Jealous Over his Exs

Visitor's Question from a 21-30 year old Female
I have an issue with my boyfriend. We have been together for 5 months, and it's pretty serious. We talk about getting married and having kids and things like that BUT I have issues. Before being with me, my boyfriend had 2 long relationships (one of 2 years and one of 3) and also had 3 "one night stands" His relationship that last 3 years is really bothering me, because the girl seems to still want him and I am scared that he is going to leave me for her.
He lied to me once about driving her to her apartment to help her move, and that just made my fears seem like more of a reality and I find myself using that against him a lot. I am in university and I am in a class with her, go figure!! so that makes it even worse, having to see her everyday. After they broke up, they still slept together just casually as friends and that bothers me a lot. What if he misses having casual sex with her?

Also, one of his "one night stands" is in ALL of his classes, and they are in the same group of friends so they always sit together and we all sometimes eat lunch together. When she's around at lunch, I feel like he's not paying enough attention to me and paying too much attention to her....I feel like he acts different. He says that's just in my head....maybe it is.

The other day at his house I found a photo album by his bed and there were pictures of these two girls that I talked about above. and none of me. That made me really mad and we had another fight about it.

Please help me!!!! I feel like if I don't stop thinking that he's going to cheat on me and miss being with his past girlfriends, that maybe I will drive him away. I love him with all my heart and I try not to get jealous but I just can't seem to stop.

WHAT DO I DO?????? I feel like I ruin the time that we do have to spend together (which is not much) because I'm constantly asking him about his past and I want to know every detail of his sexual experiences with them......but then if he tells me, I get mad and upset. He doesn't know what to do anymore. Am I being like this because my last boyfriend DID cheat on me?? Please help. Advice
You are completely right that your jealousy can easily destroy the relationship that you have and that your betrayal in your past relationship can taint how you can trust the current guy. Many people who have been cheated on once have HUGE troubles trusting any other partner, ever. That's why cheating is SO nasty. It not only harms your partner "right now" but can in essence damage their relationships FOREVER.

That being said, obviously most people find a way to move past it and go on with their lives. I have a whole online course on jealousy here -

and that is part of it. Yes, your guy has exs. Just about ANY guy you date is going to have exs. And heck if you weren't jealous of the exs you would be jealous of the NEW girls he had in his class that were pretty or smart or whatever. If you're going to be jealous, you'll find an object for jealousy, whether it's an ex or a new person.

Most people stay friends with their exs. That's a normal part of life. Many people keep pictures of friends, I know I do. I would really have him help you work on the jealousy, and say that as part of it, you need him to help you feel more secure. So work out some sort of signal (arm press or something) for you to use when you want a bit of attention. And then if you're out to lunch or something and feeling neglected just use it on him. He can realize you feel poorly and give you a hug or whatever. When you see that he does care about you, you'll feel less jealous - and when he sees how happy it makes you to do those things he'll do them more often. So it'll all sort of meet in the middle.

If you try all of that and you STILL find yourself getting jealous, I'd talk with a therapist even if just for a few weeks. Jealousy is something that can destroy your entire life if you don't take action. It seems like a silly little thing, but it's been around since the days of the Greeks and Romans and look at the lives it destroyed there. A few weeks talking to someone is a small price to pay for a lifetime of calm.

-- from Jenn
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