When a romantic relationship ends, some exes are able to maintain a strong friendship. That bond can be tested when exes spend time with other people. Jealousy can be difficult to control. Depending how you express your jealousy, it can lead to a disagreement between you and your ex-boyfriend. You then are left with the need to apologize, which can be awkward but necessary to preserve the friendship.
State clearly the behaviors for which you are apologizing. According to South Texas College in its online guide "How to Make an Effective Apology," it's important to explain specifically the transgression and where and when it occurred. If you don't specify why you are apologizing, you could lose credibility. Describing your behavior lets your ex-boyfriend know that you are accepting responsibility for what you did. When being specific, avoid placing or deferring blame onto the source of your jealousy. Jealousy isn't about someone else's behavior, it's about your response to that person.
Acknowledge how you believe your jealous behavior affected your ex-boyfriend. Your ex may have already told you how your behavior caused embarrassment or anger. If he hasn't, consider the situation and the potential effects of your jealousy on him. When acknowledging the effects, do so from your perspective. For example, say, "I would have been upset if someone said that to me." Avoid the use of the word "you" or any statements that defer your responsibility.
Make things right between all involved parties. You can't take back your jealous behavior, but you can do something as a gesture that indicates how much you value your friendship with your ex. Ask your ex-boyfriend what he feels would be an appropriate consequence. If your jealous behavior has also affected another person such as your ex's current girlfriend, apologizing to her can provide your ex with reassurance that you regret your behavior. Jealousy expressed via email, text or phone calls may require that you agree not to have contact with your ex for a specific period of time.
Request forgiveness from your ex and anyone else who is affected by your jealous behavior. Asking forgiveness can be awkward, especially because it places you in an emotionally vulnerable position. At the same time, it also gives your ex the option of making changes to your current relationship. Your ex may feel hurt, angry or embarrassed enough to discontinue contact or end the friendship to prevent more potential problems. If he chooses to discontinue the friendship, accept that as a consequence of your behavior.
- Montana State University: Couple Relationships: Communication and Conflict Resolution
- University of Minnesota: Romantic Jealousy: Cause & Prevention
- South Texas College: How to Make an Effective Apology
- Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience Reviews: The Functional Architecture of Human Empathy
- American Psychological Association: Study Links Jealousy With Aggression, Low Self-Esteem
- Barbara Penoyar/Photodisc/Getty Images