What you need to know:
What you need to know:
- Most people take the case of an ex moving on negatively as it slams the door on any chances of reconciliation and evokes doubts on self-adequacy
- When you discover that your ex has moved on, you may either be tempted to lure him back to you or get a new man to prove that you're still desirable
A few weeks ago, a popular vernacular radio presenter and comedian was caught up in a relationship drama that played out on Facebook. It all started when the comedian's ex-spouse announced that she had found a new love.
In a fit of rage, the celebrity made a string of comments that did little to hide his bitterness at the news. The presenter who also doubles up as a preacher was so grief-stricken that his Easter resurrection social media sermon was about Goliath getting pelted and killed with stones.
Whereas as a public figure the comedian's reactions may have attracted huge attention, the feeling of bitterness is commonplace whenever a former lover moves on. Many people often find themselves struck by similar grief or hurt.
According to counseling psychologist Liz Wamuyu, "Most people take the case of an ex moving on negatively as it slams the door on any chances of reconciliation and evokes doubts on self-adequacy," she says.
Pain and trap
The pain of seeing an ex move on is one of the reasons why some former couples will fly off the handle when they hear their ex-partners have remarried. 38-year-old Cindy Atieno is one of these. "I thought I had moved on after divorcing my husband seven years ago. I wouldn't take him back. But hearing that he is remarrying will still hurt. It feels like the wound has been peeled afresh," says Cindy.
"I somehow feel betrayed and inadequate as if I didn't do my part in the marriage well," she adds.
It gets worse if one has been dumped in favour of another. According to a scientific study that was conducted by Cornell University, you will feel more hurt after being dumped in favour of another because such rejections lead to an increased sense of exclusion and belonging. This is echoed by Nairobi-based psychologist and family therapist Margaret Wamugunda. She says that once your spouse dumps you and immediately moves on with another partner, you will be vulnerable to the trap of self-deprecation. "Your healing process will be longer and more painful because you will start to belittle yourself and your value as a woman. You'll think you're less and unworthy and you will take some time before moving on," she says.
Acknowledge what you are feeling
The worst you can do is to put a lid on your feelings. According to Wamuyu, it is only natural that you will feel a tinge of jealousy and bitterness towards your former partner once they move on. However, these feelings should not drive you to reach out to him or his new lover.
"Don't go searching and stalking your former partner and his new lover physically or on social media," Wamuyu cautions. Instead, embrace the power of acceptance and forgiveness. This is the first step to starting your post-ex life on a clean slate. Choosing to forgive an ex-lover over mistakes and pain perpetrated in the marriage or relationship, and choosing to forgive and accept yourself for the way you feel does not mean you want him back. "Release the pain, grudges, or disappointment against your ex-lover for your freedom and happiness. It is you who is responsible for your happiness and emotional freedom," says Wamuyu.
The revenge rebound
When you discover that your ex has moved on, you may either be tempted to lure him back to you or get a new man to prove that you're still desirable. Any of these moves will have disastrous results. According to psychologist Dr. Chris Hart, "These types of relationships have no give and take. Every issue becomes a fight, and there's no more sexual chemistry. There is no compatibility whatsoever," he says.
Dr. Hart says, that there are partners who are very wrong for each other. In such cases, traps, love, or your feelings for your former partner cannot fix what is already broken.
The situation may be more complex if you and your former lover live or work in the same environment or have children together. Create boundaries in such instances. Whenever you meet, you should not tell him you miss him, offer extended hugs or pecks, or spend more time than you should together. Do not be his go-to person when he needs to talk about his personal matters or his new relationship issues.
"If he attempts to, firmly and politely assert that his best friend is the right person to talk to," says Wamuyu. Do not attempt to rekindle past emotions or re-allocate blame. "That you are no longer a couple doesn't guarantee that you'll always agree on things. If one of you is wrong, you will do well not to remind them how it was their fault that your marriage or relationship ended in the first place," she says.
It's not the end of the road
Whether you instigated the breakup or not, losing a lover and watching them move on should not be the end of love. "Do not despair that you will not find someone else who is equally as good as, or better," says Wamuyu. There are people and things that will be more of a hindrance to personal progress regardless of how good they were. "Don't blame yourself or think less of your womanhood. Instead, embrace his moving on as an opportunity to refocus on your destiny and personal goals and for self-rediscovery." Your diet, sleep patterns, blood pressure, and general health may be affected. Take care of yourself emotionally and physically. Eat well, exercise, and sleep adequately.
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