How to tell your ex you’ve moved on (without hurting them)

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It’s not always easy to tell your ex you’ve moved on.

Let’s be real, the reality is you can never truly move on if your ex keeps leeching onto you.

How do I know this?

Because I was a leech. Well, at least in some cases…

I had to learn the hard way that I needed to respect their decision and leave them be.

But, now when I look back at it, I’ve realized that they didn’t do it to hurt me; rather, they did it to show me that I don’t have to wait around for them and can get on with my life.

Let me share with you from my experience of how you can tell your ex you’ve moved on without hurting them.

1) Be understanding

Yes, you’ve moved on and are happy now. But, it doesn’t mean your ex has.

You need to understand that they might still be hurting and going through a hard time.

Don’t call them out for wanting to see you or for not being over you.

Although it’s preferable for your ex to accept that you’ve moved on, you need to remember that they were once a special part of your life and vice versa.

Sometimes, they might need a shoulder to cry on. And they would want you to be there for them.

Unless, of course, a LONG time has passed since the breakup, in which case it would be a completely different story.

2) Do it at the right time

You don’t want to do it too early.

There’s no point hurting your ex by surprising them with your message.

You could wait until a later date when you know for sure that they are uncomfortable or are dealing with a fresh new situation.

For example, when I was going through a breakup with one of my exes, he brought up the conversation when things were a bit more calm and less sour.

I guess he knew if he were to talk about it earlier, I wouldn’t have handled it well…

But, you also don’t want to wait for too long to do it.

I’ll explain more in my next point.

3) Don’t wait too long to tell them

There’s a balance to it.

You don’t want to be too quick to tell your ex that you’ve moved on because you might end up hurting them.

But, you also don’t want to be too late and wait till they confront you.

It’s important that they don’t find out from someone else first or get their suspicions roused by seeing your social media posts about a new person.

Although it’s understandable if there have been a few months of no contact.

Regardless, you’re better off just being honest and upfront with your ex, rather than risking that you’ll be caught in the middle.

Because trust me, the longer you wait to tell the truth to your ex, the more likely it is that they will believe a reconciliation is still possible.

And that’s just going to make things messier.

4) Be honest about your feelings

Sometimes the truth hurts.

But, that’s what your ex needs to know.

You’ll hurt them less if you talk to them in a straightforward manner and not beat around the bush.

And you know what? 

They might even respect you for it.

When my ex first told me that he had moved on, I was emotionally overwhelmed.

It was hard for me to comprehend the situation and I felt lost.

Then, I found out about Relationship Hero

It is a popular site where highly trained relationship coaches help people work through complex relationship issues, like how to stop chasing your ex.

I got to talk with one of their coaches on my case.

This wonderful coach had helped open my eyes and understand my ex’s reasoning and motivation behind telling me.

In fact, I actually started to appreciate my ex for telling me because otherwise, I would continue to be stuck in this situation where I refused to accept that it was over.

And I guess, if he hadn’t, I would have been left wondering what he was doing and where we were heading towards.

If you’re facing a similar problem (or any other relationship problems), a professional coach can give you tailored advice to your unique situation.

Within minutes, you could be receiving life-changing advice on how to navigate and repair the issues you’re facing in your relationship.

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5) Be respectful when rejecting them


When confronting your ex that you’ve moved on, there’s a very high possibility that they might beg you to stay with them (which was what happened in my situation… oops).

What you don’t want to do is rudely push them away.

It can be hard to handle but if you do it politely, it will show that you’re mature enough to have a mature conversation about your break up.

Tell them why they must come to terms with that and why they need to learn to move on too.

Be stern yet courteous.

6) Make sure you are not emotional

Because it can and it will backfire.

It is okay to have feelings and emotions when it comes to talking to your ex, but non-emotional should be kept in mind.

They might take it the wrong way, and that would only add fuel to their pain.

Yes, it’s going to be emotional and hard. I’m not going to lie and say it’s going to be smooth sailing.

But, the last thing you want is to drag things out and make them more complicated.

So, despite how frustrating it may be, it is best to maintain your composure and be civil.

Not only will you show your ex you’re cool, but it will also make the situation less awkward for both of you.

Be rational and don’t let emotions get the better of you.

7) Don’t make them feel bad

Here’s one way to avoid the situation from becoming erratic.

This is very important because you don’t want your ex to think that they’re the problem.

Maybe they did something and they hurt you, but that doesn’t mean they’re a bad person (in fact, most people are a lot worse than that).

Don’t make them feel bad about themselves by making a fuss and trying to convince you to stay or be angry with them.

It can make your ex feel as though it’s their fault that the breakup happened, but it’s not!

The goal is to end things with mutual respect.

8) Resist the urge to give advice or analyse your broken relationship

A BIG no-no!

You don’t want to say anything like “you should have done this or that” because your ex might take it the wrong way.

They might think that you’re still fixated on them and are trying to manipulate them into staying with you.

If they do take it the wrong way, they may not be able to hear what you have to say (in which case, insist on being persistent).

They might even blame you for the breakup, which could make things worse.

So, keep advice to yourself, it’s not the time to analyse your relationship at all.

Doing so may be counterproductive and cause a lot more tension than necessary.

9) Don’t give out ultimatums 

Telling your ex that if they don’t do something, then you will have to take drastic measures is a bad idea.

Next thing you know, they’ll be begging you and telling you they’ll do whatever it takes to get you back in their life.

When I refused to leave my ex alone, he threatened to block me.

And guess what I did?

I continued to get under his skin until he actually blocked me…

We’re good friends now unexpectedly, but I can’t say that we ended things well.

So, learn from us.

Remember, ultimatums can be broken and will only add more pain to the situation.

They might think that it’s their fault you’re breaking up with them, and they might respond badly to your ultimatum. 

And of course, that would make things even worse.

10) Don’t make any promises

Promises are meant to be broken.

You do not want to give them false hopes that you’ll get back together again (because we all know that it won’t work out).

After I broke up with my ex (a different ex), he made a promise that he was going to win me back and fix our relationship.

So, I waited and waited.

I tried to push the idea of us getting back together. And guess what happened? 

He pushed me away and moved on with someone else.

I was shattered because, although I was the one who ended the relationship, deep down I was still hoping he would want to rekindle our relationship as he promised.

So, don’t promise anything.

Making promises will give your ex the impression that you are still holding on to this relationship, hoping things will change.

Sure, you can keep your ex updated on what you’re doing and who you are seeing, but don’t make any promises that you aren’t willing to do.

11) Don’t get with their best friend

Getting together with one of your ex’s friends is the worst thing you can do.

This has personally never happened to me (thankfully) but I know a few people who had to suffer this betrayal and it was disheartening.

If your ex finds out, it could mean a lot more than just bad blood.

It could mean heartache and resentment towards both of you. 

Sure, some people might be okay with that.

But, do you really think your ex (who hasn’t moved on from you) will approve of your new relationship with THEIR friend?

12) Don’t get on the dating site as soon as you break up

I know, I know. 

You want to get back out there quickly and forget about your ex. 

You might also want to do it as a revenge to get back at your ex (I’ll explain in my next point).

I get it.  

But, don’t rush things.  

Don’t act like they didn’t matter and move on too fast.

You don’t want to give your ex the impression that you’re swiping right and going on dates with other guys/girls as soon as you break up.

They might think of it as distasteful, which can lead to them feeling worse about the breakup.

It will only cause more resentment towards you.  

13) Don’t take revenge on your ex

Revenge is a dish best served cold..

There will be times when your ex does something that you don’t like. And you want to get even because of how much they hurt you. 

It’s mind-blowing the things your ex can do to you, and the amount of pain they can cause.. it’s almost unbearable. 

But, I’ve learned over the years that revenge is never the best idea

I know it will seem tempting, but you don’t want to do anything that could hurt both of you and make things worse in the process.

Think about it like this:

If your ex is still madly in love with you, then revenge will only leave them broken and heartbroken.  

And if they are over you, it can actually backfire and end up causing you to feel bad or regret your actions.

14) Don’t try and keep them around by playing the roles of friends or family members

A lot of people do this, but it never works.

You want to forget about your ex and not think about them at all.

And the last thing you want to do is make an effort to be around them (especially for their sake).


Because it will make them feel like they need you and that they have nowhere else to turn except you.

They might even get the impression that you need them, and come to you for a second chance.

15) Give them space

This is completely different from having no contact whatsoever.

But, you need to let your ex fully take in the fact that you’re doing well and have moved on.

Some exes just can’t believe that you are moving on because they actually don’t want to.

So, you need to let them know that nothing is going on between you and them. 

This might entail not responding to their text messages or phone calls.

They may seem confused and even angry, but I find that this is the best way to leave things in the most positive way possible. 

Bottom line

Even though there are several moments that are hard and painful, I find that these tips help me work through them and move on.

That being said, you should also know that there is no “right” way to tell your ex you’ve moved on.

And yes, sometimes you need to be more blunt about it than others and use some of the things above.

Just make sure that you don’t come off too harsh or negative.

Don’t make things easy for your ex, but also be sympathetic and aware of the fact that they are going through a moment of pain and heartache.

If they are still hung up on you, they might need more time to sort things out and get over the breakup.

Just know that it will take time, so give them their space and don’t pester them.

Can a relationship coach help you too?

If you want specific advice on your situation, it can be very helpful to speak to a relationship coach.

I know this from personal experience…

A few months ago, I reached out to Relationship Hero when I was going through a tough patch in my relationship. After being lost in my thoughts for so long, they gave me a unique insight into the dynamics of my relationship and how to get it back on track.

If you haven’t heard of Relationship Hero before, it’s a site where highly trained relationship coaches help people through complicated and difficult love situations.

In just a few minutes you can connect with a certified relationship coach and get tailor-made advice for your situation.

I was blown away by how kind, empathetic, and genuinely helpful my coach was.

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