Cheryl may feel unwanted comparisons on Ashley Cole engagement, says psychologist

Ashley Cole has announced his engagement to Sharon Canu, who he shares children Jaxon, six, and Grace, four, with.

The former footballer has previously dated a few celebrities, including a very high-profile relationship with Cheryl. The pair got married in 2006 before divorcing four years later.

Cheryl has since moved on – marrying and divorcing Jean-Bernard Fernandez-Versini and having baby Bear with One Director star Liam Payne.

Their lives have definitely moved on from each other, but chartered psychologist, wellness expert and author ofThe Leaders Guide to ResilienceDr Audrey Tang, explains that seeing a former partner hit a big life milestone with someone else can stir up some emotions.

"When we break up with someone, they are still part of our past, even though they are not in our future. As such (especially if they have been in our lives for some time) – much of who we are “right now” or at least at the moment of split, is shaped by our life with them in it," explains Dr Audrey.

"When you see they've hit a big milestone you can find yourself thinking about whether your ex is sharing things that you shared and were at the time personal and unique to your relationship, with another person.

"We cannot help but compare ourselves, consciously or sub consciously to an ex’s new partner, even if they (the ex) themselves don’t hold so much significance any more," she explains.

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"Even if a lot of time has passed, it may be that you have focused on other aspects of your life and not processed the emotional side of the break up, which could be stirred back up.

"Humans are good at compartmentalising as a coping strategy to try to avoid feeling too overwhelmed. This can mean that we have not given ourselves a proper chance to work through how we feel and how we would like our personal life to progress, even though time has ticked by."

If you have ever felt upset at the sight of a former partner permanently moving on then there are things we can do. Although Dr Audrey expresses, "It's about continuing to grow, it is not a case of “forgetting” that someone was ever in your life – but instead helping you minimise the negative emotional impact that they, or the break up might have/have had."

Dr Audrey has some tips to help you to continue on with your own life:

  • Remember that the breaking up was necessary and gave you the life you have now.
  • Be sad, or be happy! Do not feel as if you have to “put on a brave face”, but also do not pretend to be sad because it is what others expect. Everyone deals with situations in their own way, which is fine as long as you are acknowledging and accepting your feelings. Don’t try to conform to others’ expectations.
  • Allow yourself “24 hours of wallowing”. During this time watch Netflix on loop, or eat a tub of ice-cream. Whatever you do (as long as it doesn’t harm you or others irreparably), do it without guilt – but after those 24 hours – begin to find your new starting point of growth.
  • Write or journal your feelings. That may help release some of the pain.

  • If you cannot block your ex, at least block how much you see of what they are doing.
  • Remember all experiences are part of who we are – you might reflect and learn from them, but you do not need to dwell on them. As you feel ready to pick up from this new starting point be proud of how you came through and look forward to your next adventure.
  • Treat yourself to something – without putting yourself in debt of course! Whether it’s finding time to read a book or watch a film, or perhaps spend time with good friends or supportive family – do what energises you. In fact something that isn’t expensive is often the best for the soul. This is also a great way of reminding yourself who you are without your ex.
  • Surround yourself with friends who support you authentically and positively. You do not need to be answering questions about “how do you feel” or even getting involved in gossip or bad mouthing.
  • Go off grid with a couple of close friends – the lack of digital contact may work wonders for your wellbeing anyway, as well as the change of scenery and the opportunity to do something different and make new memories. You do not owe others an explanation nor a narrative.

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