Question: Dear Luise: I am married to a great guy. He has a son from his most recent relationship that was actually born after we got together and I have sons from before we met. We now also have our own four month-old daughter. He isn’t interested in my former relationships but I constantly want to know what’s going on with his most recent “ex.” I don’t know why. It isn’t an obsession but it feels like it could become one. We know the people that live next-door to her, so I often see her coming and going. My husband is not even remotely interested in her but I can’t seem to let it go of the fact that he cared for her at one time and they have a son. I am nosey and even sometimes rude when I see her and I know this doesn’t make any sense. It feels like jealousy but what could I be jealous of? I got the guy and he loves me! This has been going on for a little over a year. I really don’t want it to go on any longer but I can’t stop? T.
Answer: Dear T. First of all I want to congratulate you for identifying the problem and taking responsibility for it. Whenever we can do that, we’re half way through and on our way out the other side. Your story would have a very different ending if you thought your behavior made sense and then blamed it on someone else.
You can’t help but be a busy gal with a new marriage, a new baby and a house full of kids. What you’re agonizing over takes time and energy. You just don’t need to give those precious things to someone you don’t know and probably wouldn’t like. In addition, such behavior could make you look smaller in your husband’s eyes and who needs that? If the shoe was on the other foot and he was obsessing over the father of your sons and immersed in fantasies about all of that, it would drive you nuts…wouldn’t it?
You are giving her power where she really doesn’t have any in your life. You are making her important. You are interested in her and in their history and it is costing you…personally. I think if I were in such a situation, I would start healing myself by making a “What’s More Important” list. Get a little notebook that is easy to carry in a pocket and start writing down the things you find in your life that are more important than she is. Number them and see how many you can come up with. Keep adding new ones, too. Then, when any thoughts about her come to mind, pull your little “life saver” notebook out, read a few of those things and think about them for a moment until you are distracted.
Our minds are our own. And yet they seem to run independently sometimes, don’t they? This is the way I have disciplined mine when it gets to going full-speed on something that isn’t supportive of who I am and what I want to become.
You are a young adult, a wife and a Mom. You are setting an example and being a role model for your kids. You have a great guy and an even greater future. Let gratitude flow into your thoughts and it will show up in your life. Blessings, Luise