourself.
Why Couldn’t My Ex Change For Me?
You always hoped your ex would stop drinking. And now they have. Or you always pressed for a child while your ex pushed back. And now they’re expecting. It’s unbelievably painful and frustrating to witness the changes you always begged for happening with somebody else.
However… The change you perceive may not be real and it may not be permanent. And, if it is both those things, then recognize that nobody can ever change for another. Only for themselves. Your ex may not have made those alterations for you, but they also didn’t make them for their new partner. Maybe they just decided that it was time to take responsibility and grow up.
Ultimately, the end of a marriage is the separation of two lives. And what your ex does with his or her life has little impact on yours. They are part of your past, whether married now or not. Don’t allow their celebrations to mark your demise. It has nothing to do with you.
If you feel charitable, send a card.
If you don’t, give yourself a card.
It goes best with some bad TV and a pint of ice cream.