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Do you struggle to let go of your partner’s past relationships?
If you find yourself fixated on his ex, what are you supposed to do about it? You know that you shouldn’t care, but there’s a part of you that can’t let go and feels like you need to know more.
It’s always a tricky subject when talking about past relationships with your new partner. But these experiences can offer a huge amount of insight into the person they are now. Learning more about his ex can help you understand him more clearly—especially triggers in your own relationship.
However, there’s a more toxic side to this where your interest in an ex turns into an obsession and you can’t stop comparing yourself to them. This doesn’t just affect your own self-confidence and mental health. All your energy goes into keeping up with someone else rather than focusing on you.
The more you get caught up in stalking his ex, the more you risk pushing you and your partner apart. If he doesn’t want to think about his ex, then you bringing them up is going to be uncomfortable for the both of you.
So, how do you move past this toxic habit when you can’t seem to get over it? Read on for some helpful tips on how to stop comparing yourself to his ex.
Speak to an accredited and experienced therapist to help you work through your issues with his exes. You may want to try speaking to one via BetterHelp.com for quality care at its most convenient.
1. Regain your sense of reality.
You can’t stop stalking your boyfriend’s ex because you’re not being realistic about who they are. You’re putting them on a pedestal because you believe only what you see on social media and not thinking about them as a real person.
No one can match up to the perfect images portrayed on social media. People can edit, crop, and choose the exact moment they want to show on social platforms—it’s not an accurate representation of who they are in everyday life, with everyday flaws.
Your ability to hide behind your own profile, never having to come face to face with the ex, means that you can check in on them as much as you want without any consequence. The more you become absorbed in their life through the eye of social media, the harder it is to distinguish between what’s real and the person you think they are.
Obsessing over your partner’s ex and comparing yourself to them is a dangerous game. You can’t compare what you and your boyfriend have to what he and his ex had based only on what you see or hear of them at a distance. You’re never going to feel as if you size up against someone who’s life is perfectly edited and only showing the good parts.
The more you concentrate on other people’s relationships, or lack of, the more you’ll miss out on what’s actually happening in your own life and the relationship you’re in. Block or delete his ex so you can’t be tempted to spend more time obsessing over their picture-perfect lifestyle. Then concentrate on putting energy into your own reality.
2. Stop imagining a worst-case scenario.
If you’ve never met your partner’s ex, then it’s likely you have an image of them in your mind. When you’re feeling at your worst, this image will become everything you’re not and can begin to shine a light on your own flaws.
It’s the fear of the unknown that many people struggle with most, and that applies to your partner’s ex relationships too. Until you’ve seen anything different, you can imagine that they are better than you in a whole number of ways. But in reality, they’re just another person like you.
If you find that you can’t stop obsessing over thoughts of your partner’s ex, one solution could be to try to meet them. If you’ve built a worst-case scenario up in your head of the person you think they are, at least by meeting them, you’d prove to yourself that they’re just human after all.
This only works if your partner is still on speaking terms with his ex. If that’s not the case, then it’s better not to go behind his back and make contact with an ex he’d rather stay distant from. But if you’re imagining that his ex is still harboring feelings for him or has a problem with you, meeting them and understanding what the problem is (or isn’t) face to face could put your fears to rest.
3. Trust that he’s not going to leave you.
You might be worried that your boyfriend had a more exciting or meaningful relationship with your ex than he has with you now.
Obsessing over his ex can’t erase the time they had together. If you want to prove that you’re an upgrade from his ex, you could even be tempted to go on similar holidays or dates to try to re-write the memories he has with them with new memories of the both of you.
You need to remember that his past relationships have made him the person he is now. Past experiences with exes are what’s brought him to the point that he was ready to find you and appreciate what you both share.
If you’re worried that he’s missing his ex or had more fun with them, all you’re doing is damaging your relationship by not making the most of it right now. You need to trust that your relationship is unique and doesn’t need to be a copy of one he’s already had to make him want to stay with you.
You don’t need to be “better” than any of his past exes or jealous of what he had in the past. If he wanted to be with his ex, he would be, so stop trying to be anything other than yourself.
4. Address self-sabotaging behaviors.
Stalking his ex—as tempting as it might be to search them on social media or ask around about them—isn’t likely to bring anything positive into your life. It’s something you know but you do it anyway, so why?
If your relationship is going well, you could be looking for ways to create a problem because you’re scared of things going wrong. You aren’t able to trust that your relationship is making you happy and running smoothly, so instead of being blindsided by a problem, you look for one. That way if your relationship does fail, at least you have control over it.
You’re sabotaging your relationship by looking for an issue with your partner’s ex. You might tell yourself you’re curious to know more about your partner’s past, but once you start asking questions, it will only raise more.
There are very few benefits that can be gained by stalking or obsessing over your boyfriend’s ex. The more you obsess over them, the more your thoughts about them start to have a negative impact on you and the strength of your relationship and confidence in yourself.
What good can come from knowing about his ex? How can the information add to your life or better your relationship? If you can’t answer these questions, then you know you’re self-sabotaging. Instead, you just need to trust that your relationship is working well because it’s meant to.
5. Respect each other’s boundaries.
You may have insecurities about your partner’s ex and want him to reassure you that everything is okay by telling you about them. For you, having all the facts about a situation could help you to come to terms with it and assist you in getting over the fact that your partner had these past relationships.
But what works for you might not work for your partner, and you have to respect that he may not want to talk about it.
As much as you may feel obsessed with your boyfriend’s ex, and have more questions, if he doesn’t want to talk about them, then you shouldn’t keep trying to make him.
By continuously bringing up his ex when you’re together, you’re not letting either of you concentrate on the relationship you have.
It’s never going to be comfortable talking about a past relationship when you’re in a new one, and every time you bring up his ex, it risks creating a distance between you. You might feel that learning about their ex brings you closer to who your partner is and the past experiences they’ve been through, but for them, you could just be dragging up painful memories they’d rather forget.
It’s important to respect each other, and part of that is respecting when your partner says “no.” If he doesn’t want to talk about it, then you shouldn’t be making him.
6. Work on building your self-confidence.
Why are you comparing yourself to your partner’s ex? When you do, are you always seeing yourself in a negative light?
If you’re worried about your partner’s ex, about how they look or what they do, or whether your partner might miss them more than he lets on, you need to start addressing your own self-confidence.
Finding yourself obsessed with your partner’s ex, and thinking they’re better than you in some way, means that you feel as though you’re lacking something compared to them.
It doesn’t matter who they are, what they do, or how attractive you think they might be, ultimately your partner isn’t with them—he’s chosen you. But regardless of how your boyfriend makes you feel, you need to have confidence and love yourself for who you are, not for trying to be like anyone else.
Your partner should be building up your confidence every day, making it clear how much he values you in all the ways you are unique. But being confident in a relationship comes from learning to focus on all the positive parts of yourself that you so often overlook.
You shouldn’t feel as though you need to compare yourself to anyone, least of all your partner’s ex. Being “better” than someone else isn’t what makes people like you or want to be with you. No one who cares about you is measuring you up to anyone else, least of all your boyfriend’s ex. Although it might be an obsession to you, you’re the only one thinking about them.
Try telling yourself one positive thing you love about yourself every day. Eventually you’ll start to believe the compliments you’re verbalizing and, as your confidence grows, so will your positive energy.
Focus on what you love about yourself because you are one of a kind.
7. Focus on the positives.
Have you ever questioned how much time you’ve spent thinking about your boyfriend’s ex, either worrying about them, being angry at them, or just imagining them?
Thinking about someone else takes energy and focus. You’re choosing to channel your mind into thinking about a person from your boyfriend’s past rather than putting your thoughts toward anything more positive.
Just imagine what it would be like if, instead of spending all that time and energy on someone else, you spent it on yourself or your relationship.
Our time and energy are limited, so do you really want to give over so much of yours to someone else who you don’t even know?
Rather than focusing on his past, why not put the time into your current relationship? Why give your energy and your time to someone who you don’t know and don’t need in your life?
Your energy should be spent on yourself and those you love, so make the right choice and start investing back rather than giving away your precious time and energy so freely.
8. Learn to appreciate what you have.
Most people don’t find it comfortable to talk about their ex, especially with their new partner, and your boyfriend may be no different.
It can be helpful to gain insight into your partner’s previous dating history to understand more about them and what they expect from a relationship. These past experiences have shaped how they react to situations presently.
It’s natural to be curious about your partner’s ex—wanting to know who they were or what they looked like and to validate why you think he’s with you. But if your partner is reluctant to talk about his ex or shuts down the conversation every time you bring it up, then you need to be respectful of his boundaries.
Speaking about his ex could bring up difficult or even traumatic memories that you don’t know about. It’s up to your partner to decide how much he wants to share with you, and just because he’s not sharing every single detail of his past life, doesn’t mean that he doesn’t love or trust you. He may just prefer to focus on what he has now and the future you both have in front of you.
It’s easy to get caught up in everything that we don’t have or focus on what we feel like is missing. Rather than pursuing information about his ex that you can’t have, you need to try to take a step back and look at everything you do have.
You’ve got a relationship to enjoy. If you’re used to always focusing on the negative in a situation, then try to find some perspective and challenge yourself to think about all the things you’re thankful for and that you enjoy in your relationship instead.
Does not knowing everything about your partner’s ex have to damage the relationship you have? Or is it something you just need to get over to embrace everything great you have going on right now?
9. Try to see the situation from a different perspective.
Would you be happy if your boyfriend constantly asked about your ex?
How can you fully move on from your previous relationship if your current partner won’t stop asking you about it?
It’s understandable to have questions about your partner’s life before you got together to give you a better understanding of why they might act a certain way. But you should consider that just because you are comfortable being open about your past relationships doesn’t mean your partner will feel the same way. And that’s okay. Everyone has different levels of what they’re happy sharing.
You should consider the impact you might be having on them if you keep probing about an ex that could have caused your boyfriend trauma that they aren’t ready to share. Forcing them to talk about something they aren’t ready to communicate yet could be emotionally damaging for them and risk their relationship and trust with you.
If you keep obsessing over your partner’s ex and comparing yourself to them, think about how this could be affecting your partner. You’re making them compare you with their ex just as much as you’re comparing yourself. If they want to just concentrate on the relationship you have, then you should too. Or you may risk losing them because you can’t get over their past or your insecurities.
10. Learn when to hold your ground.
Do you know where your obsession with your boyfriend’s ex began? Was it because you felt as though they were mentioning their ex a lot and it motivated you to look them up?
Talking about exes doesn’t have to be a common occurrence in your relationship, and if it is and it’s promoting some unhealthy habits in you, then you need to stand your ground and ask your boyfriend to stop talking about them.
They might be innocently bringing them up, not realizing the effect it’s having on your self-esteem as you naturally compare yourself and your relationship to his past one. But if it is having a negative effect and you can’t stop obsessing about them, then you need to mention this to your boyfriend.
You don’t have to put up with something just because you love someone. Your relationship needs to be a place where both of you can thrive, feel confident, and trust one another. If your partner keeps bringing up his ex, you’re going to start questioning why and if their ex is still on their mind.
To help you get over your obsession, you may need to just ask him to stop mentioning past relationships for a while altogether. Stop the conversation about his ex completely so you can concentrate on your present relationship and it’s future for a while. Be open with him about your feelings and work together to make this relationship a positive space for the both of you on equal terms.
Final thoughts on comparing yourself to his ex.
There’s no getting away from the fact that your partner has a past. Without these past relationships, there would have been no growth for either you or him to be the people you are now and appreciate what you have in each other.
But that doesn’t mean that it’s any easier to accept the fact there were people he was with, and maybe even loved, before you.
It’s normal to be interested in an ex, but being obsessed with your partner’s history, stalking his exes, and focusing on them too much is unhealthy and damaging for the both of you. If your insecurities lie in the way you look compared to his ex, then you have to remember that looks aren’t everything.
You might compare yourself negatively toward them, but you don’t see yourself through your boyfriend’s eyes and don’t know the type of person his ex was. Beauty is subjective, and your boyfriend is attracted to you for a reason. Try to learn to be comfortable with the knowledge that you are unique, and you are more than enough.
If your comparison with his ex stems from a fear about your relationship ending and your boyfriend going back to someone from his past, then it’s exposing a sense of underlying distrust.
Relationships will end if they’re meant to. No amount of stalking exes will change whether your relationship with your boyfriend is meant to last or not. But the more you keep bringing up uncomfortable memories from the past and giving your attention to everything other than your relationship right now, the more likely it will be to fail.
If you can’t get over your obsession with your boyfriend’s ex, then you could be the orchestrator of your breakup. Don’t let your fear of that happening be the thing that drives you toward it.
Your need to compare yourself to your partner’s ex is more about you than it is about them, and that’s the key to moving past it. His ex doesn’t need to be a factor in your relationship, but you are choosing to make them one.
Only you can decide to stop this unhealthy and damaging behavior, and that comes from wanting to put yourself and your relationship first. Think about how to get to a more positive and healthier frame of mind, cutting ties with both of your past relationships, so you can finally move on and enjoy the one you’re in.
Still not sure how to stop comparing yourself to his ex? Talking to someone can really help you to handle whatever life throws at you. It’s a great way to get your thoughts and your worries out of your head so you can work through them.
We really recommend you speak to a therapist rather than a friend or family member. Why? Because they are trained to help people in situations like yours. They can help you to work through the worries and insecurities you have by providing tools and tailored advice you can use.
A good place to get professional help is the website BetterHelp.com – here, you’ll be able to connect with a therapist via phone, video, or instant message.
While you may try to work through this yourself, it may be a bigger issue than self-help can address. And if it is affecting your mental well-being, relationships, or life in general, it is a significant thing that needs to be resolved.
Too many people try to muddle through and do their best to overcome issues that they never really get to grips with. If it’s at all possible in your circumstances, therapy is 100% the best way forward.
Here’s that link again if you’d like to learn more about the service BetterHelp.com provide and the process of getting started.
You’ve already taken the first step just by searching for and reading this article. The worst thing you can do right now is nothing. The best thing is to speak to a therapist. The next best thing is to implement everything you’ve learned in this article by yourself. The choice is yours.
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