Five Responses To Avoid When Your Ex Moves On Quickly

Medically reviewed by Andrea Brant, LMHC
Updated March 22, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

After the end of a relationship, it can be difficult to cope with your ex moving on quickly. Seeing a new person with the one you loved (or still love) can be painful and make it difficult for you to move on from the relationship. When it happens, you may find yourself missing them. 

On the other hand, you might be feeling mixed emotions or be annoyed to see your ex appear happy when you haven’t moved on yet. These feelings might be challenging to understand initially, and you might be tempted to react negatively. But following your impulses might not help you feel good or gain a new perspective. Here are five areas to avoid when your ex moves on, plus tips for coping with the feelings that may arise. 

It can be painful when an ex moves on quickly

Five responses to avoid when your ex moves on 

Most people struggle with negative feelings after the loss of a relationship. Those feelings can re-emerge or worsen when one person moves on. For example, seeing your ex with a new love interest may reignite the original pain of the breakup — you might feel like pretty much everything reminds you of them.

The following tips are a few strategies you might try to use your time and energy to support your healing process, boost your self-esteem, and prepare you for stronger relationships in the future. 

Relationships can end under unique circumstances, so not all the tips included may apply to your situation. Consider each tip and visualize how you might use it as a coping skill to cope with the end of your last relationship. 

Don’t violate your ex’s space 

After a recent breakup, past partners may experience various competing emotions. It can benefit both ex-partners to have time and space to process these emotions before making significant decisions. You may be more prone to react out of emotion when experiencing the pain of rejection, grief, or guilt. 

Take a moment to think before you reach out to your ex. Is there any real reason you need to get in touch fast with the person who has already moved on after the relationship ended? Reaching out could open old wounds. Calling or texting your ex randomly could also make it look like you’re trying to get in between your ex and their new relationship. This behavior could cause challenges between you and your ex and the person your ex has moved on to date. Surround yourself with friends and give your ex space. 

Don’t ignore your instincts 

When a relationship ends, it can be normal to question whether it was the right decision. Avoid allowing your thoughts to enter a cycle of self-doubt after your ex has moved on. Often, when a relationship ends, it’s not a spur-of-the-moment decision. You may have invested time and energy into considering the pros and cons of maintaining the relationship. 

If your ex is with someone new, try not to allow this to affect your own thoughts in the present moment. Allow yourself time to accept the fact that the relationship has ended and to grieve the fact that your ex has moved on. If your instincts told you to end the relationship or that the relationship was unhealthy, trying to rekindle the connection may not be the best choice for your personal growth. 

Don’t get revenge 

Seeking revenge is often considered unhealthy, as it may backfire or cause emotional or physical harm to you or your ex. It may not serve you in the ways that coping skills can.

When a person feels rejected or abandoned, they may want to lash out at whoever incited those feelings. You might feel like you hate your ex or want them to fail in their new relationship. However, getting revenge may cause more emotional distress. It can consume your thoughts and actions and steal time that could have been spent productively. 

People seeking vengeance are often those who haven’t moved on. Although it can be okay to not be over your ex, consider taking time to care for yourself instead of thinking about how you can hurt your ex. Instead of moving against your ex and their new partner, consider the people and situations you want to move toward that make you feel energized, accepted, and loved.

Refrain from sending “accidental” messages

Missing someone is normal, even after an unhealthy or fast breakup. However, subjecting yourself to more rejection from your ex, who has already moved on, may not help you heal. Sending “accidental” texts, like wishing them “happy birthday,” checking on the status of their sick relative, or sending an “accidental” emoji, can mean setting yourself up to be hurt even more. 

Also, if communication is unwanted, it can be grounds for being accused of harassment. In these cases, try to avoid contact and focus on healing. Consider using practices like radical acceptance to accept that your relationship has ended, and your ex has moved on. Try not to entertain ideas of your ex coming back or leaving their new relationship for you. 

Getty/Halfpoint Images

Stay out of your ex’s new relationship

Stay out of your ex’s new relationship and manage your feelings discreetly. As difficult as it might be, try to stay focused on your own life instead of someone else’s. Even if your ex treated you poorly or you’re concerned about their new partner, try not to intervene. It may backfire or have consequences for your safety. Even if you don’t want someone to be hurt the way you were, consider whether you might have believed someone if they contacted you in the early stages of your relationship with your ex to warn you.

How to prioritize your healing after a breakup 

It can be understandable if you struggle to move on after your breakup. However, each person is unique, and how long they take to move forward. Let yourself take the time you need to heal, whether that takes a few weeks to a few years. Find ways to live your life healthily without your ex in it. Getting to know yourself again and addressing your emotions may help you cope with losing someone you care about. Below are a few tips to get started. 

Face your grief

You may experience grief after the end of a relationship. Grief is a normal response to any loss, and something most human beings experience over the course of their lives. It’s normal to feel bad post-breakup, and you’re not alone. You may find that keeping a journal helps you release some of your emotions regarding how your ex has moved on. Seeking counseling may also be a way to talk to someone else about moving on from your ex and receive insight on how to handle your emotions.

Feel your emotions 

Painful emotions can often cause physical responses in the body. For example, fear or anxiety may cause a person to breathe quickly or have a fast heart rate. These responses can be your body’s way of maintaining balance while navigating physical and emotional changes. 

When you experience these feelings, pay attention. Stay focused on your actions and try not to focus on negativity. Take some slow, deep breaths and relax. If you feel the urge to cry, cry. However, try not to repress your emotions. Studies show that repressing emotions can worsen mental and physical health. Acknowledging and processing your feelings, even when you feel terrible, may help you make peace with your ex’s behavior.  

Take each day as it comes 

Even if your ex seems happy in their new relationship or without you, it doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t need more time. Everyone manages situations differently. Try not to be too hard on yourself about how long you need to cope. 

Take it one day at a time — set goals in the short term and long term. Visit a friend and plan dinner or social events to get out of the house. You can also consider investing in your dreams and interests that you may have previously ignored. 

Consider professional support 

No matter how “composed” you may be under normal circumstances, a breakup can be challenging to overcome alone. It can be frustrating to see your ex with someone else, and you feel stuck. It may feel like you can’t stop imagining their new reality or checking their social media. Other times, you may feel like no one understands what you’re going through. In these cases, a therapist can be an empathetic, stable, and professional resource to help you cope with the feelings you’re experiencing. 

Getty/Luis Alvarez
It can be painful when an ex moves on quickly

Counseling options 

While some individuals may be comfortable seeking in-person counseling, others may feel more comfortable seeking support through other means, like online therapy. Online platforms like BetterHelp offer options for individuals seeking support in coping with significant life changes, including relationship changes and breakups. 

NPR discusses the science of breakups and recovery and how it may affect the brain. One of their main highlights was from a study that found that reflecting on a recent breakup can aid in healing, including figuring out who you are as a single person. Therapy is a safe place for growth after a breakup. In addition, research has found that online therapy can reduce distress from isolation or loneliness. 

Internet-based counseling may also have alternative benefits. If you struggle to get ready and leave home for an appointment, online therapy can allow you to connect with your counselor anywhere you have a safe internet connection. 


Losing an ex to a breakup and watching them move on can be challenging to cope with. Should your ex move on before you, it might feel like losing a best friend. Consider reaching out to a counselor or trying a few lifestyle changes. Try to give your ex space and avoid sending impulsive messages. If you need additional support, you can reach out to an online therapist at any time for further guidance.
Build healthy relationship habits with a professional
The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. For more information, please read our terms of use.
Get the support you need from one of our therapistsGet started