When your ex gets married

Close-up with KC Ejelonu

Email: kcejelonu@gmail.com Twitter: @kcejelonu

I was having a conversation with some friends and they were going hard on me for attending an ex’s wedding. I tried to explain to them that we are adults and our break-up was not a messy one. He had been my friend before we started dating and after the break-up I would still go to him when I needed advice or some info on a guy who was on my case. When he started dating his wife, he introduced me to her, but my friends still did not get it. Anyways, if you are the type to get all jealous and angry when your ex is getting married, here is an article I came across written by Liz Garment at femail.co.uk

So your ex is getting married. So what? You weren’t happy with him, you broke up, you found someone else. End of story. Well, not quite.

Hearing that your old love is about to tie the knot can unleash an array of complex and bewildering emotions. After all, it’s one thing for you to move on and fall in love again but quite another for him to do the same.

“I was knocked for six when I heard my old boyfriend, Paul, was getting married,” says Lisa Barnes, 34, from Huddersfield. “I felt jealous, deeply upset and suddenly couldn’t stop thinking about the good times we’d had together and whether we should have tried harder to work things out.

“Most confusingly, there was no logical reason to be so torn up about Paul’s wedding – we’d split up for good reasons and I was now happy with someone else. I couldn’t work out where this flood of feelings was coming from.”

So why is it that news of an ex’s pending nuptials has the potential to spark such emotional mayhem?

The power of the past

Past relationships have a continuing hold over us even when, rationally, we think we’re well adjusted to their break-up and content with our new lives, says relationships psychologist Dr Valerie Lamont.

“Raving jealousy, anxiety and a childish feeling that even though you don’t want him, you don’t want anyone else to have him are all common when a former lover announces he’s getting married,” says Dr Lamont.

“Because you know the two of you shared a special connection, that you saw the private side of him no-one else did and, like any couple, enjoyed special, secret times together, it’s hard not to feel elbowed out and displaced when he meets someone else and prepares to sail off into the sunset with her.

“Logical thought goes out of the window and you forget the real reasons why you parted. Instead, you find yourself feeling strangely resentful that he feels he’s met someone he’ll be happy with for the rest of his life and angry at having to admit you’re no longer his number one.”

Completely irrational – but normal

Don’t worry, feeling like this is actually totally natural and normal, says Dr Lamont. 2It doesn’t mean that breaking up was a mistake, it doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with your new relationship and it doesn’t say you’re a mean spirited person incapable of wishing your ex happiness,” she says.

Take heart from the realisation you won’t feel like this for long. Once the wedding has taken place, your emotions should return to an even keel – although don’t be surprised if the same irrational feelings flare up again at a later date.

“News that he’s expecting his first baby or hearing rumours from mutual friends of a troublesome patch in his marriage can stir things up again but this too is normal,” explains Dr Lamont. “But every time it happens you should be better equipped to cope, better able to realise you’re probably seeing the past through rose tinted spectacles and you’ll find it easier to drag yourself back to reality.”

Rise to the occasion

Choosing a ‘Congratulations on your Wedding’ card, writing a warm, friendly message inside and sending it off to your ex will make you feel a whole lot better. The fact that you’ve soared above the childish feelings of ‘but he wasn’t meant to be happy with someone else’ to wish him well will help you get things in perspective.

If you’re in regular contact with your ex because you have children together or move in the same social circles, it’s best to bite the bullet and congratulate him in person.

The only time it’s best to leave well alone is if you haven’t seen him for a long time or if the split was acrimonious, says Dr Lamont. “In these circumstances, making contact could actually make you feel worse – try to leave things as they are and focus on your current relationship.”

Do’s and don’ts

DO tell your girlfriends how you’re feeling and let them remind you of the times they had to counsel you through all those bad times with your ex;

DON’T confide in your current partner – he’ll only feel threatened and jealous;

DO focus on your ex’s failings – everything from his snoring to the way he put you down in front of your mates. It will help you see the real picture;

DON’T bitch about him and his new love in public – it just reflects badly on you.