Written by: Shani Fowler
It’s unlikely when you got together with your partner they had been waiting patiently all their life for you to show up and there had been no one else in the meantime. Surely the same applies to you! As time moves on we fall in and out of love until we find someone we feel we want to settle with. We all carry around a certain amount of life baggage; but our baggage includes our exes, so do not let your partners past make you jealous!
Even the most rational of us can be jealous of an ex. We can even sometimes play out an image in our minds of how our partner and their ex used to be (even though we probably have absolutely no idea how they were together). It is often an exaggerated scene in our minds of such a happy life they shared together, cosy nights in snuggled up before a roaring fire, when in fact the truth could have been them sitting in separate chairs after days of not talking to each other. It’s a fascination; a need to know what made your partner tick when they weren’t with you.
Emotions about the past
Thinking about their past and their ex can cause us to feel sad, angry and possibly resentful. Maybe unknowingly taking out our frustrations on our partner, after all it because of them we feel like this! Jealousy can be a very toxic and damaging emotion to a relationship and if not dealt with can lead to its demise, as it can chip away at our partners, even if they have given us absolutely no cause to make you feel this way.
Frequently, the reason partners split from their ex can have an effect on how we feel. If our partner wasn’t the one who instigated the split feelings of insecurity can creep over us – surely they want to get back with their ex and it’s only a matter of time before they end up back together! Or if our partner is still quite friendly with an ex – again we can feel certain that sooner or later they will realise they were meant to be together and we can see them walking off into the sunset arm in arm, leaving us to pick up the pieces of our broken heart. Also the length of time a partner was with someone can leave us feeling unsettled about an ex. The longer couples have been together the more history they have, the tighter knit they must have been; it doesn’t mean it was all good history though!
What can you Do?
Embrace the ex – No one would think you should run out to find them and become best friends for ever, but embrace the fact that the an ex or exes exist. To some extent we are all products of our past, your partner has probably gained a good deal of life experience from their ex or indeed exes, realise that it’s through them that they have learnt what they want and don’t want, and what they want is you!
Now is the time – You have to focus on the here and now. You don’t hanker after your past loves, why should your partner be any different? Your partner is with you because they want to be – if they didn’t why would they bother?
Seek reassurance – Speak to your partner about the ex, tell them your fears, let them know how you feel, and listen to what they say – properly! Challenge your thoughts, try to see the irrationality for what it is – fear. Turn the negative thoughts to positive and tell yourself “my partner is with me because they want to be with me.”
Don’t compare yourself to an ex
Pitching yourself against an ex is a bad idea; it’s a never ending competition and one you will not award yourself the winner of! Attractiveness is not only about beauty on the outside it’s what your partner loves on the inside as well. His ex may have been blonde and pretty with legs up to her armpits (you have checked out her Facebook page obviously), but she might have been mean spirited, self-obsessed and unfeeling. You are unique and it’s you who is the centre of your partner’s world now.
Try not to think about the ex too much and when you do try to see their previous relationship as exactly that – a previous relationship! Focus on what you have together, what you would like to have and build on that. In time as your relationship grows the exes will feel totally insignificant. If you let an ex burrow under your skin too much – it might turn out to be what you become – an ex!!