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Jealous of an Ex

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Okay heres the deal.

I am now single after having a some-what rocky relationship for around 18 months and I have been with a few girls since and am generally trying to move on. However recently I found out that my ex has been with someone and me being my stupid insecure self am feeling the most intense horrible feeling of jealousy ever.

I feel very inadequate even though we are no longer together as a result of a mutual break up. I'm sure this is a fairly normal feeling, to feel jealous about an ex lover with someone else however it is just tearing me up inside whenever I think about the two of them kissing or whatever.

I worry that she may be thinking how much better looking this guy is, or how he's got such a better body than me.

I know I sound selfish, I've been with people so why can't she, but the truth is I just find it very hard to deal with and I just want to fix it.

Thank you to anyone who replys to this, I will be forever grateful.

~Dave

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I worry that she may be thinking how much better looking this guy is, or how he's got such a better body than me.

I know I sound selfish, I've been with people so why can't she, but the truth is I just find it very hard to deal with and I just want to fix it.

Wouldn't it make more sense to say that you are being selfless by caring so much about what she is thinking? :blink:

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I’m sorry Dave but there is nowhere to begin. If you have an interest in Objectivism that would be a start – but then you should focus more on it then your jealousy. There is nothing you can do about your emotions unless you take active measures in your philosophy… suppressing them won’t help in the long run.

Wishing won't make it so.

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Okay heres the deal.

I am now single after having a some-what rocky relationship for around 18 months and I have been with a few girls since and am generally trying to move on. However recently I found out that my ex has been with someone and me being my stupid insecure self am feeling the most intense horrible feeling of jealousy ever.

I feel very inadequate even though we are no longer together as a result of a mutual break up. I'm sure this is a fairly normal feeling, to feel jealous about an ex lover with someone else however it is just tearing me up inside whenever I think about the two of them kissing or whatever.

I worry that she may be thinking how much better looking this guy is, or how he's got such a better body than me.

I know I sound selfish, I've been with people so why can't she, but the truth is I just find it very hard to deal with and I just want to fix it.

Thank you to anyone who replys to this, I will be forever grateful.

~Dave

I can relate. I was involved in a passionate friendship once but it was sexually unrequitted love. I couldn't get the person to consummate the relationship. Primarily, it was a conflict of values. Although the mutual break-up was horrendously painful, in order to keep my integrity I had to accept it. My emotions told me to beg for mercy but I knew better. Even today, if I think hard enough, it is hard to tolerate the idea of the person having sex with someone.

However, I know that is wrong. Put colloquially, a principle I have come to validate over the years is: there are a lot of fish in the sea. Even eccentric people (people not interested in Objectivism) can be quite interesting and exhibit a lot of potential.

You said that the break up was mutual, i.e., it served both your better interests. It does take time for your subconscious to catch up with your conscious mind. To get rid of the jealousy is you have to step away from the emotion and think about why you are feeling it. You have to keep giving yourself principled reinforcement on why the jealousy is inappropriate. One day, you will wake up and it won't be there, or at least not as much. What you had was good and you will never forget that. But if you both mutually agreed, then it probably means that there is someone better for both of you out there; you don't lose what you achieved together; you both advance to a better level, to something more fulfilling, each individually.

Imagine bursting into the room and pulling him away. If you loved her and she loves him, you would be hurting her greatly. You are asking her to sacrifice her happiness for yours (which is not really your happiness because it is dependent on someone else "loving" you).

But maybe you do belong together and she has to grow or you do. But you have to figure that out. If this may be the case, don't go rushing into a new intense relationship because it will be a fraud. It will be unfair to both of you. But after a certain point, you do have to move on (the most moral thing to do is seek your happiness) because how can you love someone who doesn't love you and know it and is driven to be with you?

You have to identify who you are, what your convictions are, what your values are--and then find someone who matches that.

I wrote an essay in the essay section of this forum about Romantic love.

The only other thing I can think of for you to end this nagging jealousy is to committ suicide and if she really loves you, she will follow you and you will meet her in Plato's world of forms! But enjoy this earth for awhile before you do that. Drink a lot of wine and spirits and beer. Eat like a pig. Indulge in every fancy you have ever been tempted for. Obviously, this advise is merely sadistic irony but it shows the absurdity if one gauges the value of your life on earth if it is dependent on someone else. There is no insult intended by this because I sympathize with what you are going through.

Think, think, think,

Americo.

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One tip: don't idealize your ex. Keep in mind the bad as well as the good. Remember all those things about her that bugged you? Now some other guy has to put up with them. And that's something you don't have to feel jealous about. In fact, aren't you relieved to be free of that, and able to look for better women?

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  • 2 months later...

Americo,

That was great advice you gave!

But I have a question in regards to what you said about people having to grow, even though they may be right for eachother. How would you tackle that situation without putting a dent in the relationship?

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Americo,

  That was great advice you gave!

          But I have a question in regards to what you said about people having to grow, even though they may be right for eachother.  How would you tackle that situation without putting a dent in the relationship?

In any business communication is the biggest problem ... usually. Talk to your lover. Lie down if you have to, and tell him/her what you want!

But then there is Roark and Dominique. You have to wait. Not necessarily sexually, but when it comes to giving your all. Yes, there CAN be a dent--but why not wait? I'll say this: my own current example: I think this growing/waiting/thing is the case: I will lust ... somewhat ... not as much as before ... but my mind will control it ... until I know for sure ... that he is hopeless. (Yes, "he", for this is me).

Americo.

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Yes, I agree.

I think that if you aren't telling the other person what you need and want, you aren't being selfish enough. And for someone to give thier all in the relationship, they need to be "at their all" if you will. You can't have a relationship without a strong self..... And I think it's better to wait and actualize your potential than to call the whole thing off, when all along you were right for eachother....

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Yes, I agree.

            I think that if you aren't telling the other person what you need and want, you aren't being selfish enough.  And for someone to give thier all in the relationship, they need to be "at their all" if you will.  You can't have a relationship without a strong self.....  And I think it's better to wait and actualize your potential than to call the whole thing off, when all along you were right for eachother....

Your first sentence cuts off MY situation. So I guess I agree. Myself is strong. It's this: I am SO strange. But I am not wrong. I now know what I want. And buddy may just be playing games. Either way, I KNOW what I want! Trust me: I got no problem expressing what I feel ... I DON'T have that problem ... others do.

But thanks, anyway,

Americo, (Jose)),

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Dave,

The first thing I want to tell you is that your feelings are normal. You had a relationship with this person for 18 months! That is not an insignificant portion of your life. I am a little surprised at some of the postings, which seem to imply that once you've decided to end a relationship, your feelings will naturally dissolve into nothingness. That couldn't be farther from the truth.

In fact, the more someone meant to you, and the more integrated they were in your life and values, the more difficult and time-consuming will be the process of grief to "get over" them. The process is very akin to your lover having died (and in a sense, they have). There are numerous conscious and subconscious integrations you have made in the past 18 months involving this person. These each have to be broken; that is the process of "getting over" that person.

And it's very natural that you would feel jealousy over your ex-lover having sex with another person. You used to be that person, and part of you hasn't adjusted to not being that person. The only way to grow is to experience the pain and jealousy.

As for feeling insecure, you shouldn't. You two didn't end the relationship because you didn't have a six-pack, or weren't tall enough, or "well-equiped" enough. Those issues are usually tangential in a relationship. Sure, she is probably enjoying her new lover; don't fight acknowledging that fact, embrace it. That might sound crazy, but trust me, that will help you to get over her. It is very difficult to stay enamored with another individual, when you know they are having sex with someone else (trust me, I know this too).

You say that you want a way to "fix this", meaning your pain and jealousy. I'm sorry to tell you there is no magic pill that will fix you; only time and acceptance of your pain will help you. Live your life and don't repress your feelings, even if you don't like them. Believe me, I know how painful it can be to think about a former lover having sex with someone else (let alone enjoying it!). But trust me as someone who has been in your shoes, in time you will get over it, and the pain will subside.

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They say it's standard psychology that women get over relationships better then men do.

Even Jeff Foxworthy recognized this fact: man breaks up with a woman, a woman will get her friends together, they cry about it for a little while, eat some ice cream, one week later she's ready to move on with her life. woman breaks up with a man, he'll spend a week denying he ever had feelings for her. A week later he's chasing small animals in his back yard with a weedeater shouting "she said she'd always love me!!!!"

Humor aside, I know how bad it feels.

I was with my ex for a year and 8 months, and I was passionatly in love with her (to the point where I was saving for an engagement ring) until I found out she was cheating on me. She didn't accept the fact that she was wrong, in fact, she painted herself as the victim and I as the villian.

I wanted desperatly to get back together with her, and my knowledge of Objectivism was incomplete, so I took everything she said as true. I became insanely depressed and went through a very short nihilistic phase, when I just hated life. All because I had brainwashed myself that I was the cause of the problem, and the cause of the effect. This was back when I was a Christian Libertarian, so maybe that explains why I have such an aversion to both Christianity and Libertarianism (both failed me when I needed them the most)

They began dating the night I broke up the relationship, and that hurt a great deal because it seemed to me that she wanted to get away from me, that she didn't love me.

For two months I was in a stupor, and I tried everything in the book to try and win her back. I send her gifts, called her, wanted to be her friend, wanted to be there, talked trash about her new boyfriend. Meanwhile she led me on, knowing that I was destroying myself, but not daring to act (she was a sucker for attention.)

Two months later, I made the best decision I ever made. I broke off all contact with her. I got my stuff back, gave her back what was hers, said my goodbyes, and never looked back. It was hard, but It was only then when I could say that I was truly over the relationship. This was also around the time when I embraced secular humanism, and was only a hop, skip, and a jump away from Objectivism.

what helped me through was keeping my mind occupied, and being open about it. by the end of the second month, I was learning that the less time I spend sulking and the more time I spent out doing stuff with friends and being active, the less overal depressed I was. by the end of the second month, I was playing lots of golf, doing lots of fishing, and lifting lots of weights, all with my friends.

It also helped that my sister helped me through it. She had been best friends with my ex, and was sorely disapointed with her when she found out about the infidelity. She became my vent, but also knew when enough was enough. I learned how to talk about it, but not dwell on it, because my sis would hang up on me when I wanted to do nothing but sit around and mope about how sad I was. Find someone who can be your confidant, but force yourself to acknowledge when you have passed beyond constructive venting, and into the realm of hapless moaning.

Also, one thing I was warned about, was to not get a rebound. They are only substitutes that you are trying to use to fill in the gap left by the previous relationship. You are trying to make her into a new version of your ex, and you typically take out your frustration on the girl when she doesn't meet the impossible standards you set from your image of the ideal (which misguidingly was your ex.) That's not fair to either you or the girl, so I would give myself a month or two after a messy breakup before dating again.

Edited by the tortured one
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I was with my ex for a year and 8 months . . .

Sheesh . . . after reading your post, now I know why you call yourself "The Tortured One"!

Seriously, your story, while unpleasant to read, is also extremely common among men. The emotional trauma that the majority of males go through in romantic love defies description and belief — it's almost a wonder we're able to survive it all.

As one guy put it: "It's incredible to think how much pain and devastation has been visited upon my life . . . all thanks my capacity to love people."

He's only half-right, of course: It's that capacity, plus the total lack of understanding of what to do with it. I often say that a man takes his first important step on the road to romantic recovery the moment he begins to realize that every major problem he's ever had in love — every humiliating breakup, every infidelity, deception, or other "wronging" he's ever experienced — was, at root, in some very significant way, the result of his own bad choices and actions.

Virtually every problem that leads to romantic disaster is foreseeable, usually far in advance, and often from the very beginning. When a man winds up in pain, he really has no one but himself to blame.

This doesn't mean that a man deserves moral guilt for every romantic failure. Most men simply don't have a clue as to how to discern a quality romantic partner from one who'll make life a living hell; they have no concept of "red flags," let alone any ability to recognize them — not to mention the havoc that a man's overpowering, out-of-control sexual emotions can play with his ability to think clearly and act rationally.

But it is to say that if a man intends to be successful in romantic love, he has to renounce totally, completely and forever the role of victim; it means that in order to be fully happy, a man has to take full responsibility for his life, his actions, and his relationships.

A man may succeed in getting over his pain and moving beyond a particular experience, but without an attendant awareness of where his troubles truly lie, he's bound to make the same mistakes, and go through the same kind of pain, over and over again.

They say it's standard psychology that women get over relationships better then men do.

This is essentially true, but it has perhaps less to do with psychology than simple statistics: the fact is that women are overwhelmingly the ones who initiate romantic breakups. The best figures indicate that approximately 2/3 of divorces are filed by the wife — in some states the rate tops 70%. (I'm not aware of any statistics for unmarried couples, though I suspect the rate is even higher.)

Now before anyone starts to leap down my throat for saying this, I don't think this is necessarily a bad thing. What is a terrible thing is that so many men are oblivious to what's really going on in their relationships, and only begin to become aware of problems until it's much too late. By that point, the woman is usually happy to get out, while the poor guy is left not knowing what hit him. (The most common statement from a man who's just been dumped? That the breakup came "out of the blue," and that he "didn't think things were that bad.")

Add to that the fact that a man is much more apt to experience a romantic failure as a personal failing — as a blow to his masculinity — and add to that the fact that women are forever feeling sorry for us and trying to let us down easy, which causes us no end of confusion and false hope — and add to that the fact that men tend to be emotionally repressed in general; that we don't really "do" feelings the way women do — that we tend not to have the same level of emotional openness with our friends, and consequently don't have the same kind of social support system that women can rely on in times of crisis — and it's not terribly hard to understand why breakups often result in long periods of isolation and depression for men, while women seem to "bounce back" remarkably more quickly and easily.

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I found out that my ex has been with someone and me being my stupid insecure self am feeling the most intense horrible feeling of jealousy ever.

You can start by not calling your feelings (and yourself) "stupid."

I've heard this sentiment a lot lately, from people both in and out of Objectivism — this wanting to "get rid of" certain feelings, as if painful or inconvenient emotions were enemies to be annihilated and wiped out.

The first thing I'd say is that it can't be done. The second is that you would never want to.

Feelings are always a good thing. Certain emotions can be painful, or undesirable under certain circumstances, but the fact that one feels is always something to be appreciated and embraced. Our emotions are intimately tied to our values: Feelings indicate that a person is alive and conscious, and is able not just to know, but to experience what things mean to him. Only a living, thinking, valuing being can feel deeply.

Of course, a given emotion may be unpleasant to feel, but to do so is infinitely preferably to the opposite problem: that of being numb — of being unable to feel — which unfortunately is a very real issue in the lives of too many people.

Yet it's this very kind of emotional deadening that the policy of treating one's feelings as adversaries invariably leads to. Emotions can only be "wiped out" by means of repression — and one cannot spot-repress. One can only throttle one's emotional mechanism, and shut down one's capacity to feel.

It's like the alcoholic who starts drinking in order to drown his sorrows, and who ends by drowning his very life itself.

A person can change his feelings, but only through a process of acknowledging and examining them. What can be hard is to really experience a feeling while remaining objective and committed to understanding it. Yet you must experience an emotion if you are fully to uncover its meaning and move beyond it. Talking and writing aids immensely in this process; try, as much as possible, to express your thoughts and feelings in complete sentences. Focus not only on how you feel, but how you feel about how you feel: be aware of your responses, positive or negative, to everything you discover about yourself along the way.

It's also a good idea to take The Tortured One's advice and stay active and focused on what's really important in your life. Objectivity is always key: Remember that there's a whole universe of opportunity that exists outside of your own momentary experience. Spend time connecting with your inner world, but always remember that you have to live in the outer world.

Beyond that, I would just say that ideally what happens after a breakup is not that a person loses his feelings for the other, but that the feelings gradually diminish in intensity and move out of one's immediate awareness. To the extent that a relationship was honest and based on serious values, the thought of the former partner will always arouse some kind of loving/sexual feelings — though these feelings tend to reflect and be in line with reality, lacking the urgency and importance one would normally attach to feelings for a real (or potentially real) romantic partner.

Edited by Kevin Delaney
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Seriously, your story, while unpleasant to read, is also extremely common among men. The emotional trauma that the majority of males go through in romantic love defies description and belief — it's almost a wonder we're able to survive it all.

if you thought reading it was bad, try living it!! :o

I hope it was unpleasantness in the same vein as it was unpleasant to read about the people who died in Atlas Shrugged. :worry:

It was certainly an unpleasant experience, but It was only after accepting Objectivism that I fully regained and in fact grew in self-esteem and love of life. That story is the end of my old destructive philosophy of christian altruism which had taught me my whole life that I was a sinful bastard and the only way I could live a good life was through Self-denial and sacrifice. That nasty breakup is a result of all of that brainwashing religion gave me when I was an impressionable kid.

I wouldn't want to do it again, but I realize how essential it was to my growth. I felt like Cherryl Taggart, only I had somewhere to turn to, rather than a gun in my mouth. Hence, I wished to share it, as a guide the creator of this thread as to how I was able to get over my ex, and the steps I took, didn't take, and should have taken.

I don't have to read PHILOSOPHY: WHO NEEDS IT to understand how vital it is to lead a happy life. But I still want too :huh:

And actually, my "Tortured One" moniker goes back to my freshman "knob" year at my college, when life was a series of formations, drill, PT, and angry squad sargeants. I kept it as a reference to Atlas Shrugged, when they tortured John Galt in trying to get him to accept the job as economic dictator of the U.S.

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