Auntie SparkNotes: I'm Crazy Jealous of My Boyfriend's Ex
So I'm sure this is a common problem, but I've never heard a good answer: I'm jealous of my boyfriend's ex! But just the girl he started dating when I first met him, none of the previous ones. Maybe it was because I saw how much he loved her at the time, and how long it took him to get over her while I was desperately trying to get him to like me.
I know I shouldn't, but I can't help but stalk her mom and her current boyfriend on Facebook occasionally (hers is private). Even if I make myself believe that she wasn't that pretty or smart or whatever, I still can't get the fact that she had a relationship with my boyfriend out of my head. (We've been dating for a year now.) He probably kissed his other girlfriends, but it's him kissing her that I freak out about.
I try so hard to not be her and do anything that she did. I never met her, so my fantasy runs crazy. It can become crippling sometimes and all I can focus on, which can't be healthy. Why do I obsess about her so much? If I'm just so super jealous, how do I get over it?
For starters: the next time you find yourself "desperately trying" to "get" someone to like you?
Because when you desperately try to get someone to like you, the best possible outcome is ending up with... well, someone you had to desperately try to get to like you.
And when that's the case, as you've discovered, you tend not to forget it.
Because as it stands now, it's pretty clear that your issue is less about the ex as a person, and more about her proximity to a situation in which you set yourself up to feel insecure. You said it yourself: when you started out, you were actively working to win the attention of a guy who was entirely distracted by another girl. And not even the girl herself, but the memory of her. The person you're trying to compete with is the ghost of an ex-girlfriend, who cannot be beaten, because she lives inside your boyfriend's head.
So: rather than focusing your energy on the ex, or how pretty she was, or how much you are or aren't like her, I want you to focus on you... and specifically, on why you don't trust your own desirability (or your boyfriend's integrity, for that matter) enough to feel solid in this relationship. At what point will you be willing to believe that your boyfriend likes you on your own merits, and not as a second-best alternative to some girl he dated back in 2011?
Because honestly, darling, a year is a long time—way too long to be engaging in this kind of outrageous compare-a-thon. So the next time you start feeling jealous, remind yourself of the following: your boyfriend is choosing to be with you.
That's it. You've already got the most ironclad evidence ever of your desirability as compared with this ex, or another, or any other girl in the world. But as long as you keep ignoring that—and keep thinking of your relationship as something you had to get, rather than something that arose naturally out of mutual attraction and interest—then you're always going to feel inadequate... whether or not you find some other way to deal with those feelings than Facebook-stalking his ex's mom. (Although for real, you really need to stop that.)
Or in other words, you're never going to have a better reason to feel secure in your relationship than the fact that your relationship exists. Which, granted, is harder than it sounds. But there's no other way: forget the ex, find a way to let that reason be good enough, and you'll find yourself in a better place.
Have you ever had to get over your jealousy of an SO's ex? Share your story in the comments! And to get advice from Auntie, email her at email@example.com.
Want more info about how this column works? Click for the Auntie SparkNotes FAQ.