As a college-aged girl, it’s likely your boyfriend has an ex-girlfriend. Or, perhaps even a long list of exes. This isn’t always a bad thing. Ex-girlfriends means he knows how to be in a relationship, which means he has been properly “trained” in the art of date-planning and gift-giving. The problem is when the girlfriend seems to invade the relationship, or her presence is just a little too strong for your comfort.
There are all kinds of exes that you might have to deal with. The ex who’s his friend, the ex who’s pretending to be his friend (when she’s really after more) and the ex who you know from afar who seems completely, frustratingly perfect. The key is knowing how to deal with them in a way that won’t make you the new ex that some other girl has to deal with.
The Too-Friendly Ex
Your boyfriend had a girlfriend, and when they broke up they remained friends. Maybe she is only around occasionally. Maybe he considers her to be his best friend. But you’re probably jealous that they still hang out and have laughs, sometimes even without you. You might even feel insecure that old feelings will reignite between them. Unfortunately, this kind of ex is one that you will simply have to deal with. Guys are taught that girls come and go, but the bro-code runs deep.
Even if he really loves you, he’s going to have a hard time telling a bud (even one that’s a girl) that their relationship needs to be restricted per his girlfriend’s request. It’s not that he won’t ever take your side over hers, but your insecurities seem ridiculous to him. She is his friend. You are his girlfriend. To him, the distinction is obvious, and one relationship does not affect the other. While you might be awesome, she is going to be there for him whether or not your relationship works out.
So, you just have to try to not be jealous. You might as well change your Facebook relationship status to “single” if you’re going to attempt to set limits or constantly tell your boyfriend how insecure you are about their friendship. Just make sure he is open and honest about what’s going on between them.
The Not-So-Friendly Ex
Your boyfriend may have an ex-girlfriend who is only pretending to be his friend, when really she wants more. Unlike with the “friendly” ex, this is when you speak up. At least a little. First, you have to be completely honest with yourself. Are you positive that this girl wants your man? Or, could you be imagining her being flirtatious because you’re jealous and a little insecure?
If you truly believe that she’s out to reclaim him, then it’s important for you to say something to your guy. When you approach your boyfriend, be careful with how you present the discussion. Don’t get angry; don’t start crying; don’t make accusations. But be honest. Tell him that you trust him completely, but you’ve noticed her questionable behavior, and it makes you uncomfortable. Then, tell him what you’re comfortable with. This is where you need to be honest with yourself about what you can handle. Even if you don’t love it, would you be ok with them going to a movie together? Hanging out at his house? Don’t forbid him from seeing her ... that will only make him think that you don’t really trust him.
Ask him to be sensitive to your feelings. Perhaps he could let you know when he’s hanging out with his ex, or the three of you could occasionally hang out. If his ex really is after him, she’s not going to be outwardly aggressive and manipulative. She’s going to be sugary-sweet, and you’ll seem crazy. Refuse to play her game. Treat her with kindness, not cattiness or suspicion, and your boyfriend will love how lucky he is to have found such a cool girl. He can reward you with a candlelit dinner- sans the ex-girlfriend.
The Ex From Heaven That Puts You Through Hell
Your beau’s ex-girlfriend might have minimal presence in his life, but to you, she looms over the relationship. You’ve Facebook-stalked her photos, and you hate how she has hair like Jennifer Aniston, the body of Megan Fox, and to top it all off, she looks as sweet as Emma Watson. Her tweets twist your stomach because she’s actually witty. You find out through friends that she has great grades, a prestigious internship, and on weekends she works at a homeless shelter. You feel like you can’t compete! Well, don’t. You can’t change who your guy has dated, so stop obsessing. Don’t compare who is prettier, funnier, smarter; that will only drive you crazy, and your boyfriend will pick up on your insecurity. Every relationship has its negative aspects; you have no idea what the faults in their relationship were. And quite frankly, it’s none of your business. Just remember that he chose you. If he wanted to be with his ex, he would be trying to get back with her, not watching a "Project Runway" marathon with you in your dorm.
There is no avoiding the dreaded ex-girlfriend, but while you can’t control the past, you can control your behavior. The most important thing to remember is to simply be open and honest with your boyfriend – and yourself — about your concerns. Have the confidence to trust your guy. And remind yourself that you are a major catch and should never feel threatened by ancient history -- even if it resembles Scarlett Johansson.
By: Erin Jones | Image: Source