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How to React When Your Ex Gets Into Another Relationship

by Elise Wile

Actress Mae West once said, "All discarded lovers should be given a second chance, but with somebody else." It's hard to talk a good game, though, when you find out that your ex is indeed seeing another person. While you might not be able to make the hurt disappear entirely, taking steps to control your emotions can help you get through an adjustment period that is awkward, at best.

Refrain from playing detective. Upon learning that your ex has found another person with whom to spend her time, it's tempting to call up friends and find out how she met the other guy, how serious they are and other details that are ultimately irrelevant to your life. Resist the urge to stalk her on social networking sites or otherwise try to find out more about the relationship. You'll just be twisting the knife in your wound. If a friend offers you information about your ex's new relationship, say, "No thanks," advises author Natalie Lue on BaggageReclaim.com.

Accept your feelings. There's nothing inherently wrong with feeling sad, mad or jealous. It's a rare person who wouldn't feel upset to find out an old partner she once cared deeply about is now dating someone else. Just remember that your feelings don't have to translate into actions -- which in this situation, can often be foolish and regrettable. You won't look classy calling up his new girlfriend and telling her about his propensity to chew with his mouth open and snore.

Remember that you can't change his behavior. You might think it is wildly inappropriate for him to date someone else a mere week after he broke up with you, but it is his life. Accept that he has the right to make his own decisions about whom he dates, when he sees that person and how often they get together. Psychologist John Grohol on the Psych Central website warns that this is one of life's hardest lessons, but you'll save yourself a significant amount of frustration if you stick to working on your own issues rather than those of your ex.

Find other people who will play a supportive role in your life. Spending time with friends can help you to fully detach from the relationship, says researcher Samantha Joel in a September 2012 article in "Psychology Today." The idea is to find other people who can replace some of the role that your ex played in your life. This way, you can call up a friend after a harrowing day at work instead of feeling sad that your ex is now rubbing someone else's feet in the evenings.

Focus on doing something positive. Whether it's finally taking that painting class you've been interested in or volunteering to help out at the elementary school down the street, putting your attention on something deserving will help your mental health. It's always better to be active than to sit on the couch ruminating about how your ex's new love has thinner thighs than you do.

About the Author

Elise Wile has been a writer since 2003. Holding a master's degree in curriculum and Instruction, she has written training materials for three school districts. Her expertise includes mentoring, serving at-risk students and corporate training.

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