I'm jealous of my girlfriend's ex

Dear Anna

My girlfriend is still good friends with her ex and talks to him all the time. The longer she and I date, the more this irritates me. Should I be annoyed or get over it?

—Ex-Factor


Dear Ex-Factor,

You can be annoyed, but you definitely should get over it. Unless there’s a real threat that you left out, like she goes on long weekend holiday trips with him or her ex is two out of three of the Jonas Brothers or something. Does she even see him, or is it just talking on the phone that irritates you? Either way, it sounds like plain ole’ jealousy to me. It’s totally normal to have less-than-benevolent feelings about our partners’ exes because it forces us to acknowledge they have a past and aren’t pristine virgins who lived in a bulletproof dome until they met us.

When I started dating women, I found that I had to get over my ex jealousy pretty quickly because the community is so small and everyone knows everyone. Dealing with exes is something you have to do every time you go into a Starbucks.

Remember that in the end, she picked you. You won! Not Mr. Talky-Talk. For all you know, her ex is somberly jerking off into a sock somewhere, which is how I picture all my partners’ exes, even though they mostly are women. The best way to combat jealousy is with trust and by reminding yourself that you’re awesome. Because insecurity is the ugly cousin of jealousy, the more secure you are in yourself, the harder it will be for other dudes to get to you.

In the past, whenever I would get a stabby feeling thinking about my girlfriend’s ex, I’d remember that the ex posted 165 pictures of her cats on Facebook this year, or that she thought the remake of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” with Justin Bieber was better than the original, and feel better about myself. Sure, it’s a tad petty, but it serves as a reminder that nobody is perfect (except you). Your girlfriend’s ex isn’t a threat; he’s just a regular person with flaws and hangups and probably a weird mole somewhere.

Keep being the cool guy that you are, and don’t let your imagination run wild on you. Being respectful of your girlfriend’s friendships is yet another way of showing that you’re mature, awesome and that she made the right choice.

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CHICAGO

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