Jealousy can be an incredibly powerful thing. It can make you do things you wouldn't normally do, say things you wouldn't normally say, and jump to conclusions that you wouldn't normally jump to. But even though it can feel like a green-eyed monster on your shoulder, jealousy is also pretty normal feeling — especially when it comes to your relationship. But is it normal to be jealous of your partner's ex? You can love and trust your partner wholeheartedly, but if for some reason they give you cause for concern, getting to the bottom of why you're jealous is the most important part.
"It’s natural to feel some kind of stirring from being in touch with your partner’s former lover," Kim Anami, sex and relationship expert, tells Elite Daily. "That person was intimately connected with your partner, who now has your heart, and so you can easily wonder about how they were in the past. 'Was their connection as strong as ours?' 'Did they have as deep a love?'" It's normal to wonder these things, but it's when these thoughts begin to take over your life and your relationship that they have the potential result in problems with your SO.
While jealousy about your partner's ex is, to some extent, natural, figuring out where your jealousy stems from can be incredibly beneficial in moving past that little green-eyed monster. Dr. LeslieBeth Wish, licensed clinical psychotherapist, relationship expert, and author of the new book Training Your Love Intuition says there are three main reasons why you could be jealous of your partner's ex. First, it could stem from your past. "Your upbringing and your dating history have lodged in you powerful feelings of insecurity and mistrust of others," she tells Elite Daily. "You've struggled with your insecurity, and even when someone gives you no real reason to doubt their love for you, you still doubt it, test it, or pull back emotionally from them."
Another reason for your jealousy could come from how you and your partner began your relationship in the first place. Maybe one or both of you were in a relationship when you found each other, or your partner is someone who was initially "off-limits" to you, like a friend's ex. Either one of those things could result in your jealousy when it comes to your partner's ex, Dr. Wish explains. "These shaky beginnings can often plant seeds of doubt and fear that your partner could stray again."
Or it could be something else entirely. You may be getting vibes from your partner that they're still somewhat emotionally involved with their ex. But with that, it's important to remember that just because your partner is in contact with their ex, doesn't mean there are any romantic feelings anymore. "Perhaps they share children together," Dr. Wish points out. "Or, there are business and property issues that they share. Not all contact with an ex is a warning sign of mistrust."
Your jealousy could have several causes, but whatever it is, the best thing you can do is talk to bae. "Let your partner know your feelings," Dr. Wish advises. "Don't throw a fit. Discuss. Ask questions such as: 'What kind of feelings do you have for your ex?' 'What do you talk about?' 'Do you doubt my feelings for you?'" The critical part of this discussion, however, is that you don't approach your partner argumentatively or with hostility, she says. Be calm. You're more likely to get the truth out of your partner if your approach them about their ex in a non-defensive, purely concerned manner.
"Your best approach is to tell your partner that you love them, and that you trust each other to speak up when or if there are any problems, issues or doubts about being together," Dr. Wish says. "Trust is one of the main building blocks of happy, healthy relationships. Make sure you handle your expression of your doubts and fears in a healthy way, if the tables were turned."
But an even better approach to handling your jealousy about your partner's ex is to remind yourself that you are a total gem. Sure, maybe they were with their ex and they were in love, but they aren't anymore. They're with you! "Genuinely know your worth, and you make sure that other people treat you accordingly," Anami states. Granted, it could take some time to see yourself in such a bright light, but you can do it. It really is "a lifelong cultivation of self-love and belief in yourself, that you know that you are a catch," she says.