Even if your girlfriend isn’t a naturally jealous person, she might feel a little weird about someone you used to date. If the woman you’re dating really has no reason to worry about your ex, here are a few reasonable and healthy ways to ease her insecurities:
- Be completely transparent if your ex contacts you. Women have a way of finding things out even when they’re not trying to, so if your ex is trying to creep back into your life, your girlfriend is going to find out one way or the other. Even if your side of things is completely innocent and you respond to your ex’s contact attempts by telling her to leave you alone, just let your girlfriend know what happened. If you show her that you’re not hiding anything, she’s less likely to assume you’re still hung up on a girl from your past.
- Remove your ex from social media. Wanting your ex to see how happy you are isn’t a good reason to keep her on Facebook. If your girlfriend is worried that you might be checking out your ex’s profile on Instagram or using social media as a way to watch her life from a distance, prioritize her feelings over your desire to maintain contact with your ex. Pushing back on this one will give your girlfriend a legitimate reason to be concerned you might not be over your ex.
- Introduce your girlfriend to important people in your life. If enough time has passed in your relationship, invite your girlfriend to hang out with your roommates, close friends, and even family. This will show her that you’re serious about her and aren’t keeping her a secret. The more your girlfriend assumes that she’s a significant part of your life, the less she’ll worry about the former significance of someone you used to date.
- If your girlfriend asks questions, assume she wants the truth. Don’t tell “half-truths” or outright lie if your girlfriend wants to know why your former relationship ended or other details about your past with your ex. Again, if you do, she’s going to find out whether she wants to or not. Even if she’s not happy about what the truth is, she’ll at least be able to rest easy knowing that you’ll be honest if she asks about your ex.
- Be open about your relationship on social media. Even if you’re not the type to share your whole life on Facebook, if your girlfriend wants to make your relationship “Facebook official,” just do it. Seriously, this is not the hill you want your relationship to die on. You don’t need to post couple-y photos of the two of you every day, but making it obvious that you’re in a relationship can put to rest any worries your girlfriend has about your ex not knowing that you two are a thing.
- Be patient with your girlfriend when she’s anxious. It’s ridiculous and unhealthy to cave to unreasonable requests that your girlfriend has (such as demanding you send photos of where you are), but you also shouldn’t jump down her throat if she needs a little extra reassurance. She might’ve dealt with infidelity in the past or had exes who never quite got over their exes. Don’t let things get out of control, but be willing to meet in the middle if she’s a little worried.
- Don’t “vent” about your ex. When it comes to convincing your girlfriend that you really don’t think about your ex anymore, silence speaks louder than words. You might think that you’re doing your girlfriend a favor by going on and on about what a terrible person your ex was and how happy you were when you broke up, but what you’re really doing is sending the message that even though she had a negative impact on you, she’s still on your mind. Don’t bring her up unless your girlfriend asks you specifically about her.
- Be specific about the things you like about your girlfriend. Specific compliments can do wonders for a woman’s self-esteem, and they can help prove to your girlfriend that you’re with her for who she is, not because you can’t have your ex. Compliment your girlfriend for things like her work ethic, her generosity, and the way her nose scrunches up when she laughs. The more she can understand the exact reasons why you’ve chosen her, the less likely she’ll be to worry that you’d rather be with someone from your past.
- If you must communicate with your ex, don’t be weird with your phone. If you made the decision to date someone you work with or who’s still in your social circle, it’s a lot harder to completely excommunicate her from your life. If your ex still has to call or text you for totally platonic reasons, don’t hide these interactions from your girlfriend. You shouldn’t have to show her every time your ex/co-worker texts you about swapping shifts, but at the very least, don’t tilt your phone away from her or delete your conversations.