“Jealousy is a disease, love is a healthy condition. The immature mind often mistakes one for the other, or assumes that the greater the love, the greater the jealousy.”
― Robert A. Heinlein
Moving on from a relationship is difficult. It’s not easy for anybody.
But when you’ve left an old relationship behind and found someone new, the least you hope for is that your former partner acts normal or is happy for you. When this doesn’t happen, it adds a whole extra layer of drama and problems.
Here’s how to tell if your ex has a serious issue with you and your new relationship.
10 signs your ex is jealous of you and your new relationship
1) They throw shade on you for your new partner
One of the biggest signs your ex is jealous of you and your new relationship is that they fake being happy for you, writes relationship expert Olivia Harvey:
“You tell your ex that you’ve recently begun talking to someone new. Your ex tries to act happy for you, but at the same time asks questions about the person’s job or interests, and reacts poorly to the answers you give.
Perhaps your ex tells you that they hope this person treats you right or questions your happiness with them.”
This is why I highly recommend against opening up to your ex unless you’re sure they’re over you and have your best interests at heart.
Otherwise, they may use things you tell them as ammunition to gaslight your current relationship and tell you why your new partner is a bad catch.
Even if your new partner really is bad news, a jealous ex isn’t informing you about that because of their concern or compassion:
They’re just jealous and want to bust up your new love.
2) They’re jealous and upset about how quickly you got over them
One of the top signs your ex is jealous of you and your new relationship is that they show negative emotions about you moving on.
Maybe they’re still in love, but it’s not always that.
Sometimes it’s an ego thing:
They just can’t stomach that they were not that hard to get over or that you did it in a fairly short time.
Fairly short is a relative term here, and what’s fairly short for them may be fairly long for you.
This judgment also has a lot to do with how long you were together and your ex may feel you “owe” them a certain mourning period or time of being single after they were with you so long.
Your decisiveness and moving on with a new partner has hit them in the heart or the ego and they’re pissed.
Signs include all the things you would expect, such as social media stalking, negative comments, trying to get you to feel guilty and similar behaviors.
3) They call and text you for no apparent reason
The classic ex texts and calls can be harmless if it’s just checking in or swapping life updates.
“How nice, good luck, have a good week. Ciao.”
In my opinion, as long as your new boyfriend or girlfriend is comfortable with it, then there’s nothing wrong with having courteous contact with your ex now and then.
Staying in a sort of very occasional neutral communication pattern with someone who used to be an important part of your life doesn’t have to be a bad thing, and it won’t necessarily lead to cheating or anything negative.
But when it becomes obsessive, random, and borderline stalker-ish it’s a different story entirely.
This is especially true when it’s all from one end.
“He might also want to know if he still has access to you. Will you engage him in conversation, or will you blow him off? Maybe it’s his strategy to try to rekindle the relationship.
Or maybe he’s still so hung up on you that a few texts or calls here and there are enough to give him what he needs.”
4) Your ex goes out of their way to show you they’re unhappy
When your ex goes out of their way to show you they’re unhappy, it’s often one of the most glaring signs your ex is jealous of you and your new relationship.
They can’t help it if they’re unhappy and you find out or notice it. But showing off being unhappy is entirely different.
Common signs include:
- Attention-craving social media posts;
- Telling everyone how bad they feel about the breakup, hoping word gets back to you;
- Texting and calling you with guilt trips and telling you how horrible their life is now;
- Using heavy drugs and alcohol in a public, performative way to show everybody they’re on a real downward cycle;
- Making it crystal clear their love life is “over” and they’ll never date again.
“Is your ex stubbornly not dating anyone in a quest to ‘find himself’? Is he doing the ‘hurt and wounded’ fallen soldier of love thing? When your ex doesn’t move on with someone new, it can be a sign that he hopes you will get back together.”
5) They resent your vibrant post-breakup social life
One of the other big signs your ex is jealous of you and your new relationship is that they’re specifically envious of your vibrant post-breakup social life.
They make catty or negative comments about all the fun you have and your large friend circle, highlighting their own isolation and loneliness.
They gaslight and undermine everything you do, implying you’re heartless and cold for having a good life.
So what are you supposed to do, make yourself be sad and feel awful about life to make your ex feel a sense of solidarity?
Never let a bitter ex sabotage the life you’re living in the present moment.
You have the right to go out with friends, form new friendships, go to concerts and do whatever else you want.
Your ex’s problems and issues aren’t your issues.
6) Your ex tries to make you jealous
Sometimes one of the top signs your ex is jealous of you and your new relationship is that they try to make you jealous.
The way to tell if they’re doing this is to look if their behavior or attention-getting stunts seem targeted.
For example, is your new partner working class and non-intellectual?
Watch for your ex to get a new love interest who has a Ph. D and loves discussing political theory.
Is your new boyfriend or girlfriend “plain-looking” or even ugly?
Presto! Your ex pops up with a supermodel or classic hunk and makes sure you see photos of them sprinkled online like cookie crumbs.
The basic message is this:
“See, I’m with someone better than you now. You should be jealous of me.”
It’s all projection.
“Basically, if he’s making a huge deal about dating someone new, that’s him giving you a message that he’s dating someone new only to see your jelly reaction. Lame, I know.”
7) They try to bait you with nostalgia
Many times an ex will express their jealousy through false “remember the good times” crap. It’s nice to remember great memories from your past relationship now and then.
But when you’re focused on moving on with someone new it can be really jarring to have an ex trying to get you back into nostalgia mode.
“Remember that time we went on vacation to Bali and saw that perfect sunset?”
Chances are that yes, you do remember. But you also remember that you’re broken up. So why don’t they?
This is their expression of jealousy:
An invitation to think back on the best times, that’s actually bait to try to get you back.
“It can be easy to forget a one-sided relationship, especially for the person who was pursued. In this case, the ‘relationship’ involved little to no effort or commitment on one side.”
This is especially annoying if the relationship was mainly on their side and you weren’t as into it, as Porter says.
The reason is that they’re now also trying to make you feel guilty.
8) Your ex tries to undermine your new partner
If you’re looking for the classic signs your ex is jealous of you and your new relationship then look no further than this.
When your ex tries to undermine your new partner, it’s a typical sign of jealousy.
They may believe that you don’t “deserve” to be happy for hurting them, or they may really dislike your new guy or girl on a personal level.
But none of that excuses negative comments, actions, and behavior against your new love interest.
It can go as far as your ex trying to outshine the new person in your career or by having a new “more successful” relationship as well.
This type of rivalry is very unhealthy and only ends in bitterness and acrimony for all involved.
9) Your ex goes out of their way to find out about your relationship from your friends
If you’ve been keeping your new and improved love life under wraps then seeing your ex pop up on the radar can be a bit of a nasty surprise.
How did they find out about you and your new special person?
Have they been stalking you or something?
It’s normal to find yourself asking these questions if your ex contacts you or seems to know lots about your new situation.
Sometimes they’ve been doing some digging behind your back and asking mutual friends and others to give them the skinny on your new love status.
This is really crossing a line in my opinion, and it’s a strong sign that they’re not cool with you moving on.
“Perhaps they specifically ask your friends if you’re dating or they react negatively if they find out from your friends that you were speaking with someone.”
10) They trash talk about you to your new partner
This might sound like the lowest of the low. It’s definitely getting down there in the ranks of just how nasty an ex can get.
But it absolutely does happen. It happened to a friend of mine recently:
His ex-girlfriend went behind his back to message his new girlfriend about all his faults and what a piece of shit he supposedly was. It didn’t work to break up his current relationship, but it definitely made him realize just how toxic his ex is.
Exercise extreme caution around a jealous ex and never underestimate just how far down they will go to sabotage your new life.
If you’re worried that your ex is going to do this or has been doing this you should confront them directly and tell them to stop.
Let them know that if they’ve ever truly cared for you at all they should immediately put an end to their immature and vindictive behavior.
Why won’t your ex move on?
When your ex won’t move on it’s a nagging, uncomfortable experience.
You may feel guilty, depressed, angry, or even just plain irritated and exhausted.
The first and most important thing to remember is that their issues are not on you. If they are jealous of you and your new relationship then that’s their problem.
The road to finding true love and intimacy isn’t easy for anyone, and even those lucky enough to find what they’re looking for often have it taken away or see it slip through their hands.
It can be easy to lash out when your ex is jealous or doing some of these unhealthy things toward you, but I urge you to resist.
Getting down on their level is only going to bring you down and potentially sabotage your new relationship as well.
Do your best to understand where your ex is coming from and the kind of codependent, resentful mindset they may be trapped in.
It’s certainly their responsibility, but there’s nothing wrong with trying to be a little bit compassionate as you help them realize their behavior and outlook are flawed and counterproductive.
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