How to be social with your partner's ex
LGBT self-help coach Gina Battye shares her wisdom
Is your partner’s friendship with an ex creating tension in your relationship?
When you voice your concerns over the closeness of their friendship, your partner insists there is nothing to worry about. And you know that, deep down.
The reality is, they were in a significant relationship for a number of years and for whatever reason, they decided to go their own separate way.
Even with all the reassurance from your honey, you can’t shake off those bouts of jealousy, niggles of trust, doubt and anxiety around the whole situation.
You want to be able to peacefully co-exist with your partner's ex, but you’re not sure how to deal with all these thoughts and feelings going on within you.
Rest assured. It is possible to have a good relationship with your partner’s ex. Here’s how.
Let’s begin with you.
1. Turn your thinking around
This isn’t your partner's ex. This is a friend of your partner's. Just like the other five, six, seven people that come out socialising with you. Thinking of them in this way will strip away the emotional charge out of the situation.
2. What is it about your partner's ex that unsettles you?
Raise your awareness by journaling about it. Get it out on to paper. Don’t repress your emotions. Never repress your emotions. Let it flow out of you.
When you have exhausted your thoughts, take a breather. Then ask yourself what is REALLY going on here. Is it about your partner's ex? Is it about your partner? Or is this about you?
When you dig deeper under the surface, you will realise something is being triggered in you about yourself. That is the real issue here.
3. Work through it
Once you have uncovered what this is really all about, work through it; either with a professional, alone or with your partner.
Communication is fundamental to a strong, authentic relationship. Talk to your partner about any concerns you have. Be honest and authentic with each other. Share what you uncovered in your journaling and encourage your partner to express their feelings and thoughts on the situation.
4. Leave the past in the past
Remember, lots of water has flowed under the bridge since your partner was with their ex. They are not the same people anymore and they have chosen to move forward separately. You are the one your partner has chosen to be with. Hold THAT thought, not thoughts of the past. Live for this moment.
Now let’s talk about socialising with your partner’s ex.
Find out all the details for the event: who is going to be there, where you are going, what is the plan. This will put your mind at rest so you know what to expect.
Ask your partner questions about their friends beforehand (remember this is a gathering of friends). Look for things you can talk to them about. Hobbies, work, interests. The more information you gather, the easier it will be to strike up a conversation.
Stay focused on what is going on in the moment. When your mind wanders, pull yourself back into the conversation. Stay as absolutely present as you can.
Remember to trust your instincts, not your insecurities. Your mind can quickly take over, creating a story out of nothing. These stories are a result of your insecurities; they are not true or real.
Controversial, I know, but there is no need to work on the relationship with your partner's ex.
Bring your focus back to you and this moment. Find out what is being triggered in you and work through it.
The rest will fall into place.
About the author
Described as "Britain's equivalent to Oprah Winfrey", Gina Battye is one of the world's hottest rising stars.
Gina is the leading voice for LGBT self-help. She is the creator of The Soul Work (an LGBT self-help programme), TV show host, author, columnist for Curve and DIVA and an internationally sought after & award-winning coach & speaker.
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