I'm obsessed with his past

Dear Sherry

Every relationship I get into, I have a burning desire to either see the ex or find out any info I can on her. I went to the last ex's place of work to get a peek at her -- my boyfriend never knew but I just had to see her. I also go through their stuff to see if there are letters or cards. Every time I start a new relationship I promise myself that it won't happen, but I end up finding something, sometimes accidentally (Really!), but then my mission begins. I know it doesn't do me any good and I have no idea why I have a need to know all about their past. Do you have any suggestions? Be blunt! -kmirar


Sherry Amatenstein

Sherry is the author of The Q&A Dating Book and Love Lessons from Bad Breakups. She has taught dating seminars, appeared as an expert... Read more

Dear kmirar,

Much as I hate to advise you to look to the past (since that's all you seem to do), that is where the heart of your obsession lies. Your past, though, not your current boyfriend's. Did an early love keep comparing you unfavorably to an ex, or worse, go back to her? Or is your compulsion rooted in something that happened between your parents or your parents' treatment of you? (For instance, did they make belittling comments about you, or compare you unfavorably to someone else?)

Regardless, you're obviously saddled with low self-esteem -- otherwise, you would believe (as you should) that your boyfriend is so much better off now with a gem like you than he was with her. Not until you unearth the source of your mania will the need to perform romantic excavations on your boyfriend's ex-girlfriends ease up. I didn't say disappear -- I said ease. Ease to tolerable levels so that you won't feel compelled to ransack everything but the gold in his teeth!