Jealousy FAQ: How to Get Over Your Partner’s PastDecember 30th, 2012 by Jennifer
Table of Contents
- Quick Introduction from Jennifer (the Author)
- General Obeservations
- Why do I feel jealous of their past in the first place?
- Is it possible to ever get rid of these jealous feelings?
- Why am I obsessing over this?
- Should I tell my partner that I feel jealous?
- What should I say to my partner about it?
- Why do I feel like I’ve been cheated on?
- How do I know that the jealousy feelings have truly gone away?
- How long did it take you get over your jealousy?
- What do you do when the jealousy feelings come back?
- What if I can’t get over my jealousy feelings?
- Everything about my partner is perfect, except their sexual past. What can I do to get past this one problem?
- Am I being compared to their past sexual partners?
- How much detail should I ask my partner?
- Is it better to know more detail, or less?
- Does my partner think about their past sex with other people, even when they’re with me?
- What do I do if my partner is jealous of my past?
- What have I learned from my experience with jealousy?
Quick Introduction from Jennifer (the Author)
A few months ago I wrote article about my past struggles with jealousy problems in my relationship. My motive was to share my story in an effort to spare other people the pain that is associated with jealousy.
My last article received an overwhelming response from readers who sought my advice for their individual situations. More than happy to comply, I have attempted to help many people deal with their individual jealousy problems. Over time, I noticed there were several common questions that I was being asked.
I have compiled the most commonly asked questions about how to deal with jealousy based on my experience. It’s important to note that these questions do not only apply to those who wait until marriage to have sex, but to non-waiters as well. I invite anyone with further questions to leave a comment and those questions will be addressed in a future article (or as an update to this page).
Very simply, from what I have seen, jealousy stems from a type of greed and insecurity. The greed comes from wanting your partner to be “yours” and only yours. It is almost a territorial instinct. The insecurity stems from fear of being compared, fear of losing your partner, fear of not being good enough for your partner, and more.
Why do I feel jealous of their past in the first place?
Jealousy is a complex human feeling that draws upon your emotions. The jealousy that you feel in a relationship is different than the envy of everyday life, such as your friend getting a good mark on an exam or your sibling getting a new car. This jealousy can consume you and leaves you with an extremely uncomfortable feeling inside that doesn’t seem to go away, despite your best efforts. It is much harder to deal with and can end relationships.
It is influenced by an animal instinct: the act of sexual intercourse itself. If you take away all of the emotions, love, feelings and friendship from sex, you are left with just the act of sex. What you need to identify is whether you are jealous of the act of sex itself, or the emotions tied in with it, or both. Are you jealous of past relationships, casual hookups, or both?
Is it possible to ever get rid of these jealous feelings?
Yes. It is possible, but not guaranteed. I am a living testament to it being possible. However, it is not easy. It takes a lot of work on your part to understand your partner and accept their past. The greatest healer of jealousy is time. Once you are over your jealousy feelings, it takes a lot of time to heal the wounds that were caused by the jealousy in the first place.
Why am I obsessing over this?
There are numerous reasons why people become jealous in relationships. The top factors I have encountered are influences from virginity, religion, upbringing (how you were raised), cultural view of sex and societal view of sex.
A virgin may become very jealous over a partner’s past because they feel that if they are a virgin, their partner should be one too, and anything less is unacceptable. Or, other virgins feel insecure about their lack of experience and their partner’s abundance of it.
Some religions do not allow sex before marriage, and as a result, a religious individual will have problems with their partner if they are religious and have not waited for marriage.
Your upbringing can highly influence your view on sex. The way you were taught about sex by your parents, siblings, extended family, teachers and friends influences how you view sex as an adult. Based on what I have seen, people who can talk about sex freely with their parents (or an equivalent authority figure in their life) generally do not have as serious jealousy problems. It is those that feel embarrassed to speak about sex, or those that feel that they cannot openly ask questions or hold open discussions that have the worst jealousy problems.
Your cultural view of sex is highly influential. Some cultures will openly embrace sexuality, while others do not mention it at all.
Societal view of sex is important too. Depending on where you live, sex can be seen as “no big deal” or something that needs to be controlled. Some societies (e.g. North America) seem to accept casual sex as the norm today. Meaning, there is nothing odd about casual sexual relationships. Some societies do not embrace this view at all.
Once you figure out what is influencing your jealousy, you can figure out how to deal with it.
Should I tell my partner that I feel jealous?
Absolutely. Communication is going to save your relationship. Take a time when you are both calm and not upset, and tell your partner that you are having difficulties dealing with their past. Do not accuse them of anything, and be sure to use personal pronouns (such as ‘I’ or ‘me’) to explain how you feel rather then pointing the finger at them (using words such as ‘you’).
Your partner may decide that dealing with your jealousy is not worth it, and leave. Be prepared for this. However, if your partner wants to work it out, talk about your feelings. Try to explain to them what exactly is bothering you. Do not keep these feelings to yourself. If you bottle them up, eventually they’ll come out in a much more negative way.
What should I say to my partner about it?
Determine what exactly is bothering you. Is it just the act of sex? Their past relationships? Figure out what is bothering you, and why. Once you know these two key influential things, explain them to your partner. Give them a chance to understand you, and then you must give them a chance to explain themselves. It is now their turn to make you understand what the context of the situation was, what happened, and how it made them feel. If you are able to understand their perspective, it can help the jealousy go away.
Why do I feel like I’ve been cheated on?
Your imagination is your worst enemy. I can guarantee you that whatever you are imagining as what happened is not what happened. Most people tend to take their own experiences and project them onto their partner. This means that the jealous person takes their experience (or lack of it) and tries to apply it to every situation that their partner has been in. This does not work because you are not your partner. You were not there during the situation, therefore the decision you would have made is different than the decision they made at the time.
The worst thing you can do is tell your partner that they’ve cheated on you because they’ve been with other people. If you were not together when it happened, then your partner did not cheat on you.
How do I know that the jealousy feelings have truly gone away?
If you can look at your partner and tell them you love them unconditionally and accept them 100%. This means that you love every single part of them, even the parts that used to make you jealous.
How long did it take you get over your jealousy?
In total, my jealousy lasted one year, and took an additional six months of hard work to finally eradicate it.
What do you do when the jealousy feelings come back?
If you feel like you conquered jealousy, but then feel it slowly coming back, then that means you have not dealt with all of your jealousy issues. You may have made a temporary solution, but there is clearly at least one more issue. Take whatever you have learned, and apply it to whatever is still making you feel jealous. Then remember what made you feel like you had gotten over the jealousy the first time, and apply it to the situation. Give yourself some time to let it pass. The realization moments are quick, then let them sink in to fully absorb the lesson.
What if I can’t get over my jealousy feelings?
You either lose your partner or spend a lifetime being very miserable.
Everything about my partner is perfect, except their sexual past. What can I do to get past this one problem?
If you feel that your partner is what you have been looking for, you need to fix your jealousy fast. Focus very hard on their good qualities and whatever it was that attracted you to them in the first place. Keep in the mind that some of their best traits (e.g. honest, caring, loving, etc.) may be very hard to find in another person.
Are you willing to give up the person of your dreams because of their sexual past? If you lose them, will you be able to accept your loss and be happy to move on? Or will you lament about ‘the one that got away?’
Am I being compared to their past sexual partners?
This really depends on your partner. If you are concerned or insecure about being compared, you need to communicate that to your partner. Unless your partner is still in love with another person, chances are they are not thinking of anyone but you.
Once you are out of a relationship that involved any physical contact, you usually tend to bury those memories or you don’t think of them, especially if they are painful memories. When you are in a new relationship, you focus on making new memories with them. Sex that happened months or years ago is usually forgotten, and if they really think about it, they might be able to remember some details. Do you remember your first kiss in immense detail? You probably remember who it was with, and maybe where you were. Now imagine if someone was asking you a lot of detailed questions about it. You wouldn’t remember all of the details. It’s the same with sex. Even though we place so much more emphasis on it, you are less likely to remember it if you don’t want to, which is usually what most people do about past relationships.
How much detail should I ask my partner?
Whatever you feel comfortable with. Ask details that will help you to get over their past. Do not pry for the sake of prying, or because you were simply curious. Don’t ask questions you don’t want the honest answer to. Don’t snoop through their Facebook, old emails or go searching for information from years ago. If your partner is trustworthy, then you should be able to trust the information they are telling you is true.
Is it better to know more detail, or less?
This depends on you. In my personal situation, I knew way too much detail, and I found that it bothered me and even created visions in my head, which made the jealousy worse. Try to limit the amount of detail you know, unless there is something specific that is bothering you. Don’t ask them to compare you to their past partners.
Does my partner think about their past sex with other people, even when they’re with me?
Chances are, they are focused 100% on you. They are not living in the past like you are, and wish you wouldn’t bring up the past. In fact, the more you are jealous and the more you talk about their past partners, the more they are reminded of them on a daily basis. Don’t bring a third person into your relationship because you talk about them so much.
What do I do if my partner is jealous of my past?
If you are on the receiving end of the jealousy, you need to assess your situation very carefully. It depends on: (1) how much you want to deal with the jealousy problems, (2) what the extent of their jealousy problems are, and (3) how much you want to be with that person.
Dealing with jealousy problems are very difficult for both sides. It requires a lot of patience and strength on your part to deal with what is sure to be a difficult time. You may be hit with accusations and name-calling in times of anger. You may get very hurt by what is said to you and there is the potential for a lot of fights. Determine whether you will be able to deal with this.
You need to be able to understand the jealous person’s point of view as well as trying to make them understand yours. Try to find out where they are coming from. If you can understand what makes them jealous, or what exactly they are jealous of, it may help you to both deal with the problem. Talk to them, communicate a lot, and try to figure this out together.
Ask yourself how much you want to be with this person. If you want to be with them, try to stick it through the jealousy. If you feel that you would rather be accepted by someone rather than deal with jealousy problems, don’t drag out the relationship if you feel it is not worth it. However, it’s important to give them a chance and don’t judge the person before making any big decisions.
What have I learned from my experience with jealousy?
To sum it up very simply: there is no point to it. Do not waste your time being jealous. You will look back on it one day, wishing that you could take back all of the mistakes you made. While it may seem like the biggest deal in the world right now, I can assure you it’s not worth all of the pain and hurt you will inflict on both yourself and your partner.
I realize that there are people who will simply dismiss what I write because they have their own beliefs and standards. I have been criticized for “lowering my standards” while I have also been praised for my strength to overcome my jealousy. I have helped some people save their relationship with this advice. I have experienced jealousy in the worst way possible and I was able to overcome it completely, learn from my mistakes, and am now able to help others do the same.
The point I am trying to make is that despite whatever your own personal views on sex are, do not judge other people. Try to accept them, even if they have made decisions you would not. Life is too short to focus on unimportant details. Instead, live your life to the fullest and be happy with your own life and choices.