By Chris Seiter

Published on October 4th, 2022

Yesterday I was struck as I was reading a comment in our Private Facebook Support Group,

It can be devastating when an ex you’ve been with for a long time moves on too fast to someone else.

Often our clients feel that there’s something wrong with them (like the person thinks above.)

Hint: You did nothing wrong and there’s nothing wrong with you.

But I will admit I’m fascinated with this question


What exactly causes exes to move on so fast after a breakup.

Well, that’s what I’m going to explore today.

What Are Your Chances of Getting Your Ex Boyfriend Back?

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Rebound Theory

Let’s reframe this question a bit.

Most of the time when an ex moves on quickly after a breakup it is labeled as a “rebound.” So, it stands to reason that by studying rebounds we can learn about why exes move on quickly. At least, that’s the hope but first a story.

When I was in college I went on a date with a girl that was fresh off a long term relationship with a boyfriend. This was her “first love.” Someone who she was with for ten years. Her relationship with him was the only romantic relationship that she had ever experienced.

Naturally this interested me. I took it as a challenge.

I wanted to be the one that interested her so much that she forgot about her ex. Anyways, one date turned into two, two to three and pretty soon it felt like I was about to get a new girlfriend. So, I did what a young guy typically does in these circumstances.

I asked her to be official, in the most cringeworthy way.

I did this to her car,

Except it wasn’t exactly like those notes.

It was more in the vein of,

  • I like you
  • Let’s be official

Thinking back it was super cringeworthy as we had only been on three dates and hadn’t even kissed yet but I took my shot god dangit and I’ll always have that!

Anyways, she obviously denied me, politely.

What Are Your Chances of Getting Your Ex Boyfriend Back?

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But I’m not telling this story to show you my embarrassing fails with women. I’m actually telling it to you because of how her ex reacted.

  1. You see, while she was going on dates with me and then rejecting me because she still didn’t feel ready.
  2. Her ex had already moved on to someone else. Within a week of the breakup.

And I want to highlight this difference because what we have here is a perfect contrast in how breakup grief works.

On one hand, you have a person who rejects someone awesome (me *in case that wasn’t clear) because they aren’t ready to get into a relationship yet.

On the other hand, you have a person who literally dates someone a week after the breakup.

But why did this ex move on so fast?

Well, think of it like this.

The longer the relationship, the longer the grief period.

Rebounds act as a way to deal with that coping mechanism. Rather than facing the grief, they can distract themselves from it.

In fact, Robert Tabbi, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, recently wrote said this in a psychology today article when exploring why rebounds can happen so quickly,

“It’s alluring: Once a relationship is over, there’s a void in your life. Regardless of the quality of the past relationship, there’s loss and grief because the psychological attachment is broken.”

In the end though, most of the reasons for “why” when it comes to rebounds are almost never healthy

There’s loneliness to contend with. After all, the loudest voice for everyone is the one inside our own heads.

Sometimes you need another person to boost your self esteem.

Sometimes it’s as simple as them wanting a phsyical relationship to “drown” their sorrows.

But where things get really complicated is if they commit to the rebound on a level that they were never willing to with you.

What If They Commit To The New Person On A Level They Never Did With You

Well, I think the thing to remember is that in most cases your ex is setting this new person up to date while they are dating you.

Maybe it starts out as a harmless friendship.

Maybe there is some light flirting.

The important part to keep in mind is that the mere introduction of this new person to your ex is enough to get the wheels turning on the grass is greener syndrome in their head. They start thinking, I wonder what it will be like to be with this other person. It’ll be new and different than what I’m currently experiencing.

I might like that.

They build this new person up in their head and start placing them on a pedestal so that by the time they have already broken up with you they are ready to commit to this new person and in my experience the whole new level of commitment comes when they are wrapped up into how they are feeling during the honeymoon period.

I’m not saying all situations end up like that but the vast majority do.

And this really brings the honeymoon period into the forefront because I can totally see someone saying,

What Are Your Chances of Getting Your Ex Boyfriend Back?

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“Ya, well my ex went on the rebound and then a year later they proposed to their new girlfriend. The honeymoon period was over by then.”

But is it?

Remember, everyone has a different experience with how long the honeymoon period will last.

A simple Google search will yield the following answer,

Six months to two years.

Now, my experience says that, that is too long but it goes to show what is possible and how humans make commitment decisions based in this highly emotional time.

But this begs the question.

What Can You Do If Your Ex Has Moved On Really Quickly?

Well, most experts at this point will tell you the cliche thing.

  • That you need to let go of your resentment that you have towards the ex and the new person.
  • That you need to work on just moving past it.

But honestly, that blanket advice hasn’t really worked for me.

It’s not easy to turn off your emotions.

Instead, my argument will be a lot simpler and hopefully make you feel like you are doing something productive.

All of the anger…

The grief…

The sadness…

That you feel. I want you to channel it. Use it as fuel. Find something that you care about more than your ex and dedicate your time to it. What I think you’ll find happening is that you are able to accomplish amazing things. That you are able to turn this very negative moment into your life into a positive one.

Recently I posted this video,

Which essentially had the same sentiment. Find something that you care about more than your ex and start dedicating your time to mastering it. Anyways, one comment really stuck out to me,

Sorry if that image came in a bit small.

What Are Your Chances of Getting Your Ex Boyfriend Back?

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But this person gets it.

“Be your greatest self. They (your ex) need to see us at our highest self. Which of course makes them jealous because they aren’t reaching theirs but by that moment you are usually over them and able to attract someone of a higher quality than them.”

Let your grief be your fuel.

In fact, I gave this exact advice to one the members of my private facebook support group recently who had a situation that lines up almost perfectly with this article.

  • Their ex broke up with them
  • Immediately moved on to the new girl
  • After a few months proposed to the new girl
  • And just got married

The member was, rightfully so, left reeling at how to handle the crazy swirl of emotions going on inside of her.

Here was my response,

I think sending the letter leaves you open to having them pass it around to one another laughing at your expense. The “normal” thing that most people will tell you is to let go of all the resentment but personally I’ve never found it to be easy. Instead, I’ll tell you to use it as fuel. Find something that you care about more than him and dedicate your time to it. In a few months if you keep at it, I can almost guarantee you won’t be upset at him, you’ll be thanking him for not proposing to you because of all the amazing things happening in your life that wouldn’t have happened had you continued to be with him.

In the end, every breakup is an opportunity for fuel to feed the fire that is your accomplishments.

Turn the negatives into positives.

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