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.

Comment section

7 replies
  1. Hey,
    I from Guatemala City, and I wanted to talk to someone because I am not sure if i am on a unhealthy/abusive relationship. I tried chatting, but I couldn´t for being outside the U.S. Please Help!!

    1. Hi Sofia,

      Thank you for reaching out for help. No matter where you currently reside in the world, you deserve to have support and the resources you need. We are unable to offer our chat, text, and phone services outside of the United States. Viewing the content on our website such as our description of abuse, the power and control wheel, and the relationship spectrum may help you learn more about abuse and unhealthy relationships. If you are a US Citizen you can reach out to the Americans Overseas Domestic Violence Crisis Center. Also, the services in Guatemala City for dating abuse may offer you the support you need.

      Take care,

      LIR Advocate LC

    1. Hi Marce,

      Thank you for your comment, and I’m so glad to hear that this was helpful for you! If you ever need to talk about your situation or have any questions or concerns that you would like to discuss, please reach out to us, anytime. Our advocates are here 24/7 by phone (1.866.331.9474), online chat and text (text: loveis to 22522).

      Take care,
      Advocate GR

  2. I have been dating this man since 2008 and he has a set of twins aged 8 and a girl about to start university.
    He broke up and divorced his ex because she left him when the twins were babies.
    The kids are very important to him and he has custody over them.
    He recently relocated to my city and found a good job.
    He lost his younger brother and decided to take on his two children and stay with them. His other siblings see him as the bread winner and I am struggling with the idea of taking care and raising 5 children who are not mine and have very able mothers. He does not see anything wrong and wants to marry me this year. But I am getting cold feet about the situation. Please advise what I should do?

    1. Hi Lisa,

      Thank you so much for reaching out to us and sharing your situation! It sounds like you have some very valid concerns about the responsibilities that may come along with marriage, and those concerns are something that absolutely deserve to be respected and addressed. Your voice deserves to be heard

      If you feel like you may not be ready to take the step to get married, that’s okay. If you feel like more time to process what that change might entail, that’s also okay. On the other side of things, if you feel pressured into marriage before you are ready and before your concerns are being addressed, that’s not okay, and minimizing your feelings and concerns on any topic has no place in a healthy relationship.

      Communication is such an important part in healthy relationships, but it can also be important to keep in mind that if you’re communicating, but your partner is closed off to hearing what you have to say, that’s not something you can change. You can’t make him understand why you’re concerned or what the issues you see are if that’s not something he’s open to.

      Ultimately, you’re the only one who can decide what next steps are right for you, but that certainly doesn’t make the situation or the process of making those choices any easier. I encourage you to be kind and patient toward yourself through this, and take any time you need to focus on you and your own Self-Care. You deserve support through this, and if you would like to explore more specific options or talk further about what you’re going through directly with us, please know that you’re always welcome to contact us! Our advocates are here 24/7 by phone (1.866.331.9474), online chat and text (text: loveis to 22522) to offer you a safe place to talk.

      Take care!
      Advocate GR

  3. It is a very healthy and empowering article which asks us to search our own demons. I wish i could chat or call but im outside US.
    Keep up the good work.

Comments are closed.

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