“Jealousy, that dragon which slays love under the pretence of keeping it alive.”
~ Havelock Ellis
Breakups differ. If you did the breaking up or it was a mutual decision, it’s easier to move on although even then people experience jealousy.
This is especially true if you actually see your ex with someone else. If you were the one broken up with, it can be a lot harder.
Let’s look at a mutual breakup or one that you initiated.
It seems counterintuitive to feel jealousy when you were the one who wanted out. Yet it’s an almost universal response regardless of the circumstances. I think it has something to do with a certain sense of ownership that we tend to feel with our partners, both current and ex.
You are still connected by the past that you shared.
That past seemed unique to the two of you, and seeing him with someone else can almost feel like a betrayal of what you shared.
Because this seems to be a fairly normal emotional response, I wouldn’t worry about it.
When I experience emotions that don’t seem to make sense, I like to get curious about them rather than reactive to them.
Our emotions are complicated and sometimes illogical. It’s difficult to manage them except behaviorally.
Behavioral management is really important here. You don’t want to do anything stupid no matter how reactive you may feel!
When you are the one who is left, it’s much more painful.
Being left can leave you feeling hurt, rejected, betrayed and abandoned. You can’t just pretend that those emotions don’t exist. Being left is a blow to your ego even if deep down you know it wasn’t a healthy relationship.
I think it’s important to remember that it probably wasn’t only your responsibility; it takes two to create a relationship and two to contribute to its demise.
It’s so important that you not allow someone else to define your worth as a partner.
The healthy thing to do is examine the relationship, each of your roles in it, and see if you can learn some things that will help you make different choices in the future.
Things that can help you manage jealousy:
- Let yourself feel badly for a while, but don’t berate yourself.
- Delete him from all of your social media apps. Don’t Google him.
- Don’t ask mutual friends for updates and don’t let them give them to you either.
- Avoid contact- no driving by his house or work. Don’t frequent venues where you think you might see him.
- Don’t trick yourself into thinking you can be friends. He’s not your friend, he’s your ex and that is a completely different category of relationship.
- Let friends comfort you, but if you have to lean on them continuously, think about a few sessions of therapy.
- Remember that this too shall pass. Time heals almost everything. You have more of a life than just this man. Get back to living it.
Sally LeBoy, MFT – www.sallyleboymft.com
No matter how a romantic relationship ends, the existence of jealousy is nearly inevitable.
It’s important to normalize this experience even if a relationship has ended on good terms; while expecting your ability to cope with the loss and feelings of jealousy to occur in waves.
The best piece of advice, give yourself permission to take the time you need to heal.
Everyone’s experience of a breakup is different and the process of healing is not linear.
It’s tempting for our minds to compare our ourselves to others.
This temptation creates space for us to invalidate our own experiences. These comparisons alone can be detrimental to the healing process and are common place many individuals find themselves to be stuck.
Your time of healing should be exclusively for you.
Avoid contacting your ex. If applicable, delete them off of social media sites and remove photos and text messages from your phone. Although it’s tempting to “creep” on your partner’s whereabouts and relationships, refraining will contribute to a healthier mindset overall.
It’s important to focus on developing your “new normal” while maintaining previously developed structure.
Even though it may come with emotional challenges, it’s critical to maintain a sense of normalcy during the adjustment period. Continue going to work, attending classes, going to the gym, etc. while also allowing space for personal goal setting.
Fill time previously spent with your ex with something you’ve always wanted to try.
Work to establish a new routine that supplements your day to day life. Surround yourself with a positive support group (unaffiliated with your ex) to be there when emotions run high.
Uncover the origins of jealousy in a productive way.
Journal about your experiences and make time to reflect on your growth process. Acknowledge setbacks while focusing on positive changes moving forward.
Spend time reflecting on the things that you are grateful for.
Write them down and post them somewhere that can be seen each day. Express gratitude to those that are close to you and never hesitate to reach out to loved ones when challenges arise.
A final reminder, there is no timeline to closure.
Be gentle and give yourself permission to heal at your own pace. Remember that your path is your own and that through the healing process comes growth.
Cara Mielke, MS, LMFT – www.cedarhilltherapy.com
Breakups are difficult emotionally no matter who initiated the end of the relationship.
Jealousy after a breakup is a common emotion felt even long after a breakup occurs but it can be a hindrance to the development of future relationships.
Jealousy is a complex emotion often containing a mix of anger, fear, entitlement, and envy, among others.
It’s important to remember when dealing with jealousy that the emotion is neither good nor bad, it simply is. It offers you clues into what is important to you and what you think of yourself.
Getting in touch with the meaning behind the emotion is key to overcoming the feeling of jealousy.
Perhaps it comes from fear you won’t find a man to spend your life with. Perhaps it comes from a thought that you deserve happiness more than your ex or that a happy relationship is something you should have right now.
Or maybe, you’re scared you made the wrong decision in ending the relationship. Once you discover what jealousy is telling you, you can better deal with the underlying emotion and overcome your jealous feelings.
While exploring what your jealousy is telling you, it’s important not to let the jealousy influence your choices or actions.
While it is perfectly natural to feel jealousy, it will often lie to you. Do not trust jealousy and instead make decisions without its influence. It may tell you to try to make your ex jealous, find out more information about his new relationship, or try to harm his new relationship.
This will only end in your own misery. It’s okay to have a feeling, but it’s less acceptable to act on those feelings without thinking about the consequence first.
Additionally, to quelch the jealousy you feel, it is helpful to remind yourself why the relationship ended in the first place.
Whoever ended it, had reasons. If you ended the relationship, be confident and trust your decision. They weren’t the one for you.
If he ended the relationship, remind yourself that a healthy and happy relationship is built only when both partners want to be in the relationship. Why would you want to be with someone who doesn’t want to be there?
Don’t let jealousy or fear manipulate you into ignoring the reasons you two don’t belong together.
You might miss a great opportunity at a new relationship being so focused on your ex.
Finally, keep in mind that his relationships have nothing to do with you.
You have the same chances of finding lasting love as he does, however, this won’t necessarily happen at the same time. You don’t know how your ex’s new relationship will turn out, and frankly, it has no bearing on your own future relationships.
Don’t let the feeling of jealousy prevent you from meeting the man of your dreams by obsessing over an ex.
He’s not worth it, and you are worth giving yourself a chance at a happy, healthy, lasting love free from jealousy.
Heather Gillam, MS, NCC, LMFTA – www.sisulumicounseling.com
There’s a good reason we associate jealousy and the color green.
That little green monster festers under your skin and in the pit of your stomach. It can make you feel sick when you think about it.
We can spiral out into an episode of depression and anger.
- You might possibly be plotting some sort of revenge to get them to see that YOU were the one for them, not their new partner.
- You might be going through all the things you think you could have done differently in order to keep that partner committed to you.
- Maybe you see your ex doing all the things you had wished they’d done while you were together.
No matter what, at some point you are going to have to accept that your relationship is over and it’s time to grow.
Jealousy can be a sign that you haven’t taken the time to really take stock in how magnificent you are. Jealousy stems off of the idea that you are inadequate or unworthy in some way. Are you? I think NOT!
All of your feelings after a break up are valid, however, if you really want to do the BEST possible thing after a break up- LOVE YOURSELF.
Focus on what you are proud of and grateful for. Write down 5 things every night. Start your day with gratitude.
What interests or hobbies fell to the wayside during the relationship?
Pick them up again. Find new ones. Write out a bucket list of things that you want to do, places you want to go, things you want to learn.
Do some personal inventory on how incredibly strong you are and all of the things you’ve been through. Write it down. Write yourself a love letter. Do it.
Move your body.
You can exercise, sure, Yoga and stretching totally counts, but dancing gets extra bonus points. Spend time with your friends (and try not to talk about the relationship, it’s okay if you do though).
We are all beautiful mirrors to one another, each of us unique in our own way.
There is NO comparison to you or the relationship you had with them. That too is unique. Through our relationships we grow and learn more about ourselves.
Endings are difficult. However, they do create space for you to grow and allow someone new into your life.
Jessica Ellison, M.A., L.P.C.C. – www.jellisonandassociates.com
Have you ever tried to let go of unwanted feelings after your breakup?
What happens is that your emotions get stuck at a certain point and it becomes hard to transition yourself past the hurt, jealousy and pain.
Ultimately, you hold on to these feelings without even realizing it and think that you have no choice or control over how you feel. The reality is that you do have control.
Feelings are always choices.
Nobody can make you feel jealous. Quite simply, your feelings over your ex are habits, which are driven by blind reason and automatic behavior.
The goal is to control how you feel so that you keep yourself inspired, joyful and content, especially since your ex in no longer in your life.
The bottom line is that it feels good to feel good and you must do everything in your power to maintain that condition.
Here are some things to do to help you control your feelings:
1. Distract yourself.
The more you dwell on negative feelings, the more they will grow in your mind, causing you to act and react a certain way. Instead, give yourself a new thought to think about that is more pleasant and calming. Stay with that thought for a minute and your mood and state of mind will change.
2. Consider how long you are “willing” to stay in your negative, jealous headspace.
Is it an hour, a day or even longer? If you can put a time frame around it, when the time is over, you can move on.
3. Tap into how your emotions are affecting you physically.
If you have too many strong negative thoughts, they will work like a disease to weaken your resistance and cause you unwelcomed illnesses. Are you experiencing unusual headaches, digestive problems, skin rashes? If so, your body may be reacting to your jealous mind.
Amy Sherman, M.A., LMHC – www.yourbabyboomersnetwork.com
Going thru a break-up can be difficult. Especially if you were with the person for a significant amount of time or invested a lot of your life to them.
Many people feel jealous once they find out this person is with someone else. I’m hoping to offer you some helpful ways to get over them and move on!
I want to note before you begin reading, this is for people who truly want to get over a relationship.
Nothing will help the person who wants to stay stuck, stalk their ex, or if they get something out of being jealous and talking about it incessantly with their friends.
These tips will help those who have chosen to move on and are trying to get over a relationship.
1. Understand that you have lost something important to you so you will have a grieving process.
We are wired to grieve after a loss. It’s human and natural. It’s normal in this process to feel denial that the relationship is over at first.
Once denial kicks in, anger takes over. This is where many people get stuck. Realize the anger is normal and is actually leading you down the road to feel the sadness, then to accept the loss and move on. Many times, jealousy is just someone stuck in the anger stage of grief.
Realize this anger is normal and will pass. But it is not normal to get “stuck”. A week or two is generally a good guideline for feeling the anger.
2. Remove them from your phone, Facebook, email account, etc.
Anything that would be a temptation for you to contact them- get rid of it. It’s going to be tempting enough. You don’t need the temptation of something right in your face staring at you, begging you to call!!
3. Create a team of support that you can call when you feel weak.
Have a friend or family who knows they’re going be “on call” for when you feel weak. You can call them, email them, or text them whatever it is you would LIKE to actually say to your ex. They will know it’s just you venting and they can either read it or delete it.
4. Keep yourself busy.
If you know that when you have a lot of free time, you are tempted to call, make sure you don’t have a lot of free time. Invest in a new hobby or challenge yourself at a new goal. Stay focused on something other than your ex.
5. Stay away from triggers.
A trigger is anything that makes you think of this person or would make you want to contact them. For example, let’s say your favorite park where you spent hours talking is on your way to work and you want to call him when you pass it each day.
Maybe drive a different way to work until the jealousy passes. You are already thinking about him, so you don’t need more things that will trigger more emotion.
6. Write a letter of closure that you don’t mail.
Make it a way to close the relationship on your terms and how you would want it (even if you didn’t want it to end-imagine what you would have said if you were given the chance). Read it to a friend and then destroy it.
7. Jealousy usually comes from feeling abandoned.
Abandonment usually comes from something we experience long before this relationship ended. If you just can’t move past this, find a good Therapist you can talk to about abandonment.
This article is too short to go into detail about it. But if you can find the root of the abandonment on the inside, you can better understand and CHANGE your behavior on the outside. This can only improve you for your future relationships.
Remember, this is for those who WANT TO CHANGE!
This is hard work. Getting over relationships can be tough. But there is something to be learned from each break-up. Don’t let jealousy get in the way of your opportunity to grow.
Natalie Chandler, MA, LMHC, LCAC – www.imaginehopecounseling.com
You may not, except with express written permission, distribute or commercially exploit the content. Nor may you transmit it or store it in any other website or other form of electronic retrieval system.