How to Stop Worrying About Your S.O.'s Exes

Exes are the elephant in the room in any relationship.

They were a big part of your significant other's life at one point, meaning you're automatically intrigued and uneasy about them. And while it's totally normal to be interested in your S.O.'s past romantic history, there's definitely a point when worrying about your partner's exes can reach an unhealthy degree.

If you're spending way too much time stressing out about your S.O.'s past, keep scrolling for our best tips on how to let go of your ex-obsession.

1. Understand That It Didn't Work for a Reason

When thinking about your S.O.'s prior relationships, it's important to remember that their past romantic partners are exes for a reason. There was something that didn't work right in their relationship, ultimately leading to their breakup. Whatever that might have been—different values, the wrong timing or just a general lack of feelings—there was some aspect of their relationship that left them unfulfilled. If they're dating you now, it's because they see something in you that they didn't find in their ex, so you can take solace in the fact that their prior relationships were missing something that you're able to provide.

The Vampire Diaries: Damon, Stefan and Elena

(The Vampire Diaries via The CW)

 

2. Get All Your Questions Out

Unfortunately, the age-old mantra "the only way out is through" also applies to dealing with your partner's exes. You're only going to be able to let go of your fears about their past relationships if you know the whole story. So get all your questions out—ask your S.O. everything you've ever wondered about their ex—and then let it go. If you know the whole story, you won't spend all your time wondering about what might have happened between them. The key here, however, is to ask each question only once, and then quit bringing up the conversation. If you keep rehashing the details of their past relationships, your partner is definitely going to get frustrated. Plus, obsessively mentioning their ex is literally the opposite of moving past it, which is what you're trying to do.

 

3. Realize How Much They Care for You

Worrying about your partner's exes usually stems from a sense of insecurity on your part. You imagine that you're not as pretty, smart or charming as their ex, or that you might repeat the same mistakes that led to the end of their relationship. The best way to counteract those negative feelings is to focus on how much your partner truly cares for you. They've chosen to be with you for a reason. They care about you enough to commit to a relationship with you, meaning they obviously see your value—so why can't you value yourself as well? Your partner is dating you because they have feelings for you, not their ex. Allowing their ex to take up space in your mind only serves to detract from the potential happiness and growth of your own relationship.

Betty and Jughead

(Riverdale via The CW)

 

4. Think About Your Own Ex

Sometimes the best way to move past something is to take a moment and put yourself in someone else's shoes. In this case, that requires thinking about your feelings for your own ex. It's likely that you have some emotion leftover, whether positive or negative, but those feelings are probably not romantic. What's more, you're not spending all your time comparing your current partner to your ex, so why do you assume that's what your partner is doing? It's likely that your partner's ex rarely crosses their mind, and if they do any thought about their prior relationship probably ranges from annoyance to apathy. They're not spending their time bringing their ex into your relationship, so you shouldn't, either.

 

5. Understand That You Have a Choice

Obsessing over your S.O.'s ex is totally driven by emotion, and not the good kind. There are usually feelings of insecurity, jealousy and anxiety that cause you to spend all your time worrying about your partner's past relationship. Emotions are strong and pervasive, oftentimes causing you to imagine that you have no control over the way you're feeling, but that's just not true. You are in charge of yourself, which also means that you're in charge of your emotions. And when it comes to dealing with an S.O.'s ex, you have to choose not to worry about it. It's not easy or simple, but it is possible. Not to mention, choosing to let it go and put your worries aside is the only way you're truly going to be able to stop your obsession.

 

Not sure if you've crossed the line from normal worries about an ex to obsession? Click HERE for five subtle signs you're obsessed with your S.O.'s ex.