I was on her Instagram page every single day. She seemed so classy, sophisticated, and beautiful… and my boyfriend was liking almost every photo she posted. That bothered me. I developed an obsession with my boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend and I was spiraling. Here’s how I got through it.
I relied on my friends to slap some sense into me. I couldn’t take it anymore—I had to talk about it. They were surprised, to say the least. Hearing the thoughts I was having actually spoken out loud definitely helped me understand how crazy they were. How did I become this person? In past relationships, I was never this insecure or obsessive. Why now? My friends decided it was time for an intervention. I took their advice and deleted all of my social media apps. It was time to figure out how to work through this.
I did some soul-searching to figure out what was behind my obsession. She dated my boyfriend before I knew him. She was a part of his history, not mine. Through talking it out and writing down my thoughts, I realized that I was in a place in my life where I was feeling really lost and vulnerable. My relationship didn’t feel stable. I found I was actually looking for ways to validate the negative thoughts I was having about myself and in doing so, I developed an obsession. Putting all of my focus on her was really just my way of avoiding my own issues.
I started to work on my self-confidence. At the time, I was in between jobs and didn’t know where I wanted my life to go. (See how the pieces slowly came together?) I constantly felt insecure and unworthy and I was always scrutinizing my image. No matter what I did, I just never felt like I was enough. It was time to change the conversation in my head. When I woke up in the morning, I would say three things I liked about myself out loud. This forced me to focus on positive attributes. It didn’t work every single day and it definitely felt silly at first, but that was OK. It was steering my brain in the right direction and that was what really mattered.
I thought about why I felt insecure in our relationship. For a while, I tried to act like everything was cool around my boyfriend. Something felt wrong but I couldn’t quite figure it out; I was looking to his ex-girlfriend for answers. If she posted a photo of herself at a museum, I would ask him if he wanted to go to a museum. I thought that being more like her would save us. Eventually, I decided it was time to listen to my gut. Truthfully, I was afraid that my boyfriend didn’t love me as much as I loved him. Once I realized this, I decided I had to come out to my boyfriend about my obsession.
I admitted my feelings to my boyfriend. When I asked why he was still liking old photos of his ex, he told me they were still friends and there was nothing more to it. Whether this was true didn’t actually matter. Honestly, we had bigger issues to address. I confided my feelings of self-doubt in our relationship. It took me weeks to build up the courage to have this terrifying discussion but once I did, it felt like a huge weight had been lifted. And you know what? It helped me see how disconnected the two of us were.
I broke up with my boyfriend. Opening up to him confirmed that things had been going downhill between us for a while. I used my obsession with his ex to distract from the issues we were having in our own relationship. He really didn’t seem to be as concerned about our relationship as I was. As painful as it was to realize, it helped me make my decision to leave.
I started to focus on myself. After our breakup, I decided it was time to focus on ways to feel more confident in myself. This whole obsession showed me how uncomfortable I was in my own skin. Instead of running from the issues, I started to tackle them head-on. Honestly, it’s something I’m still working through. When I notice myself starting to revert back to my old thoughts, I stop, take a deep breath, and change the conversation in my head. I repeat things I like about myself or things I am grateful for. What I’ve learned from this whole experience is that most of the time when we’re obsessing over someone or something, it has almost nothing to do with the obsession and everything to do with ourselves.
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