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Illustration by Irene Goddard

It was 2 p.m. when my friend Jane called.

“Ori, you’re not going to believe this! I’m just so angry! John was out to dinner downtown last night with his new girl. I mean — who does he think he is! Oh, Ori, I’m sooo sorry.”

It took me a few seconds to process what was going on, but then I got it: Jane is my good friend and was expressing righteous indignation that my ex had moved on.

“Jane,” I said, “I’m not sure I understand the problem… I left John 8 months ago. Did you think he would stay single forever? Is he not allowed to date again?” Jane was silent on the other end. “I suppose he is,” she muttered, “but I was worried the news would upset you.”

Jane was doing what women have done since the beginning of time: protecting their beloved besties from the sting of “the new girlfriend.”

This usually involves denigrating not only the new woman, but also the ex. “You won’t believe what she was wearing!” Or, “Poor guy, he’ll never meet anyone as amazing as you.”

Jane and other women who play the role of the protector most certainly mean well. They simply don’t want to see their good friend hurt.

But in an age where we, as women, are doing all we can to fight for our empowerment — to carve out a place for ourselves in a patriarchal toxic-masculine world — it’s time we turn the page on catty behavior that only serves to undermine our ultimate goal.

Like everything else in life, the only thing holding you back from accepting that your ex has a new girlfriend is a simple perspective shift.

1. Remember that she’s innocent

Ok, usually innocent. There are those cases with messy backstories. But generally, your ex’s new girlfriend is just a woman who met a man and started dating him. She’s living her life like you are. Does she deserve to be judged and hated from afar? Probably not. Does she deserve love and happiness just as much as you do? Most definitely.

So, think about it that way the next time you feel a little nastiness coming on. She’s not your nemesis. She’s not out to get you. She’s just a girl who met a guy. End of story.

2. He wasn’t right for you

In my case, I chose to leave the relationship because I was miserable and depleted. But it really doesn’t matter what the circumstances were. Whether you left him or he left you, whether infidelity was involved or not, all of that is a moot point. Here’s why:

Two people who are deeply connected and truly happy together don’t break up. It’s that simple.

Plenty of people are miserable in relationships and choose to stay for their own reasons. But happy couples don’t separate. And for a couple to be happy, both people have to be happy. So if you were to say: “We were so happy, but then he left” — I’d say: “Sweetheart, you’re not being honest with yourself.”

When it’s right, it’s right. No decision making, no constant wondering if this is the person for you, zero doubt in either person’s mind about the relationship.

That doesn’t mean intimate relationships don’t require a ton of effort and work — of course they do! But at the very foundation, you two are both 100 percent in.

Back to your ex: You didn’t have a magical relationship with your ex, which is why he’s your ex. So let it go. Let him go. You deserve magic.

Make space for the real thing. It’s coming.

3. Be classy

In a world where cattiness and gossip rule — be classy.

Classy women don’t blame others for their problems or pain. They don’t tear other women down, gossip, or get jealous. They don’t harbor bitterness and resentment.

Classy women forgive. They hold themselves fully accountable for their lives. They know their worth and don’t settle for mediocre relationships and lives. Classy women lift up themselves and other women.

In a world filled with tacky, be classy.

4. It’s none of your business

How often do you spend your time living in other people’s business? Wondering what others (namely your ex) are doing, feeling, thinking? Having an opinion (and a strong one at that!) about how they should be living their lives, who they should be seeing or not seeing, what they should be eating or not eating, who they should be forgiving or not forgiving, etc. It’s exhausting!

Living in your ex’s business is a pretty miserable place to be. You’re over there worrying about his life, and no one is over here living your life. So come on back over and take care of you and your business. Take care of what you’re putting into your body, who you’re spending time with, how much you’re sleeping, who you’ve forgiven, how kind you are, and whether you’re living the life you want and being the person you want to be.

As for your ex? Let him live his life. This is the fast road to peace and the key to keeping an open heart.

5. Shift your focus

I can truly say I lead a rich life filled with joy and purpose. I don’t have time to worry about who my ex is dating or not dating.

My days are filled to the brim! Every week I work through pages and pages of to-do lists to help me achieve my wonderfully ambitious life goals and I barely have enough time to eat (kidding — I love food way too much to ever forget to eat, but you catch my drift).

If you find yourself ruminating about your ex and his new love interest, it may be time for a life re-evaluation. Remember, you’ve only got this one precious life, do you really want to waste it worrying about someone you weren’t even happy with, or who wasn’t happy being with you?

Take a close look at every aspect of your life.

  • What are your life goals? Dream big!
  • What are your unique gifts? What will your unique contribution to the world be?
  • Who are you surrounding yourself with?
  • What are your core values?
  • How are you spending your time? What are you prioritizing?
  • Are you actively cultivating joy?
  • Are you living a life you LOVE?

If you’re ruminating over your ex, the answer to that last question is probably no. And that’s ok. Start now. Give yourself a life overhaul. It’s never too late.

6. Feed female empowerment

Goodness — as women, we’ve had a lot to contend with in this world! Things are slowly shifting in our favor, but there’s still so much work to be done.

In the last year, we hit a record in regard to the number of women serving in Congress (yeah, baby!). We created a safer world for our daughters via the #MeToo movement. Iceland became the first country to make paying men more than women illegal. Saudi Arabia now allows women to drive. Sex with minors is now considered rape in India (goodbye, child marriage).

Things are happening. And to keep the momentum going, us ladies are going to need to stick together. Encourage each other. Support each other.

So in the name of female empowerment — embrace your ex’s new girlfriend.

7. When all else fails: Grow up

If none of the above resonates, then I’ll just be frank and say: Grow up.

Putting another woman down will never feel good because it’s not who you are.

You don’t need to tear other women down to feel good about yourself. Jealousy, pettiness, and cattiness often signal immaturity and low self-worth more than anything else. You’re better than that.

So do yourself a favor and just quit it. We live in a world rampant with female powerlessness. Refuse to contribute to that. Choose to stand with all women — even your ex’s new girlfriend.

Shift your focus inward, onto you. Change your internal world, and watch your outer world magically transform before your eyes.

8. Lastly, and above all — love yourself

Your behavior toward everyone and everything in your life ultimately comes down to your self-worth. When you truly love who you are, you don’t feel compelled to judge others or put them down. You don’t ruminate over other people’s lives and relationships.

All judgement, all comparison, all rumination, all forms of unkindness can be symptomatic of low self-worth.

When you love who you are, you spend your time living your own very unique magical life and loving every minute of it. I don’t know about you but I wouldn’t trade my life for anyone else’s.

I am completely and utterly smitten with myself. I love who I am, I love what I stand for, I love how I move in the world, and I am proud of what I contribute and of the life I’ve created.

When I look in the mirror every morning, I am so inspired by the fiercely kind and powerful woman staring back at me. I wish that for all women.

When you’re living your best life and have intrinsic self-worth, there’s no time or desire to hate on anyone else. Period. In fact the opposite is true: you end up wanting everyone to be as happy as you. Yes, even your ex and his new girl.

Oriana Galardi-Este is a life coach who helps women develop unshakeable confidence so they can step out of anxiety and into their full power. Click here to take her popular quiz: How Confident Are You?