Nina thought it was going great.
They had long, intense conversations. They were great at making each other laugh. And the chemistry?
Suffice to say, she hadn’t been this excited in a long time.
They hadn’t been together more than a few weeks when something happened.
Their beautiful, easy connection vanished almost overnight.
He became distracted. He seemed closed off. He didn’t have much to say.
The next time they talked on the phone, she told him, “Hey, if you don’t want to talk to me, you don’t have to.”
He apologized. There was an awkward silence.
Finally he said, “I guess I should tell you that my ex messaged me the other day. Out of the blue. I’m not going to see her or anything. It just… It shook me, that’s all.”
Nina froze. Her heart began to race. She took a deep breath and said, “Okay, sure. Guess I’ll catch up with you later?”
After she hung up, Nina couldn’t stop pacing around her apartment. She pulled up her guy’s social media account and scrolled through his pictures to see if she could spot his ex.
There she was…
A beautiful slim, brown-haired woman with a huge smile.
Nina felt sick to her stomach. She sent an email my way:
“James, I have a problem…”
The Other Woman
It is awful enough when someone you really like decides he doesn’t want to continue the relationship.
But when he decides he doesn’t want to continue the relationship because there’s another woman in the background?
Not only is he rejecting you, but he’s picking another woman over you.
He got your very best—your time and your energy and your love—and it still wasn’t as good as what he had with this other woman.
They have a history together, whereas you’ve only been with him for a short time. How can you compete?
If only he’d give you a chance, you could show him how much happier you could make him.
No wonder Nina panicked.
Here’s what I suggested she do…
Don’t Be Afraid
Nina’s gut instinct was to pretend the conversation never happened.
She didn’t want to think about his ex. Maybe if she acted like she wasn’t bothered by any of it, he’d come to his senses.
But she was bothered by it. She was angry. She was jealous.
And no matter what she did to cover it up, he was going to sense that.
That’s why I always recommend that women do something different:
Talk to him about it.
Face your fears head-on.
As embarrassing as it is to be jealous, there’s nothing wrong with feeling that way. It can even be flattering when your partner is jealous of your ex. It shows that he wants you to be his alone.
The truth is that most of us have a few exes in our past. How many adults can say that they’ve never had a significant relationship or never been in love with anyone?
Is there a man you once loved that you’d take a chance on again, if he popped back into your life?
Maybe you’ve even been in a situation before where you cared about two men and weren’t sure which relationship you should pursue.
If so, then you know how painful it is. You don’t want to hurt anyone. But you want to make the best decision for yourself. You don’t want to choose the wrong person and live with regret.
When you see the situation from this perspective, you can have compassion for yourself and for him.
Of course you’re jealous and panicked about losing him. Of course he’s feeling confused and pulled in different directions.
Can you start a conversation with him from that place of compassion?
Try Saying This
You might say:
“I’m wondering how you’re feeling since your ex called. It made me feel a bit unsteady, because I like you a lot and I’m wondering how her presence is going to affect us.”
You might even ask him about her:
“Tell me about her. What was good about your relationship? What was bad? What ended it? What did you learn from it?”
As you listen, pay attention to what he’s not saying. What parts of the story make him emotional? Has he fully processed the breakup? Does he still put her on a pedestal?
Then, if you have a story from your own life where you felt conflicted about two different men, share it with him. Show him that you can understand.
Finally, help him understand how you’re feeling. You might say:
“Maybe there was a time in your life where a girl you liked wasn’t sure whether she liked you or someone else more. You probably know how hard it is. That isn’t a good position for either of us. I really like you, and we have so much fun together, but I don’t want to feel like I’m your second choice.”
Then see what he has to say.
Ultimately, you want a partner who can give you his whole heart. Love is hard enough when you’re both fully committed. When one person is only half-in, the anxiety and uncertainty make it grueling.
So find out where he’s at sooner rather than later. Don’t put the conversation off. Your heart needs answers, even if they’re not the ones you wanted.