How To Stop Feeling Insecure About My Boyfriend’s Exes – [4 Expert-Proven Tips To Overcome Your Insecurity and Enjoy Your Relationship]
“A busy, vibrant, goal-oriented woman is so much more attractive than a woman who waits around for a man to validate her existence.”
~ Mandy Hale
It’s not uncommon to feel threatened by your new beau’s exes.
They have, after all, shared times of his life that you will never be able to share with him. They know things about him that you may never know. They may even be his friends or friends with his family. Those are all things that would make almost anyone worry about where they stand.
And it’s hard not to compare yourself to them, to wonder how you match up in grace, poise, or attractiveness. The real problem is when you bring them into your relationship as a problem.
There’s no way of getting around the fact that your man has a past (as do you, I might point out), and with that past comes baggage, including exes and, possibly, children.
This shouldn’t be a problem unless his ex takes up more time than you do. If he is constantly talking about her or comparing you to her and wishing you would be more like her, you may not want to stick around. However, if he talks about plan he has that include her or the occasional message she sends him, you may not have much to worry about.
The first question to ask yourself is: why does this bother you so much?
- Is it because time spent with her is time not spent with you?
- And how would that be different if this were a friend of his from high school that wasn’t a previous partner?
- How long have they known each other and how long were they together?
- How much of this is about your past relationships and your ex who was cheating on you with everyone he knew?
- Are you jealous of anyone who spends time with him because you want him all to yourself?
If you really think he is spending too much time with exes, this might be a good time to have a conversation about your concerns.
He may not know that this is even bothering you. He may have gotten in the habit of talking to his ex and hasn’t yet transferred some of that attention to you, and now might be a good time to change that. He may really see this person as a best friend because of all they shared, but no longer has a sexual connection.
If he doesn’t see your concerns, find out why.
Is there still a sexual or emotional relationship there that really is going to interfere with the relationship you want to have with him? Is he not as committed to you as you are to him? Does he still have one foot in that old relationship? Is this person simply a long-term friend who really helps him get perspective? It’s even possible she may be an asset to your relationship.
There might be a few conversations here about your expectations of him and of your relationship and his expectations of you.
It might be a good time to meet her and see if she’s a rival or a friend. His reactions to this request might give you a lot of the information you’re looking for. And, certainly, meeting her will allow you to see what really is going on in their relationship.
In the end, you might not be able to do much to change his mind or his relationships with others, but you can certainly make your own decisions about what you want out of your relationship with him and how much time you can afford to give him to figure it out.
Becky Bringewatt, MA, LPC, NCC – www.mantiscounselingandcoaching.org
Many people feel vulnerable and shaky about whether or not their current partner is truly done with his or her past relationships.
Though that may be especially true in a new love relationship, it can happen at any time to any partnership when old partners resurface.
Regardless of repeated patterns, each new relationship is unique and every past one holds both positive and negative experiences.
Sequential relationships feel to most relationship seekers as if they are trying out a series of potential settling places, each of which offers reasons to stay and reasons to keep exploring.
That means, of course, that the partners in all relationships are on trial, always compared to the past, and subject to being more or less valuable in the future. To believe anything else is a romantic myth that can make intimate partners less aware of how much energy, time, commitment, and skill they must be willing to give to keep their current relationship as alive and meaningful as they can.
One of the standard questions I ask my established relationship partners is, “Where are you the most alive and present in your life?”
Way too often, even in the presence of each other, they spontaneously and innocently answer that they are the most involved and excited about their lives somewhere other than in their relationship.
Yes, of course, they value their partners, but they have somehow become more like backdrops on the stage rather than central performers. Their committed relationship is a place to regenerate so they can give the best of themselves elsewhere.
Worrying about losing one’s partner is a terrible state of insecurity.
It tends to make a person careful not of offend, devoted to constantly being what the other wants, and constantly watching out for any potential competitors. That state of hyper-vigilance is not only exhausting, but not interesting or attractive.
People who live in those fears are constantly concerned about loss, and continuously look for reassurance.
Not only do these insecure partners live in a state of painful anxiety, but their commitment of so much energy to that fear of potential loss robs them of the time and opportunity to develop what value and specialness they could bring to a relationship.
- Do people sometimes leave a current relationship to return to an old one that now seems better?
- Do some leave relationships prematurely unfinished, and then want to find closure before they can truly commit again?
- Do even committed partners often wonder if there is someone better out there for them?
- Do all relationships wax and wane in terms of satisfaction?
- Do some ex-partners resurface and actively attempt to gain back their old relationship?
- Are there intimate partners who regret leaving some relationships behind even when they are committed to a current one?
- Are some relationship partners pretending to be committed but are internally searching for a way out of their current one?
Yes. Those potential threats are always there.
Whether founded on legitimate concerns or not, the fear of their presence will drain the positive energy of a relationship, actually making it more prone to defeat at the hands of those enemies.
Some currently committed partners stray, deceive, or behave in ways that eventually destroy a relationship.
And there are many who never do. In the four decades in which I’ve practiced as a relationship therapist, I can unequivocally say that the major reason people do not do things that threaten their current relationship is because they do not want to lose it.
Every currently committed partner is faced with multiple options to choose new loves as life goes on, but intimate partners who absolutely cannot imagine being without their current partner, simply do not allow those temptations to grow. When they experience them, they put energy back into the relationship they’ve chosen.
Insecure relationship partners who constantly worry about a past or future person who might threaten their current partnerships will, too often, be preoccupied with that potential loss.
And, partners who are secretive, unavailable, and uninterested in providing love and support, are more likely to increase insecurity in the other. That is a deadly combination and a sure predictor of relationship failure.
Past relationship betrayals, the inability to be a courageous and open communicator, insecurity of one’s own worth, being with a partner who is “more marketable,” the inability to get the love one needs, indicators that the other partner is bored or losing interest, or diminishing interest in being together, are all potent stimuli that will increase the fear of loss.
Each of those must be addressed by both partners in any relationship that has the chance of long-term success. They are so important that they should be addressed as early on in a relationship that the new partners are able and willing to do so, and continually in on-going committed partnerships.
The most crucial thing to remember is that past or future people can only threaten a relationship that has lost its own unique magic.
The energy lost in living in insecurity needs to be put into keeping the best parts of a relationship alive and thriving, while continuously adding new and challenging dimensions. The art of creating a great relationship can be learned. Nurturing the positive parts of it, and diminishing what doesn’t work is a necessary component. Fear of loss is the greatest enemy to that path.
Here are some related articles that might help.
You can get to them by going to my website, randigunther.com. Or, you can find them by their individual titles on Psychology Today Blogs. I welcome any comments.
Dating a Man who is Separated but not yet Divorced
Should you Rush Into a Relationship?
Are you Withholding Love?
Is Lying Part of Loving?
Coming Home – When Old Loves Rekindle
10 Important Questions you should ask a Potential Partner
Class Reunion Scrambles – Return to Old Loves
Why Can’t I Let Love in?
Virtual Infidelity – Am I being Unfaithful if I don’t Touch
How can Romantic Love Transform into Long-Term Intimacy?
What Causes Boredom in Intimate Relationships?
And, my ebook, HeroicLove.com
Dr. Randi Gunther – www.randigunther.com
Insecurity means you do not feel confident in your abilities and have doubt or uncertainty about yourself.
It is not a good feeling to have when you are in a relationship and threatened by your partner’s past history.
What can you do to feel better about yourself?
In other words, how can you increase your sense of empowerment? When you aren’t feeling empowered, it affects your relationships immensely. It diminishes your self-esteem, prevents you from living your life fully and it leads to doubt, suspicion and irrational thinking, causing a developing relationship to turn sour.
There are several things to do to boost your level of confidence:
The first is to preserve your independence, especially in a new relationship.
Maintain your old friendships, activities and interests as well as other personal social networks. Keep yourself involved in things you enjoy and pursue new venues to secure your growth and attractiveness. Continue being who you are, so your partner can realize how lucky he is knowing you. And with many things occupying your time, focusing on your boyfriend’s exes may not be on your radar as much.
Another strategy is to be aware of living your life in the present.
Rehashing the past, reliving negative feelings, delving into long gone emotions only keeps you experiencing all those feelings that make you angry, sad, disillusioned and disappointed. Why go there if your new relationship shows good potential for something long term and permanent?
Of course, you should trust your intuition and if anything or anyone makes you feel uneasy, don’t necessarily ignore it. It can be justified, but be sure the “messages” you receive make sense from a logical perspective, rather than an emotional one.
Finally, be sure you are open and clear in your communication style with your partner.
If something bothers you, can you express how you feel without ridicule or fear? When you feel comfortable discussing your expectations, concerns, and desires, you are less likely to misinterpret your partner’s actions or behaviors and also not be disappointed in his reactions.
Let him know your unease about his ex and why, so he can adjust his behavior appropriately – if he cares to.
Your relationship is a work in progress, and as you continue to grow and learn together, your relationship needs to be based on trust, respect, kindness, caring and appreciation. These elements have no room for doubt, mistrust, or suspicion. So work through your insecurity because this aspect of your character and personality will impact the success and depth of your potential relationship.
Amy Sherman, M.A., LMHC – www.yourbabyboomersnetwork.com
First I want you to repeat ten times, “Ex”.
“Ex” is a description of the past, a time period over which you have no control. “Current” is a description of the present, a time period over which you have a whole lot of control.
Dwelling on the past instead of being present in the now, is a sure-fire way to not only miss out on the joy of a current relationship, but also a likely way to destroy it.
Jealousy is usually a statement about yourself, not your partner.
It stems from personal insecurities, a feeling that you are not good enough. However, there are some times when insecurity with your partner may be justified.
- Did your current partner get dumped?
- Is it possible that you are a rebound to distract him from his hurt and help him feel better about himself?
- Are you recovering from being dumped?
- Is this relationship based on a true mutual attraction and compatibility or are either or both of you avoiding painful emotions and events?
You absolutely cannot work through your insecurities or pain with a new partner.
You have to get to the root before beginning a new relationship. Getting over the hurt of an old relationship is usually just a matter of time. Time really does heal all. Eventually you’ll feel better. Hopefully you’ve learned from the past and are ready to take the new wiser you forward into a better relationship.
If, however, you are dealing with chronic low self-esteem, it’s time to find out why.
What is preventing you from being able to see yourself for the unique and wonderful individual that you undoubtedly are? Sometimes that takes some sessions with a good therapist. This effort is so worth it. Feeling good about yourself will change your life, I promise.
When you like yourself, you will no longer fixate on the past, but be able to dive into and enjoy the present.
The past is for learning; the present is for living.
Sally LeBoy, MFT – www.sallyleboymft.com
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