Even when a romantic breakup is amicable, the less charitable corner of our heart hopes (sometimes secretly, sometimes guiltily) that our ex will suffer, just a little, once they no longer have the pleasure of our company. Perhaps that’s why many of us have a hard time finding happiness when we discover ourex has fallen in love again before we’ve nestled into a new relationship of our own. A whopping 71% of people admitted that when getting over a breakup they thought about their ex “too much,” and more than 57% said that “thinking about their ex prevents them from finding new love,” in a 2013 YourTango.com poll. While obsessing over a former partner (voodoo doll in hand) may be part of the overall process of moving on from a relationship, getting stuck on wishing them ill-will hurts no one but you.
Liz Lampkin, author of Are You a Reflection of the Man You Pray For?says there are very good reasons to adopt a magnanimous attitude when your ex hooks up again, and they have everything to do with what really matters—your happiness. Consider this:
You’ve grown. “Your former mate served a purpose in your life for your growth and theirs,” says Lampkin. “Once the relationship has ended, you should have learned life lessons that you can pass on to someone else, and that you can take with you for your next relationship.” Even if you’re glad the person is gone from your life, you can be happy they came into it as well. “You’ve lived and learned,” she says.
You helped your ex grow too. Yes, you put hard work into that person and spent time doing things for them, “but the reality of the situation is that you chose to do what you wanted with and for this person, and believe it or not, it had some impact on them that will remain with them for the rest of their lives. So celebrate the fact that you helped make someone a better person for themselves and for someone else.”
What goes around… “When you open your heart and spirit to let happiness out, that same happiness returns to you,” explains Lampkin. Even if you’re feeling hurt and vulnerable (because dammit, you’re still single!), there’s solace in knowing that moving on from a relationship will benefit you in the long run.
The high road is the best road. Instead of envisioning your ex-partner’s new mate strapped to a mound of angry fire-ants, instead find it in your heart to be happy for her or him. Celebrating your ex’s newrelationship while you’re still single is not an easy thing to do,” says Lampkin, but harboring feelings ofresentment means you’re still holding on to the past, and hanging on to heartbreak will only hinder yourfuture happiness. “Nothing or no one is worth your personal happiness,” says Lampkin. “Even if you can’t celebrate the new relationship, celebrate your life and the new possibilities of being a single individual.”