Why Am I Jealous of My Boyfriend's Ex? 5 Things to Do When Your Boyfriend's Ex-Girlfriend Makes You Feel Insecure

Updated on June 13, 2019
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Jorge's relationship advice is based on experience and observation. He's seen many people—including himself—get seduced and hurt by love.

Jealous of your boyfriend's ex? So am I; she's (he's?) the greatest!
Jealous of your boyfriend's ex? So am I; she's (he's?) the greatest!

Why Are You Jealous of Your Boyfriend's Ex?

Maybe you ran into your boyfriend's ex recently, and you were surprised to find yourself seething with jealousy.

It's over between them, so rationally you have nothing to worry about, right? Still, you couldn't help but notice that your boyfriend's ex is...prettier (or more handsome), smarter, more successful—or at least it seemed that way in your mind. At any rate, it made you start to question yourself.

Now, it is true that your partner's ex may indeed be better than you in every way, but that's almost certainly not the case. After all, they broke up for a reason! What's probably much more likely is that you are blowing up her attributes in your mind, as human beings tend to do, because you're not fully secure in the relationship.

More importantly, you may also not be fully secure in yourself. Even though you may be feeling negative emotions right now, you may actually be able to use this crappy situation as an opportunity to learn about yourself and improve your life.

How? Well, if you feel jealous of your boyfriend's ex and don't know why, take a look at the five suggestions below and try implementing them as soon as you can—before you drive yourself crazy.

What to Do When You feel Insecure About Your Boyfriend's Ex

  1. First, figure out if the ex is trying to make you jealous.
  2. Figure out exactly what about her makes you jealous.
  3. Observe what part of yourself you don't like.
  4. Accept that part of yourself unconditionally.
  5. Remember that your partner chose you.

1. First, Figure Out If the Ex is Trying to Make You Jealous

It's unfortunate, but some people are extremely insecure and have nothing better to do with their lives than try to mess with other people's relationships.

Unlikely as it may be, your boyfriend's ex could be trying to make him (and you) jealous by flaunting all of her best attributes in your face. This could be because she's trying to win the boyfriend back, or because she could simply be trying to heal her bruised ego by making herself appear better than you.

In other words, it probably has nothing to do with you. This is just something that she might have to go through, especially if your boyfriend was the one who kicked her to the curb. Since you're feeling insecure yourself, you can probably understand!

If you suspect that this is what's going on, though, bring it to your boyfriend's attention. Mention how it makes you uncomfortable that his ex is wearing her skimpiest outfit around him, that she's bragging about how much weight she lost and showing off her new six-pack, or whatever else may be going on.

By bringing this into his awareness, he might be inclined to avoid her. Actually, if you go so far as to confront his ex about it yourself, she's likely to stop. Sometimes all it takes to get people to stop acting like douches is to call them out on it.

Your boyfriend's ex is so perfect that she has a painting of herself holding a painting of herself, holding a painting of herself...
Your boyfriend's ex is so perfect that she has a painting of herself holding a painting of herself, holding a painting of herself...

2. Figure Out Exactly What About Her Makes You Jealous

This may not seem important at first. In fact, you might even wince at the thought of examining her attributes closely. You want to stop being jealous, not fuel the fire!

But the key to no longer being jealous is actually to face that initial sting and examine her best qualities. Which parts of her make you the most jealous?

  • Is it her looks? Do you think your boyfriend's ex is prettier than you? (This is obviously hard to quantify. "Pretty" can mean anything to anyone. The point here is that you think she is better looking.)
  • Is it her social status? Does she have more money than your family? A better education? More opportunities? A fancier social circle? Does it make you feel like a peasant to compare yourself to her? Do you feel compelled to make fun of her because she buys uselessly expensive things?
  • Is it her intelligence or the way she carries herself? Does she seem like she's really smart, and you feel like an idiot whenever you interact with her? Do you easily see why your boyfriend was intrigued by her wit and it bothers you?
  • Is it the fact that she seems more compatible with your boyfriend? Do you often wonder why he broke up with her, considering that they have so much in common?
  • Is she just overall a really nice and ethical person? Does she save whales for a living? Is she so kind and considerate that it just drives you nuts? Do you kind of like her a little bit, in spite of yourself? Do you secretly wish she was more of a bitch, so that you would have a reason to hate her?

Yes, I know: it can be rough to face these things. However, if you want to get to the bottom of your jealousy and improve the way you feel about her, you will have to face this sooner or later.

Sometimes even just bringing these emotions to light and lifting them out of your subconscious can be enough to make them dissolve. Sometimes things that nag at us from the back of our mind can seem so silly after we consciously realize them.

For example, you might find yourself asking, "Why am I secretly jealous of her 'high status' life. Her friends look insufferable! If that's high status, then I have nothing to be jealous of."

Even if just being consciously aware of it isn't enough to immediately get you over it, you can take this knowledge and exercise the next step...

3. Observe What Part of Yourself You Don't Like

There's no way to get around this: 99.99% of the time, the reason why you hate something about someone else, or feel jealously towards them, is because there's something similar about yourself that you don't like.

Ever noticed how people who make fun of successful folks secretly resent the fact that they're not similarly successful? Ever notice how homophobes are often secretly gay?

That jealousy, envy, whatever, comes from a sense of lack within themselves. There's probably something you wish you could improve about yourself, and seeing it in another person—and worse, your partner's ex—is stirring up all kinds of emotions.

Again, it may be painful to face it, but it's better over the long-term to admit it to yourself.

Do you wish that you were a little bit easier on the eyes? Do you wish that you didn't have a few of those extra pounds on you? Do you wish that you had grown up with a higher quality education and that you could be one of those fancy people with a yacht and a country club membership?

These are just dumb examples, but it could be anything. Even something as silly as, "Her hair is shinier." Be honest with yourself.

Your Boyfriend's Ex

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4. Accept That Part of Yourself Unconditionally

Now, when we discover something about ourselves that we don't like, we may be tempted to immediately start trying to find a way to change and improve it.

Indeed, there is absolutely nothing wrong with trying to improve yourself—if you're not approaching it with a self-destructive mindset.

This is where you have to be careful. Trying to improve some perceived flaw to make yourself more attractive to others, or even just to make yourself feel better is a fool's errand over the long term.

Nothing you will ever do can actually give you confidence. That confidence must come from an unconditional love for yourself. Accept your flaws first, and then seek to change them if you want.

Trying to do the opposite—expecting that changing yourself will allow you to accept yourself more—doesn't generally work on a deep level. Consider those people who get addicted to plastic surgery. Anyone can dislike the way they look—but these people are often obsessed with the idea that they can change the way they feel about themselves by changing themselves externally. Guess what? It doesn't work, but they sure keep trying!

So don't be like them. Be conscious of your flaws, love yourself in spite of them, and move onto improvement if you need to—but not because of your boyfriend, your boyfriend's ex, or even your own need to feel confident.

Your boyfriend chose you, so who cares?
Your boyfriend chose you, so who cares?

5. Remember That Your Partner Chose You

Finally, there's no need to feel jealous of your boyfriend's ex for the simple reason that he picked you. They're no longer together, and yet the two of you have a loving relationship right now. Every day, he chooses to continue being with you, and that's not something to consider lightly.

So if you can, put it out of your mind. Your boyfriend is probably not going to leave you for his ex, and even if he does, it's probably for the best. After all, why waste your time hanging onto someone who doesn't appreciate what you have to offer?

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© 2017 Jorge Vamos


Submit a Comment
  • profile image


    19 months ago

    Is it ok to be jealous of your boyfriend ex as they have a 4 month old baby

  • dashingscorpio profile image


    2 years ago from Chicago

    Jealousy is when you count the other person's blessings instead of your own. Truth is some people resent the fact that their boyfriend/girlfriend has a past period.

    The very thought of them dating, laughing, kissing, traveling, showering with, and having sex with anyone else drives them crazy. "I bet he/she did this with them too!"

    There's a tendency to want to create a lot of "firsts" in the relationship that will make them (feel) "special".

    In other instances they're in competition and since they weren't there "first" their goal is to be the "best" and have him validate it as often as possible.

    No one wants "reminders" that their mate had a love life before they met him or her. Actually having to see their ex or socialize with them can make an (immature person) visualize them being together again especially their family and friends are still friendly with the ex.

    This is one of the reasons why some people refuse to date divorced people with children. They know the ex is going to be in their mate's life forever in some form or another because they're co-parenting. Seeing their mate's children is also a reminder that he/she had sex with someone else.

    The thing one always must remember is (they too) have a past of their own! Odds are your significant other is not the "first" person you've done a lot of things with either. Get over it!

    Last but not least some people are jealous because they can't believe their mate loves them as much as she/he loves him or her. They require "proof" over and over again.

    Thus jealousy & insecurity go hand in hand.


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