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Life Coach: how to be happy for your ex

The one where your ex gets married  (NBCUniversal via Getty Images)
The one where your ex gets married (NBCUniversal via Getty Images)

Dear Lily, my ex is getting married and I’m crushed. How do I get over it and be genuinely happy for them?

Dear reader, it’s okay to feel sad when an ex is getting married. They were an important part of your life, it’s normal to have residual emotions. Even if you’ve moved on (as you explain in your longer letter, you have, and are married) an engagement can still trigger old feelings. It might feel like you’re going to feel this way forever — you won’t. Here are a few things to speed up moving on.

First, be patient and kind. Your reaction is understandable — accept your emotions and don’t bottle them up, share what’s going on with people you trust, who’ll offer support and understanding. Second, don’t think about it obsessively. Easier said than done, I know, but ruminating just rubs salt in the wound. Remember, them marrying someone else has nothing to do with you personally — you’re not in competition with their partner.

Third, try a bit of journalling. Write down how you feel — about them, the marriage, yourself, your feelings. What thoughts lie behind the emotion ‘crushed’? Is there anything going on in your life that might be exacerbating these feelings? Fourth, ask yourself: why is this person my ex? There will be solid, useful reasons that you’re not the one walking down the aisle.

Finally, forget being ‘genuinely happy’ for them and focus on yourself. Your peace and contentment is the priority. You can’t control other people, but you can take action on your own life. Be proactive, stick to or take up good habits, plan a trip or dinner with friends, do something kind for a stranger, read a motivating book, learn something new, focus on feeling grateful (though trite, gratitude is one of the biggest proven mood boosters). You can get over this. Turn your energy inward, the rest will follow.

Got an issue? Tag Lily at @theprioritiesmethod