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So, your girlfriend has a past. And you’re torn about it.
Torn between being happy that she’s got out there and lived her life, learning and becoming the amazing person she is today….
…and a nagging feeling of jealousy every time you think about it.
Maybe it just bothers you when the name of an ex-boyfriend of hers comes up.
Maybe you get jealous when she talks about a period when she was away travelling and meeting loads of new people, or went out a lot with her best mates.
Or maybe you’ve recently discovered something new about her past that you never knew before, and now you just can’t stop thinking about it, however hard you try.
But you’re desperate to put it behind you and move on.
You don’t want it to affect your relationship with this wonderful woman.
You know how lucky you are to have her, and you want to get these thoughts under control.
You’ve come to the right place.
Here is a list of 8 effective tips that will genuinely help you to put these thoughts behind you and look to the future with her, rather that dwelling on a past that you’ll never be able to change.
1. Identify exactly what it is that bothers you.
If your girlfriend’s past bothers you, the first thing you need to do is figure out exactly what it is about her past that gets to you so much.
That will help you to understand why you’re dwelling on it.
Is it something in specific? A particular person, or event?
Or is it more general? Do you just find it hard to accept that she had a romantic or sexual life at all before you showed up on the scene?
Are you jealous of her sexual past, or is it the emotional connections that bother you?
Take some time to think about exactly what it is that gets to you. Once you’ve established that, you’ll be better able to figure out why, so that you can work through it rather than letting it come between you.
2. Remind yourself that she’s the person you know and love now because of that past.
It’s important to realize that we’re all shaped by the experiences we have. We’re molded by the things that happen to us and the people we meet throughout our lives.
You love this girl just the way she is, right?
And she is the way she is because she has a rich past. Because she’s been out there, living her life, meeting people, and learning how the world, and the people in it, work.
She’s the direct result of the past she’s had.
If you find yourself wishing you could erase some of the things that happened in her life before the two of you met, remind yourself that you’d be changing the amazing woman in front of you.
And you wouldn’t want that, would you?
3. Focus on the future together.
You already know that you’ve got absolutely zero control over the past, so there’s no point in worrying about it.
But as much as you know that’s true in your rational mind, it can still be hard to let go of negative thoughts about her past.
Whenever you catch yourself dwelling on the past, a great tactic is to actively turn your thoughts to the future you have ahead of you with your girlfriend.
Replace a negative thought about that ex-boyfriend of hers by allowing yourself to daydream about your next vacation together, or even just what the two of you will do this coming weekend.
Substitute negative thoughts about the past with positive ones about the future.
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4. Remember that you have a past too – beware of double standards!
I wouldn’t mind betting that she’s not the only one with a past.
Of course, this might not be the case, but you’ve probably got your fair share of ex-girlfriends and embarrassing stories that you’d rather she didn’t know about.
Many of us still seem to cling on to the helplessly old-fashioned idea that it’s okay for men to have colorful pasts and sow their wild oats before settling down with someone, but it’s not okay for women to do the same.
It’s internalized sexism, and both women and men can be guilty of it.
Be honest with yourself about whether you have double standards, judging your girlfriend for a past that’s not half as busy as yours.
Remember that you have a past, and ask how you would feel if she judged you for it, or couldn’t get over it, or couldn’t even bear hearing your ex-girlfriend’s name.
Treat her past with the same respect with which you’d like her to treat yours.
5. Recognize that this is your problem, not hers.
It’s really important to recognize that this isn’t anything to do with her. It’s not something she needs to apologize to you for.
This is something you need to work on accepting and moving past.
She shouldn’t, of course, be rubbing her past in your face, but it’s not her job to make you feel better about the life she led before you came along, either.
As long as she’s being respectful toward your feelings, you need to accept that this is something that only you can fix.
6. Work on your self-confidence.
If you’re struggling with her past, that’s probably got quite a lot to do with a lack of self-confidence on your part.
Maybe you don’t feel like you deserve her or her love.
Maybe you’re worried that you don’t measure up to guys from her past.
Maybe her past makes you feel inadequate.
The only solution to this is to make a conscious effort to work on your own self-esteem, self-worth, and self-confidence.
It’s a cliché, but if you don’t love yourself, then you can’t expect her to, and you’ll really struggle to get over her past if you’re intimidated by it.
Find ways to work on your self-confidence. Take care of your mind and body. Push yourself in your career. Go all out on the self-care.
The more confident you feel in yourself, the more secure you’ll feel in your relationship, and the less important her past will suddenly seem to you.
7. Talk to someone you trust.
A problem shared is a problem halved.
Some men struggle to express their feelings and lean on a friend or family member for help, but talking feelings of jealousy through with someone you trust can help you figure out exactly what it is that bothers you and why.
After all, verbalizing your feelings is a great way of understanding them.
If you don’t feel that there’s anyone you can talk to about something like this, and these feelings are starting to have a negative impact on your relationship, then it might be worth turning to a professional.
A counselor can help you identify the issues that are causing your jealousy, and give you the tools to work through it so that your relationship doesn’t suffer as a result.
It’s easy to get started with this. You can click here to find one near you (or one who will work remotely) who can help you address the issues you have with your girlfriend’s past.
8. Talk to her.
This is also something that you need to speak to your girlfriend about. You just need to be careful about how you go about it.
What you shouldn’t do is make it seem like your feelings about her past are in any way her fault, or that she needs to apologize for it.
But it might be helpful to let her know that talk of her past can be difficult for you.
Let her know that you’re working on it, and that you know it’s a result of your insecurities, but that she should go easy on you if you don’t react well to talk of her love and sex life before you came along.
Perhaps, if there’s one particular trigger for these jealous feelings, like one name or place, you could ask her to just avoid the topic when possible.