The love game can be brutal, but what's it like to learn your long-term ex is now dating a major celebrity?

A journalist for the New York Times experienced that after Superbowl Sunday when she saw photos of Lady Gaga together with her new "mystery man". However, there was no mystery for Lindsay Crouse, 35, who instantly identified her ex-boyfriend Michael Polansky as Gaga's new love.

Crouse and Polansky had been in a long-term relationship for seven years before parting ways. Crouse, who does not follow Polansky on any social media and is not Facebook friends with him as he blocked her after they broke up, says her friends alerted her to his new relationship with the pop superstar.

"I was eating bodega grapes at my desk on a recent Monday morning, gearing up to wrangle my inbox, when my phone started buzzing," she wrote, in an opinion piece for the paper.

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"While I'd been watching the Super Bowl on television in New York, they were snuggling in her private box at the Hard Rock Stadium at Miami Gardens. There were the paparazzi as he escorted her away, her pink hair flowing and sequins pasted around her eyes."

She says she is not the first person to discover their ex has moved on, but comparing oneself with Lady Gaga is a fool's errand.

"Ideally the ex's life didn't improve too much without you?" she wrote. "In this case, though, that's all upended. How do you compare yourself with Lady Gaga?"

Mainly through positivity, Crouse reckoned.

"Lady Gaga is amazing. Comparing yourself with her is incredibly motivational, and I recommend you try it, regardless of how you relate to who's dating her."

For Crouse this manifested itself by buying an expensive dress - "'I've never owned anything that costs more than a week's worth of groceries," she wrote - buying large coffees instead of medium and forwarding on kind words sent to her about her work from her boss.

"'If Lady Gaga can do what she wants, and even expand on what she wants, why not me, too?"