Entering into a new romantic relationship is often fun, exciting, and extremely rewarding, especially during the “honeymoon stage.” If you are in a relationship but find it difficult to focus on anything other than your partner’s ex, it may be time to do a bit of self-reflection.
Feeling jealous, angry, bitter, or sad any time you think of your partner’s ex is typically indicative of insecurities that may interfere with your relationship if they are not addressed.
Learning to get over your obsession with your partner’s ex will help you to move past any hangups that are keeping you from a truly fulfilling relationship.
1. Accept that curiosity is a normal part of human nature.
Being naturally curious is part of human nature. From the time we are children, we begin to explore and learn about the world around us in everything we do. As we get older, our curiosity doesn’t necessarily fade away, but it may redirect itself to fit our way of life as we reach adulthood.
Unfortunately, this can lead you to feel unnecessarily jealous, curious, or interested in subjects and/or people that are not pertinent to your daily life or relationships. If you find yourself having an unhealthy obsession with your partner’s ex, it is first important to accept that it is okay to be naturally curious, especially when it comes to people your partner dated before you.
It is important to understand that curiosity in itself is perfectly natural, and often something that cannot be ignored or suppressed. When you feel the urge to begin researching or learning more about the ex of your partner, assess why you might feel this way. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Why am I so curious about my partner’s ex? Do I feel insecure with my partner? If so, why? What reasons do I have for feeling the way I do?
- Are there incidents in my own past that may contribute to the way I feel about my partner’s ex? How can I identify them and stop them from interfering with the relationship(s) I currently have?
- Do I have a personal connection to my partner’s ex? Why am I so curious about my partner’s ex? Is there a way I can disconnect and/or distance myself from these feelings?
2. Assess your own self-esteem and confidence.
Oftentimes, feelings of resentment, bitterness, and even jealousy stem from an individual’s own lack of self-esteem, self-worth, and confidence. If you are feeling obsessed with your partner’s ex, assess your own inner feelings of confidence and self-worth. Ask yourself the following questions to determine if you need to spend more time looking inward—rather than outward—for answers:
- How comfortable am I in my own skin? Do I love myself, both inside and out?
- How can I help myself to feel more sure of who I am?
- Do I feel safe, secure, and confident when I am around my partner? How does my partner make me feel?
- Does my partner make me feel as if I am enough? If not, how can I communicate this to him or her?
- How can I communicate my feelings to my partner without ostracizing them or causing more friction than is necessary?
- What exercises or activities can I do to help with boosting my own self-confidence and self-esteem?
- Are there underlying issues, such as past relationships, experiences, or even traumas that I need to address before I can feel whole and complete again?
While it is not always easy or comfortable to be honest with yourself, it is often necessary for any true progress in life, especially when it comes to building positive, healthy, and long-lasting relationships. When you are honest with yourself and work towards loving yourself, you are less likely to focus on others, including those who were romantically involved with your partner in the past.
3. Consider your wants and needs for the relationship.
Whenever you find yourself obsessed with or drawn towards an ex of a partner, it is important to take a step back and assess your own wants, needs, and desires when it comes to your relationship. Are you happy and fulfilled in your relationship? Do you want more out of the relationship than you currently have with your partner?
Assessing your wants, needs, and any future vision you have with your partner is essential whenever you begin to feel hung up on a partner’s ex. If you are not happy, or if you are feeling unsatisfied in your relationship, you may begin turning your focus to other areas of your partner’s life, such as their ex-partners and their own failings, rather than focusing on what will make you happy in the long run.
If your partner has expressed that they are still not over their ex or that they still have romantic feelings for their ex, there is a good reason for you to feel lost, confused, and conflicted. By addressing your own wants and needs, you can avoid wasting any more time than necessary in your current relationship.
4. Ask yourself why you are obsessed with your partner’s ex.
Do you know why you are hyper-focused on your partner’s ex? Are you willing to admit the reasons why you cannot stop thinking about your partner’s ex? Making a list of issues and/or stressors that are causing you to become obsessed with your partner’s ex will help you to get back on track as quickly as possible.
Ask yourself why you are obsessed with your partner’s ex and why it matters to you so much. Some reasons that may lead you to investigate, research, and even “stalk” your partner’s ex may include:
- Your partner has admitted to struggling with getting over his/her ex.
- Your partner still praises their ex frequently.
- Your boyfriend or girlfriend still communicates regularly with their ex, with or without informing you.
- You discover that your partner’s ex is still communicating with them via social media with likes and private messages.
- Your partner’s ex has made comments about you.
- You feel as if there is an unresolved tension between your partner and their ex.
Knowing how to identify and address issues that lead you to feel obsessed with your partner’s ex is the fastest way to stop them from arising in the first place.
5. Discuss your feelings openly with your partner.
Without communication, a relationship is not likely to last or to work out. If you are unable to communicate openly with your current partner, you are unlikely to have a long future together.
Discuss the feelings you are having about your partner’s ex with him or her directly. Confront any unwanted or unhealthy feelings you are experiencing by talking about them honestly and openly with your partner. Being open is one of the best ways to become closer with your partner while simultaneously airing grievances, rather than allowing them to fester into resentments.
Talk about how you feel regarding your partner’s ex and why you might be experiencing those emotions. Discuss why you believe you feel this way, and what your partner can do to help alleviate these feelings. Allow your partner to share his or her own feelings on the matter, even if they are not entirely your own. Allowing your partner to share his or her side of the story is extremely healthy and beneficial, especially when you are both working toward the same goal of eliminating friction and jealousy from the relationship altogether.
6. Cut off any form of contact with your partner’s ex.
If you find yourself searching for information on your partner’s ex, snooping through their social media, or even digging into conversations and relationships they have in their own lives, it may be time to cut off any form of contact with them. Blocking, removing, and deleting them from social media pages can help reduce your chances of deep-diving into their life when it is unnecessary and unhealthy.
If your partner is still communicating with their ex-partner regularly and it has become problematic for you, it is time to have a serious conversation with each other. While many individuals may be fine with their partners communicating with exes, it is important to share your own feelings if this is unacceptable to you for any reason.
If your partner does not agree to reduce or cut contact with his or her ex, you will have to make the decision that is right for you.
If your partner does not wish to cut contact with their ex, it is also advisable to consider the reason. In some cases, a partner will need to keep in touch with an ex-partner due to a child custody agreement or joint parenting. Coming in between a partner and their children is not optimal, especially if you are interested in continuing the relationship with your current partner. If your partner communicates with an ex that is also a shared parent of their child, it is best to work on improving a civil and amicable relationship with the ex yourself.
7. Avoid using the internet to research, snoop, and stalk.
If you are unable to steer clear of the pages or profiles that your partner’s ex has, it may be time to take a step back from social media for an extended period of time. Taking a break from social media and the internet can help you to find balance and refocus on what is most important to your partner and your current relationship.
Avoid using the internet to Google, snoop, or stalk your partner’s ex, no matter how tempted you may feel. By giving in to temptation, you are focusing on an area of your relationship that will only foster feelings of guilt, shame, jealousy, anger, bitterness, and resentment. Rather than spending your time researching your partner’s ex online, take the time to focus on building and nurturing the relationship you have with one another. The more connected you feel with your partner, the less likely you are to find yourself wrapped up in and involved with negative feelings towards your partner’s ex.
8. Work on improving your own insecurities.
One of the best ways to get over your obsession with your partner’s ex is to work on yourself as well as your own insecurities. When we feel insecure, we are more likely to point the finger at others, place blame on others, and allow ourselves to feel inferior. When you work on boosting your own self-esteem and addressing insecurities that are interfering with your relationships as well as your way of life, you will regain the confidence and control necessary to direct your life in a positive way.
Some ways to begin working on your own insecurities may include:
- Addressing your own internal, emotional, and physical issues.
- Acknowledging and addressing past trauma(s) that contribute to your insecurities and current relationship issues.
- Forgive yourself for past mistakes and behaviors while accepting that life is about change and growth.
- Meditate and incorporate positive affirmations into your daily routine.
- Exercise regularly and at least for 30 minutes a day, even if you are simply walking or getting your steps in.
- Practice mindfulness and remember to remain grateful for the little things in life.
- Discover new hobbies and interests that ignite passion in your soul.
- Spend more time focusing on hobbies and interests that bring joy and passion to your life. That way, you will have less time to focus on other people—including your partner’s ex.
- Use your free time to build the skills and talents that are most important and relevant to you.
- Involve your partner with your newfound hobbies and interests to help you bond and to keep from focusing on your partner’s ex.
When you spend time focusing inward rather than focusing on individuals and past relationships that are out of your control, you feel more assertive and confident in your own life. When you feel confident and know your self-worth, you can spend more time focusing on the good that you already have in your life.
9. Remember that your partner’s past relationships did not work out for a reason.
When you are dealing with an unhealthy obsession with a partner’s ex, it is important to remain mindful and self-aware during the situation. It is important to remember that your partner’s past relationship with their ex ended for a reason. While it is tempting to hold onto past relationships, behaviors, and actions, the past is simply the past. Once you make a decision to forgive the past and move on, you can begin living in the present and in the moment with your partner, free from nagging, unhealthy obsessions.
Dealing with a partner’s ex is not always a pleasant or transparent experience, especially if your current partner is not open and honest about his or her past. If you are struggling with getting over an obsession with a partner’s ex, take the time to reflect on your own wants and needs as well as any insecurities that may be causing you to feel like you are not enough.
When you feel confident and positive about your relationship, you are less likely to feel threatened or insecure, even when thinking about your partner’s exes.