I dated this person on and off for four years, and I just found out they are dating someone else. Needless to say, I am distraught. Sure, we were “off” at the time they started dating the other person, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt. A little part of me was holding out hope we might get back together. Now that doesn’t even seem like a possibility.
I cut off contact with them, just for my own mental health. It didn’t help as much as I thought it would. What should I do?
I’m sorry to hear this is something you’re going through. I can only imagine how hurt you must feel right now.
I’m glad you cut off contact with your ex because that is one of the first things I would recommend. If you are going to go cold turkey, be sure you don’t forget to block any platforms that might give you unexpected reminders.
You may find it helpful to also delete their number, if you haven’t done that already. If you’re worried you might need it in the future, give it to a trusted friend. That way, you won’t be tempted to text or call them, but have the number there if you absolutely need it.
Now that you have that out of the way, there are a lot of things you can do to help your own mental health while you focus on moving on.
First, I suggest journaling. It can be really cathartic to get your thoughts out on paper. Don’t give yourself any restrictions, just write what you’re feeling. Later on, you can look back at how you felt and see how much better you’re doing.
Another good trick is to practice mindfulness. If you find your mind wandering to your ex, either feeling anxious or sad about their absence, this could be valuable for you. Mindfulness just means refocusing yourself on the present and focusing on how you’re feeling. How you do that is up to you.
You could take several deep and calming breaths to bring your mind back to the current moment. You could also focus on what your chair feels like underneath you, what the ground feels like beneath your feet, what smells you detect or sounds you hear. Don’t think about the past or the future, only the current moment. You can’t change the past and you can’t control the future.
Finally, I suggest seeing a therapist. It’s natural to feel upset when you see your ex moving on. But if you feel like your feelings are lasting longer than they should or are interfering with your daily life, you might consider seeking professional help. A therapist could give you tested strategies for working through this, and it would honestly be more helpful than any advice I could give you in this column.
I hope all these ideas help. You are strong and you can get past this! Wishing you the best of luck.