Why You're So Obsessed With His Ex (And How To Stop Being Jealous)

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How To Get Over Your Boyfriend’s Ex And Stop Being Jealous
Heartbreak

It's a simple fact of living: Once you're past the age of 20 or so, the love of your life is likely to have an ex-love from a past relationship.

That means that a lot of your beloved's "firsts" will have already happened with someone else.

Although you know this is normal and understand there's technically nothing to be jealous of, it can be hard to avoid the trap of feeling insecure and becoming obsessed with your current boyfriend's ex.

It usually begin innocently enough. You're human and therefore curious about your partner's ex. We humans learn from the stories and anecdotes of others, so you want to figure out what attracted them to each other. And, naturally, you want to know why they broke up so the same thing doesn't happen to you.

RELATED: 10 Reasons Guys Dump You — That Are Totally Your Fault

Curiosity is a natural part of being human, but what happens when curiosity becomes an obsession?

Here are 4 reasons you feel insecure about your boyfriend's ex, plus how to stop being jealous for good.

1. You're afraid.

Sometimes, it's hard to not feel a tinge of jealousy when you think about all the firsts you've missed with your new partner so you want to hear all about it.

My client, Will, told me he caught his girlfriend checking his phone history. She then demanded that he delete his ex-wife's number after seeing a couple of recent phone calls. Though a lot of our coaching that day was about the lack of boundaries his girlfriend showed, when we began to unravel the whys behind her behavior, it came down to vulnerability and fear. She was afraid that she'd lose him and he'd get back with his ex-wife.

When someone is feeling vulnerable and fearful that their partner will go back to their ex, it's easier to focus those feelings of insecurity, jealousy, and even angry obsession toward the "other woman" — even if she's not a threat.

Crossing boundaries (like looking at your partner's phone history) or creating unnecessary drama around a past relationship (like demanding an ex be deleted or never contacted) will make your love push you away.

What to do instead: Confessing that you're feeling insecure will do wonders, because being vulnerable with your partner will actually strengthen your relationship.

RELATED: 7 Signs You Have Unhealthy Boundaries (That Will Kill Even The Best Relationships)

2. You're worried they'll get back together.

Another client, Tammy, was worried that her boyfriend was going to get back with his ex-wife when she realized how much he talked about her, the things they used to do together, and how Tammy does things differently. Tammy became paranoid that he was still seeing his ex and started stalking her on Facebook and Instagram.

Sound familiar? Even a little bit? Sometimes anxieties like this are based on a gut feeling, and other times they're borne out of insecurity. Obsessing over a possibility is focusing on the past instead of being present and enjoying what's going on with your fantastic current partner!

What to do instead: Have an honest conversation about your fears and bring up specific examples. If your gut tells you he's still in love with his ex, then, baby, move along. But most likely, the only reason he's bringing her up is because it's the only (or most) serious relationship he had.

Maybe they co-parent their children so he still interacts with her. Maybe he's even trying to see if you're into him enough to be a little jealous. Put the kibosh on him needing to make you jealous and decide if it's worth staying or going. You deserve to be with someone who is crazy about you.

3. You want to know what went wrong.

We all learn from the stories of others. When we fall in love, we are risking getting our hearts broken and investigating what went wrong in our partner's past relationships seems like a logical way to figure out how not to end up in the same boat.

When you become obsessed with examining things on your own, you are making judgments about what you think went wrong, even though you weren't involved in the situation. Then, you begin focusing on what could be wrong in your own relationship instead of what's going right.

What to do instead: Ask your partner what went wrong in his past relationship and how he thinks you can better support each other in the future. This is why I recommend couples create a joint vision to be clear about what they each desire and what they need in a relationship.

RELATED: I'm Terrified That I'll Never Compare To My Boyfriend's Wife

4. You're trying to compare and compete with the ex.

Yet another client, Mary, became obsessed with her boyfriend's ex-wife. The woman was a classic American beauty — tall, blonde, and leggy — and ran a successful salon.

Mary was a successful attorney and saw herself as smarter than his ex, but believed she didn't compare when it came to looks, as she was a shorter brunette and a little overweight.

She felt she could never measure up to his ex-wife's beauty and went as far as to make regular appointments at her salon to try and emulate some of her beauty tips — and look for clues that maybe she wasn't always picture perfect.

We are wired — thanks to our societal expectations — to want to be the winner. And when the potential prize is a life partner, part of the competition involves wanting to be seen as better (prettier, smarter, richer, thinner, etc).

But let's be frank about what comparison is really about: it's about conforming under pressure from the competition.

While seemingly opposite ideas, the result of such comparisons is that we want conform in an effort to set norms, while standing out as the best among those who also meet the same basic standards.

We don't want to be that pink house at the end of the block or to be dressed in an obviously different way than our friends ... but we do want to be the best.

Unfortunately, trying for perfection is rarely anything other than disappointing, frustrating, and exhausting.

Comparison moves us further away from being real, authentic, and creative. Because honestly, how can we always fit in while standing out at the same time.

What to do instead: We all want to be loved and to belong to something larger than ourselves, but constantly trying to mold ourselves into the ways others look or behave isn't the way to win your honey's heart.

There's only one way to feel sure you are loved and stop the comparison game.

How can you stop being jealous and insecure and get over your boyfriend's ex for good?

It's simple: Just be yourself.

The number one thing to remind yourself of is that your partner's ex is his ex for a reason. Whatever that reason may be, there's no need to obsess over her for more minute more.

You are the main squeeze in your love's life now, and if you don't feel like you're his priority, choose yourself. Always.

Now move on and go focus on how fabulous you are!

RELATED: How To Get Over Your Boyfriend's Past (Without Becoming A Jealous Monster)

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Debra Smouse is a life coach, writer, expert de-tangler and admitted tarnished Southern belle.

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