I think we can all agree that as tempting as it is, there’s something pathetic and insecure about trying to insert yourself into your avoidant ex’s new relationship even if it’s a rebound.
Yes, it sucks, and it’s understandable that you may want to pull out all the stops to end the new relationship because it’s a threat to your chances of getting your ex back. And when you have an anxious or fearful-avoidant attachment style, an ex’s new relationship can even feel like an insult. You just broke up and your ex has already jumped into a new relationship, were you even important? Did your relationship mean anything?
It feels even worse when there is an overlap between relationships, when your ex is rubbing the new relationship in your face or or when your ex is treating the new person better than you were treated.
Is there’s a point in trying the get back with an ex in a new relationship?
Every relationship is different and every ex is different. If your ex started the new relationship while you were still together and basically replaced you or is rubbing it in your face while you’re still hurting and grieving the loss of your relationship, you might want to reconsider trying to get back together with someone who jumped into another relationship so quickly after the break-up. But if enough time had passed, a few months for example, it’s reasonable for an ex to start a new relationship.
If you went all in on no contact, you can’t fault an avoidant for getting into a rebound relationship. It’s a major ego trip (and even narcissistic) to think that you can completely cut somebody off and expect them to put their life on hold and wait for you. Your ex may have even thought that because you cut off all contact, you don’t want anything to do with them and they moved on to someone new.
And if you have been in no contact for an extended period of time, your avoidant ex probably transferred their feelings for you to the rebound man or woman, and even started to develop feelings for them. Nothing says triggered… insecure… unsafe… red flag as you coming out of no contact and desperately trying to insert yourself into the life of someone you ignored (and/or abandoned) for months.
An avoidant ex in a rebound relationship doesn’t always mean you have no chance
The presence of someone in your ex’s life will no doubt affect your chances because they’re emotional, physical and sexual needs are being met in the new relationship. And if the relationship is serious, may want to see invest into the new relationship.
The first thing you need to establish is how serious the relationship is. Feelings don’t disappear into thin air overnight but you also don’t want to insert yourself into a relationship that’s taken root and come across as a pathetic ex who has a hard time accepting that it’s over and needs to move on.
The second is if your ex wants to keep the lines of communication open. Keep in mind that an avoidant ex can remain in contact with an ex even when in a rebound relationship or one that’s getting serious. For a fearful avoidant ex letting go of an ex can feel like being abandoned and they hold on until they’re sure of the new relationship. Dismissive avoidants on the other hand may not reach out but respond even when they’ve moved on in the new relationship and have no interest in coming back.
After you’ve established that your avoidant ex’s new relationship is a rebound or still very new, and that your ex wants to keep the lines of communication (with good intentions):
1. Do not over dramatize the situation
What causes most anxiously attached and fearful avoidants to over dramatize an ex’s new relationship is feeling replaced and comparing themselves to their ex’s new person. Because you have a negative self concept and need constant reassurance and validation, you take your ex’s new relationship personally, and may even want it to fail. Secures and dismissive avoidants have a positive self-concept which allows them to see that an ex’s new relationship is their ex’s choice and right do what they need to do or is right for them, and has nothing to do with them or even the new person.
So if you’re feeling threatened and invalidated by your ex’s new relationship, remind yourself that your ex’s new relationship is not because the other person is necessarily better than you. Your ex made a conscious choice to start a new relationship either to rebound, move on, feel what’s like be with someone new, get back at you, etc. Whatever the reason is, it’s not an evaluation of your value as a person or partner.
However, how you react to your ex is new relationship may end up making the new person seem better. By asking too questions about the other person and over dramatizing the situation, you are making the other person more important, attractive and emotionally desirable than you. The more focus, attention, time and emotion you invest in the new person and new relationship, the more you diminish yourself.
2. Don’t put pressure on your ex to end the new relationship
You are not together, your ex can be with whoever they want. The the last thing your ex needs being made to feel like they have to choose between two people (who they may have feelings for). If they haven’t completely moved on and rebounding or just confused, trying to extract some kind of reassurance (do you still love me? do you love them more than me? etc.,) can feel like a lot of pressure to make a decision they’re not ready to make and may even push your ex to make a decision to let you go.
Think of Romeo and Juliet, when someone tries to prevent two people from being together, the other person becomes more critical to their happiness and even sense of identity and belonging. This often happens even if we initially didn’t really like the person that much. Most people experience more passion, love and romance when they think it’s just them and their “beloved” against the world, more than at any other time in the relationship.
The more you insert yourself into your ex’s new relationship, the more they’ll work harder to make the new relationship work. And if they felt unappreciated or made to feel not good enough, they’re going to even try harder to prove to you and to themselves that they’re worthy of love. Some exes even gain pleasure from jumping into a new relationship soon after the break-up because it’ll make you jealous, anxious, act needy and crazy, and this boosts their ego.
Don’t give someone else the power to mess with your emotions. The more power your ex has over your emotions, the more control they have over you. The best thing you can do for yourself is let the new relationship play out. This will take some effort. It might even take some coaching or therapy in the beginning, but it will become easier as you learn that just because your ex is in a new relationship doesn’t mean something is wrong with you.
3. Give your ex good reason to all in love with you all over
As the new relationship plays out, work on yourself. You can recreate the feeling that your ex is “falling in love” with someone new by making necessary changes, having new interests, doing new things, etc.
Get to the bottom of what made your relationship, take responsibility and accountability for the part you played in things not workings out and make sure what happened in he old relationship never happens again whether it’s with your ex or someone else.
This can even be an opportunity for you to move the relationship the direction you want it to go, if you hanker down and do what you have to do.
4. Know when to let go and move on
We live in the “Next…” culture where people are disposable items and relationships don’t need work; if it needs work it’s not the right relationship. But when you meet that one person who is “not like the others”, it’s not easy to just say, “next…”. And with hindsight and some work and changes, relationships do that do work.
What I’m saying is your ex’s new relationship doesn’t have to be the end of your chance getting them back. It’s going to be harder to get them back but not impossible. Give it a chance to work.
That said, if the experience of trying to get back together with an ex in a new relationship is taking a toll on your mental and emotional health, if it feels disrespectful to who you are, if the experience is making pathetic and insecure, if your ex is intentionally trying to make you jealous or hurt you, if it’s obvious that your ex has moved on/the new relationship is going to last, or if you’ve grown as a person and outgrown your ex and/or a relationship with them, let go.
Don’t hold on to your ex to try to prove that you’re worthy of love, you already are whether they want to be with you or not. You’re worth isn’t defined by their actions, it’s defined by yours.