Why You are Feeling Sad in Your New Relationship After Letting Go of An Old One
Are you feeling sad in your new relationship and absolutely dumbfounded because you are super happy? You have found the person you had always hoped you would find and yet you are still sad and missing your ex.
This feeling is horrible, I know, but it’s very common. And it doesn’t mean that you should leave this new relationship and go look for your ex. It means that emotions are complicated and that, with some knowledge and sel- awareness, you can accept the sadness as temporary and move forward.
Here are 5 reasons that you are feeling sad in your new relationship and how to manage those emotions.
#1 – You are still comparing.
One of the things that we do when we go out on dates with new people after breaking up with someone is we compare them. No matter how toxic the relationship, we sit across that table from our date and measure them up against our ex.
Ironically, what we usually measure is the good things that we remember about our ex – the sexual chemistry is the one I most often hear but it can also be other things – their ambition, their kids, their interests etc.
This comparison is natural but often our brains steer us in the wrong direction.
I would encourage you to make a list of all of the things about your ex that made them your ex. Be honest. It’s easy to forget the things that went wrong but, if you dig deep, you will find them.
After you make your list, make a list of the good things in your new relationship. I am guessing that, if you are happy, there are many.
Making these lists, on paper, will help you see exactly why you shouldn’t be with your ex, sexual chemistry or not, and why you are happy in your new relationship and that the sadness will pass.
#2 – You miss the comfort.
No matter how long we are in a relationship, patterns of behavior are developed. And these patterns are familiar and hard to change.
Whether the patterns are good ones, like eating pizza on Fridays or going for a walk every night, or bad ones, like fighting every morning about who will walk the dog or having to count drinks over the course of the evening, these patterns are yours and hard to let go of.
Furthermore, in new relationships, we often feel insecure because things are so new and we long for the comfortable, what we know so well.
Just know that, as your relationship continues to grow, so will your comfort level and, as it grows, you will be able to let go of your ex and your old ways and be happy.
#3 – You have to let go of dreams.
We when we embark down the road of a new relationship, with it comes big hopes and dreams for the future. And with a break up those dreams go up in smoke. And that is sad.
I remember the dreams I had with my ex. I had loved him in college and was so looking forward to going back to a college reunion with him by my side. We would live together and work together and heal together. We talked about where we would live and growing old together. And then, one day, it was over. And those dreams were dashed.
I am sure that you and your new ex have big hopes and dreams. I know that my new guy and I do. But I know that those hopes and dreams are different from the ones I had with my ex and it took me a while to let go of them and embrace the new ones.
But, man, am I glad I did.
#4 – End of an era.
When we end a relationship, we end an era. And era of time together as a couple, with friends, traveling, being with each other’s families, perhaps having kids together or getting a dog. And when a break up occurs, that era is over.
I have a client who just broke up with his girlfriend of 2 years. They had a very tight friend group, he spent much of his days trying to help her move forward in her life, she loved his dog and they enjoyed the things that they did together. Now he has a new girlfriend and with her comes a whole new friend group, trying to figure out how to manage a long distance relationship, getting to know each other’s habits and introducing each other’s dogs.
This new era is exciting and new but that doesn’t mean the old one wasn’t special in its own way. If you can accept that the past, good and bad, is the past and that looking back isn’t going to get you anywhere, you will be able to recognize that this next era is going to be great. And that will help you alleviate your sadness.
#5 – You haven’t let go of what happened.
One of the reasons that you might be feeling sad in your new relationship is because you haven’t processed what happened in the old one.
I know that it took me a full year to get past my ex, in spite of the fact that I was very happy with my new guy. After a toxic two year relationship, I decided one day that I just had to walk away. I knew that if I talked to him at all, he would suck me back in, as was our pattern. So, to save myself, I never talked to him again. I don’t believe in closure because I truly believe that it’s just an excuse to spend more time in the presence of your soon to be ex, but I also know that there were some things left unsaid between us. And that was unsettling.
But now, 3 years out, I have been able to let go of what happened and fully lean into my new relationship. It took a while but time and doing some work with my therapist helped me process what happened and move forward without looking back.
I know that you might be feeling sad in your new relationship and that is not unusual.
Fortunately, it is most likely something that will pass sooner or later.
As your relationship grows and you become more comfortable with each other, when you stop comparing your new person to your ex, when you stop looking to the past and can fully process what happened then you will be able to move on and lean into your new relationship and be truly happy.
You can do it! I promise!
I am a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. My writing has been published on The Huffington Post, Prevention, Psych Central, Pop Sugar, MSN and The Good Man Project, among others. I work with all kinds of people to help them go from depressed and overwhelmed to confident and happy in their relationships and in their world.