Competing with Ex-Appeal : Why You Need To Stop Comparing Yourself To Their Past


Perhaps I sound like broken record but if there is one thing that my experiments with the Tinderverse has taught me it’s that most people (at least, those you may contemplate dating because you know I just can’t deal when it comes to 30-something virgins) come with a past (an in turn, the associated baggage!). Often, a major (and potentially thorny) part of a person’s past concerns their exes (or past conquests, if you prefer!). Let’s be honest. Whether it’s through an ‘innocent’ facebook stalk (aka essential ‘research’) or because you live in a hopeless little town where everybody knows everybody it’s only a matter of time before the subject of your partner’s ex pops up.

And when this roadblock in your relationship does happen , it’s only natural that you find yourself wondering comparing yourself to the past. Is she prettier than me? Did he have a better job than I do? Is she smart? What did she ever see in this dude…does he have bigger guns than I do? The list is endless and once you get started, you’ll find yourself falling rapidly down a never ending rabbit hole. While it’s only human to have these thoughts, it can easily get out of hand, become somewhat torturous and potentially have negative impacts upon your relationship.

So here are a few reasons why we need to accept that everyone has history and stop competing with so called ex-appeal if there is any hope for a functional relationship that isn’t haunted by the ghosts of boyfriends (and girlfriends) past

It’s a pointless activity

Start by asking yourself what you hope to achieve by comparing yourself to girl/boyfriends past and whether exhausting so much energy thinking about your partner’s past is going to do your budding new relationship any good?

Sure, there are perhaps there somethings we can learn from past failures but weigh it up and your likely to find that focusing on history will do more damage overall. Firstly, the comparisons are probably just going to bring up your own insecurities. If you then start vocalising these fears/concerns, they’ll probably serve to do nothing more than be a source of irritation for your partner. However much a person is over their ex, being constantly reminded of your past isn’t going to give you good feelings.

Remember for one reason or another reason those relationships broke. They weren’t meant to be. Of course, all of our exes had some good qualities and we may even have fond memories of them but at the fact of the matter is that the bad things outweighed the good otherwise things would have likely panned out better.


It makes you (look) UNHINGED

Once you start digging into a person’s past, you’ll end up falling down a never ending rabbit hole and eventually all the questions polluting your weak mind will start to make you insane. Who knows? You might even become so obsessed with the past that you end up going all SWF (Single White Female) on the poor dude and become replica of exactly what he has trying to get away. Pretty much a recipe for disaster

So before you go down that path. Just don’t. Choose to preserve your sanity and let it go.


Another place, another life

If you look hard enough you’ll find purpose in every past relationship in your life. Even those horrible, sexless affairs have something to teach us about life, what we want/don’t in a partner and probably most importantly about ourselves and how we deal with other humans.

People change. Sometimes that happens within the confines of a relationship. That 23 year free spirit exploring deepest darkest Africa (aka Long Street) won’t necessarily have the same priorities as a 30-something who has learnt that real life isn’t a Disney animation. They may have been the perfect trophy couple in their teens but maybe life took them along diverging pasts.

So get this, comparing yourself to an ex is just a waste of time. You are two different people operating under two completely different sets of circumstances.


You can’t rewrite history (so just focus on the future!)

Even if they refer to the person as the love of their lives or the one that got away, nothing any of us can do will ever change the past. Clearly, some shit had to go down for things to end. And yes, sometimes even in real life we have these wonderful epic romances that are the stuff of fairytales but don’t end up in happily ever after with the poofy white dress and horse drawn carriage. As we get older, maybe people just calm down or perhaps they become more pragmatic and look for a partner that can give them what the want/need in a longer-term sense rather than going for those somewhat more superficial relationships.

Even if there are exes where things could have potentially worked out better, you analyse things and see that they ticked all the boxes, the fact is that they didn’t so stop trying to rewrite history and poke holes in the past. Instead focus on the here and now and building a future.

To tie up today’s rant… While it’s human to be curious about a partner’s past don’t let the comparisons overwhelm you. Everyone we meet comes with a bit of history. But hopefully, it’s just that – history. Even if there are those  relationships that we look back upon nostalgically, people grow up and circumstances change and however amazing a person we dated back in the day was the truth is that for whatever reason that relationship failed and we’ve now found ourselves of on the cusp of something that looks far more hopeful. So working on creating a happy future rather than trying to play historian and unraveling the matters of yesterday – it’ll only drive you crazy and destroy this good thing you’ve got going.

So, Rinsers. Have you ever compared yourself to a S.O’s ex? Did all the stress serve any positive purpose? Why do we do it to ourselves? Pop your thoughts on the matter in a comment below. 








  1. Nice post. I agree with all you’ve said and have just one thing to add. If someone does this: “Even if they refer to the person as the love of their lives or the one that got away, nothing any of us can do will ever change the past.” they should be kicked in the ass by our beloved Rinsers. If a person says either of those things it means they’d rather be with someone else than us (even if just in fantasy). No point in wasting our precious lifetime on someone like this!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Yeah, this is something I’ve had on my mind. But I think you forget something. In my case, my ex wasn’t the one to end her last relationship. It was him who left her… I figure she was pretty smashed by the whole thing. I don’t think she means to but she talks about him/or the stuff they did and it seems like she misses him. I know she cares for me but it sometimes feels that there are big shoes for me to fill, not quite sure how I can.


    • Hmmm….I think it’s OK to mention an ex and even have some fond memories of them. Not all relationships end badly and it’s OK not to totally hate an ex. But if they mention them too much then it maybe a case of them not being over the ex just yet. I guess a conversation is in order. Good luck with that.

      And as I said above, you don’t need to fill any big shoes. Just do your own thing. Your girlfriend has chosen to be with you now and you have your own good qualities that attracted her to you, just remember that.

      Liked by 1 person

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