Saying “I Hate My Ex” Is Not The Only Option

By: Nicola Kirkpatrick

Updated June 18, 2021

Medically Reviewed By: 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

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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 anymore. When something reminds you of them and you start to talk about it, just finish your sentence and then change the subject.
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  • 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. Keep in mind that forgetting about your ex won’t happen overnight. But, as move through your emotions about the breakup and focus on what’s best for you, you’ll find that hours, days, and even weeks go by without thinking about your ex. The further away in time from your breakup and having done the emotional work surrounding the breakup will lessen the hatred you feel toward your ex. You might even notice a complete absence of hate. A sure sign that you have moved on since the relationship ended.

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.

Better understanding the hatred you feel toward your ex can help you. You’ve had a painful scenario play out in the relationship that just ended. Now you are in over-control mode 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?

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 good or evil. However, maintaining this perspective of hatred lives in the extreme. If you have a pattern of hating your exes, you may be missing the opportunity to let those walls down and grow emotionally.

Hatred toward 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 negative 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 toward them. The hatred you feel toward 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. You might want to try writing about your ex and the breakup, especially the positive aspects of both. This exercise might release some of those strong emotions you’re feeling and in turn, might make you feel better.

If you’re walking around with hatred toward your ex, then you may not be taking care of yourself or feeling optimistic, attractive or authentic to who you are and who you want to be. Rather than holding on to this hate, try embracing 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. Instead of ignoring your pain, you tell yourself “this is really difficult right now.” Look for ways to comfort and care for yourself at this moment.

Is Professional Help Something I Should Consider?

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If you continue to notice yourself experiencing this fiery and bitter hatred toward your ex, you can work with the help of an online therapist or in-person therapist. A therapist can work with you 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.

How BetterHelp Can Support You

Sometimes finding the time for therapy can be difficult. Even driving to a therapist’s office, which also takes time, can be a challenge. If you find yourself still struggling with issues over your ex and the breakup but can’t seem to find the time for the help you need, getting in touch with a professional at BetterHelp might be an option. You can meet with a therapist in the comfort of your own home or wherever else you feel most comfortable and at a time that works best for you. Below are a couple of counselor reviews from people experiencing similar issues.

Counselor Reviews

“Marco Hernandez has really helped work through a painful breakup, anxiety, codependency, and so much more. He really listens and asks thought-provoking questions to help you identify the root of the cause. He also communicates with you effectively and makes efforts to get you on his weekly schedule. I’ve learned so much from working with him, definitely recommend if you’re looking for a compassionate counselor!”

“Melissa listens and gives great advice. I am so thankful I found her and that she has been a part of my life during this year. I knew I needed help when I found her, then there was covid19, an unexpected divorce. and I couldn’t have made it this far without her.”


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