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No, this isn’t a persuasion piece on the benefits of keeping your friends close and your enemies closer.
This is more about turning your internal and external enemies into friends because:
- It will probably make your partner happy—and make them think you’re really cool.
This person played a big part in your partner’s life. If your partner still has an interest in having him or her in their life (they probably do, but they’re afraid of how you’d react), it’s because that person brings them some kind of joy.
If you love someone, you want them to have that joy. And if your partner calls someone an ex, they do so for a reason. Trust them enough to know that they’re done with that old relationship.
If you don’t believe that they’re complete with the relationship, ask probing questions—challenge your own assumptions. Get clarity on what their ex means to them and if they need support in finding closure. If they say they’re complete with the relationship, believe them. If they say they’re not complete with it, don’t create all sorts of drama around that, simply support them in getting the closure they need.
When you know they are completely over that relationship, you both get to have another joy-bringing person in your lives! For many of us, when we notice our partner developing a connection with someone else, we feel fear and contraction. But we can rewrite that reaction and choose expansion! We can focus on the joy that comes when our loved one experiences more love, connection, and abundance!
When we truly love someone, we desire that for them!
2. Jealousy is a turn-on.
According to author and coach Victor Baranco, “Jealousy is 90% turn on and 10% exclusion.”
Let’s face it. If you feel jealousy toward someone, it’s because you think they’re hot. Many cases of jealousy in heterosexual relationships, in my opinion, are really just one partner’s ingrained homophobia—projecting their own feeling of attraction to someone onto their partner.
As Eric Francis says in his article, “A Little Thing Called Comparison:”
“Feel, if you can, how erotic a jealous experience can be. When you are feeling jealous, swim into the core of the experience. Encourage your partner to do the same. Help them if you can. Right inside the jealous episode is a fiery core of erotic passion. It may surprise you how good it feels.”
I’ve realized that when I’m afraid my boyfriend is still into his exes, it’s actually because I am into his exes! So rather than worrying about him finding her attractive, I focus on the attraction that she creates in me!
And if you aren’t attracted to your partner’s exes, you are at least attracted to their ways of being. Jealousy only exists when we want something—when we are attracted to a way that someone carries themselves and interacts with the world. And underneath that jealousy is precious information about the ways in which we desire to expand. Typically, jealousy is reflecting back to us something we aren’t giving ourselves permission to be.
Jealousy is like an iceberg—what pokes above the surface is our own feelings of unworthiness and exclusion, but what’s underneath that 10 percent is a vast well of desire.
When we are willing to be with our feelings of insecurity rather than run from them—banning our partners from having their exes around—then we can begin to feel into what lies beneath.
And what lies beneath is desire.
So, what if rather than focusing on the insecurity, or exclusion, we focus our attention on the desire? Desire feels good. It feels expansive. Insecurity and exclusion are what feels bad and contractive.
So rather than fearing jealousy, let’s use its arrival as a reminder to look more closely for the inspiration, desire, and turn-on that it’s hiding.
3. You’ll probably really like them!
The people who used to be loved by our partners are likely to be people we would love—if we let ourselves! Think of it like this: the ex we think is taking love away from us is actually a potential source of more love for us!
*Read those last two sentences again.*
Throughout my life, I’ve had several instances where I feel jealous of my partner’s ex, but then they turn out to be really awesome people and we become friends! After all, we do have a lot in common. At the very least, we both have had this person in our life at some point, in a big way.
Honestly, the ex will probably be able to empathize with the challenges we are going through better than anyone! Plus, our partner most likely was into both of us for similar reasons—so much commonality to explore.
The very people I’ve been most jealous in my life have turned out to be some of the most inspirational and lasting friends.
4. It’s an opportunity for transformation.
When we act on jealousy or fear by forbidding our partner from having their exes around, we give power to our own insecurities. We validate the belief that love is a scarce, finite resource for which we must fight.
Remember: jealousy is 10% exclusion and 90% desire.
That feeling of exclusion is predicated on feeling unworthy. When we believe that our partner must keep their exes out of their lives in order for us to feel worthy, we are attaching our feelings of wholeness and lovability to something outside of ourselves. We miss out on the opportunity to learn how to love ourselves through discomfort and connect to an unshakable feeling of worthiness.
The feeling of jealousy isn’t necessarily bad, but it’s intense. When we are willing to open to it and lean into the feeling of jealousy rather than shrink away from it, then we get to expand and become more all-around spacious receivers.
When we are willing to embrace the discomfort, we have an opportunity for deep inner transformation.
5. It will make your life easier.
It’s very likely that you will run into this person again. Rather than fearing it and orchestrating your lives around avoiding it, let go of the tension, embrace it, and make the most of it!
So, there you go! Five reasons to befriend your partner’s exes. Why not give it a try?
Worst-case scenario? You figure out your ex and your partner should still be together. And if so, good thing you figured out sooner rather than later!
Best-case scenario? You gain a new friend, let go of fear, make your partner happier, and are an inspiration to jealous partners everywhere!