Are You Trying to Out-Happy Your Ex?

Since you broke up, every smiley milestone you beat him to is like a little victory. But is it worth it?

As she slid on the lounge with her friends at the club, Alisha, 26, felt a rush of excitement. She had splurged on a new bodycon dress and preened her just-coloured hair to perfection, and now she was about to flood Instagram with the perfect selfies...all the while hoping a certain someone would notice. She and her boyfriend of 10 months had mutually ended their incompatible relationship. But that didn’t stop her from stalking him on social media. That’s how she knew he got a new girlfriend within three weeks of their breakup. “I really wasn’t interested in getting him back, but didn’t want to see him doing better at life than I was!” she said. That’s when Alisha’s mission to out-happy her ex began. “I’d comment on our mutual friends’ Facebook walls about how I’d just had ‘the best night’, knowing my post would pop up in his news feed. The amount of Instagram selfies I was posting daily also reached an all-time high,” Alisha confesses.

Thrill of the fake

Yep, some girls go to great lengths to out-happy an ex—matching every check-in, photo, and status update with one of their own. “It’s a totally normal response,” says clinical psychologist Sally-Anne McCormack. “When you go through a breakup, especially if the other person dumped you or has moved on, you’ll feel the loss, but don’t want to give them the satisfaction that they’ve done that to you. You want to show them, ‘I look hot, I’m having an awesome time, and I don’t need you’.” But the act can be exhausting!

Quit the charade

“You’re pretending to enjoy life, and not giving yourself enough time to grieve,” she says. “Instead, do activities just for yourself,” says McCormack. “Good things will happen when you start to focus on yourself. You will actually start to feel happy.” Several months on, Alisha’s no longer trying to out-happy her ex. “I gradually stopped caring about what he thought. It was such a relief,” she says. Then the day will come when you go, ‘Whoa, he hasn’t even crossed my mind once’. Now that’s a selfie-worthy moment!


This article was originally published in the November 2016 issue of Cosmo India