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How to Deal With Jealousy When Your Boyfriend Sees His Ex

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Your boyfriend is meeting his ex, and it stings. You know he loves you, but what if he’s still emotionally attached to his ex-girlfriend or ex-wife? What if they fall in love again, or sleep together, or rediscover their old feelings for each other? What if your boyfriend’s meeting with his ex turns into more than an innocent visit?

I remember those days (months, maybe even a couple of years!) of feeling jealous because of my husband’s ex-girlfriend. He lived with her for six years. She gave him a cat. I loved the cat, but was still jealous of his past relationship with her — especially when he (my boyfriend at the time) met with her. It took time for me to break free from my jealousy, but I did! I’m totally over it — and you can be, too.

It’s normal to feel jealous when your boyfriend meets his ex-girlfriend or ex-wife. “Sometimes, old, unfinished relationships come back to haunt and take precedence over the current one,” writes therapist Randi Gunther, author of Relationship Saboteurs: Overcoming the Ten Behaviors that Undermine Love. “A couple who could once speak openly and authentically to each other suddenly cannot speak their truth or listen openly anymore because of a threat neither anticipated. Negative issues that were once only a small fraction of the relationship slowly overwhelm what positive experiences once counteracted them. Betrayals happen. Promises don’t pan out. And dreams change.”

It’s normal and even healthy to feel jealous pangs when your boyfriend meets his ex. It’s crucial to deal with jealous feelings in healthy ways, or your jealousy of his past relationship will sabotage your relationship.

The first thing you need to do is deal with your own feelings of insecurity, fear, and jealousy. I wasn’t just jealous when my boyfriend met his ex for lunch; I felt insecure and scared he still wanted to be with her. I was worried he wasn’t over her, that he and she would fall into their old relationship or even feel sexual attraction again.

When Your Boyfriend Meets His Ex and You’re Green With Jealousy

Here’s what a reader said about dealing with the jealous feelings she experiences when her boyfriend sees his ex-girlfriend:

“My boyfriend assures me he loves me and only wants to be with me,” says a reader on How to Stop Obsessing About Your Ex. “His relationship with his ex-girlfriend is over and they will never be romantic again. But why does he feel he needs to keep her in his life? Why does my boyfriend need to meet with his ex, and why does she not let him go? It is starting to really make me crazy!”

I let my imagination run wild because I was scared he’d leave me for her. I refused to admit I felt jealous and insecure – but I did. If you feel the same way, these tips on how to deal with jealousy may help.

Know why your boyfriend is meeting his ex-girlfriend

My husband genuinely cares for his ex-girlfriend. He feels a little responsible for her, and wants to see her happy and stable. He meets his ex-girlfriend for lunch every couple of years, is still returning her books and random belongings. He updates her on the cat she gave him. My husband kept reassuring me that meeting with his ex meant nothing – she was a person from his past that he once loved. He just didn’t want to just cut her out of his life.

How to Cope With Jealousy When Your Boyfriend Sees His Ex
How to Cope With Jealousy When Your Boyfriend Sees His Ex

After six years of being happily married, I now see that it’s all true. His ex-girlfriend isn’t a threat; she’s just a part of his past. My husband’s purpose for meeting her for lunch or coffee is innocent: she is someone from his past that he loved and lived with for years. He enjoyed meeting with his ex and catching up on her life.

Some boyfriends or husbands stay connected with their ex-girlfriends or ex-wives because they’re raising children together. That can raise its own problems, especially if the ex-wife isn’t a nice woman! Read 6 Tips for Dealing With Your Husband’s Ex-Wife.

However, sometimes it’s not healthy when your boyfriend meets with his ex…

Recognize when when your boyfriend is contacting his ex too often

There’s a big difference between your boyfriend meeting his ex-girlfriend once every couple of years versus talking to her on the phone every day. One reader said, “I saw on my boyfriend’s phone that they spoke twice yesterday. He has yet to disclose this to me personally. I don’t know if he met his ex or not.”

She and her boyfriend agreed that he would tell her when he spoke or met his ex. My husband and I had the same agreement — but he said it was very difficult for him to tell me when he met or spoke to his ex. He didn’t want to hurt me, or to make me feel jealous, insecure, or scared.

If your boyfriend is talking to or meeting his ex twice a day, it’s too much. You have every right to be jealous! What are his reasons for staying connected with his ex-girlfriend?

Don’t let anyone call you crazy

Some girlfriends feel crazy often because their boyfriends tell them they’re overreacting. “You’re jealous because I’m meeting my ex?” a boyfriend might ask. “But nothing is going on. I love you, and you know it. You have nothing to be jealous of, you’re being unreasonable.”

If you’re confused about how you should feel about your boyfriend meeting his ex-girlfriend or ex-wife, talk about your thoughts and feelings with someone you trust. Talk to someone who knows you, who can help you sort through your jealous feelings. If your feelings of jealous are out of control and you really do feel like you’re going crazy because your boyfriend is meeting his ex, consider talking to a counselor. He or she can give you an objective perspective on both your feelings and your relationship.

Sometimes women are jealous and don’t trust their boyfriends for good reasons. Read 10 Signs of a Bad Relationship to learn more.

Be honest with your boyfriend about feeling jealous when he meets his ex

Tell your boyfriend that his meeting or talking to his ex-girlfriend makes you jealous, uncomfortable, or anxious. Be as honest as you can bear. If you tell your boyfriend how you feel — no matter how painful it is or vulnerable you feel — then you’re being your true self with him. And that’s good.

However, don’t assume or expect your boyfriend to change his mind about meeting his ex. If he’s talking to his his ex-wife about their custody or alimony arrangements, for example, he can’t cancel the meeting because you’re jealous. If he’s meeting his ex-girlfriend for family or other important reasons, you can’t expect him to change everything because of your jealousy.

If he can, a loving boyfriend will change his behavior to make his girlfriend happy. However, it’s not always possible to make the changes a jealous girlfriend wants. You need to decide if this is a “make or break” situation. Is this a relationship deal breaker, in other words? If you can’t stand that your boyfriend is meeting with his ex-girlfriend, then you might need to consider breaking up with him.

Get emotionally and spiritually healthy

How to Cope With Jealousy When Your Boyfriend Meets His Ex
Coping With Jealous Feelings When Your Boyfriend Meets His Ex

The best way to deal with jealousy if your boyfriend often meets his ex-wife is to grow a strong sense of self-worth and value outside of your relationship. Are you spiritually grounded in God, emotionally healthy, and socially happy? Can you recognize and stop unhealthy thought patterns? Is your jealousy caused by your own low self-esteem, or is your boyfriend meeting with his ex for unhealthy reasons? Getting emotionally and spiritually healthy will help you answer those questions.

If you’re meant to be with your boyfriend, then your relationship will work out if you and he are both willing to work together. My husband was patient and loving with my feelings of jealousy, and I eventually realized that he was meeting with his ex because he really is a kind, caring, loving man. I learned how to trust him, and how to recognize my own unhealthy emotions. Don’t let your feelings ruin your relationship with your boyfriend.

Your comments – big and little – are welcome below. How are you dealing with your jealousy when your boyfriend meets his ex?


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82 thoughts on “How to Deal With Jealousy When Your Boyfriend Sees His Ex”

  1. What if we have hit a bump and i feel like i might have pushed him away bc of my displeasure of him being friendly with his ex. It’s pretty much the same…he is a kind man that wants to make sure she’s okay and bc he helps people. I have NO wrries about his faithfulness. I told him (and acted) jealous bc he was contacting her and i want him to contact me instead. I feel left out and semi replaced. He is frustrated with me bc it’s been a few terrible days with me not being able to let it go. I am more than willing to work on my issues and let it go. we are still technically together but something has changed. How can I do damage control??

  2. We met accidentally. But then with time when I get to know him little by little I enjoyed life with him. I was so proud that he is mine, even I boasted to people about that. Among all our friends, we are the ideal mature couple. 2016 was the most precious year of my life. We enjoyed life a lot. After 8 years of affair we married. But then… My beloved Husband cheated me when I was not physically available to him.

    Even though I was happy with him, he was not happy with me. He wanted some physical interaction which I felt not good before marriage, and refused. So that grudges made the biggest mistake in my life. I was married to an unsatisfied boyfriend even without being noticed to me. I was not planning but I was determined that I will do whatever sexual activities with my husband after marriage. But I didn’t get much chance for that, as he was already gone abroad.

    That is ok. People make mistakes. Not once, but repeated mistakes over 1 and a half years people make mistakes.But still as I love him a lot I still can be with him forgiving, if he wants me to. I was so comfortable to run away from him as I feel if he is ok with another woman, why I am there just for the sake of being married. They had this agreement that peper signage is not what love is. So i am the paper marriage and she is the true love.But as per his logic, he is a polyamory personality who is able to love more than one at a time without sacrificing others. It may be a magical talent some people get which I have not got.

    All this is not the problem. This is just the background of my problem. I am still good and agreed to forgive him as he frequently telling me that he made a big mistake in life. So if he stopped cheating me, If I have forgiven him for cheating me, If I admitted that I wasn’t satisfying his sexual needs before/after marriage which is the cause for this problem as he says .. why can’t we live a peaceful life… Because the challengers are still not over.

    Me being surprised for what he did to me took some time for me to understand the problem fully and calm down.Coz for the first few months I got information day by day about what has been going on with them, what actually they have done together. But then what wife on earth can see your husband is working/ traveling/ eating/gossiping/ enjoying together with the woman he cheated me on. That is me…that wife on earth is me…

    Why should I have to be unshaken after seeing them together. Coz, he is not doing anything wrong now. He is not having sex with her now, but he is working with her. He is not kissing her, but he is taking breakfast/lunch/snacks with her and offers his lunch box to her which I think he is eating. He is not giving promises to her but he is driving with her, and basically there for her in the day time. He is not loving her as a life partner, but wants to be there as a work partner for life time.

    My husband is a workaholic. It does not mean he only works. He manage time with family and fun activities too. He spends time with me and take enormous effort to make me feel good by offering jokes. But, work is his life, if he loses what he likes to do in work, that will be a major shock in his life. So this girl he was in love with is a big pillar in his work life, she has helped him to be what he is. Therefore, if she was taken out from his life it can be a big collapse in his life. So, If I am really good, I should let them work together. Even if I am not good, I have no option.

    But, how the hell I will be happy when they are together. Why I get upset when I see him enjoying life with her. This is my problem. After all the things solved with him, I am intolerant to see them together. They say they are work partners only. But he never wanted to leave her alone as they are so called “best friends”. Some people are friends in life which cannot be broken by any means. They help each other, they work with each other, they build themselves up, they defend each other. It is good and he if gifted to have precious friend like her. But, if everyone is good to have good friends, what is my problem to mind my own business.

    This is where I am right now. I am struggling with my feelings. I am trying to mind my own business. I am trying just to talk to and think about and enjoy with the people who are physically present around me. Coz, if otherwise, i will be disturbing people to work. If I get upset about what is going on and if I tend to think that my husband will understand my situation, as i think i am doing a big scarification, then that is the biggest mistake I am doing over and over again.

    I may feel bad, I may have hatred for her, I may feel awkward, I may feel sad, anything is not his problem, All these are my problems. I am in a struggle to cope with my feelings. It is my problem. He is not responsible for my problems. So it shouldn’t even be communicated to him. I need to talk to myself and find a solution for this.

    I feel good when she is not around, I feel bad when she is around. How powerful this girl is. Yes she is powerful. She is not beautiful, but she may be beautiful to him. She may be opportunist, but she is the kindest to him. She is not quite adorable, but she is childish to him. Wait wait wait… who this she is to me. Why she is important to me. This can be another girl if it was not her. So am i going to hate all the girls around. That is not what I should do.

    I can be thankful to my parents for raising me. I can be thankful to my husband for living with me even after he had the opportunity to live with his true love. Oh god he did a big scarification on me. So if is not only me doing the scarification. He is doing a big scarification, He must be missing her love. So we both are struggling in our own ends for what?

    He is going through a gig work pressure in his life. So I should not tell him my problems which is going through my head. It is better that I write it down like this rather than ruining his life. This is how I am talking to myself. But I feel enough of this pain sometimes. But I can’t leave him too.

    He is the best husband anyone can have. He is funny, good looking, helpful, good with my friends, kind, lovable to parents, do not panic for any problem other than this problem, smart, on the winning side, genius, thinks about others, good company, make sure everybody is enjoying life when they are physically around him. But he forgets who is not around him except for special cases like his mother, siblings and pets. People who are physically present are going to have all the advantages of him.
    Now I think I am doing through a major depression, which I don’t think a doctor would heal other than eating some of our money. I sometimes wish I could run away from his, but I fell for his love. I do not have the guts to leave him. But I can live my life independently, which the way he likes too. Coz, now things are turning to my side that I do not allow him to work peacefully. Me being unhappy is making him suffer and do not him to work. Therefore I am not allowed to express myself out. I am not allowed to be sad, it can turn against me for doing the wrong to this family. I can’t be independent for my sadness, it is shared between the two. But still for all other things I can be independent.

    I can feel like he is falling for her. Even if not, I am not the good sex giver. So I can be cheated again too. So I need to keep my gaps with him. I am not going to have a child for life, which will make me more helpless towards him. I wish I can live this life happily one day. But If all this is because my mistakes, I will never be able to. Then what is the meaning of this life.May be help other people before I die, doesn’t matter what husband you live with or, how he treats you. Think this is your last day of life.

  3. Thank you for the positive note on this topic. I think it is important for me to understand that my new partner is a kind and sweet man.

    We have been only dating 2.5 months now but he just started being open about his meetups with his ex-wife. They share a child together and he helped raise her other child too. Now they go to birthday gigs and shopping together. I see he’s trying to fit us both in and I think it tiring for him at times. I do fear there is lingering love as opposed to just a friendship. Perhaps both but he is making life plans with me and is kind and gentle. I think their relationship is mature and admirable though my past relationships have perhaps developed insecurities within me. I am curious to know how you approached conversations with your husband in regards to this topic. How long did it take before he opened up about her? And, how long before you meet her?

  4. He left his wife of 35 yrs to be with me. We were first loves before he met her.we been together a yr and half.he is going to his daughter’s this weekend to visit his grandchildren and his dog who his wife wont let him see without her present.they did sleep with each other during the time we were together trying to see if he was doing the right thing by leaving her,I get that a yr later he will be seeing her again..I’m so distraught thinking he will be with her

  5. His ex likes every post of his social media, and she would click love on his Facebook if I liked the posts. From time to time they went grocery shopping in the weekends and her letters are still posted to his address. She went to his place in some weekends as she missed the cat they shared. They even celebrated his birthday the day after his birthday. Her birthday is coming up this Thursday, and he told me he has work dinner which I am not sure if to believe it or not.
    She rang last Saturday when we had dinner but he didn’t answer the call.

    I spoke to him about my concern weeks ago and he said he just feels responsible to her as she claimed her depression is caused by their broke-up 4 years ago. And he ensuring me that they are just friends and he will not get back to her. However I still feel insecure and anxious. I’m actually feeling nervous as worrying he is celebrating her birthday this Thursday and I might find out he lies to me.

  6. this woman calls on holidays and at lease what seems to me every other day asking can he come outside his answer is yes just let me know when l get filled with anger and feel disrespected

  7. I met my boyfriend threw my friend he was trying to get her back. Then we got together I have noticed he watches her ALOT when we are all together but says it’s all in my head. She and her boyfriend has said it’s very uncomfortable for them but when confronted he gets very defensive. I feel I should let him be but at same time I love him and he says he loves me. Please help me