On Jealousy and Staying Friends with an Ex

On Jealousy and Staying Friends with an Ex

Is your current partner still friends with their ex? It’s a tough situation for a lot of people to deal with. Feelings of jealousy and insecurity can rise up, and these can be really uncomfortable feelings. You might worry that your partner is cheating on you. You might think you need to check your partner’s phone or know where they are at all times, just to “make sure.” It’s okay to feel jealous; we all do sometimes. What makes jealousy healthy or unhealthy is how we act on that feeling. Everyone has a right to feel comfortable in their relationship, but trying to control who our partner talks to or spends time with is unhealthy.

You can’t control another person’s actions, but here’s what you CAN do:

Trust your partner

The need to control or check up on a dating partner stems from a lack of trust. Trust is something we give to our partners freely without requiring any kind of proof; it is a choice that we make, and it does call for a lot of vulnerability. In a healthy relationship, we trust that no matter who our partner talks to or hangs out with, they will honor the boundaries we’ve set for that relationship. Ask yourself if you can trust your partner. If the answer is no, it might be time to reconsider whether the relationship is right for you.


Talk to your partner about how you’re feeling. Maybe it’s time to revisit the boundaries you’ve set or, if you haven’t set any, to have that discussion. You might also give some thought to why you’re feeling insecure or jealous about your partner being friends with their ex. For example:

Has your trust been broken in the past by someone else? That could make you feel a little insecure, understandably, but it’s important to remember that your current partner isn’t to blame for someone else hurting you. Sharing these feelings with your partner in a respectful way could be helpful; you might say something like, “I feel a little insecure when you text with your ex because I’ve been burned in the past. I trust you and respect your right to talk with them, but I’m working through this and just need you to know how I feel.” Saying something like this allows you to voice your feelings and be heard without trying to control your partner’s behaviors and choices. In the end, if you aren’t able to move past the insecurities of an ex breaking your trust, it might be time to take a step back from your current relationship. We know that is hard to hear, but your partner deserves to be with someone who trusts them. It’s okay for you to need time to heal from a past betrayal, but in that case, spending some time alone and doing some more work and research on trust could be the healthiest option for both you and your partner.

Do you feel like you and your partner aren’t spending enough time together? Talk with your partner about how to meet each other’s needs for quality time while maintaining a healthy balance in your relationship. If you’re someone who thrives in a relationship where you get a lot of attention from your partner (over the phone, via text or in person), that’s okay! That, in and of itself, isn’t a bad thing, but it can become unhealthy when that need for attention turns into constant arguments and a lack of respect for your partner’s need for space. It’s important to check in with your partner to ensure that both people in the relationship are getting their needs and wants met. It can be helpful to try planning some fun activities or date nights together! For more ideas on healthy relationship boosters, check out our page on healthy relationships. If you find that you and your partner consistently have different needs/expectations for quality time, that might mean this relationship is not the right fit for you.

Remember: your partner has chosen to be with YOU, not someone else. Trust and communicate to keep your relationship healthy and happy!

Struggling with insecurity or jealousy? Feeling like something’s a little off in your relationship? Talk to a loveisrespect advocate any time, day or night! Call 1-866-331-9474, chat at www.loveisrespect.org or text loveis to 22522.

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