Advice for Fighting the “Ex” Factor

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Diane Jong | Staff Photographer

Relationships are complicated, plain and simple. When two people fall for each other, there is chemistry, kisses, arguments, hurt feelings, smiles and … exes. The dreaded and unavoidable last person our partner was dating that we find ourselves obsessing about. It isn’t easy. But it is time that we figured out how to overcome our “ex- factor.” I remember my first boyfriend. He was a boy that was in band with me and I thought he was the bee’s knees. We had our first and only kiss behind the band trailer after a competition and we were together for a month. It was love.

Five years since my first sweet musical boyfriend, I realized I wouldn’t be the only girl that boys had ever dated. They had dated before just like I had, some for many years, some off and on. Now in our college world, we have our emotional baggage of relationships past, which naturally is transferred and added to from relationship to relationship.

As much as we would like to think we date each new person with a fresh outlook on love, the fact is that sometimes it feels like there are more than two people in your relationship: you, your sweetheart and all the ghosts of relationships past. It is natural to get jealous of your partner’s ex and want to know every detail of their relationships, even though it makes you insane afterwards. When do you need to stop living your relationship with three or more people and start a relationship with just two?

To progress forward in a relationship. accept you partner, past relationships and all. If you continue letting jealousy dominate your emotions, it will keep you from enjoying your relationship as it grows and you will alienate your partner. The process of growing into our relationships and allowing ourselves to feel secure with our partner takes time because we compare our emotional and physical connections with those from our partner’s past.

The first thing you should remember is that your boyfriend or girlfriend chose you because they wanted to be with you! Yes, you! They choose you because they find you interesting and want to pursue you because they believe there is something special about you. You two are starting this exciting new relationship together because you have chemistry. They want to pick you up from the library at 11 p.m. at night just to see you, or listen to your long story of being run over by a tricycle as a kid because they genuinely care about you and making a relationship work with you. To sum up, they like you, you like them and that is all that matters.

A second thing to remember is that we all grow and evolve from our past relationships. As much as we may hate our partner’s exes, in a way, they helped shape and mold our loved ones into a more understanding and better partner. Sure it will take time for you two to mold together but your partner has already been exposed to the life within a couple, so you will not have to start from ground zero.
The last and most important thing to remember is not to sell yourself short.

So the next time the green monster of jealousy begins to invade the happiness of your new relationship, repeat these three steps in your head, take a deep breath and move forward. It will take a little while and a lot of repetition, but eventually the ex will not be a factor in your future happiness.

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