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What to do when your ex upgrades

They can — and might — do better than you

Did your besties ever cuddle with you after a breakup and go on about how your ex could never do better than you? Mine did. Boy, were they wrong.
Jealous woman looking at couple

You know how when you go through a breakup, you secretly hope that the next person your ex dates is horrendously unattractive?

Come on, admit it! I'm not talking Igor circa Frankenstein, more realistically like America Ferrera in Ugly Betty. You may want them to find happiness just as long as they downgrade. I was told this is usually the case, but there is the occasional exception.

I was an exception.

Why couldn't I have won the lottery instead? I mean, I never win anything on the radio, but I do win an all-expenses paid trip to Karmatown?

My ex upgraded. I don’t mean clearer skin and smaller waist — I mean to Adriana Lima status.

I can make fun of her all I want, but anybody with eyes would know I have zero basis. What could I say, "yea… bet she got that chiseled body from STARVING herself!"? (Real wit at its finest there.)

What could make this worse? Perhaps the fact that I said a particularly stereotypical, loaded statement during our breakup ― "I hope you realize one day what you had, because you aren't going to do better than me."

My arrogance ended up giving me a very unsatisfying meal of feet. Irony knew no end in this story. Let me paint you a picture: My ex was that standard arrogant, charming, ladies' man. We couldn't walk past reflective surfaces without him adoring himself. Once, I thought I saw him gaze deeply in my eyes romantically — only to realize he was making sure his prized "superman-curl" was in place. I may have been the fool to fall in love with him, but when he broke it off with me, I figured "fate" would ensure he saw the consequences of his vanity.

Oh, of course not — because life is never that fair.

While we were dating, he managed to squeeze in time between mirror-gazing and relentless flirting to be a doctor. We all know one thing about doctors, too — they love nurses. And what was his new girlfriend? Just exactly that, folks. Two peas in a genetically-harmonious healthcare pod.

Every time I heard anything about this picturesque couple, I wanted to cringe.

Was it the bad breakup? Was it my pride because of his upgraded arm candy? I wanted to rely on friends — who, for better or for worse, would try to tell me I have a "better personality" than her, but why can't I be prettier!? It took me a really long time to figure out that I just needed to let that go. But let's face it, ladies, at the very least we want to settle for being "the one that got away" (even if we got dumped).

Months went by and I saw very quickly they were in it for the long haul. Subconsciously I was hoping that she had no brains, or that he would realize the error in his ways, but that annoying saying "time heals all" really does ring true.

She was good to him and good for him. When I heard they had fallen deeply in love and he had told his family about her, it didn't hurt nearly as much as the actual discovery of him moving on in the first place.

But, there is something great about destruction — when you have nowhere to fall, things can only get better. Plainly put, when you have a Hiroshima-style explosion rocking your emotions, you're pretty much prepared for any other bombs dropped after.

Yeah, you always want to be the one to move on first, so you don't have to witness the other's bliss magnifying your daunting loneliness. But the fact that my ex did first and with someone so perfect for him ensured that any milestone they shared wouldn't hurt as much as the initial pain I felt.

Besides, the more I heard, the more I felt contentment in knowing that it had really nothing to do with me at all, and there was no need for me to compare.

Yes, perhaps she is better for him than me, but that doesn't necessarily mean she is better than me.

Really focus on that point — because if you are anything like me, you take it far too personally.

In the end, I had an overwhelming amount of comfort in knowing that if a guy like him can find someone better-suited for him than me, the same applies to my romantic future.

I didn't need to be bitter or swear off men. I just had to realize the doctor didn't get a taste of his own medicine. And I was not going to be the nurse to give it to him.

More dating advice

How to turn a guy friend into a boyfriend
10 Reasons why he's just not that into you
Your friends say you can do better — are they right?

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