Do most people want full transparency with their significant other regarding exes? Transparency is soothing, but it also sets a bar. But knowing too much about your partner's ex can create a range of things to think about that cause anxiety.
Here are common things about significant other's exes that people compare themselves with:
Luckily, ex-boyfriends don't get much picture space in a girl's apartment so I can't see how they all looked. What I don't want to hear is how "hot" he was. I automatically assume that I'm not as good looking as an ex anyway because of my extremely healthy and functional self-esteem (that was sarcasm in case you didn't know).
Is he older and wiser than me? Could he take care of her better? Or was he a young, virile bull with the energy to start a revolution? Both of those personas dominate me.
I would be devastated if there was written, undeniable proof that my girlfriend's ex was better in bed. And this would affect my prowess (as if it needs any more affecting). I'd be wondering: "How much better was he at this than I am?"
This starts with where he went to college. Most colleges are better than my University of Delaware (and the activities I did there were going to Chic-fil-A in the student center, drinking, and skipping class).
Then the next step on the resume is the secondary degree. I've dated girls who have dated lawyers, and I find that incredibly intimidating because I simply have a BA in history (I think).
And of course, the final step on the resume is the phenomenal job that the ex-boyfriend might have: he makes tons of money, has awesome connections, or is something cool like a doctor.
I can't compete with that.
This is directly related to the resume most of the time, but there are instances of personal wealth. Sometimes people are born in to money. If my girlfriend's ex's parents are loaded or if he was a trust fund baby, I'm not only intimidated but I'm incredibly jealous. I want to be a trust fund baby.
A girl I dated mentioned that her ex lived on a great corner in the West Village in NYC. For those of you who don't know, that's more glamorous than my little spot in Brooklyn. And I bet his entire apartment looked like a CB2 catalog (I wish I could do that). I bet his bed was so comfortable and always spotless.
Popularity with Their Friends
This is usually one of the few I can win. Most of the time a girl's friends hate their ex because he did something bad or alienated them. A new boyfriend does his best to include her friends and get to know them. And this new boyfriend is usually liked by the friends...until he does something stupid or mean which is usually inevitable.
Do you find yourself comparing yourself to ex-girlfriends? What sorts of things do you compare, and what do you think of my list? Is it healthy competition to compare, or does it cause unnecessary anxiety? How much info do you want to know about an ex of your significant other?