This post is all about how to get over your boyfriend’s past.
There’s no easy way to accept that your partner has loved people and kissed people and dated people before you. It can make you feel like you’re not special enough or you need to work harder for them to stay. None of this is true.
The only thing that matters in your current relationship is staying present. But, that’s hard when all you can think about is their past. It’s to say you need to get over it and forget about what happened before you.
And, yet, when you think about it, that doesn’t mean much without the tangible to work through those feelings and thoughts. So, check out these 17 tips on how to get over your boyfriend’s past.
This post is all about how to get over your boyfriend’s past.
GET OVER YOUR BOYFRIEND’S PAST:
1. Your feelings are normal
When you start seeing someone, you’re putting a lot on the line. The further you get into the relationship, the more invested you become and the less you want to get hurt. So, when you learn about your partner’s past relationships, it may scare you.
Those negative thoughts might start circulating and you might start developing negative emotions toward your new partner. This is a normal response to fear. Once you develop feelings for someone, you are vulnerable and you worry they will hurt you.
Retrospective jealousy is a natural consequence of this vulnerability and worry. However, that doesn’t mean that should live with it and accept it. Instead, use the following 16 tips to work through those feelings.
2. Watch out for double standards
Before you get into the self-work part of this process, double-check the standards you have for yourself. It’s okay if you and your partner approach past relationships differently. You two may have different values when it comes to previous relationships.
However, you do need to check if you shut down any questions about your past relationships when asking questions about the past of your partner.
Double standards can look like you judging your partner for engaging in the same behavior you’ve engaged in with previous partners. Or it can look like demanding that they open up without even offering to open up yourself.
3. Remember there will always be “greener pastures”
Once you start asking yourself how to get over your boyfriend’s past, you have to accept that any type of comparison between your relationship and others’ is harmful. Every relationship is unique (please note that this content does not apply to abusive relationships).
You will always see other relationships that seem to be cuter, feel sexier, and look more meaningful than yours. But, there’s no way for anyone on the outside to understand all of the mechanisms within a relationship.
You will always find relationships in your life that look healthier and more idealistic than yours. You will never know if that’s what those relationships are actually like and the time you spend on those relationships would be better spent on connecting with your partner.
4. Explore your feelings of anger
Dig into your anger. It often results from unmet needs that need to be brought to the surface. Feel it in your body and notice what you feel when you let it into your body. Maybe your lungs get tight, your eyes water, or your jar clenches.
Let it happen and let it tell you what the anger is trying to tell you. Perhaps, you’re not angry at your partner for their past behaviors but really because you didn’t find out from them.
Or maybe the two of you have different sexual needs, which makes you feel insecure about your relationship. Feel your anger and quiet your thoughts as your anger moves into your body.
5. Challenge your negative thoughts
As you move through the process of learning how to get over your boyfriend’s past, challenge your negative thoughts. This is one of the most important steps to take to get more comfortable with your partner’s exes because it helps you reframe the negative thoughts that come up.
So, when you think about your partner’s sexual past or their past relationships, change your thinking. Notice negative thoughts like, “They’ve had too many partners,” “They will never stay with me,” or “There must be something wrong with them to have this many partners before me.”
Then, challenge them. Ask yourself why you think they’ve had too many partners, why you think they will never stay with you, and why something has to be wrong for them to have multiple partners.
If it helps, ask yourself for evidence to back any of these negative thoughts up (spoiler alert: you won’t think of many, if you think of any at all).
6. Get comfortable with open communication
Once you start working on reframing your negative thoughts, you will be ready to talk to your partner about your concerns. No one can change their past, so be sure to define a reasonable goal for this conversation.
Honest communication requires good intentions and the desire to work through conflict in healthy ways. The best way to approach this conversation about your person’s past is to tell them you’re feeling uncomfortable about their relationship history and you’re working on it.
Avoid criticizing their past or asking them to apologize for their past. Instead, share your feelings of insecurity and be vulnerable. Talk through the reasons you might be stressed over their relationship past and emphasize that you want to work on this for a better relationship.
7. Remind yourself that you’re both human beings
As much as it sucks to know that your partner has loved other people and dated other people, you’re the one they choose now. You are their current partner. Beyond that, you’re both human and you both have history that has helped you become the people you are.
You may not have been each other’s first kiss, but you choose each other now, which might be more meaningful than the first kiss. Be gentle with yourself and your partner because you can’t expect yourself or your partner to be perfect.
They’re a good partner to you now because they struggled in previous relationships. Plus, who said that the perfect partner is the person with no relationship experience?
8. Move on from past mistakes for your own good
When you learn about your partner’s mistakes in their past relationships, you have to decide if it’s enough to end the relationship. If it’s not, then you have to do the work to let it go. Ask yourself why it bothers you and get to the bottom of it.
Get vulnerable and find out what about your life experiences make this a painful mistake to forget. Think about why this mistake triggers you when your partner didn’t make the mistake in your current relationship.
Work on pointing out that trigger as the reason this mistake hurts you and remind yourself that this mistake is in the past. Remember how much you value your relationship.
9. Talk to a family member about your concerns
Be careful when introducing outsiders into your relationship issues. As we’ve mentioned before, outsiders will never understand your relationship as much as you do, so their advice will never apply perfectly to your relationship.
Having said that, you can get another opinion from someone you trust to give careful, thoughtful commentary. Let them know about your feelings of jealousy based on your partner’s past. If nothing else, use this as an opportunity to talk through the situation aloud.
You may not even ask for advice. Instead, you may just talk to your family member and process through talking about it with someone other than your partner.
10. Focus on creating new memories in the present moment
While you work on fixating less on the past, start focusing on the present. This is a great way to remind yourself why you love your partner and what makes your relationship worthwhile. Plan date nights, watch your favorite TV shows together, and cook dinner.
Remember that this person is your best friend and there’s good reason for you to be in this relationship with a great guy or girl.
Getting over your boyfriend’s past relationships or girlfriend’s past relationships is a long, painful process. That doesn’t mean that you have to wait a long time to remember the good qualities that make this person your partner.
11. Ask yourself about your sexual experiences
Ask yourself about your past and present experiences. When those jealous thoughts come up, consider whether your sexual satisfaction has anything to do with how you feel about your partner’s past.
Maybe your sexual relationships in the past are changing the way you think about your current relationship in a way that’s unfair to your current partner.
Consider your relationship with sex and ask yourself if there’s a connection between that relationship and your romantic relationship with your partner. This form of jealousy may come from dissatisfaction or insecurity related to your sexual life with your partner.
12. Challenge your intrusive thoughts
Intrusive thoughts are unwanted, uncontrollable thoughts that pop into your head. They can be stressful and scary because you struggle to get rid of them even though you never asked for them to begin with.
These are more frustrating when they come up concerning a relationship that otherwise makes you happy and comfortable. As intrusive thoughts come into your head, remind yourself that those thoughts are not yours.
It’s not fair to you or your partner that these thoughts come up, but it’s still worth considering that they’re coming from a place within you that you are ignoring. Remember you are not responsible for the thoughts coming up, but you are responsible for looking into them.
13. Consult a relationship expert when in doubt
You’re doing a lot of work on your own. It’s overwhelming, and you can consult a mental health professional for help. It’s possible that you and your partner need professional help to get past their relationship history.
That’s okay. The moment you decide that you are ready for a trained therapist (Marriage and Family Therapist, for example) to help you out, you are proving how dedicated you are to your relationship.
Therapy is not accessible to everyone, which is why this blog exists. But, when you can access therapy, your mental health professional will help you meet your goal of strengthening your relationship and moving past previous relationships.
14. Interrogate your jealous feelings
Don’t let those jealous feelings linger without asking where they’re coming from. Once you decide that you are dedicated to your relationship, the most important thing is figuring out what your jealousy is telling you.
It might be that you don’t know your partner as well as someone else or you haven’t shared certain experiences that past partners have. Figure out what’s going on beneath the jealousy and ask yourself how you can work through that.
Maybe you can ask your partner blunt questions to get to know them better or you share new experiences. Your jealousy may not go away, but it should not control your ability to be happy within your relationship.
15. Consider your own past experiences
Think about your past relationships and any past partners you’ve had. Ask yourself if your partner has ever worried about your past and why they haven’t. This is another, sneakier way to figure out if you have double standards.
In this case, your partner accepts the stuff in your past that you struggle with in theirs. It’s okay to have different values, but this is a conversation you must have before you get any further in your relationship.
There’s nothing wrong with having different values, but you need to be sure that differing values will not get in the way of your relationship.
16. Remember what a healthy relationship looks like
Remind yourself that a healthy relationship needs honest communication, aligned goals for the relationship, and mutual respect. There’s so much that goes into a healthy relationship, but the most basic thing you need is to feel good.
Your relationship should leave you feeling safe and happy. This means you argue, but you talk it out after and you feel secure in your relationship. If you have an anxious attachment style, this sounds nearly impossible and may make jealous thoughts easier to believe.
Keep in mind that you decide what a healthy relationship is for you, as long as it is not abusive. Regardless, you have to get over your partner’s past to be happy in your current relationship.
17. Be grateful they had those experiences before you
Every relationship and partner they had before you has taught them how to be a better partner for you. Maybe they took a break from dating or they found you on their fifth date with five different women. Either way, both of you have found each other as a result of your history.
It’s scary to know that your partner has had meaningful connections to other people before you because that means they can have someone after you.
There’s no denying that, but whatever happens in your relationship will likely have nothing to do with their past and everything to do with how to maintain your relationship and love each other.