The ex you KNEW is not the ex you KNOW!


This is one of the more valuable insights you'll develop about your ex. Maybe.

Try thinking back. Way back.  Remember how your ex treated you when things were going so well? Naturally you remember the responsiveness, the calls, the laughs, the full-on engagement. Yes, there may have been scattered problems and issues in the relationship, but clearly you were an undeniable part of the twosome.

Fast forward to today. Is the attention there? The respect? The acknowledgement?

Our feelings for our exes go back to the person we knew, loved, dated, lived with, or were married to. The person they were then, despite challenges, was authentically the person we developed strong feelings for. Today however, we are not talking about the same person. This is a critical point to take into consideration.

It's as if the person we knew passed away with a new soul taking their place. And here we are now, pining for an entirely different person. Take a step back. This new person, the one for whom you are longing and hurting, is someone you don't actually know.  He or she may have the same physical appearance but not much more than that.  Once again, THIS person you talk about today is actually NOT your Ex. Your Ex didn't just leave you, but left this world. And since you can't bottle that time or keep your ex in the present, the grief you should be feeling is one that commemorates your ex's passing.

Understand, the ex today is a stranger. He or she is some warped new manifestation with whom you actually do not have a past. This explains why your efforts at everything from closure to reconciliation may be failing miserably.

And don't worry so much about what they're doing. The ex you knew and loved isn't dating anyone new. They're not even here. The one going on dates is a different soul entirely, who just happens to inhabit the body of your ex. Need proof? Just think about it. If he or she was the same person, your relationship would still be current. You would be together and growing. Need anyone say more?!

Dr. Lisa Bobby is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Psychotherapist, and a Board Certified Life Coach. She is a contributing expert to and founder of


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  1. Great article. Really encompasses how I feel. This "new" person makes it kind of harder because we long for the past. That person who know acts like a total stranger toward you with no emotion, once showed you so much love. It makes me want so badly to rewind time to when she was a completely different person and invested in our relationship.

  2. Thanks @docf1 for recommending I read this article. This is so hard. I longed and pinned for her for years, got her, and then lost her forever. I still love her, but the her I love is gone. This is so very painful. I feel lost.

  3. This is SO true. Now to convince myself...

  4. This article is spot on. It's just very hard to get my brain and heart to believe it.

  5. Wow! I had heard that before but never actually believed it. My ex fiance' was such a different person than this cold hearted, selfish, confused, skiddish person whom I had the chance of telling everything I needed to get off my chest and whom just stood there looking dumbfounded and hurt and a lil regretful but still left to another state to move in with her son and her ex. I have virtually tried everything not to think about her but there it is at the most random times all those memories and good times even replaying back the last arguments. I have even tried dating other women but to no avail. I guess its just gonna take time, patience, and acceptance.

  6. This article has helped me, I don't know the man as he is now. The lovely person I thought I knew would never have treated me this way and turned so cold. If I can fully take this in I could maybe heal and 'move on'. Will focus on it today. He is not the man I thought I loved.

  7. @Blindsided You are not alone, The biggest increase in divorce is in the age group of 50's and 60's. The media has even named it the "Gray Divorce Revolution." This article is very helpful and spot on! It truly feels that your ex-spouse has been replaced by the proverbial evil twin. I still pine for a woman that no longer 'exists'.

  8. Love the OS analogy, Lyla. Blindsided, I can relate. We were together 19 years. It's so depressing when I read that it take half the amount of time together to recover from the break-up. I'm looking at 9-1/2 years of this pain and confusion? This article is helpful for me because one of the ways that I have tried to cope and get past this is by pretending that he is dead. I know that sounds morbid and creepy, but in a way this article is advocating exactly that. In a sense, as this article seems to be stating, he is dead. The person I knew, the person I believed in, no longer exists. One difficulty is that after the break-up, which involved him leaving for a younger woman, I found that this other woman was not the first. There had been several others, all younger than me, while we were still together. So, in actuality, the person I loved NEVER existed. I don't know how much that thought helps me since it makes me feel like 19 years of my life was a lie, and I was gullible enough to believe in something that never existed. But the article is still helpful in the sense that the behavior towards me that I see in the person now, is not the same behavior for 19 years. Whether the previous behavior was a facade or not, the person I see now is a stranger. So, my partner of 19 is essentially dead. Blindsided, I understand completely. YEARS of our lives, and for what? It's a daily wtf happened?

  9. I was married for over 30 years. Divorced now for three. I still don't understand what happened. My grief is substantial. Today it is especially bad.

  10. This is actually very helpful! To visualize the whole thing like that makes a lot of sense. During the past year, and especially during the breakup and the short time of contact afterwards, I felt like I was talking to a stranger. It was as if he deleted his OS and installed a new one in his brain.

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