When your ex is moving on, it brings up all sorts of emotions. There are mixed feelings about a future without them, perhaps a great relief that they’re finally someone else’s problem to deal with, and the deeply personal feeling that perhaps, it was never really worth it. When your ex is moving on, you should too. Doing so, however, is often more difficult than we realize.

It’s not easy to prepare for the paradoxical feelings that come up. When the person you once loved is moving on and that ex is truly no longer yours, you’ll be hit with palpable pain. That pain, however, is not about them. It’s about you and knowing that you should be moving on too. Ouch.

Moving on isn’t just about forgetting about them or loving someone else. It means truly letting go and allowing yourself to step into grace. No more fighting, apologizing or imagining reuniting. No more distracting yourself from your life. They never were responsible for your future and now you can’t use them as a crutch anymore either.

We all think, “we’re over them” when we leave. We think we can handle letting go. We think we’re ready for some new lover, a new committed relationship. But only some of that is true in the face of the news. The problem is, it’s not easy to step into action, make decisions, commit to someone else, something else in the face of big losses. An ex is a big loss no matter how it ended. It doesn’t matter how you felt about the relationship ending nor how grateful you are now that they’re gone.

I’ve found myself on my knees more than once when I learned old lovers were marrying someone else. I’ve been jealous of the attention and lifestyle their new spouses got. Even when I didn’t want to be with them. I spent way too much time feeling sorry for myself. It didn’t matter that I took steps in a different direction grateful they were no longer in my bed. Knowing they had moved on meant that I had to too.

The pain of the loss is shockingly real when you actually stop to feel it. When you distract yourself with food, alcohol, lovers, your kids, even work, you fill your days so that you don’t have the time, space or energy to mourn, center, and feel. It’s so much easier to simply stay stuck than it is to make things happen. Isn’t it? It takes a lot of courage and energy to start to get moving on with you. We all say we want to but really doing it?

Maybe it’s just me. Maybe most people sashay into new relationships, pick up and travel, carry on with their careers as if an ex moving on is no big loss. But I doubt it. In fact, I know most of us don’t.

Once someone has a piece of your heart, it’s not easy to let them go.

Which is where grace comes in. Understanding the paradoxes that we experience.

At first, it’s impossible to be gracious or understanding. At first, all there is is anger, retaliation, a new lover or two or three… at first relief plays a big part in forgetting about them. But then life continues, things calm down, a new lover comes and then goes… it’s then the time to focus on you.

When you learn how to turn that palpable pain into action for your new life then you’re ready to move on yourself. (Which doesn’t mean you still won’t miss them!) It’s taken a long time to accept my conflicting and confusing feelings about an ex. To be grateful they’re not in my life but still wish them well. To let them go while wondering if they’re safe. To find new love in the face of missing them.

Moving on has given me a chance to become responsible for my future without them. No more leaning on them, wanting them or imagining reuniting. The fantasies have stopped. I’m no longer distracted or beholden and as a result grace has come in.

Laura Bonarrigo is a Certified Life Coach and a Certified Divorce Coach at laurabonarrigo.com. Laura’s a writer, public speaker and the founder of doingDivorce™ School an online coaching program for those ready to shed the pain of divorce. For empowering and practical ways to lose the identity of your past, visit www.doingDivorceSchool.com and laurabonarrigo.com.

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