Ex Factor: Why You Don't Have To Freak Over Your Partner's Past

by Colby Burdick

People choose to handle their exes in many different ways.

Some stay close friends and occasionally catch up over coffee. Some are passive companions, who don't actively maintain relationships, but they don't fight them, either.

Some are archenemies, and they go out of their way to make the other people's lives a living hell.

Exes come in all shapes and sizes, and everyone has one.

On top of having to worry about dealing with our own exes, we have to worry about dealing with the exes of our current love interests.

This is where things get interesting.

While we all wish exes would just disappear, the reality is, an ex is sometimes part of the packaged deal.

When you choose to date someone, you can't be too controlling over how he or she interacts with his or her ex. An ex is dangerous territory, and you must never tell your partner how to handle his or hers.

It's completely unfair to dictate how other people should carry on after their relationships are over.

No matter how f*cked up you may think it is when exes have lunch or coffee together, you have to let your partner decide how to best handle the ex factor.

I understand this is much easier said than done, especially when you're dating someone who is still besties with his or her ex. (She still texts his mom, or he always hugs her at parties.)

Obviously, you're not going to be thrilled when your name is next to the ex's on your partner's favorites list. But you have to remain sane, and you can't let it get to you.

While it's very tempting to picture yourself pulling a "Mean Girls" move, and attacking your partner's ex in the cafeteria like an animal, it's not cute to be the insecure and overprotective girlfriend or boyfriend.

Giving your partner limits on who he or she can and cannot talk to is a horrible idea.

Instead, explain to him or her you feel a little uncomfortable with how much he or she talks to the ex, or say you don’t love the fact that they still hang out.

If this person cares about you at all, he or she will understand your concern and tone down the ex chats. (If your partner completely disregards your feelings, however, you have some reevaluating to do.)

There are a lot of ugly paths you can take when it comes to exes. I suggest you sit back, relax and let both of them figure out what works best.

You will only drive your partner away if you are constantly nagging and b*tching about his or her ex. After all, you should respect they were in love at some point. Try to think how you would feel if your ex's new partner tried to veto your friendship.

Don't let the exes get to you.

How people choose to carry on with their past lovers is their own business.

If someone is really over his or her ex, he or she will be totally fine with being friendly and cordial. (It's a red flag if your partner can't stand to be in the same room as the ex. That means there's some leftover feelings.)

We will never understand why people do what they do. The worst thing you can do to yourself and your relationship is try to control your partner's friendship with his or her ex.

Get used to the fact your partner’s ex isn’t going anywhere. It all comes with the territory.