By Dr. Jane Greer

It’s been less than two years since actors Jennie Garth and Peter Facinelli finalized their celebrity divorce, but already both are engaged to new partners. After Peter announced his celebrity engagement on March 16, Jennie’s engagement to her new boyfriend of only a few months was confirmed last week.

The question is: Is this a coincidence, or a “battle of the celebrity exes”?

Sometimes one person will try to “win” their breakup by not being the one left alone while their ex has found new love. Even though you may be relieved that your relationship and love has ended, seeing your ex get into a new relationship or get engaged to someone else can potentially drive you to get involved quickly with someone you might otherwise not be so interested in. Additionally, it can also trigger you to take the next step with your own new partner so you don’t feel your ex is getting on with their life and you’re the one being left behind.

The Many Facets of Divorce

There are many facets of divorce that people have to go through, and there is no question that one of the most difficult is dealing with your ex when they move on and become involved with someone else. Whether he or she is starting a new relationship or is making the ultimate commitment by getting engaged or married, it can reverberate through you and oftentimes makes you feel like you are experiencing an ending all over again. This can be true whether you are in a new relationship or not. Inevitably you feel a loss knowing someone has taken your place. Regardless of whether the relationship ended at your former partner’s hand or your own, it is hard not to look back at what was good when you were together, and feel bad that it didn’t work out. That can be the case even if you are in a new, healthy relationship.

How to Stop Looking Background and Start Looking Forward

First, know that feeling envy, sadness, and regret is natural and understandable. The trick is learning how to deal with it so those feelings don’t consume you. The most important thing is to keep in mind that what you shared with your ex was once special and helped form you into the person you are today. You stayed together for as long as you could, while it worked for both of you, but it ended because it was no longer generating the happiness the two of you signed on for. If your ex is now happy and has moved on, that can be a signal for you to be doing the same thing by either looking for the relationship you always wanted but weren’t able to have with your ex, or by shaping the new relationship you’re in to make sure it is fulfilling and gratifying in a way your old one wasn’t. Instead of living in the past, look to the future so you can stop feeling unhappy and empty about what you missed out on, and finally secure what you wanted all along. In other words, stay focused on yourself so you can build your own happily ever after.

As far as celebrity exes Peter and Jennie are concerned, at least they have each moved on with their new lives respectively and, in doing so, they appear to be in sync once again.

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