by Anna Breslaw
Exes are like ghosts! So much that even Hollywood noticed and made a very bad movie about it one time. Even when he’s totally over her, and into you, your fear of her can haunt and eventually ruin a relationship. Here’s why you needn’t fret.
1. He doesn’t compare you to her. Do you frequently compare your current and ex-boyfriend? No, right? Stacking people up against each other like that is reductive and a waste of time.
2. They chose to end it. It’s not like they were Romeo and Juliet — nothing was keeping them apart. They just didn’t want to be together anymore.
3. She’s moved on. It’s not like she’s still clinging to him. And if she is, that’s a whole other ball game. A really sad ball game that you worry makes you seem like the nasty girlfriend who wants to cut the ex out of her boyfriend’s life. But hopefully, she has moved on. And even if she hasn’t, that doesn’t mean he reciprocates the feeling.
4. He’s moved on. Because he’s with you! If he didn’t want to be with you, or be serious, he wouldn’t have committed.
5. They rarely talk, and when they do, it’s just surface-level “catching up.” About their jobs and whatnot. Boring stuff. Not exactly The Notebook.
6. He talks about her just enough to indicate he’s not hiding anything from you, but not so much it makes you question his feelings. There is a perfect amount to talk about an ex, and it’s that sweet spot right there.
7. He does sweet little things throughout the day that show you how much he likes you. Like texts you after a big meeting you had at work or just asks how your day’s going. And calls you every night before bed. And does other things that make you want to use the obnoxious #LuckyGirl hashtag.
8. He’s not hiding your relationship from anyone, including his ex — he’s proud to be with you. Dude’s not sneaking around and keeping your couple status a secret. Of course, this doesn’t mean he’s giving his ex all the details (Who does that, you ask? Sociopaths.), but he’s certainly not pretending he’s single when he talks to her.
9. You have intimate inside jokes and a language that’s just yours and his, and nobody else’s. She will never know that you call each other the name of a Pokémon as a term of endearment. (Uh, actually, don’t tell anybody you do that.)
10. He’s choosing to be with you. He could still be with her! Or single! Or having sex with a household object! He’s not doing any of those things because he wants to be with you.
11. She’s not present in your relationship and you are basically worried about a ghost. Unless you are dating Mr. Rochester and he has his crazy wife hidden in a wall, you are emotionally bringing someone into the room who doesn’t have to be there. Why make it harder for you?
12. If you keep worrying, it will cause a rift in your relationship and maybe even end it eventually. Seriously, it will turn you into an insecure bundle of crazy and he will realize there’s nothing he can say or do to make you feel safe. And that makes for an unhealthy relationship. Or a broken-up one.
13. He honestly answers any questions you have about her/his past relationships. Even the ones that you don’t really want to hear the answers to.
14. The vast majority of ex-girlfriends are normal, logical people who are not scamming to steal your man. She’s not a crazy bitch or anything. Imagine your ex’s current girlfriend assuming that about you. Incorrect, yes?
15. He handles your ex-boyfriends in a healthy way. And you should trust him as much as he trusts you, or your shit is doomed.
16. He tells you if he ran into her or heard from her. And they talked on the street for four minutes, did an ass-out platonic hug, and walked away from each other. They didn’t have awesome standing-up sex in a doorway.
17. He never references her or their relationship unless you bring it up. Talking about her all the time, like she’s still a major part of his life, is not necessary to him. Because she’s not a major part of his life.
18. If you run into her together, it feels more like running into an old high school buddy than an old flame. There’s no sexual tension; only platonic affection is left between them. You’re getting all the good stuff.
19. You don’t feel anything romantic for your exes, so clearly the concept is more than possible. He’s not lying to you when he says any spark between them is gone now. Aren’t you over your exes? Yes? Imagine if he didn’t believe you no matter what you said. And there you go.
20. Everyone has a past. It doesn’t have to dictate the future unless you let it. Sure, he’s cared deeply about girls before you, and you’ve cared deeply about guys before him. We’re people. It happens.
21. She’s awesome. It’s easy to be threatened by the idea of someone, but maybe if you met her, you would adore her and become fast friends. She’d go from a threatening abstract to a warm, super-approachable, funny grad student with very shiny hair who you want to go to drinks with.
22. You’re awesome. And don’t forget it.
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Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.