Today’s reader question comes from Valerie, who writes “he works with his ex! What should I do?”

Wondering what to do if he works his ex? Valerie continues:

Hey Zachary! Thank you so much for helping me through your videos. The only reason I haven’t bought your online course is because my boyfriend’s ex is still in his life.. so I’m kind of confused because some of my obsessive thoughts are about their past together and me getting jealous over everything they have done sexually and stuff.. but more than that i get jealous because they work in the same place so they have to spend time together also they ended in good terms, they are both very mature people. Can you make a video on how to overcome retroactive jealousy if your partner’s ex is still in the picture for some reason? What can I do if he works with his ex?

Transcript below

For starters, my online course is absolutely still valid or still useful, or still helpful if your partner’s ex is still in his life. So, if you’re interested in joining the course, that’s by no means a barrier to entry. It will be just as helpful for you as long as you take the coursework seriously, as long as you put in the work anyway. Anyway, tangent aside…

The main message I guess I want to get across is that everything I’m talking about on this YouTube channel, on my blog, retroactivejealousy.com, in my guidebook, Overcoming Retroactive Jealousy, my online course, “Get Over Your Partner’s Past Fast,” it’s all equally valid. It’s all equally useful.

And while, when your partner’s ex is still in their life for some reason, it does complicate things to some extent, the same practices, principles, exercises, it’s all still helpful. It’s all still exactly as relevant.

Whether or not your partner’s ex is still in the picture actually isn’t that important when it comes to overcoming retroactive jealousy.

I often say the cure for retroactive jealousy is pretty much the same for everyone, regardless of the fact that every experience of retroactive jealousy is a little different with different challenges here and there.

But I want to also introduce a nice reframe that I think I’ve talked about on this channel before, but I feel like I should probably flesh it out a bit more.

So try to consider that, every da he works with his ex, his ex is actually teaching him that you are the best choice for him.

That you are a better match for your partner, that you’re a better fit. They’re actually teaching your partner, each and every day, that you are a better match for them.

The more committed you are to personal development, the more this reframe will make sense to you. The more you’ll really accept it on a deep level and thus the more your unease and anxiety and discomfort with the fact that maybe your partner has to work with his ex every day. The more that unease will fade away because you’re remembering all the time, “Every time my boyfriend, my husband goes to work, his ex is teaching him that I’m the best match for him.”

If you’re committed to personal development–and by the way, when I say that, that can mean different things to different people, but I just mean you’re working on yourself every day. You realize that you’re a work in progress. You’re reading books, you’re taking courses, you’re exercising, you’re learning, you’re growing, you’re pursuing your passions and interests.

You’re engaged in life.

You’re really working on becoming the absolute best version of yourself. That’s relatively rare actually.

There’s a quote I often think about by Oscar Wilde. Oscar Wilde said:

To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that’s all.

That quote is kind of devastating in some ways, but I think he’s kind of onto something there, you know? To really be engaged in life and moving forward and excited about life and working hard on yourself and really kind of trying to make the best possible life for yourself and become the best person you can be–that’s relatively rare.

Most people you see are kind of just trying to get by. And there’s nothing necessarily wrong with that by the way. I don’t begrudge anyone for just trying to get by. I mean, life is tough.

My point is, if you’re one of those rare individuals who’s really working on themselves, who’s taking personal development seriously, who’s actively striving to be the absolute best woman you can be, your partner is going to notice that and they’ll be able to compare you to their ex.

And if he works with his ex, remember that his ex is an ex for a reason.

And secondly, it’s very likely that his ex is not on the same level that you are with regard to personal development, with regard to striving forward to be the best woman you can be.

And thus, when he goes to work every day and sees his ex, he’ll be conscious of the contrast, the real solid differences between you and her.

And I’m not saying this in a spirit of competition, like you should be competing with your partners ex.

That’s not what I’m saying at all.

The only competition you should be engaged in is competing with your former self, trying to be better than you were yesterday, the day before, the week before, et cetera.

Take the work seriously and take the process of self-improvement, personal development seriously.

And remember that the more you do that, the more your partner will notice and the more he’ll be able to see, very clearly, that you’re the best choice for him.

Click here to learn more about getting past your partner’s past, and overcoming retroactive jealousy.


Zachary Stockill
Zachary Stockill

Hi! I'm a Canadian author and educator whose work has been featured in BBC News, BBC Radio 4, The Huffington Post, and many other publications. I'm the founder of RetroactiveJealousy.com, the author of Overcoming Retroactive Jealousy and The Overcoming Jealousy Workbook, and the host of Humans in Love podcast.