DIVORCE DIARIES: 'I can't stop stalking my ex-husband.'

Welcome to Mamamia's new column, Divorce Diaries, where Dr Gabrielle Morrissey answers questions around love, loss and relationship breakdowns. If you have an issue you'd like advice on, email us at — you can be anonymous of course.


I divorced from my ex two months ago. We've been apart for a year and I was the one who chose to split up. But since our divorce, I've felt intense sadness and had difficulty moving on. My ex though seems to have found freedom and is all over town dating and socialising and having a great time. I find myself stalking his social media with jealousy and regret. I'm shocked at how fast he's moved on like our marriage didn't mean anything. Even though I'm the one who ended it, I still feel like I need time to heal. He's moved on so fast and women on his accounts talk about what a great catch he is. Have I made a mistake or am I just jealous?


Okay, take a long deep breath. Let's de-escalate this line of thinking. There's a big difference between being jealous and having made a mistake, but both, and everything in between are normal responses to break-ups (and I say break-ups rather than divorce because these responses can be as intense after relationship break-ups as divorce).

While you're here, the Mamamia team have shared the moment they were caught stalking on social media. Post continues after video.

Video via Mamamia.

It's natural to ask yourself, "Did I make a mistake?", "Did I miss something?" or "Did I walk away from a good thing and not realise it?" when you see your ex-partner newly partnered up with someone. You can wonder what they see in your ex - the very same person who you know so well, especially their every bad trait and behaviour, to the point of it outweighing what was good and leaving became the better option. It's normal to have these thoughts of questioning your decision, but press the rewind button: recall all the things that led to choosing to split up. Remember those bad, painful, boundary-breaking, unforgivable things, and if you're so upset you can't phone a friend and they will tell you. Please don't re-traumatise yourself, don't linger on those awful memories, but contemplate just enough to snap yourself out of the spiralling thought process of self-doubt and questioning your own judgment. Remember your worth and your confidence that you made a good and healthy decision for you at the time. This is not to say that the new partner to your ex is not a person of worth, but their relationship may be a different match dynamic, and they aren't you.

Which is the second vital point: focus on you. Nothing good comes from obsessing over the past - and your ex is your past - even if you have children together, he is your past in the form of a partner. When you divorce, you start a new chapter in your life, to move forward. Stop looking backwards! Literally, stop looking at his social media. If he's posting and parading his new love interest to his circles and anyone who will look, then don't look! If you think you might be jealous - also a natural response when we feel twinges of hurt that they chose someone else after all the shared time, love and promises - that's even more reason to delete the temptation to torture yourself with images of him with others. Do not fuel any jealousy - nip it from growing and from affecting you. If you have trouble with self-discipline, block or unfriend him - these are healthy boundaries when you move on - you do not have to be friends with your ex. In fact, it's often more liberating when you aren't so you can truly move on without a shred of backsliding gravitational pull. Don't even look with your girlfriends to tear him, or his new interests and dates, down. Any superficial feel-better moments from that are purely temporary, and you have much better things to do.


Listen to The Split where an expert shares why you should be looking at separation as an opportunity to reinvent yourself. Post continues after audio.

When you focus on yourself, you stop comparing yourself to others, or expectations of others, and shift yourself into forward thinking. Right now, in addition to stalking your ex's life on social media (and we all know how accurate a representation that is, right?), you're feeling intense sadness and self-doubt. What you need is healing. Just like grieving, everyone heals differently. Is your ex healing by rebounding, dating and amping up his social life? Maybe (maybe not healthily or effectively) but also, so what and who cares? You're not him and you're not with him. Healing can take many forms; it can be talk therapy, self-help books, websites or courses. It can be time with family and friends, a move, a new career, exercise, a fun hobby - a combination of approaches. You need to turn inward and heal the hurt so you can move on. And not just move on, but move on wisely, with an open heart, with insights into what really works and doesn't work in a relationship for you, with softer self-talk, and a gentle approach with firm boundaries to dating - when you are ready.


You've been apart for a year and divorced for only a few months; it's natural to still feel tender and raw when it comes to closing a marriage. We don't enter into marriage to divorce, so there's a letting go process of all the expectations and hopes, the whys and what ifs and a redefining of what's next. You don't want to stay where you are: sad, looking back, looking at his forward momentum in his life, and thinking the marriage didn't mean anything. The question in divorce isn't what did the marriage mean to your ex. It's what did it mean to you? What did you gain from it? Learn from it? Okay, so you're not married any longer. It's now a page-turning moment; the new chapter begins. Ask yourself, what do you want in divorce? This is your time! Make the most of it!

Feature Image: Getty.

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