Is it normal for me to be curious about their ex?

doublechocolatecooky asks:

Is it normal for me  to be curious/interested in my SO’s ex? I (24f) recently got attached to my SO (28m) after 2 months of dating. We’re about 1 month into making things official. He’s got a lot more dating experience than I have, and he parted ways with his last girlfriend about 5 months ago.

I’m not sure if 5 months is a long enough time to get over someone… he’s very attentive and caring towards me, and he says they’re over, but I find myself wondering whether he’s completely over his ex.

His ex and I don’t have much in common at all, so I don’t think I’m a “replacement” so to speak, but I’m constantly curious about what his ex was like and I find myself comparing myself to her/ stalking her a bit on social media.

Is being curious about his ex/ comparing myself to her super weird?

Demetrius says:

Is being curious about someone’s ex weird? No, definitely not. Is using social media to “stalk” someone’s ex weird? Oh, most certainly.

I think it’s a perfectly normal feeling to want to know more about the person you’re seeing, and that will include learning more about their dating past. You can learn a lot about someone based on their dating history, and WHO they dated is a part of that.  Some people think that talking about exes in any way, shape, or form is a bad idea but I disagree. I think curiosity about your partner’s ex is normal, natural, and is an opportunity for you to learn a bit more about your partner. Learning about why things ended can teach you a lot about your partners wants and needs, for example. If they split up because of a dispute about life plans, i.e. a desire to have children, that’d be a good thing to know. Everyone should learn about their partner’s past, dating history included if they think it’s relevant.

Simple curiosity is okay, obsession is not. 

It’s one thing to ask your partner questions about their ex. It’s another thing entirely to have a certain curiosity about them so that you do a bit of internet sleuthing to see what they look like, or even to see if they might still be in contact with your partner. It’s another thing to continue to do this on a frequent basis. And a whole other thing to spend your time constantly checking their social media pages and comparing yourself to them.

For you, it goes far beyond curiosity. And that’s where the problem lies.

You’re concerned your partner isn’t over their ex for starters. That doesn’t sound like curiosity about their ex, it sounds like doubt about your partner. You’re also, as you say, stalking this woman. Curiosity has it’s place, but you’re obsessing over a woman you’ve never me, simply because you’ve both dated the same guy in the same year. Worst of all, you’re comparing yourself to her. It’s okay to look for similarities between you and your partner’s ex, especially if it tells you something about them i.e. “He only dates brunettes, so that must be his type” or “All of his exes seem to have the same career”. That’s normal. Constant social media stalking to compare yourself to someone’s ex is not normal.

It’s perfectly reasonable to be curious about your partner’s ex and yes, some comparison for comparison’s sake is normal. What isn’t normal, or healthy, is curiosity to the point of obsession. Nor is it healthy to compare yourself against your partner’s ex in a critical sense.

You should accept that he’s moved on, assuming there is no evidence that he hasn’t, and try to enjoy your relationship. If there are signs that he hasn’t moved on, by all means you should leave him, but if this is all in your head, you’re doing yourself a disservice with your curiosity, stalking, and comparisons.

Dwelling on his ex is only going to hold you back from connecting with him on a deeper level.

Good Luck Out There.

Also published on Medium.