How to forget about your partner’s exes

Here are five steps to combat jealousy.

Even if you trust your partner, it can be difficult not to feel a stab of jealousy over the dreaded ex, especially if they still see each other or if the former flame was the one to end the relationship. Try these tips for moving on.

Talk about it
It’s amazing how much weight can be lifted from your shoulders just by having a good chat. Communication is one of the keys to a successful relationship, after all. If your partner’s ex is preying on your mind, be honest about how you feel. If you have unanswered questions about their past, use the air-clearing opportunity to find out what you want to know, but don’t turn it into an interrogation. It may just take a bit of reassurance that you’re the one they love for you to realise there’s nothing to worry about.

Turn a great ex into a positive
If your other half’s ex is a drop-dead gorgeous model with a PhD in astrophysics, don’t see it as a bad thing. They’re able to attract a good catch, which means your partner is hot property too. And best of all, they’ve now chosen you. Rather than viewing the ex as an ideal you can’t measure up to, be flattered that your other half now wants to be with you. Chances are you too are a total dreamboat and your partner clearly has excellent taste.

Recognise your own insecurities
If you have hang-ups about your partner’s previous relationship, perhaps you need to look at your own issues before assuming the ex is a threat. Are you projecting your own? If you’ve always regretted that C grade in GCSE maths, for example, you may be driving yourself crazy with jealousy over the fact the ex is a maths teacher. Or maybe you’ve received hurtful comments about your bingo wings in the past and are now fixating wildly on the ex’s Aniston-like arms. Concentrate on banishing your own self-doubt rather than dealing with someone who’s already in the past.

Get to know the ex
This won’t be appropriate in all circumstances, but if your partner is still good friends with a former flame, it might help to make friends too. Instead of viewing him or her merely as “the ex” you will get to know them as a person instead. Sometimes relationships come to an end leaving a friendship where the spark used to be. Befriending the ex will help you understand why your partner still wants to hang out without wanting to rekindle the romance. You may even acquire a new pal in the process.

Put the situation into perspective
If you’re default setting is worrier, it’s easy to let your mind go into overdrive and fixate on problems that aren’t really there. However significant your partner’s previous relationship was, remind yourself that it didn’t work out and that you’re the one now. It would be unrealistic to expect people not to have a past, and exes have a big influence. But think about your own position too. Would you be able to have a chat with your ex without wanting to get back together? If so, give your partner some credit for being able to do the same.