Today we’re talking about one of the biggest triggers for women who are recovering from divorce trauma: your ex moved on. Is there anything that brings up as many complicated feelings as when that happens? Especially if you’re co-parenting. It opens so many doors to painful hallways. Take a moment to ask yourself some questions: What is activating within you when he’s moving on? What are you feeling? What do you need to be doing to recover from this?
How to Move On From an Ex
Moving on from an ex is a specific aspect of divorce recovery that gets women stuck. We end up overthinking, ruminating, and coming back to what he’s doing or not doing. When you first get the news (whether it comes via Facebook or a community telegraph system), it makes you question what was real and if your relationship mattered.
You start to dive right back into that narrative. You question if you can trust the memories from your lives together. You start to think there were things you didn’t fully understand. It becomes an autopsy of your entire married life and that can be very painful.
But, I want you to pump the brakes on getting into that rabbit hole.
#1 Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
Let me remind you of a brilliant saying: “Comparison is the thief of joy.”
The behavior of comparison is a mental and emotional habit that is damaging to your sense of confidence and your ability to feel happy.
I know you want to build confidence. I know you want to move on. I know you want to feel peaceful. When you’re actively comparing yourself, you’re not able to access any of those things. It brings you back to questioning yourself and everything you thought you knew about life when your ex moved on.
#2 Stop Second Guessing Yourself
When we women look back and do the autopsy on the relationship, we inevitably find red flags or seeds of doubt inside of us. Second-guessing your choices and your sense of knowing yourself feels like a gut punch.
Here is this person who you loved, dated, married, built a life around, maybe even had children with, and now you think to yourself: Did I really know this person?
The truth is, he might not know himself that well or perhaps he is just starting to know himself better but left you out of that part of the conversation. Until we are invited to, we can only go surface deep with someone. Until then, maybe you just didn’t know each other that well.
I want you to think of the process of developing deep, intimate relationships as more of a skill set rather than a metric of your worth. I had to develop those skills and take a look at things that made me uncomfortable in life. I questioned my long-held beliefs and how I viewed the world.
#3 Overcome Feeling Behind in Life
Your ex moving on might also trigger you to feel behind. This is another outcome of having a comparison mentality. You have an internal narrative that says, “I should be doing better than I am. I should have moved on faster.” That is a bunch of garbage.
You’re in the process of transforming your life after divorce. It’s not like traveling from South Florida to Disney World. We’re driving around the globe. It’s lengthy. Often we ask ourselves, “Why am I not there yet?” The journey is long. You may not be as consistent as you could be in the process of self-discovery and recovery, but no worries. You will get there.
Stop accusing yourself of being behind just because your ex moved on.
#4 Learning By Doing
Your ex moved on and is on a different timeline, on a different journey, in a different car, heading in a different direction. Stop comparing yourself. You are right on time.
It’s all a learning process. And learning comes from the application of the things we women have heard from a therapist or read in that great book. You learn by doing. It’s a gradual process.
#5 Don’t Wait for Him to Come Back
When your ex moves on, it also triggers a finality that he’s not coming back. And more than that, he’s not waking up to realize what he lost. A lot of times we prop up our sense of worth by leaning on this narrative.
How many of your girlfriends or how many people in the world told you that he doesn’t know what he’s lost and one day he’s going to realize it? You think that he will finally ‘wake up’ and get back with you. And it’s a gut punch when he doesn’t.
#6 Take a Mental Break
Your brain feels like it’s busy all the time. Think of your brain as a car. When the car has momentum, it takes a while to slow it down using a brake.
These practices will make you feel so much calmer in your day-to-day life. Slow the momentum of those negative thoughts.
#7 Refocus and Move On to Your Next Calling and Purpose
It’s understandable if you can’t make sense of the situation. At the end of the day, you were a good wife — not perfect — but you were committed. You knew there were red flags, but you were willing to do the work. So you cannot wrap your head around why this would happen. If you were so committed and willing, how did you get it so wrong?
At the time when you married him, it was your calling, and it had a purpose. Your marriage to him was such an integral, important part of your journey. When you compare yourself, and you question whether or not it was worth it, you are minimizing the beauty that did exist in that relationship.
I know that you also feel scared and angry, and you are concerned about your struggle to access peace and happiness after divorce. You have all this heartache. You have to lean toward acceptance and the idea that it was purposeful. You were committed. You were prepared to work through it. You did a beautiful job.
Now, I want you to start doing, rather than analyzing what he’s doing. I want you to start getting curious about what your new purpose is. And your new purpose doesn’t have to do with a partner.
The reason for wanting a new relationship is complex. It could be reassurance, affection, attention, or validation. I felt these emotions as I was not yet skilled enough to provide myself with all of those things. That is part of the journey.
Now it’s the time for us women to get curious about a different purpose; a bigger purpose, a deeper purpose that is more to do with who you are rather than your role in a relationship or a family.
See the divorce and him moving on as a clue for you; it’s a memo that says, “Hey love, gentle nudge. It’s time to refocus.”
#8 Say Yes to Yourself
I often hear women talk about saying ‘Yes’ to trying new things.
A lot of discovering your new purpose is going out, exploring, and allowing yourself to question what doesn’t feel good for you anymore.
I’m not necessarily saying cut everything out but allow yourself to be curious about things. For me? I’ve come very full circle with Jesus.
In my process of divorce recovery, there was a long time when I did not feel well. In the very beginning, I went to church, and I read my Bible. I sought out things that soothed me and a belief structure that worked for me. However, I then went through a whole season of exploring other things that were calling to me, which I then integrated into my new sense of spirituality.
#9 Explore New Things in Life
Because your ex moved on, it does not mean that you’re not good enough. It doesn’t mean that it didn’t matter or that you’re behind.
It means you’re right on track, and you are being funneled in a different direction. It’s like in the movie Finding Nemo when they’re in the whale’s mouth, and Dori says, “It’s time to let go, Marlin.”
This is a scary process. Let me reassure you: Him moving on is for your benefit, and it is part of your deeper calling. When you feel all of this ruminating and experience negative thought patterns, use a tool to pump the brakes. Start with deep breathing and a body scan.
Find the right tools to stop the spiral of negative thoughts that your ex moved on in your post divorce trauma. As a healer, I have a lot of recommendations, but it’s always about discovering what works for you and allowing yourself grace in the process.
Divorce recovery coach Dawn Wiggins
...helps people crack open. Challenging the status quo, she integrates multiple modalities from EMDR to EFT tapping, journaling, homeopathy, and movement, embracing remedies that heal both the mind and body. Divorce recovery coach Dawn Wiggins is on a mission to deliver life-changing therapy in an accessible, scalable, affordable way and make waves in the world of mental health with the same enlightenment that happens in her office. Part science, part essential oils, pure magic.