Many people will be familiar with the experience of being in a relationship and everything’s going great…then, all of a sudden, they get hit by a wave of retroactive jealousy.
Maybe a Facebook memory pops up on their partner’s phone of a birthday dinner with an ex. Or maybe you’re having a few drinks together and talking about past sexual experiences, and your partner mentions a crazy one-night stand they had at a party.
It’s natural to feel inadequacy and anxiety when these things come up. Everyone knows it’s pretty nasty to talk to your partner about your exes too much unless they ask.
Even so, it’s unavoidable for the topic of past relationships to be brought up from time to time, particularly in an age of social media where people comment on things and “1 year ago” memories are at the top of your feed.
Even though feelings of retroactive jealousy are common, they’re not talked about much. Being a jealous partner carries connotations of being crazy, and no one wants to be that guy.
So this is how you avoid retroactive jealousy:
1.Be logical about it.
Realistically, the only thing that matters is there here and now. Even if your boyfriend was with his ex for several years, and you’ve only been with him for six months, your relationship is automatically more important and real because it exists in the here and now. If he didn’t want to be with you, he wouldn’t be.
2. Put yourself in your partner’s shoes.
You probably have an ex too, right? How often do you think about them? Hopefully, not very often. And you know that you have reasons for the break-up. If your partner was worried about your ex at all, you’d think that was a bit silly because they have no reason to be concerned about some loser guy you dated a while back. If you trust your partner, think about the fact that their situation is probably very similar.
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3. Do NOT stalk your partner’s ex’s social media.
However tempting this may be, you aren’t going to have a good time doing this! People only post their very best selves on social media, so the only pictures you’re going to see are of them looking good. Their social media shouldn’t matter to you and will only make you feel insecure, so resist the urge to dig.
4. Talk to your partner about your feelings (maybe).
Communication is always a good strategy in relationships. Just make sure that you address it right, so they don’t feel like you’re angry at them for simply having an ex, which they certainly can’t do anything about. Ask them to help you understand why they’re no longer together, and let them reassure you.