Ask Ava: Jealous of Her Ex

Q: Dear Ava. I’ve been dating an older woman for about six months, which is usually the time I know if it’s going to end or keep going. I feel good about this one. We understand each other, my family likes her and doesn’t judge our age difference, and the sex is very good. Let’s just say she’s had experience. My only issue (not hers apparently) is her relationship with her ex… husband! They’ve been divorced five years. I’m not friends with my exes; if I was, I’d still be with them. She answers any questions I have and doesn’t try to hide it when she’s going to spend time with him. Sometimes when she’s texting and laughing, I’ll ask who it is, and if it’s him it drives me crazy.

I try to keep my feelings to myself, but she can see right through me and says it’s perfectly natural to remain friends with someone after you are married if things ended on a good note. It doesn’t help that he’s single and living close by. Should I tell her how much it bothers me or what?

A: Hi K. Ooooh, the dreaded ex. We’ve all had to deal with this one at some time in our lives. Just because staying friends isn’t something you’re comfortable with doesn’t mean it’s strange, especially when a relationship has been long-term (such as a marriage) and ends amicably. What I like about your gal is that she’s up front about everything. If she had something to hide, she would be more secretive about her texts or meetings with her ex.

It’s obvious that you’re having jealous feelings, which I think is natural at this stage in the relationship, where a foundation of trust is still being built. It’s how you deal with these feelings that’s going to make the difference. You don’t want to go into detective mode (snooping around) or let your hypothetical imagination run wild. I’m sure she can sense that you’re not comfortable, but make sure she knows just how much… tell her if you’re worried he wants her back, or if you think she still has feelings for him. An older woman usually has no problems expressing herself to the younger man in her life. And you’ll want to know exactly where you stand at this crucial six-month mark. If she’s serious about you she’ll allay your worries. It’s unreasonable to ask her to cut all ties with her ex, but perhaps by expressing your feelings, she will spend less time with him.

You didn’t mention if you’d met the ex, but this might be a good idea, and help you see the true nature of their friendship. Moving forward, keep a check-in on your feelings. If you can’t move on and begin to behave suspiciously, you’ll be putting your relationship at risk. Cougars don’t stand for outright jealousy and insecurities. They want a cub who trusts them and who has confidence in themselves.

Readers: How do you deal with a partner who is still buddies with his/her ex?

Need advice on dating, relationships, or sex? SUBMIT YOUR QUESTION HERE, and who knows, you may appear in the next Cougar World newsletter. -xo Ava

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