Saying “I Hate My Ex” Is Not The Only Option
Updated February 14, 2020
Reviewer Laura Angers
When a relationship ends, you can go through a lot of emotions. One that is not uncommon is hatred. You may feel like you are justified in hating your ex, but there are good reasons for you to let that hatred go. Saying "I hate my ex" is not the only option, and here's why.
Why "I hate my ex" actually hurts you
Hating your ex means that you continue to think about them. Consider that. You cannot hate someone you never think about. The nature of hate means that it is a thing you think about constantly. You dwell on it. Maybe you even obsess about it. Hating someone takes a lot of energy.
Do you really want to be putting your energy into someone you no longer want to be with, or who no longer wants to be with you? Every time you check your ex's social media posts or drive by their house, they aren't even aware of what you're doing. You're not hurting them. You're not taking anything away from them. You are only stealing time away from yourself and continuing to think about all the negative aspects of this person and your past relationship.
Being angry is stressful to your mind and body, and it is known to lead to high blood pressure and inflammation. Allowing yourself to continue hating your ex does exactly nothing to them and may actually be causing you great harm. You don't have to let your ex continue to have that kind of control over you. Instead, you can move on and focus on you, instead of focusing on the ex.
Hating your ex doesn't help you move on
Hate is a thing that keeps you attached to your ex. You likely began hating your ex because they made you feel bad about yourself or your life. Moving on should be about learning to love yourself and your life, and you certainly don't need your ex for that. Hating them will not ultimately make you feel better about you.
So, here's what you should do instead of hating your ex.
- Focus on you. There's no better time to be selfish than after the end of a relationship. Relationships take a lot of giving. And with your ex gone, you have a lot more time to give to yourself instead of someone else.
- When you find yourself complaining about your ex, change the conversation. It's normal to want to vent about your ex right after a breakup. But have one good purge session with a close friend and then avoid talking about your ex after that. They are not a part of your life. When something reminds you of them and you start to talk about it, just finish your sentence and then change the subject.
- Forget about them. Ending a relationship does not have to mean hating your ex. Instead, it can mean no longer thinking about them at all. Think about it, do you hate people who are not important to you? No, you have no emotional connection to them. Detach yourself from your ex. It's the best thing you can do for yourself.
If what you're looking for is justification that you were right, or that your ex needed you, turn that energy toward yourself. It doesn't matter who was right. What matters is that your life is right for you. Talking to a mental health therapist can help you let go of hate and get over your ex.
Better understanding the hatred you feel towards your ex can help you understand that it is not the only option. You've had a painful scenario play out in your previous relationship and now you are over-control and guarding your boundaries to feel safe. As a result, you have built a wall of hate around yourself. This wall of hate can trap you making it feel uncomfortable to authentically initiate emotional change. But are these boundaries that you have built up realistic either? Do they really keep you protected from re-entering a chaotic relationship?
This hatred is a good reminder that people are not perfect and experiencing life's difficulties is inevitable. When things don't go our way we need to be able to maintain a stable sense of self. Nobody is all or nothing or black-and-white however maintaining this perspective of hatred lives in the extreme. If you have a pattern of hating your ex's you may be missing the opportunity to let those walls down and grow emotionally.
Hatred towards your ex may be misguided and it may actually be a hidden fear of the unknown of a new and different life without them. A major fear for people after breakups is the fear of being alone. The thought of being alone may make people feel insecure, anxious, and depressed. After the relationship ended you may have found yourself alone, unsure of how to deal with the overwhelming loneliness and emptiness after losing the one you love. Any feelings you may have of loneliness are common as you adjust to not having this person around. Loneliness and other uncomfortable feelings are part of the process after a relationship has ended and are normal.
The hatred may be distracting you from other negatives, and uncomfortable feelings such as helplessness, hopelessness, powerlessness, inadequacy, injustice, and shame. This hatred may be more of a self struggle to try to recover what you feel was lost in the relationship and compensate for the emotional pain and rejection from the former partner. There could be inner pains that are not being addressed due to this negative energy aimed at your ex. You may feel that the only way to regain a sense of power is to direct it towards him. The hatred you feel towards your ex may serve a purpose of giving your own self a break from having to process the pains in the relationship. You may fear connecting with yourself and your own emotional pain because of the vulnerability that's required. If so, you need to face your fears as being vulnerable is a part of being human. Being able to connect with yourself and to feel will allow you to love again.
If you're walking around with hatred towards your ex you may not be taking care of yourself, feel optimistic, attractive or authentic to who you are or who you want to be. Another option besides hate is to have self-compassion and acceptance for the situation as a whole. Having compassion for yourself means noticing you are suffering. It means forgiving yourself for the hatred that you carry around and instead of ignoring your pain you tell yourself "this is really difficult right now", and look for ways to comfort and care for yourself at this moment.
If you continue to notice yourself experiencing this fiery and bitter anger you can work with the help of a therapist on becoming more mindful of your emotions, reframing your past experience in your relationship and set a new course for yourself. You can have a goal ultimately to come through this ordeal in one piece and emerge a better and brighter self. You can find joy and relief in conquering your fears and knowing that you were able to overcome this hatred towards your ex. You may learn how to become more emotionally self-sufficient and empowered. In six months or a year from now, you can look back and know that this experience did not tear you down.