I can't stop jealously obsessing about my boyfriend's ex-girlfriend. Any advice?

I go through periods where I am obsessive about my boyfriend's ex-girlfriend. They still hang out occasionally, whereas I am not friends with any of my exes and can't imagine being friends with someone I used to date or sleep with.

Not too long ago I was asking him questions about his last relationship, not obsessively, just out of curiousity. She dumped him about 6 months ago, supposedly because he kept doing something she didn't like and she never told him to stop. They dated for about 9 months. I asked him if he still had feelings for her. He paused slightly then said, "No," in this strange, kind of high-pitched, considering voice which makes me think he might have lied. Sometimes I want to ask him if he would go back to her, right now, if he had the chance - but I don't think I could handle either answer because I know even him denying it wouldn't stop me thinking it.

What's worse is, even though he doesn't see her that often, they live fairly close to each other. I live 10 hours away in a different state and get to see him about once every three or four weeks. I feel guilty about this, but last time I was at his house, I was using his laptop. He left his facebook logged in, and I looked at his conversation history with his ex, and with one of his ex's friends, from a couple of months after they broke up. None of it was terrible, even when I saw something that implied they hooked up after breaking up. Strangely, that doesn't bother me because it's in the past. I stopped reading though, both because of guilt and because I had a sort of anxiety attack reading them. My pulse was thundering and I felt like my bowels had turned to water. Despite that, I went back three or four times over the course of the evening to read more. I know I was punishing myself needlessly by doing it, but I wanted to know. I suffered the same physical symptoms each time, and eventually made myself stop and sign out of his facebook so I wouldn't be tempted. I didn't even get to see that much. I would do it again in a heartbeat, and if I had access to his facebook now, I would read everything.

Like I said earlier, it's not his past with her that bothers me. It's her presence in the now. Or rather, my preoccupation with how she does or how she might affect my relationship with my boyfriend. He still has photos of them as a couple on his facebook. That doesn't annoy me. Him having photos of her, just her face, saved on his computer - that annoys me. Him having mementos (posters and such) taped to his bedroom walls that she has scribbled all over ("[Her name] is awesome" type thing) annoys me. Another thing that annoys me is that he wears this cheap, shitty necklace that she got him. He used to literally wear it 24/7. It would slap me in the face when we were having sex. I asked him to take it off when we have sex, and now sometimes he takes it off of his own volition and leaves it off for a while. Everytime I see it, I wonder if he wears it because it reminds him of her - even though I wear and use things my ex gave me, and they never make me miss or even think of him. I considered getting him a new necklace, but I realised how pathetic and transparent that would be.

A couple of weeks ago we were in a Skype video call and he told me he was going to fetch a friend to help him do something with his hair. Twenty minutes later he comes back with his ex-girlfriend. It was so goddamn awkward. He got her to sit in his chair and talk to me for a bit. I could tell she felt awkward as well. I tried to just be chill, and chatted to her briefly. I did feel a big smug that she seems a lot slower intellectually than I am. (While I'm being smug, I may as well console myself that I'm taller, skinnier, have a better complexion, longer hair, more aristocratic features and nicer eyes. Also, she looks like she's about 13 years old. I feel slightly better having said all that.) This incident didn't make me jealous: I don't think they started ripping each other's clothes off as soon as they were out of sight of the webcam or anything like that. I just found his blithe assumption - that you can parade your ex-girlfriend around on Skype in front of your current girlfriend who at that moment is a 10 hour drive away when you've been dating less than a month - staggering. I think he believes I'm a lot more accepting of the situation than I really am. And truly I was, but recently I just can't shake my preoccupation with it.

Moving on. I get the feeling sometimes that he compares me to her. This guts me. He encourages me to dye my hair the same crazy colours she dyes her hair, and to wear the same kind of clothing in the same way she does. I'm not sure if this is because of a general preference, or because she did those things and he wants me to be more like her. I cannot handle the thought of not being good enough, of being compared to her, of feeling like I'm in competition with her, and like I can never live up to her. Instead of enjoying being with my boyfriend when I see him; a lot of the time I find myself stressing about whether he still has feelings for his ex and whether he'd go back to her if he could, if he only likes me because I remind him of her, if he's wishing he was with her instead of me, even if the place he's taking me to is somewhere they went together.

I realise I had a far longer and far more involved relationship with my ex than he did with his (My ex and I were together for 3 years and lived together for ~7 months), but that doesn't make me feel better. I broke up with my ex and I have never regretted it or missed him. I would never encourage my boyfriend to be more like my ex.

Generally after a while of my obsessing over this, my boyfriend will say something out of the blue that makes me feel adored and then stupid for thinking he could want anyone but me. Yet I seem to end up doing the same thing a few weeks later. I wish they hated each other, or I wish she was dead so I could stop torturing myself imagining that one day she'll change her mind, want him back, and he will dump me without hesitation to be with her. I seem to feel better when I sit and write, talk or think about the situation, but inevitably I start feeling bad over it again.

I am not going to ask him to stop being friends with her. Firstly because they don't see each other that often anyway, and secondly because I don't want to dictate what he can and cannot do. I don't know if I should bring this up with him out of the blue, or wait until next time he mentions it, or if I should talk about it at all. I feel like it's something I should just deal with and stop being crazy. I hate feeling this way.

Any advice appreciated.
By P3NANCE 10 years ago :: Dating
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