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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.
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
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?