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How to Get Over Your Boyfriend’s Ex Girlfriends

The #1 Thing You Need to Know to Learn How to Get Over Your Boyfriend’s Past Relationships

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by Jeff Billings in Retroactive Jealousy Blog
May 24, 2018
How to get over your boyfriend’s ex girlfriends

How to get over your boyfriend’s ex girlfriends. 

In this post, I take a look at the #1 thing you need to know to learn how to get over your boyfriend’s past relationships.

If you answer “yes” to one or more of the items below, then this post will help.

  • I often find myself lost in thought about my boyfriend’s ex girlfriend
  • When I think about his ex girlfriend I feel anxious/angry/envious/jealous/helpless
  • I can’t get certain images of his ex girlfriend out of my head. They just go round and round like “mini-movies”
  • I know being jealous of my boyfriend’s ex is irrational but I can’t help myself
  • I spend a lot of time wondering “Why does my boyfriend’s past bother me,” “Why am I obsessed with my boyfriend’s ex?”

You may have already done some thinking on how to get over your boyfriend’s ex girlfriends and come to the conclusion that you’re jealous, but don’t quite know why. You may have also done some research but come up short.

While there’s plenty of information out there on “regular” jealousy about your boyfriend’s relationships with women in the present, there’s not much out there on how to get over your boyfriend’s past relationships.

To complicate matters, most advice online surrounding how to get over your boyfriend’s ex girlfriends, tends to be of the meaningless-platitude-variety, such as:

  • “How can you be jealous of your boyfriend’s ex girlfriend? He’s chosen you, not them.”
  • “Isn’t it better that he’s experienced and knows what he’s doing?”
  • “The past has made him who he is.”

I know for a fact that when I was gripped by retroactive jealousy over my girlfriend’s sexual past, this kind of advice did absolutely nothing to make the problem go away.

Shortly after I started dating my girlfriend, I discovered that she’d recently slept with five guys in five months, including two-night-stands and sex-buddies. (You can read all about my retroactive jealousy and how I got it here.)

Wait. So, I’ve got “retroactive jealousy?” What’s that?

HOW TO GET OVER YOUR BOYFRIEND’S EX GIRLFRIENDS

If you find yourself often saying things like “my boyfriends past bothers me but I don’t know why” or “why do I stalk my boyfriend’s ex,” then, yes, more than likely.

As I said, this post will reveal the most important aspect of yourself that you need to consider in order to learn how to get over your boyfriend’s ex girlfriends.

But first, if you’re not already familiar with the term, here’s a quick retroactive jealousy definition:

Retroactive jealousy is sometimes known as retroactive jealousy OCD, as it usually entails obsessive overthinking about sexual and/or romantic events, people and encounters from a partner’s past.

This process of mulling over the past in the sufferer’s head often results in a whole host of negative actions and emotions, including a pretty hefty dose of confusion.

Indeed, retrospective jealousy sufferers are likely to spend as much time trying to figure out why they’re feeling the way they do, as actually feeling negative emotions, such as jealousy, anger and anxiety.

Overcoming retroactive jealousy, however, requires a full understanding of what it is—to know exactly what you’re feeling and why you’re feeling it.

My boyfriend’s past bothers me, but is it really retroactive jealousy OCD?

It depends how often you’re thinking about your boyfriend’s ex girlfriend and what other actions you’re taking to reinforce these thoughts.

There are three main reasons why your struggle to learn how to get over your boyfriend’s ex girlfriends may be considered an extreme jealousy disorder.

1. Being jealous of a boyfriend’s ex is a little irrational

The constant stream of negative thoughts and emotions are about your boyfriend’s ex girlfriend in the past, not the present.

A sufferer of “regular” jealousy, on the other hand, may also have irrational fears, but they’re grounded in the present. And there may also be some legitimate reason for them.

It’s this perceived irrationality that drives sufferers of retroactive jealousy crazy and is the reason why many unwittingly perpetuate the condition by waging a constant war with their own minds.

How to get over your boyfriend’s ex girlfriends

2. Being jealous of boyfriend’s past is destructive

Often, grappling with getting over retroactive jealousy means not just repeatedly thinking certain thoughts, say, about a boyfriend’s ex girlfriend, but acting on them.

A sufferer is very likely to act out and wind up doing destructive things that jeopardize the relationship. These include extreme jealousy disorder symptoms like:

  • snooping through pictures of boyfriend’s ex girlfriend, personal belongings, social media accounts, etc
  • starting arguments about his ex girlfriend
  • obsessively entering phrases like “why am i obsessed with my boyfriends ex” and “why does my boyfriends past bother me” into Google, searching for a retroactive jealousy cure

3. Obsessing over a boyfriend’s ex girlfriend is hard to stop

The fact that retroactive jealousy is concerned with events that have already happened, (often a long time ago) in the past, means it can be very hard to shake.

However, there’s actually nothing to shake. The past can’t be undone, and so this anxiety over his ex girlfriend just sits there in the sufferers’ mind, making them feel helpless and confused.

I often receive emails from women who have been married for decades and yet are still jealous of a boyfriend’s ex from their college days.

Why am I obsessed with my boyfriend’s ex now, when I wasn’t 3 months ago?

HOW TO GET OVER YOUR BOYFRIEND’S EX GIRLFRIENDS

The first thing you need to realize when learning how to get over your boyfriend’s ex girlfriends, is that has only started due to one thing: knowledge.

It’s only through knowledge of a boyfriend’s ex girlfriend in the first place that can give rise to retroactive jealousy OCD.

Cast your mind back for a moment to that time before you were jealous of your boyfriend’s ex. That moment before you knew anything about his ex girlfriend. He was still the same person then as he is now, right?

But either through having “the talk,” or by investigating and finding out information about your boyfriend’s ex girlfriend, your mind’s been set racing.

It then seeks out and latches onto “irregularities” about his ex girlfriend, such as:

  • “I don’t understand why he wanted her back when she treated him like crap”
  • “Wow — [insert number] is an awful lot of sexual partners”
  • “Oh my god — he had a threesome?!?!”
  • “So, technically he was still dating his ex girlfriend when he had that one night stand?”

This then snowballs into a series of repetitive thoughts, emotions and behaviors, collectively which come together to form retroactive jealousy OCD.

The #1 thing that will help you learn how to get over your boyfriend’s past relationships

There are a variety of evolutionary, societal and psychological reasons behind why you’re jealous of his ex girlfriend.

However, there is only one key, universal element you need to know in order to learn how to get over your boyfriend’s past relationships.

The one big reason why learning how to get over your boyfriend’s past is so difficult: your ego.

In order to stop being jealous of a boyfriend’s past it’s essential that you learn about the role your ego is playing in your jealousy.

How to get over your boyfriend’s ex girlfriends

Here are the three steps you should take right now to learn how to get over your boyfriend’s past relationships:

How to get over your boyfriend’s ex girlfriends, step #1: Discover your ego

The term “ego” is often used to refer to an inflated impression of ourselves. But it’s really our mind’s perception of self, whether it happens to be inflated or not.

By “perception of self” I mean anything that you identify strongly with and regard as “you.” This could be anything from your name, to your favorite YouTube channel or variety of frozen yoghurt.

Anything with which you form a strong mental attachment becomes part of your sense of self and therefore you ego—or, the part of your mind which says, “this is me.”

So, whenever you or someone else says, “I love musicals,” or “I hate football,” or “I read the Guardian and I support everything they say!” that’s your ego talking.

However, when the mind identifies a little too strongly with the ego and listens to it too much, it can cause problems.

Every bad emotion, argument, fight and war can trace its origins back to the ego. This is because it represents a very black and white view of the world which, in trying to protect us and the things we value, actually does nothing but hold us back and cause pain and suffering.

Understanding this is one of the keys to learning how to get over your boyfriend’s past relationships.

How to get over your boyfriend’s ex girlfriends, step #2: Understand its effect on your relationship

How to get over your boyfriend’s ex girlfriends

Your partner and his ex girlfriend, of course, get wrapped up by your ego into this rigid sense of self. So, when it perceives a threat to your relationship, i.e. from an outside attack in the form of another woman, it jumps into action to protect itself (us.)

Much like how, thousands of years ago, our egoic mind made us run when confronted with an on-rushing bear, today it’s still operating in the exact same mode of self-preservation when confronted with the perceived threat of your man running off with someone else.

By keeping you in a constant state of anxiety regarding your boyfriend’s ex girlfriend, it’s trying to protect you from harm, (i.e. being cheated on) by making you think, “Is he still in love with her?” “Do I measure up to her?” “Is she a threat?” and so on.

The fact is, it’s your ego that’s in the driving seat when you’re jealous of your boyfriend’s ex, rather than your rational conscious mind.

Now, this may all sound a little “new agey” if you’re not familiar with it, but it’s important to remember that your ego isn’t your conscious mind, your true self or “you” in any meaningful sense.

Your ego is an illusion.

Your true self is “consciousness,” “awareness,” or whatever you wish to call it, and embraces the present moment, while your ego fears it. In other words, you are not really jealous of your boyfriend’s past or anxious about his ex girlfriend. Your ego is merely tricking you into believing you are.

In a way, however, it’s good that your ego has you wondering how to get over your boyfriend’s past relationships. It means your mind is functioning normally and is just trying to protect you, as it should.

The problem arises, though, when the ego takes over, balloons this perceived threat out of all proportion and traps the mind in a prison of repetitive, unwanted thoughts, emotions and behaviors.

How to get over your boyfriend’s ex-girlfriends, step #3: 
Watch your ego

I tackle the ego full on in my book The Ultimate Retroactive Jealousy Cure, but for now here’s a little exercise you can start right now to help you learn more about how it operates:

Take a moment to “watch” your ego.

Start by remembering something outside of your retroactive jealousy that bugs you in the past. Something like an argument with a rude stranger, a falling out with a friend or not standing up to your boss.

Dwell on these thoughts and feelings for a moment. Mull over all the ways you “messed things up,” and how you’ve been hard done by.

Now begin noticing these negative thoughts, rather than reacting to them. Step back and observe these thoughts and emotions whirling away inside you. Become aware that this negativity, which positions you as a “victim,” at loggerheads with an imaginary “enemy” is emanating directly from your ego.

As I said, I go into this and how to get over your boyfriend’s past relationships in my book. For now, simply practice noticing negative thoughts and emotions as you go about your day for the next week.

Remove yourself from them and observe them as separate from “you.” Do this and you’ll be taking the first step toward learning how to get over your boyfriend’s ex girlfriends for good.

Onward!

— Jeff

How to get over your boyfriend’s ex girlfriends

Are you constantly wondering, “Why does my boyfriends past bother me?” “Why am I obsessed with my boyfriend’s ex?” and “Why do I stalk my boyfriend’s ex?” If you’re struggling with overcoming retroactive jealousy and how to get over your boyfriend’s past relationships, you’ll find everything you need to know in this book.

The first four steps are all about getting to grips with the question of What is retroactive jealousy? and once you know why you’re feeling the way you do, you’ll be able to move onto the following eight steps and learn how to get over your boyfriend’s ex girlfriends once and for all.

5 Comments
  1. anonymous says:

    So I am 17 and I met my now ex boyfriend (but we are friends..we broke up a couple days ago) anyways i met him when i was 14. We didn’t start dating until i was fifteen. I was so crazy about him at first and wanted him so bad. I chased after him and then finally got him. We had issues and I did bad things and him as well. some things revealed just recently. But My heart began to break because of things i did and things he did. He had no clue that i was falling out of love. Its like i love him hes my best friend.. but i am no longer in love with him. Its been this way for months but i continued to date him. Even though he has hurt me so many times I didn’t want him to feel that way so I stayed. He would jokingly say things about my body. And i know i am a skinny person (i have a high metabolism) and i know i don’t look like his ex girlfriends. And it kills me. I am constantly comparing my self to his most recent ex. I stalk her page. I even catch my self trying to be like her and try to impress her. I want to be her. And i have felt like this for so long and i hate it. I mean for goodness sake we have the same birthday. And he finally admitted he still cares about her. And let em just remind you they are neighbors. I honestly don’t think i would feel the way i do about this girl if she wasn’t his ex. Honestly we would probably be friends. And we kinda are at one point we definitely were. Her and I are a lot alike. It just sucks because we have now broken up and im not to upset about it because we are really close friends and I dont think it has set in yet. But he has left me with such a huge mess to clean up. It is me time and i have to figure myself out and get back to loving myself. He has knocked me down but im getting up and im going to rebuild my self up carefully. I just need tips on how to do that and how to be genuinely happy. And love my self and how to get over this girl (his ex).

  2. Anonymous says:

    Well my boyfriend hasn’t dated before but he has been in love before and was led on but then finally rejected. Idk much about this though until like literally last night that he was obsessed with her. In like 12th grade he gifted her expensive headphones and what not. After we starting also, on her bday he wrote paras for her and was upset coz he fell asleep at 12am and couldn’t wish her then. I really dk what to feel about this. On my bday, he just came and met me for half an hour and we just spoke and walked around. That’s all.
    I kept thinking that my boyfriend is just not much of a romantic person but now I realise that he is, just not for me. He was for his first love. It’s gonna be our 6mth anniversary this Sunday and we were supposed to meet but I really don’t feel like doing that anymore. Idk if I’m being stupid or what but I just keep feeling that he loved her so much and I can never reach that level. And that shit hurts like mad..

    1. Chantal says:

      I really needed this and the difference for me is that I was friends with his ex when we first started to go out she had a kid and was with another man and my boyfriend and her were just great friends (they known each other for 16 years prior to there relationship) then I started having an emotional connection with her and then she back stabbed up and stole from us now I’m just jealous of the fact that she has a great life even tho she did us harm.. and the worst fact is that for two months my boyfriend was still talking (a lot less tho) to her just normal conversations but it angered me so much and I made him choose and he chose me and I still feel bad for making him do that but I feel worse that she still lives her life when I barely can just because I obsess over her so much.. its constantly people talk about her all the time or I see her first name some where and I get anxious.. I blocked her on everything but kept unblocking her because I wanted to see her new pictures and posts.. I even made a nother account to see her posts so my boyfriend wouldn’t notice and yes I do bring it up to my boyfriend and hes not negative about it hes understanding of it but I wanted to know if my story maybe is a different one then what you wrote on here and in your book… lots of love please contact me on my email

  3. anonymous says:

    i’m currently talking to someone who has engaged in sexual activities that i have yet to experience for myself . he talks about them like they are this big thing that i’m missing out on . it leaves my “ego” according to this article swirling images and interactions through my mind of him in these acts and it makes me jealous something indescribable . i cannot shake this feeling and it has become where i cannot even look at him without thinking of him in these acts . this article did help a little bit for me to understand why i am this way and how to better control these thought . i really hope i can grasp this issue so i can pursue an actual healthy relationship where it’s just about me and him .

  4. Ava says:

    My bf has a 10 year ex wife with kids, and is considerably older then me. He was not over her when he meet me 2 yrs later after their divorce. They had a messy ending and he no longer sees her face to face. But in the beginning he watched her porn a lot and had me watch it, and i know almost every minute detail about wjat he loved and disliked about her. And he said the one thing i have against her ia im a good person. But they doesnt make up for any of the thoughts racing thru my head now about how i have lack of sexual experience and I lack the sexual experience thwy had togwther and the social eptnitude she had, as well as her bubbly personality. I suffer from PTSD, Depression, as well as Anxiety. He also cannot have more children. I cannot help thinking I am below her and always will be, she got the best of him.How can I ever forget and forgive and move past with a healthy relationship relationship?

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