The EX is not the problem

Getting into a long-term relationship with someone who has come out of another such relationship comes with its own set of challenges. It is not uncommon for people in second relationships to feel insecure about the partner from the first. You may fear that your partner still admires or loves their ex and that they may at some stage return to their former relationship.

If you allow these thoughts and emotions to become a preoccupation, you will become anxious and filled with self-doubts. Fear of abandonment can negatively affect your self-image and your relationship.

Perhaps your fear and insecurity are driven by a history of disappointments in past relationships where people have let you down. Relationship problems going way back into our childhood can shape the way that we view things as we mature. Disappointments caused by people letting us down can leave us with trust issues.

Expecting your partner to play to your insecurities or downplay his ex, so that you can feel more secure in your relationship is no way to build a strong and trusting relationship. Rather you have to try to deal with your own trust and insecurity problems.

Below are four commonly held beliefs that people hold about their partner's ex and some ideas on how to overcome the flawed outlook

1. Your partner’s ex is planning a comeback

You believe that you must be watchful and pay attention since the ex-plans a comeback. Unless you are wary, your partner and his ex will almost certainly get back together again. You cannot accept that your partner has chosen to be with you because you are in his view the better partner.

2. Your partner compares you to his ex and finds you wanting

There should be no competition between you and the ex. No matter how long the relationship continued between your partner and the ex. No matter whether they have children together and must continue to communicate. Head games that you play with yourself will inevitably result in feelings that they had a relationship that was better than yours.

3. Your partner’s ex is better than you are

You may be building up the personal attributes of the ex. You may believe that they are more attractive, funny, intelligent or athletic. The more you think along these lines, the more you will start to idealise the relationship between your partner and the ex-had before they broke up. This pointless exercise only serves to build up your insecurities.

4.The ex-has a secret plan to rekindle the relationship

You harbour irrational resentments against both your partner and the ex for having a relationship. Even though deep down you know that these resentments are irrational, you can’t help yourself. Convincing yourself that the ex-has a secret plan to get back with your partner is a recipe for disaster. This is not something that you can prove, but your irrational doubts will buoy your suspicions,

Dealing with your insecurities

This cycle of self-doubt and suspicion is unfair on your partner, as he cannot know the origin of your trust issues. The fact that you have been let down at some earlier point in your life dives these insecurities.

Your doubt in the relationship that you have with your partner could be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Your constant need for affirmation will put pressure on your relationship which could lead to its downfall. Neither you nor your partner can be held responsible for relationships that you had before meeting each other.

By making the ex-larger than the life, you make them an ever-present reality in your own relationship. Developing trust in your partnership when you have been gravely hurt in the past is difficult. Despite this, you have to develop a faith that your partner is who they say they are. Distrust and suspicion cannot, in any event, protect you from further disappointment.

If you find it necessary to dislike the ex and need to vent your feelings, it is your choice. Remember, however, that it is unfair to expect your partner to paper over your insecurities. You cannot expect your partner to constantly reaffirm their feelings for you. The insecurities along with the dislike of the ex-are yours. They do not belong to your partner

Work on your self-awareness and understand what part you play in making your relationship work. Only in this way can you create a meaningful relationship built on trust.    

Dealing with self doubt in a subsequent relationship

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