Dealing with your partners past: Am I a jealous boyfriend / girlfriend?

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Would you speak to your partner about his / her ex's?

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I can't think of my boyfriend / girlfriend with someone else

We all have ex's (unless you're part of the select few who have been dating since elementary school). Our partners have ex's. Ex's are part of life. We know that they are there. We know that they were there. We know that they exist... and yet the thought of my beloved having ever been with anyone else still makes my skin crawl.

Are you a jealous partner?

As part of his criteria for judging signs of jealousy tendencies, the world famous Dr Phil McGraw lists 'Are you jealous of every person who came into your spouses life before you?' as one of the warning sign questions to ask yourself. He then lists some solutions to the jealousy problem for both you (the jealous one) and your partner (the apparent victim of your jealousy). One of the solutions really stuck out for me:

"You teach people how to treat you. It may be working for your partner to be jealous because you are paying him/her off. They get a control fix every time you reassure them, every time you answer the phone to report on your whereabouts. If he/she calls you 10 times to check in on you, answer the phone once to offer information, then turn it off. Stop reinforcing their behavior." - Dr Phil

I am in no way close to being an iconic psychologist but I really don't see how that would make me feel any less jealous if in fact I was jealous (which I am not). No offense to Dr Phil but if anything, it would drive me crazy and ruin my relationship 10 times faster. Turning off the phone??? I find that rather disturbing but that's a discussion for another day...

Regarding the 'ex conversation', call it jealousy, call it possessiveness, call it an obsession but somehow in my ideal world I'd like to have been the one and only girl he's ever so much as kissed.


To know or not to know...

Sometimes it's hard to think of the fact that he has been with other women before me. I mean, I know that he has... he must have. Its torture just thinking about it, I can only imagine how much worse it would actually be to know for sure; to actually sit him down and ask him about his exes - how many women he was with before me, how many women he has kissed, how many women he has slept with... oh my gosh, he has slept with other women!

I observe people around me. I watch movies, reality shows, soap operas and comedies, and I see people blatantly ask their partners about their ex's. The thought shoots chills up my spine. Why would you possibly want to know all the gorey details? What really brave people they are...

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So... why would you do it?

In all honesty I can understand where they're coming from - why they would want to know or ask. I guess if you were being realistic you would see that an open and transparent relationship is the best way to go. Knowing everything about your partner can only draw you closer together. Knowing everything about him or her can only make you understand each other better.

How I see it...

If you look with your eyes you will see that having a transparent relationship is for the best. I can't do it though; I look with my heart and my heart just does not see it that way.

In reality I know there's been others before me. In the real world he has ex's. In the real world he's been in other relationships before me.
In my world, that's his past - I'm his present and his future. I'm not the one who taught him how to get his heart broken, how to get hurt, how to have regrets. I'm the one who taught him how to love with all his heart and get that love back in return, and how to commit fully to someone.

I may not have been his first but I'm his destiny, his last and his forever.

I know that he has had people in his past – they are part of his history. The truth of the matter is that the few years he spent in his past with ‘other people’ comes nowhere close to the forever he is spending with me. What is a second compared to a year? That’s the difference to me. Truth of the matter is; forever is a really long time.

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What do you think? 2 comments

Jade89 profile image

Jade89 3 years ago from Johannesburg - South Africa Author

You are so spot on! Wow!

I completely love your "I've never had a desire to sit down with anyone and go through their "list" of lovers and experiences. The way I see it is your past relationships were "practice relationships" for preparing for me! LOL!" comment! I love looking at it that way lol.

Regarding looking for something to argue about, it's so true! The hypothetical situation arguments are completely spot on too lol. I guess it's a case of something being 'too good to be true'. Maybe that's how the human mind functions... It's where all the 'petty arguments' come in too. It's like your mind tells you that nothing can be perfect so you look for all the imperfections.

The whole ex thing should be irrelevant really. No one should bring the past into the present (don't compare your present to your ex, punish your present for your ex's behavior or cross question your present regarding his or hers past ex's unnecessarily and definitely don't take offense regarding what you find out in so doing.)

Thanks for the input dashing!!! :)


dashingscorpio profile image

dashingscorpio 3 years ago

I believe it depends on the circumstance as to why one would ask their mate about an ex. Maybe their mate blames that relationship for how he or she behaves with you, they were hurt or cheated on. Oftentimes it is your partner who brings up their ex in passing. (I use to date a guy or girl that did blah blah) in relation to what the two of you witnessing or observing in the moment.

I've never had a desire to sit down with anyone and go through their "list" of lovers and experiences. The way I see it is your past relationships were "practice relationships" for preparing for me! LOL!

I have never been the kind of man who sought out virgins or women with little or no dating experience. I also have never played the game "Have you ever had a threesome or whatever ....etc"

In my eyes its like buying something and when you take it home you look for a reason to take it back. Since you can't find anything wrong with them in the "present" you look for something they did in the (past)!

I've even seen couples aruge over "hypothetical situations", What would you do if (blah blah blah) happened? It's as though they are looking for reasons (not) to enjoy the moment! Some people need a little drama I suppose. :-)

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