When relationships end, it can be both a good and bad thing for all parties involved. It can be a good thing because opportunities for new and healthier experiences with love could come your way. And if the person you were once with was bringing you down, it’s a chance to work on you and figure out what you want.
On the other hand, it can also be tough for both the obvious and not-so-obvious reasons: many people don’t want to start over, they don’t want to be lonely, or they’re having a hard time getting over their newly-minted ex. For many people, the thought of a bond ending is hard enough, but things get even harder when your ex moves on to the next faster than you expected. Such quick progression adds salt to an open wound–no matter how you feel about them.
When a person finds out that someone they were recently with has someone new, it can be hard to accept, especially if they haven’t found someone yet. This may sound petty, but it’s a reality for a lot of people. What can make this situation even more complicated is when two people share a child and they have to constantly interact with one another. While it might be hard to deal with your ex moving on, the right thing to do is to respect their new relationship and focus on your happiness. So how does one do this?
For starters, always be on the up-and-up. Every time you see your ex with or without their next, keep it positive and don’t be nosy. Nothing gets to an ex hoping to make you jealous more than seeing that you really don’t care about what they have going on. Smile and be happy, even if you don’t necessarily feel that way. Mean-mugging won’t change anything.
If you end up meeting them, be gracious to your old flame’s new flame. Look them in the eye when you speak, extend your hand, and give a hearty hello. And if you’re up to it, strike up a conversation and make a sincere effort to get to know them better. If there’s a child involved and there’s a chance that this person will be around your child, you owe it to yourself to find out what you can about the individual.
If you and your ex split amicably and decided to stay friends, always have reasonable boundaries in place. Don’t call or text after a certain time of night or morning, don’t pop up at their home unexpected, and never put your ex before a possible new partner. It’s okay to be friends with an old boyfriend or girlfriend, but be sure that both parties understand the terms of this new relationship.
If you and your ex have the privilege of being co-parents, the best way to respectfully handle your ex’s new partner is to make things clear about the role he or she will play in the child’s life. Many times people with children jump into relationships and introduce their kids to the new person in their lives before that person gets to meet the other parent. While there might be a good reason not to initially meet the other parent (i.e., drama), it’s still a good idea for that person to have a talk with you.
One of the final ways to respect your past lover’s new relationship is to respect the person you are. Never embarrass yourself by negatively blasting them on social media, sending disrespectful text messages that show your bitterness, calling their new mate out of their name when you don’t even know them, or picking elementary school fights with both parties. People who do these and other things are clearly showing their ex and the world that they’re not over the relationship. Always hold yourself in high regard.
Getting into relationships is all about taking a chance on possibly finding love. When you do and things work out, it’s great. When you do and things don’t, it hurts. But if your ex moves on before you do after the fact, treat them, and their new love, in the same manner you’d want your ex to treat your next. And really, now that you have the chance to focus on what you want, you shouldn’t spend much time worrying about what and who they’re doing anyway.
Liz Lampkin is the Author of Are You a Reflection of the Man You Pray For, and an advocate for single women. Follow her on Twitter @Liz_Lampkin