It’s excruciating to feel replaced or disregarded
One reason we may have such a hard time dealing with romantic rejection ties back to our hard-wired, evolutionary need to bond — and stay bonded — to others in order to survive, according to Bobby
It doesn’t matter how long it’s been since the breakup: Discovering your ex has moved on with a new boyfriend or girlfriend can feel like a punch in the gut.
Here’s The Story of Meaghan!
For three years, Meaghan was in an on-again, off-again relationship with one of her best guy friends. When she accidentally got pregnant, he supported her through an abortion. Just two weeks later, though, he hooked up with one of their mutual acquaintances. Then he ghosted Meaghan.
“As you can imagine, it was pretty agonizing,” Meaghan, who asked that we withhold her last name for privacy reasons, told HuffPost.
Three months later, she found out he had gotten back together with his ex — the woman he would typically date whenever he and Meaghan were in one of their “off again” periods.
Though running back to this woman was “super in character for him,” Meaghan said she was still shocked by the news.
“I tried to tell myself that he didn’t really love her and that he just needed something comforting to go back to while he navigated a difficult and lonely time in his life,” she said. “But underneath it all, I knew it didn’t matter. I knew we had to be done and that I had some painful emotions to process.”
Over time, Meaghan said, she’s been able to move forward; she’s finally come to a place where she genuinely hopes the two of them are happy together. But as anyone who’s been in this situation knows, finding out your ex has moved on with someone else can be devastating.
“When we have given someone our heart, as well as the most intimate part of ourselves, it’s excruciating to feel replaced or disregarded,” said Nashville-based psychotherapist Jeannie Ingram.
Even if you were the one to initiate the breakup and have no intentions of getting back together, watching your ex move on with another person can bring on distressing emotions.
“If you have any lingering attachment, you will have a resurgence of desire, anxiety and regret that’s often mysterious to you when you attempt to make sense of it intellectually,” said therapist Lisa Marie Bobby, author of “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to an Ex Love.”
According to Bobby, one reason we may have such a hard time dealing with romantic rejection ties back to our hard-wired, evolutionary need to bond — and stay bonded — to others in order to survive.
“It’s not rational,” she said. “It’s simply a function of our monkey-mind survival drives doing their job to protect us.”