It took a dumb episode of How I Met Your Mother to get me musing. At the end of season 2, Robin and Ted break up (thpoilers!) because their lives are going in different directions; he wants to get married and have kids and she wants to travel to Argentina. So we’re led to believe it’s an amicable split.
At the beginning of season 3, Ted is still dealing with the fallout of the breakup and being single again. Then Robin returns with an Argentinian pretty boy to rub in his face. The whole group is enamored with the guy, and the idea of “winning” the breakup becomes a central theme in the episode. I think we’re led to believe that whoever is dealing with the breakup best (or who has moved on first) is the “winner”. Eventually, Ted confronts Robin about how difficult the breakup has been for him and how seemingly easy it’s been for her. She explains that she cried for 3 days when she got to Argentina, and that her loneliness was what led to the new guy. He asks, “So you weren’t trying to win the breakup?” She replies, “I was trying to survive it.”
And that’s kind of the crux of my musing. When two people split, the other person and their feelings are no longer a concern. We revert to this survival mode where our emotional well being is the single most important thing and fuck everyone else. And so attractive girls find another guy, because they can. Now, one can argue that such behavior is unhealthy and reeks of dependency issues, but it’s a form of survival. It quells the grief if only for a little while. The point is that yeah it hurts seeing someone you loved with someone new, but your ex isn’t with them to fuck with you or your feelings, they’re doing it for themselves. It’s a purely selfish act and your feelings are irrelevant. It’s kind of sad to think that you don’t really matter anymore to someone when you used to matter a lot, but c’est la vie.