It doesn’t matter how you may have parted ways. You can never walk away from a close relationship in one whole piece. Whether you leave on good terms, bad terms, as the one who got dumped or the one who dumped her, there are always frazzled edges, unbroken connections, lingering feelings and second thoughts.
If she moves on before you do, that’s hard enough, seeing her smile and touch now being freely given to another man. But when she moves on to the arms of one of your close friends, it can be a bitter pill to swallow.
It may be time to deal with reality and learn to cope with the situation.
Put it in the past.
Getting over her and getting her out of your system is harder than stopping a three-pack a day nicotine habit. By now, you have considered and explored the possibilities of reuniting, and you know that it’s not in the cards.
It will take time to suffer through the withdrawal, even if you’re the one who dumped her, because she has gotten under your skin and become part of who you are. Parting is not the end but the beginning of a painful healing process that may catch you by surprise once you’re on your own.
The truth is, you cannot rush the healing of the emotional attachment or the physical addiction. You can, however, get your head in the right place.
You can stare down denial by getting the facts of the situation straight in your mind. It’s over. She has no commitment to you and you have none to her.
You wish her the best. You can calm the anger by understanding that she has the right to move on with her life. She is free to love again and does not have to join a nunnery just to appease your insecurities.
Take a deep breath. Once you have the denial and anger under control, that is the time you can get an honest, realistic and detached perspective on the situation.
“The success you have in the future depends
on how well you can jettison the baggage.”
Talk to your friend.
Of course, you’re suffering the brunt of a double-whammy. It’s not just the raw emotions left over from the relationship with your ex. You also have to deal with the fact that she is dating your friend. This may be the real test of your mettle and character.
Before you go any further, you have to be comfortable with a few things. You have to know this romance was not something that began while you were still with your ex. You need to know that your friend did nothing to sabotage your relationship with her to force a breakup.
You have to believe he in no way took advantage of his closeness to you to get close to her and drop flirtatious hints of his affection. If there were dirty dealings or betrayal involved, then all bets are off.
But if a reasonable amount of time has passed, and they began dating through normal nondevious means, you should find a way to deal with it. In a perfect world, your friend would talk to you about it first, but life doesn’t always work out that way.
They might have run into each other at the supermarket, started talking, sat down for coffee, and then discovered a spark and shared a kiss. You must realize you were right there between them the whole time, so this whole thing was not easy for them either.
But what would you have said? If he asked what you would think if he started dating your ex, how would you respond?
In this movie, you would have sighed, looked to the heavens for strength and inspiration and told him the right thing: “I’m not completely over her yet, and I’m sure it would bug me. But we’re not getting back together. She’s a great girl and you’re a great guy, so if you think there might be something there, go for it.”
Few people can really play that role that smoothly and selflessly, but your goal should be to get as close to that mood as possible. Friendship is one of the most important relationships we have in life, and friends are often with us longer than lovers.
If this is a guy who has had your back for years and makes your life better and richer, then you owe it to him to stand by him when he needs your support, too.
He may sacrifice a lover so she can become yours, but why should he give up true love just so you don’t feel so bad for a few weeks until you find a new love? Keep it real.
Sit down with your friend. Clear away the awkwardness and flush away any bad blood. Get some answers and reassurances, if you need them. A good friendship is worth saving.
Bros before…well, don’t let a woman get in the way of your friendship. If you’re getting your anger and denial under control, then taking this load off your shoulders will make you feel like a new man and will be a huge step in helping you to move forward in a healthy way.
Get back in the saddle.
Once you move on, it won’t really make any difference who your ex or your friends are dating. Part of the healing process requires that you just get back out there into the dating pool with a good and upbeat attitude and kiss a few princesses.
Love is the best healer, so don’t mope around in self-pity and sit at home in front of the TV in your underwear. Be a person worthy of love, and find an even more compatible soul mate.
The rational mind is a man’s most powerful ally. Seeing beyond the emotions and positioning yourself for success in the future as a happy and healthy man is the best way to fight off the demons of a breakup or the petty feelings that can undermine our friendships.
The rest of your life starts today, and the success and joy you have in the future depends on how well you can jettison the baggage and ghosts of the past and how earnestly you can nurture and build on the friendships and bonds that will make you stronger and more resilient on your journey to better things.