So, here you are, in a new relationship, happy as can be but there is an issue. A big issue. Your partner is jealous of your ex (or exes). Ugh.
Instead of appreciating that you love them completely, they think constantly about your ex. They compare themselves to them, they question you endlessly about your relationship, they live in constant fear that you are going to leave them.
Is this jealousy destroying your relationship? I bet it is.
There are a number of reasons why, in spite of being in a happy relationship, your partner might be jealous of your ex. Here are some of them.
#1 – You still bring them up.
Be honest. How much time do you spend talking about your ex?
Do you find yourself telling the story of when you went camping? Do you pick up something in the grocery store and remark about how it was their favorite? When a song comes up on Spotify and it reminds you of them, do you mention it? Do you ever suggest that your new person do something that might make them more like your old person, not even knowing that you are doing so?
I know you feel like these little mentions are innocent but they aren’t. No one wants to hear about their person’s ex and even little asides like these can be painful. If you do them frequently, the pain you are causing will only grow and jealousy will rear its ugly head.
So, take a good honest look at how much you talk about your ex. Might it be the reason why your partner is jealous of them?
#2 – Past hurts.
I am a 56 year old divorced woman. I date other 50ish divorced men. We are no longer 22 and starting out on the journey to find love. We are people whose hearts have been through the wringer and we are very lucky to have come out the other side. We have lots of baggage. Heavy baggage.
For many of us, our exes have cheated on us, emotionally or physically or both. As a result, we find it very hard to trust people of the opposite sex. We look for signs that our people are cheating and we think who could be easier to cheat with than their ex.
It’s not just the old folks who have baggage – plenty of 20 somethings do too. Whether your ex cheated on you or left you after promising to love you forever or lied to you about anything, you are going to have baggage that you might bring into the next relationship.
And, unless you are aware of it, that baggage could destroy your new relationship and maybe other relationships after that.
So, if your partner is jealous of your ex, it could be because they have been hurt in the past. If this is the case, I would encourage you to discuss what happened and work together to make sure they know that you are not that person, that you will do things differently.
And if you know what kind of baggage your person has, you are more likely to being able to help them carry it and lighten their load.
#3 – Insecurities
I have a client who has real body issues. She also isn’t really wild about the color of her hair. She has always been this way and she has made peace with it. Or so she thought.
She met a guy a few months back and he had just gotten out of a long relationship. As a result, pictures of his ex were still on his social media and she had the chance one day to look at her. And she looked EXACTLY like my client had always wanted to look. Skinny, tiny with blond hair.
So, what did this do to my client? It made her feel incredibly insecure.
How, if her person had dated someone who looked like her ideal, could he ever be happy with tall redheaded her? Obviously, she wasn’t his type and he was going to leave her someday.
The ex magnified the insecurities that she brought into the relationship. It was only by becoming aware of it that she was able to understand that that person was his ex, not his ideal.
He loved her now and had left his ex behind. There was no reason for her to be jealous.
#4 – Your relationship is shifting.
Are you a few months into a relationship and are things getting a little dicey?
Are you past the initial honeymoon phase and is real life, with friends, family, careers, hobbies, etc, invading the space that you had previously so carefully protected?
Is this invasion causing your relationship to be a little bit off kilter?
For many of my clients, when a relationship starts to founder, whether in ways small or large, their first instinct is to blame someone else, not to look at what might be happening in their relationship.
I have a client whose partner is overseas. Their relationship has been foundering in a big way since his deployment and, instead of taking a good look at why it might be, she is assuming that he has reconnected with an ex who is also overseas.
By thinking there is someone else, she can shift her focus from the difficult matter at hand (what is wrong in their relationship) to the existence of someone else and that being the cause of the relationship instability.
Is your relationship unstable right now? In big ways or small? That might be what is causing your person’s jealousy of your ex.
#5 – Projection.
This is one of the big paradoxes of human beings – our tendency to focus on one thing as the source of our misery (usually our romantic lives) instead of examining the big picture.
A client of mine has been going through a really hard time. She has been struggling at work. She doesn’t like her job and it’s making her feel badly about herself. She should be looking for another one but she just can’t deal. Instead of looking inwards to fix herself, she is looking out for something else to blame her moods on.
And that something else is right there at her finger tips – her person’s ex.
Your person’s ex is a tangible thing – something that you know that you can be jealous of without seeming crazy (because everyone is jealous of their partner’s ex). And it’s easy, when you are feeling badly about yourself, to think that someone else’s life is better and that your person would be much happier with that person than they are with you.
So, ask yourself – are you really jealous of your person’s ex or are you unhappy somewhere else, or perhaps even with your self? Knowing the difference will help you start to take the steps to deal with what needs to be dealt with, so that you can feel good about yourself again and be happy.
Being in a happy relationship and, at the same time, having a partner who is jealous of your ex is extremely frustrating.
You know that you are done with your ex and you just don’t get where your person is coming from and you are worried that this might be the beginning of the end. It doesn’t have to be.
Take a look at the reasons why your person might be jealous of your ex and take the time to talk to them about it. Perhaps, together, you can fix it!
And you can live happily ever after!