Home Advice Why Telling Your Ex ‘I Just Want You To Be Happy” Is A Lie

Why Telling Your Ex ‘I Just Want You To Be Happy” Is A Lie



There’s one conversation we hate having with that one ex who always could make us feel that way.   Especially if they know their former bf/gf has a new #him or #her.  I’m not talking about a specifically sexual way, even though they probably were top shelf with that as well.  I’m talking about the feeling where the two of us felt like Darius and Nina in the rain, where all that mattered was us being together right at that moment.  Yeah.  Feeling THAT way.

We all know how the conversation usually starts.  We call our ex, or vice versa,  just to say hey, and catch up.  Small talk is exchanged.  Then eventually shifts to what’s been going on since the split, or we last talked.  The love life makes its way into the discussion, and the caller asks something like, “so how are you and _______ doing?”  The callee will generally say “we’re good” or “we’re happy”.  Then the caller will muster the most fake sound of eation you’ve ever heard and say, “that’s good, I’m happy for you”.

And BOOM!  There you have it.  The happiness lie.

Deep down, we don’t want it to be a lie, but it sorta just turns into one.  “What does their current have that I don’t?” we ask ourselves.  The lame joke that happens to be true is, they have our ex.  Even though we don’t want to admit, the current has some of the qualities that our ex was looking for in us, but we couldn’t or wouldn’t give.  But, since we don’t want to look petty or insecure, we don’t ask.  We just feign happiness for them, and for ourselves to keep the conversation moving.

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Is this universal?  No.  Some people really are happy that their ex found happiness.  But the rest of us can find it hard.  Usually it’s because of selfish reasons.  Sure they want the person to be happy, but that happiness is contingent upon the ex being with them.

There’s a level of revisionism that comes with telling an ex we’re happy for them.  In the moments that we’re on the phone, the whole relationship can be replayed in our minds.  We wonder why we split up in the first place.  What more could have been to avoid it?  Hell, we even look at where we might have been a less than stellar partner in the relationship.  All because our former is now happy with their current.  Yet, we remember things in a romanticized way, and not how they really were.  What can make it even worse is when we’re supposed to be happy, and in a better place with *our* new partner.

We’ll be living our life just fine, then that phone call is placed, or is received, and all those old emotions come flooding back.  When we get asked, “how are you and _____ doing?”, we can go overboard with answering.  “Oh, everything between us is great”.  “I feel like this is where I’m supposed to be…right now.”  All the while, still perpetuating a lie about being happy.

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The worse part is that we put ourselves in the position of feeling like this.  If we’d leave them to their life, we’d be able to live ours free of the “what if” factor, at least with respect to having to front.  It’s a natural inclination to sometimes wonder about how our lives would’ve turned out if we had made different decisions.  Actively seeking out a way (for some of us) to torture ourselves is not the business.  If we’re telling someone we’re happy for them, when we’re not, then it is self-torture.

So how can we get away from feeding the lie?  It’s simple.  Leave the phone calls alone.  Delete phone numbers if necessary.  Stay off whatever social network profiles your ex has.  It will keep you from purposely contacting them, and looking like a creep.

Not everyone will heed the words of advice given here.  For those who don’t, be prepared to deal with the “what ifs”, especially if your ex is truly as happy as they say.  No amount of lying to yourself about them will change how they feel in their new relationship, or about their current partner.  However, for the folks that do take the advice, it will help you save face, and possibly your own new relationship too.

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Have you ever found yourself telling an ex you were happy for them, even though you really weren’t?  Why’d you do it?  Given the opportunity, would you ever tell that ex the truth?


  1. This kind of falls into the line of thought you are supposed to hate your exes, Which i am absolutely baffled by. Look at all the little posts of Facebook/Twitter/Instagram, people think they are God's gift to the sex they are attracted to. The thought that an ex may be better off without you would crush the egos of so many people, which I think they need.

    Like you said, it isn't universal but the people that have no ill will towards exes are such a rarity.
    My recent post My 2012 gaming year in review

  2. SOOO funny seeing this today. I was about to get out my car to pump gas when I hear, "Hey! How are you doing?" I look and its my most recent ex. I'm looking around like, "…the hell did you come from?????" I say, "Hey! Where in the world did you come from?" He says, "I just materialized." I'm thinking to myself, "This ninja knows I like smart a$$es", LOL. Crazier part? I was right down the street from and on my way to the new guys house! Smh. He asked what I was doing. "Getting gas." Then he asks, "Aside from the obvious…". I say, "Going to lunch." He goes into how he was about to meet with his sister to go to a lunch spot and then asks where I intended to go for lunch…heading in the direction of asking if I wanted to come too. I paused. Looked him in the eye and said, "I'm meeting someone." Within 30-40 seconds, he went back to his car.

    1. He and I don't talk anymore via phone or text because I'm with DG on this. It has NOTHING to do with hating ex's. It has EVERYTHING to do with the fact that we CANNOT just go back to being friends like that! And since we can't, why play with it?! What in the world are we gonna talk about for real? Cause any deep, heavy convo I have with you is one better had with the new guy I'm trying to build something with. I can no longer lean on you, dear ex, for ANY kind of support. That's becoming the new guy's job. Move on with your life and I'll move on with mine.

    2. So you just gonna leave ol’ boy with egg on his face!? It really is a cold world.

      I can dig it though. Some years ago I ran into an ex, and she was real interested in what I was doing. Then she got out the car and I saw she was pregnant. She looked almost embarrassed to be, and I was taken aback by it. At that point in my life, she was supposed to be the “one”. But time, and fate had other ideas.

      1. WOW, preggo?! Those moments are very weird…and def awkward, LOL.

        Naw, no egg on the face at that point. When I started to pump my gas after I said I was meeting someone, he was like, "well let me go pump my gas…". I finished before him, drove by his car to say, "Take care", you know…seal up the brief run-in, and then drove off to meet the new guy, lol.

        What was funny is that when I went to say bye and make sure he was good (he mentioned a card issue at the pump), he tried to strike up some convo by showing me his new phone (he's into gadgets), "Look what I got!". In my head, I'm like, "Dude, really?" LOL. So, I'm like, "Cool, that's nice. I'm thinking of getting the iPhone since they're coming to TMobile…alrighty then, let me go. Take care!" LOL!

  3. I can relate to the author on this. I had an ex that i was with for about 3 years. She moved to my area while we were together, and started going to my church. We eventually broke up, and she met her new man, married him, and had a kid by him, all before my very eyes.

    I can't say I was "happy" for them, but I didn't wish them any bitterness. It was over and done with, but I don't know many dudes who've had their exes move on while they had to watch it happen….

  4. I have told 2 of my exes I was happy for them. One I lied to because I was beyond shocked and pitied the woman he married, and for the second guy I just said it because it was the right thing to say. I didnt want either of them back, I just wanted them to know I was cool with the situation.

    And its hard to see anyone you love/loved with someone else… even if you have no intentions of ever getting back with them.
    My recent post Why Do Women Lust After Unavailable Men

  5. soooo not true, I been with one guy for 7 years since I was 17and he was 27 , my first love, we have 2 beautiful girls together and he was my first of many things, after we grew apart and went our separate ways, I want the best for him, I want the person he choose to fall in love again to treat him like a king that he deserve no bad feelings, we just didn't work out, I don't call him and taklk about nothing that has nothing to do with our angels we donrt send out text to each other laugh or joke but we have a certain bond that cant break because of our girls…. but I truly want to see him happy.. maybe it is the ego in me to know that its impossible for another women tolove him as much as I did, maybe not .. but I do want to see him happy and I will hope he will want the same from me .

  6. This article is not worth reading. I read the title: “Why Telling Your Ex ‘I Just Want You To Be Happy” Is A Lie” and knew straight away. Here is someone who had a bad experience and is writing an article to generalize and apply this to the whole world – people that the author never met, and indirectly accusing me and probably many others of being liars.
    I am no liar and the author can’t really prove me wrong because they don’t know anything about me.
    Not worth reading indeed.


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