I don’t think anybody out there thinks, “Boy do I sure hope that my partner would work with his ex. That sounds like the ideal situation.” Even if you aren’t the jealous type, and even if you fully trust your partner, it’s not like anyone loves the idea of their partner being in a workspace with someone they once loved and had sex with—perhaps for many years—from 9 to 5. Or 7am to 7pm, depending on what industry they’re in. It’s not really natural to have to confront the fact that the person you love deeply once shared that connection with someone else. You’re not oblivious to the fact that your partner had other partners before you came along. It’s not like you think he was a virgin or some sort of celibate monk before you came into the picture. You understand, vaguely, somewhere in the background of your mind, that he’s been with other women. But the healthy, happy state is that in which you don’t have to think about that that often.
If your partner somehow winds up collaborating or working with an ex in his career, you are forced to face the reality of his romantic past. It’s worse than the drama of you working with your partner. His ex might be sitting at your dining room table, going over spreadsheets and documents with your partner. You don’t get to leave his exes, tucked away, in some strange but comfortable no-man’s land of your subconscious. They’re forced into your very conscious reality. I bring all of this up because my partner may very well begin working with an ex. It’s an amazing opportunity, I trust him, and I’d be a real b*tch to tell him to turn it down. But, I only sound this calm and reasonable about it because I’ve already gone through the not-so-calm phases of accepting this. Which look a bit like this.
The fake chill
When he first told me about the opportunity, and explained that it was through someone he once dated, I pulled a pretty decent acting job out of my *ss and said, “Oh wow! That’s great! So terrific. Sounds like an excellent opportunity.” And then I went into the other room, closed the door, and was consumed by a very dark, icky feeling.