She could be the stunning ex with the legs that go all the way up to her neck. Or that hot colleague who keeps liking your guy's posts on Facebook. Or that girl he spent one drunken night with years ago. She's that woman from his past he can't get over. She's the woman you hate to admit inspires the worst bouts of insecurity and jealousy in you.
What should your guy do when you and his ex are in the same room? Get his act together:
1. Not let you catch him looking at her.
Even if it's just vaguely in her direction. NO. He should maneuver you into a corner or part of the room where you BOTH wouldn't have to see her. He should divert your attention by surrounding you with friends and lively people. He's got to keep you laughing, to hold your hand and keep your close.
2. Not say "You're prettier than she is."
It just reeks of a dishonest cop-out (even if it were true). Whatever your guy says to you will just sound lame and half-hearted to your insecure, demoralized ears. So he shouldn't try to ease your anxieties by telling you you're prettier, sexier, hotter, smrter. That'll just invite more questions from you and a debate out of epic proportions.
3. Introduce you.
If he does this, it means he has nothing to hide. But he has to do this casually and with a hint of pride about you. He should keep it short.
4. Act normal.
Your guy shouldn't be defensive or fidgety or nervous. No excuses to go to the bathroom. He shouldn't leave you to "say hi to friends." The best thing to do is to act as if nothing is out of the ordinary while presenting an act of solidarity to everyone else. He should act like the devoted boyfriend he really is, and act like one half of the happy couple you guys really are.
5. Not let you get drunk.
What's worse than a jealous, insecure girlfriend? A jealous, insecure girlfriend who's had too much to drink. Instead of giving you alcoholic drinks so you forget his ex is around, he might as well distract you in a completely different way. Dance with you, flirt with you. Whisper sweet and naughty things in your ears. Most of all, SHOW you that you're the only woman who matters.
This story originally appeared in Cosmopolitan magazine, April 2014.
* Minor edits have been made by Cosmo.ph editors