If you’re dating someone in their late twenties or thirties, it’s pretty inevitable that he or she will have some ex’s lurking around. It’s pretty common and not unusual. I’ve done it myself – checked up on my ex’s Instagram just to see he’s dating someone new and 30 minutes later I can tell you everything about the family trip she took to Bermuda back in 2014. It’s natural for one to be curious, but what’s imperative is that one is also respectful and that goes for all parties: your partner, his/her ex, and yourself… I’ll even throw family in the mix because I’ve dealt with that too.
My very first boyfriend out of high school was still not over his ex-girlfriend of 3 years. They were high school sweethearts and his family was obsessed with her. I never heard the end of it – I would see him and his family commenting on her photos telling her how pretty she was and how they missed her. They including himself still kept in contact with her and I couldn’t help but feel that I was always second best and that I would never compare. I began to question myself and wondered if I should mold myself to be more like her so that they could all like me. My ex-boyfriend would tell me all about her and even commented on her looks and how he wanted me to replicate it. Young and naive, I tried to fulfill his fantasy. Looking back now, I wish I had laughed in his face and walked away before things progressed further. I remember going to a party with him and bumping into her – she gave us our space but he started giving me mine. In a moment where I needed reassurance, I once again felt like I was #2.
I’ve had my fair share of ex’s and boyfriends with them too, and you will as well. It’s unavoidable. So here’s a list of some pointers that I wish I had when I was new to relationships and dealing with the ex files:
Calm TF Down
If your partner is truly committed to your relationship, he or she will have no problem introducing you to their ex as his woman or her man. Now if they don’t, you have every right to question the status of your relationship.
If his/her ex is bat-shit crazy, don’t stoop to their level. Remain cool, collected, elegant, and graceful. There’s nothing attractive about being overly insecure and competitive (because there should be no comparison in your eyes, you’re amazing just the way you are).
Your partner is with you for a reason. And they’re not together with their ex for a reason as well. Try not to let your brain go into overdrive with the what-if scenarios, the need to check his/her messages, or constantly bring it up. The past is the past unless your partner’s actions tell you otherwise.
Remember Who You Are
Do not, and I mean it, DO NOT change yourself into what you think your partner wants you to be. You are perfect and wonderful just the way you are and that is what attracted your partner to you in the first place. Do not start trying to dye your hair like his ex-lovers or get the same car that her ex-fiancé drove. You are not them nor should you ever try to be like them.
If you feel like your being put on a pedestal or are in competition – take a step back and focus on yourself and what you want and need out of this relationship. You should never have to question where you are in his or her heart after some period of time.
The only person you should be trying to impress is yourself. You always have to have your own back and at the end of the day, you’re all that you’ve got. So, like I always say, love yourself and don’t forget what you bring to the table.
Prep your partner for anything and everything. If you have a crazy ex-boyfriend that stalks you, let your man know so he isn’t surprised. If your ex-girlfriend is a family friend and will be at all the family functions, don’t hide it.
If you are uncomfortable with your partner keeping in touch with his/her ex – speak up about your boundaries. Every breakup and relationship is different, don’t shy away from having the uncomfortable conversations.
Make sure you and your ex both have closure with the past. It can be a huge barrier not only for the relationship but for personal growth.
Relationships, breakups, and exes aren’t easy… but they’re part of the package. It’s important to know your worth and that your partner does too. I once had a man tell me how amazing he thought his first love was and how he compared every woman to her. He believed that she could do no wrong and that she was the ideal woman/wife. I sat back and wondered if I would ever be able to measure up. But then I realized that if he truly valued and loved me he wouldn’t have compared me to her. He would’ve seen that I was the best and wouldn’t want me to think otherwise.
You see, after all my toxic relationships and horrific dates in the past, I’ve grown to appreciate and love myself when others couldn’t. The man that I choose to be with and allow into my life will admire, praise, and think the world of me. And I refuse to feel anything less than what I deserve, and you should too.