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10 Psychological Reasons You’re Jealous Of Your Ex’s New Relationship

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Do you find yourself getting pangs of jealousy about your ex’s new relationship?

Maybe you find yourself checking their social media accounts to see what they’re up to, or you hear updates from mutual friends and grind your teeth at every detail shared with you.

Why is that?

Your relationship is over, so why are you getting jealous and upset?

Here are 10 psychological factors that may be contributing to your jealousy:

Speak to a certified relationship counselor about this issue. Why? Because they have the training and experience to help you work through the jealousy you are feeling about your ex’s new relationship. You may want to try speaking to someone via for practical advice that is tailored to your exact circumstances.

1. You’re dealing with self-esteem issues.

Seeing that your ex has moved on can seriously undermine your sense of self-worth and attractiveness.

This is particularly true if it was your ex who initiated the breakup.

You may find yourself feeling discarded or somehow unworthy of love and care, and thus desire validation from others that you’re still desirable.

This can lead people to dive into new relationships as a means of healing their damaged egos, even if these new pairings aren’t particularly healthy.

If your ego has been wounded, you may be inclined to pursue someone who’s physically more attractive than your ex, even if that person is a raging dumpster fire.

The goal is usually to try to “one up” the ex and show off that you’re a prize; that you’ve “won” this gorgeous, successful person by your side, regardless of whether you’re actually happy or not.

2. You feel competitive: “Why them and not me?”.

It’s natural to compare yourself to your ex’s new partner and feel inadequate or jealous if they seem “better” by having qualities you feel that you lack.

As such, you may be measuring yourself against them and trying to figure out why your ex chose to be with them instead of you.

You may find yourself comparing your life with your ex’s new lover, trying to figure out why they’re a more desirable or worthy partner than you are.

Social media is great for fuelling insecurity, as the filtered images that most people share can give you an unhealthy, unrealistic view of what their life together is like.

You may even feel an inclination to one-up this new person to prove your value in other people’s eyes.

3. Dismay at being replaced because a door has closed for you.

On a fundamental level, just about every human has a natural fear of abandonment.

For people who have anxious attachment styles in their intimate relationships, their anxieties may continue to affect them even after those relationships have ended.

Traits of this attachment style include insecurity, a constant need for reassurance and validation, and dependence upon their partner for their emotional stability.

If your ex has moved on and is dating someone else, this means you have officially been replaced.

You might have wanted to keep options open with your ex in case you needed a safe space where you once felt comfortable, or maybe you simply wanted continued emotional stability from this person by calling and texting, asking them for help, and so on.

Once that door is closed, however, there’s no going back. You’re no longer a priority in their life because someone else has stepped into the role you once filled.

4. Unfinished business/lingering feelings.

Depending on how the two of you split up, you may still have lingering romantic feelings for your ex that never got proper closure.

As such, when you see your ex being affectionate with someone else, you may feel intense hurt and jealousy because you wish they were still with you instead.

This is usually the case if they broke up with you while you still felt intense love and affection for them.

If you were left wondering what happened, feeling upset and confused as to what went wrong, it’ll likely hurt you badly to see them with someone else soon afterward.

Envy toward the person they may have left you for is completely natural and understandable and is one of the more difficult types of jealousy to get over.

5. Loss of control.

Some people feel a need to control various aspects of their partner’s life.

They may not do so maliciously but feel that they know best and that their partner may not be as capable of decision-making as they are.

If you tend to take control and make the decisions in your relationships, you may feel jealous about the fact that you no longer have a say in any of your ex’s life decisions.

As such, you may not specifically be jealous of the person your ex is dating, so much as envious of the decision-making ability they have in the life of a person you still care about.

You may even be feeling protective because you don’t think they can be as good for your ex as you can be, even though you aren’t together anymore.

6. Possessiveness.

If you’re still on good terms with your ex and talk to them often as a friend, you may feel a certain amount of possessiveness toward them.

Even though you aren’t physically intimate anymore, there’s still a closeness between you that you guard fiercely.

As such, you may feel that your ex still ‘belongs’ to you on some level, even though your relationship is now only platonic.

Now that your ex is dating someone else, you may feel like you don’t know where you fit into this dynamic anymore.

You may like things exactly as they are and don’t like the idea of a third party getting involved.

Even though you care about your ex deeply and want the best for them, it’s what you think is best and on your terms… and this new partner may not be part of the equation.

Things can get even stickier if they feel that your relationship with your ex is unhealthy or demanding and they make your ex choose between the two of you.

In situations like this, the ex almost always chooses the new partner. What’s passed is past for them, and you likely know on a subconscious level that once they cut you out, you’ll be out of their life for good.

Needless to say, this may trigger intense jealousy and territorial behavior in you, as well as in your ex’s new boo.

7. A sense of missing out.

This isn’t so much a “fear” of missing out so much as resentment that you aren’t invited to be part of your ex’s life experiences anymore.

You may have really enjoyed going places with your ex or looked forward to trips and such that the two of you had planned together for years, and now those will never come to fruition with this person.

Sure, you can still pursue those endeavors on your own, but it won’t be the same.

Things sting even more if your ex made excuses about why they didn’t want to do XYZ thing that you always dreamed of experiencing with them, but they seem to have no qualms about partaking in that activity in their new relationship.

Your ex may even be intentionally doing the things you always wanted to do together to spite you, especially if you’re the one who broke things off, and they know that you’re still active in each other’s social media circles.

If you always wanted to visit Paris but your ex balked at it, and suddenly you see photos of them kissing their new partner near the Eiffel Tower with a caption like, “Love in the most romantic place on Earth!” or similar, that’s a big F-you from them.

It’s possible that they’re using their new lover to intentionally make you jealous or hurt you for wronging them by ending things.

8. Unmet needs.

Not everyone can pick up easily and move on quickly after a breakup.

Many people need quite a bit of time to recover, during which they have a wide range of needs that are going unmet and unfulfilled.

Physical touch, sexual intimacy, emotional support, and even the comfortably quiet companionship that comes with a relationship may be absent in your life, leaving you feeling lonely and sad.

As such, seeing or hearing about how happy your ex is with their new partner may inspire intense feelings of jealousy in you. You may not feel jealous about their new partner per se, but you do feel jealous that they’re getting your ex’s time and attention.

Maybe they gave amazing foot massages or brought you coffee in bed every morning, while now you’re greeted by a cat screaming for breakfast, and the last person who touched you was your family physician.

If this strikes a chord with you, then try to get your needs met by different means.

Spend time with friends, book a Shiatsu massage, and so on. Do what you can to fill the gaps your ex’s absence has left, and the jealousy will dissipate.

9. Regret and longing for the past.

This most often happens when a relationship ends abruptly, usually initiated by the other person.

If you thought things were going just fine, only to be sideswiped by an unexpected breakup, you may find yourself longing for things to go back to the way they were.

Alternatively, you may have ended your partnership due to a sense of restlessness or “grass is greener” syndrome, only to realize that you had it pretty good.

Now you may be feeling regret about the breakup and would love to try to reconcile, only they’ve moved on and are with someone else.

The realization that you’ll never get back what you once had can be quite heartbreaking.

It’s natural to feel jealous that this new partner has the chance to cultivate an amazing relationship with the person you’re no longer with, and it’ll likely take you some time to get over.

The best thing you can do in a situation like this is focus on yourself and move forward rather than looking back longingly.

10. Lack of control in your own healing process.

Everyone heals in their own way, at their own pace. This goes for emotional and psychological wounds as much as it does physical injuries.

If you’re still in the process of healing from your breakup and you see your ex has reached a point where they’re not just dating, but they’re happy and fulfilled in a new relationship, it can make you feel jealous and resentful that you haven’t reached that point yet.

We have little control over our own healing process: we can’t speed emotional resolution any more than we can will a broken bone to heal completely.

As such, seeing someone else bounce back from a breakup that shattered you can instill intense jealousy, as well as anger, bitterness, and even more hurt.

You may find yourself thinking that if they got over you that quickly, they must not have had real feelings for you, and so on.

This likely isn’t the case, but rather they’re throwing themselves into something new to distract them from the hurt of your breakup.

Be patient with yourself and accept that you’ll heal when the time is right for you and move on as best you can.


As you can see, your jealousy isn’t springing from nowhere: it has very common, valid origins, and many other people struggle with the same feelings.

Although it may be difficult to see your ex happy with someone else, it’s also a firm sign that you need to finally close the door to that relationship so you can open the door to some healthy new beginnings.

Not sure how to overcome the jealousy you feel about your ex’s new relationship?

Speak to an experienced relationship expert about it. Why? Because they are trained to help people in situations like yours.

Relationship Hero is a website where you can connect with a certified relationship counselor via phone, video, or instant message.

While you can try to work through this situation yourself, it may be a bigger issue than self-help can fix. And if it is affecting your mental well-being, it is a significant thing that needs to be resolved.

Too many people try to muddle through without ever being able to resolve the issues that affect them. If it’s at all possible in your circumstances, speaking to a relationship expert is 100% the best way forward.

Here’s that link again if you’d like to learn more about the service Relationship Hero provide and the process of getting started.

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About The Author

Catherine Winter is an herbalist, INTJ empath, narcissistic abuse survivor, and PTSD warrior currently based in Quebec's Laurentian mountains. In an informal role as confidant and guide, Catherine has helped countless people work through difficult times in their lives and relationships, including divorce, ageing and death journeys, grief, abuse, and trauma recovery, as they navigate their individual paths towards healing and personal peace.