1. You don’t get unconditional, lasting love without forgiveness. The path to Happily Ever After is paved in acceptance and forgiveness—and not the piecemeal kind. If you want a healthy long-term relationship, you can’t pick and choose which pieces of your partner’s past to accept while dismissing others (like that one particularly loathsome cunt they almost proposed to in college) as repugnant or unmentionable. Instead, you have to figure out how to accept the entire complicated package that is your significant other, including every single difficult-to-stomach romantic
mistake choice they’ve ever made.
2. The fact that your significant other once dated someone you have a hard time not hating doesn’t constitute a character “con.” Maybe certain things about some of your partner’s exes—what they do for a living, how they dress, or the fact that they’re vegan—make you want to swallow a pound of sharp pins and chase it with a giant glass of bleach. Truth is, your partner is no less worthy of love and respect just because they dated someone with unfortunate taste in food, or footwear. (It’s not like they’re still with any of those weirdos anyway.)
3. You probably don’t even really know any of your partner’s exes. You can cyberstalk all you want and demand answers to all the prying questions you can conceive as you tumble down the rabbit hole of wondering-what-your-lover’s-life-was-like-with-that-other-person-whose-name-you-dare-not-speak-aloud, but unless you happen to know your partner’s exes personally, all the information you gather amounts to a shoddy, super low pixelated picture of an individual.
4. It’s idiotic to hate someone you don’t know. Why bother devoting any time or energy to despising a person you don’t even know? It sounds absolutely ridiculous. Because it is! You’re above that kind of spite—starting now.
5. Harboring resentment is actually bad for your health. Consider how good it feels to entertain kind thoughts, and, conversely, how horrible it feels to wallow in negativity. Bitterness isn’t healthy for your mind or body, so why let your imagination concoct angry narratives centering people your partner dated before you, the obvious upgrade to all priors, entered the picture?
6. Envy is totally unbecoming. If preserving your mental and physical health isn’t incentive enough to stop you from resorting to ex-loathing, consider the fact that fixating on your partner’s past romantic “mistakes” is downright ugly. Yes, a little reciprocal jealousy can be beneficial to a relationship. But obsessing over your partner’s exes is a sign of acute jealousy rooted in insecurity, which is entirely unattractive. On the other hand, self-confidence is undoubtedly sexy.
7. Remember, you have exes too. Trust me, your partner doesn’t enjoy thinking about you spooning—let alone fucking—anyone else. It’s just as easy for them to fall into the vortex of ex-resentment. On the upside of such toxicity, the reality is that you’re in the exact same boat. You can either let your shared concerns tear you apart, or tackle any unwanted ew moments as a couple, growing closer as you help each other overcome your true feelings.
8. Whether you like it or not, your significant other is an accumulation of ALL their life experiences, including times spent with all those irksome exes. Each of us is on an ongoing journey of personal growth comprised of everything that ever happens to us. Insulting your partner’s exes is tantamount to rejecting tiny portions of their personal history—and, by extension, who they are as a person today as a result—which is pretty fucking rude if you think about it.
9. You’re the person chosen by the most evolved version of your boyfriend or girlfriend. The person your partner is today is more mature, well educated, and awesomer than the person they were when they chose to date all those other people before you. So think of yourself as an upgrade—half of the most state-of-the art coupledom either of you has ever been a part of. All those other dalliances amount to nothing compared to the long stretch of future happiness that looms before you two highly evolved lovers.
10. If you feed it, contempt will actually kill your relationship. Nurturing disdain for any aspect of your partner, including their past romantic escapades, is like releasing a slow-moving but deadly flesh-eating disease in the petri dish encasing your bond. Maybe you cringe at the thought of your boyfriend or girlfriend’s involvement with one of their exes in particular, no matter how hard you try to reframe your attitude. You can’t believe that someone you’re with ever connected to someone you so revile. Either find it in your heart to get over it, or move on. Because scornful thinking is dangerous. It inevitably oozes into every other area of your life as a couple, tainting all the good stuff that brought you together in the first place.