Psychological insights on relationships: rejections, breakups, making relationships happy, unhealthy dynamics, and general psychology.

Why Does It Sting the Most When Our Partner Chooses Someone New Over Us?

From my experience working with clients, I see that people find it most challenging when their partner chooses someone new.

Three people; partner chooses someone new

People often say that any other reason would be better for them. Just not being left because of that other person.

Paradoxically, this is a prevalent (if not the most common) reason people leave their partners.

How long does it take to feel better after a brakeup?

So, what’s going on here?

Apart from the typical reasons why abandonment hurts, such as: betrayal, change of plans, we have to do everything from the beginning, lost trust, failed investment, ego injury, someone doesn’t see us, and he doesn’t like what he sees, etc.

On top of all that, another person who is everything to our partner that we are not is brought into the equation.

  1. Our imagination runs wild. We think about how much they enjoy themselves now and how difficult it is for us.
  2. In the future, all their resources, which belonged to us until now (emotions, money, time, and support, attention), will go to that new person.
  3. We’re told that someone else is better than us, which causes a considerable ego injury (that’s how the ego works. It wants us to be the best of all and for certain people to recognize that).
  4. The person who replaced us has something that we don’t. Often, we don’t know what.
  5. Our ex partner immediately received emotional support (from the new one), while we were left alone.
  6. In addition to what our partner doesn’t like about us, they recognized some qualities in the other person they wanted.
  7. We feel like they’ve conspired against us.
  8. Someone has beaten us. No one likes to be a loser.
  9. Everything we’ve built with our partner will now belong to someone else.
  10. That person has gained something precious of ours

I’ll leave this score at 9 + 10.

9 reasons why a breakup otherwise hurts + 10 reasons why introducing a third person into our partner’s life hurts.

This kind of math makes a double difference in the pain when a person leaves us for someone else.

Since I like to write these posts clearly, I’d like to do that this time, too. I want to explain each reason from these 10 and why it hurts the most when our partner chooses someone new over us. So:

1. Our imagination runs wild

A man and a woman are sitting next to each other

We think about how much they enjoy themselves now and how difficult it is for us.
They’re probably enjoying themselves; they wouldn’t be together if they weren’t.

But everyone enjoys the first two months of a relationship until people start to open up (some do it much faster). After two months, the relationship either settles into a routine, (which isn’t necessarily exciting. And if it is, that usually isn’t a good sign for the relationship) or falls apart.

People sooner or later start to show their true colors, and that may not appeal to the other person. Just because they might stay together doesn’t necessarily mean they have a happy relationship. We can’t know anything about other people’s relationships if we’re not part of them.

How to make your ex want you back

Come back to reality. A relationship is usually exciting for the first two months, and then it becomes routine, with the same problems as before, or it doesn’t survive. It will be easier for you if you think like this.

2. In the future, all their resources (emotions, money, time, support, attention, etc.), which belonged to us until now, will go to that new person.

People are walking

True. But relying solely on someone else’s resources was never smart. We need to provide all this for ourselves, which means we need to work on our own empowerment, resolving internal conflicts, self-awareness, financial means, supportive people, a nice sense of life purpose, etc.

For example, if you made a mistake the first time and didn’t provide this for yourself, now is the time to prepare for your future. It makes no sense to have things that are so precious to you in the hands of another person.

Besides, it will help you to do something useful for yourself. It will help you shift your focus away from that person and your pain. Concentrating on your progress and development will help us not be as defeated as we are when our partner chooses someone new over us

3. We’re told that someone else is better than us, which causes a huge ego injury (that’s how the ego works).

Ego wants us to be the best of all and for certain people to recognize that.

The ego is irrational. It just wants us to be the best, and often, it doesn’t care who declares us good or bad.
If I were to ask you if you care about the opinion of an unknown person, you would probably say No.
But here we have a known person who rejected you as inadequate.

You must understand that:

  • You are not fully known to that person. It can practically be said that we remain strangers to each other forever. People stick with us not because they know us, but because they appreciate something they see in us.
  • How suitable you are to them depends on their preferences, not your qualities. Someone may like musicians, and you’re a highly educated owner of a multimillion-dollar company.

So, the fact that someone doesn’t see you rarely has anything to do with who we are. It’s more often related to what that person prefers… which often isn’t something you want to be. You probably got out of a potentially very unhappy relationship.

4. That new person has something we don’t. Often, we need to figure out what.


Again, this is about your ex-partner’s preferences.

Maybe that new partner of theirs has something obvious: financial means, appearance, comes from a prestigious family. If this is the case, I’m sorry. It’s up to you to acquire what you can or rationalize: If they don’t accept me because I’m not rich enough, it’s probably best not to be with someone who doesn’t see my other qualities.

However, this may also be related to something invisible. That new partner of theirs may be cheerful, interesting, and eloquent.
If this is the case, we can work on the qualities we want to have. It’s all about practice. Everything can be achieved through practice. But you can always tell yourself—if my ex didn’t see my other qualities (that I’m loyal, that I can run a business, that I’m a good homemaker, etc.), they certainly don’t deserve to enjoy them either.

Whatever that other person has, don’t forget that you also have something equally valuable. The fact that your partner prefers the qualities of that other person doesn’t mean they’re right. And if you really like what that other person has, work on it, and you’ll gain those qualities sooner or later.

Also, it’s good not to imagine that person’s qualities. People tend to imagine that their rival has superpowers, which is obviously nonsense. People are people—different but ultimately just ordinary.

They Went Back to Their Ex

5. Our ex-partner immediately received emotional support (from the new one), while we were left alone.

True. However, when it comes to emotional support, quality always counts. When we need someone for emotional support, they must say the right things and do it in a way that suits us.

You don’t know who your ex-partner is with, so you don’t have to imagine that they found someone who will exceptionally talk to them after the breakup. Perhaps they have an empty, selfish, or narcissistic person? There may be no support there, but you think there is.

It does not mean that someone is emotionally well just because they are with another person or because they are in love. Emotional peace and happiness in a relationship often has nothing to do with falling in love. Don’t add to your pain things that don’t exist.

How to avoid getting too attached to someone

6. Besides what our partner dislikes about us, they recognize some qualities in the other person they like.

three people are walking

Your ex-partner may have preferences that do not align with yours or what you want to fulfill.

For instance, you might be more conservative while the other partner is sexually liberated.
Your partner may like that, but it doesn’t necessarily suit you.

Here, we must be mature and reasonable and let people want what they want without resentment, but we must also maturely not diminish our qualities.

If we have some traits we’ve nurtured for a long time and consider them suitable, let’s keep in mind that they’re not there by chance but have been carefully cultivated. If there are traits we don’t like, we can carefully work on changing them.

But if someone doesn’t like our traits and likes some others, they have that right.

And it’s mature to think like this: “Well, okay. I’m not what you want. But that also means you’re not what I want. I want someone to appreciate these qualities of mine and admire them because they’ve been carefully built. If you don’t see them, don’t want them, or don’t value them, you certainly shouldn’t be part of my life.”

What Causes Obsession With a Certain Person

7. We feel like they’ve conspired against us.

The partner chose someone else instead of us

People are prone to this only if you give them material for it, but if you remove yourself from the equation, they can only make up stories about you, which will eventually bore them.

Suppose you’re present, contacting your ex-partner, begging them for another chance, and posting clear but somewhat desperate messages on social media. In that case, they will also deal with you, among other things (probably not everyone). Traditionally, this is a good way for two people to unite against a common enemy.

However, if you’re not doing any of this, then the new couple loses a few things they had in you:

  • They don’t have a common enemy. The enemy of their relationship. Thus, they have nothing to defend the relationship as far as they know how.
  • There’s no evidence that your partner was something special. If you don’t want them anymore (or at least you’re not showing it publicly), it can easily mean they’re nothing special.
  • They don’t have anything to occupy themselves with, so they have to deal with each other… and that’ll be a challenge. It’s easy like this when all their focus is on preserving each other and their relationship with you, the cursed one.
    If you’ve moved on (or at least appear to), does that mean you’re better off without that partner?
  • This can undoubtedly raise doubts about everything your ex-partner has said to their newly chosen one.

7 reasons why people who rejected you come back

If you feel like they’ve conspired against you, step away from it. Soon, they’ll have to give up making up and imagining things about you.

8. Someone has defeated us. Nobody likes to be a loser.

External pressure from friends

This is in our nature. Throughout human history, we’ve depended on our hierarchical position. If we were the best (strongest, smartest, most capable, etc.), we got the most. If we were the worst, we got the least. And it’s the same with the middle.

When someone “defeats” us, it triggers ancient mechanisms in us that are linked to survival. Our systems panic because we’ve descended hierarchically to a place where we’ll receive less from life.

But we need to be aware of this and think like that:

If someone has defeated me, it doesn’t mean I’ve fallen. It just means that things have changed slightly. I’m still hierarchically at position X. If I don’t like this place, I can always climb higher. But even though someone has taken my partner, even though it resembles a prehistoric danger, the fact is that we live in the modern age, and this doesn’t put me in danger. I’m panicking unnecessarily.

9. Everything we’ve created with our partner will now belong to another person.

Actually, only in the short term.

Remember that. Everything you’ve cared for had your influence and was sustained with your energy. If your power and influence are removed, that thing must either change or disappear.
It will change because you’re no longer leading the project. Or it will disappear.


Let’s say it’s about someone’s will to study. If you were pushing that person to study, they may either give up because they no longer have your influence or, like a ship, slowly steer in another direction. Because you’re no longer navigating.

Also, your partner must prove that you and your values aren’t what they wanted, so they’ll start rejecting them. Their new partner doesn’t necessarily enjoy what you’ve built. In any case, not in the long run.

I’ve seen more cases in my career where I’ve witnessed this: someone going down a completely different path when they exited a relationship.

10. That person has gained something precious of ours.

It wouldn’t be a bad idea to first evaluate that preciousness of ours. People are ordinary, and you know that. Your (now former) partner is just as ordinary as all the people you’ve ever met, but they became special to you for these reasons.

However, people are full of flaws, and you’re aware of at least a few of your partner’s shortcomings.

Couple in love

Of course, this isn’t enough to combat our unconscious, internal reasons for bonding with someone, but at least we can bring that person down to a reasonable level.

Your partner is an ordinary person with virtues and flaws. But they’re not precious.
Therefore, it can’t be said that the other person gained something precious. They gained something that is yours, but it could be more exceptional.

  • Paradoxically, what’s exceptional to you may not be to them. We connect with people based on our unconscious needs, so it’s a good question whether this new person sees your partner in the same way as you do.

Different mechanisms must be at work to connect with someone in this way: idealization, projection, rationalization, fantasizing, denying that person’s flaws, and self-harm.
Remember that only the people who are part of our lives can be unique to us, and what makes them special is what they bring into our lives.

There you go.

I hope this text helped you better understand why it hurts the most when our partner chooses someone new over us. But more than that, I hope you better understand how to look at everything. And if you apply this, it will certainly change your view of your partner’s new relationship and your “loss” by that person.

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