There are likely many people in your partner's life you're excited to meet. Going out with their friends for the first time or heading home with them for the holidays are both important milestones in a relationship. But there may be some folks in their life you might not be that thrilled to meet, or even anticipate ever speaking with: Their former flames. You aren't automatically expected to know just how to respond if your partner’s ex contacts you, because unless they're still besties, it's probably not something you'll see coming. But if it happens, you might want to be prepared for how best to handle the situation.
Julie Spira, online dating expert and author of Love in the Age of Trump: How Politics is Polarizing Relationships says that while having an ex reach out isn't common, it can happen on occasion. When in the rare instance it does occur, her advice is to proceed cautiously, as the ex might not have the best intentions. "The best thing you can do is listen and listen only once," Spira tells Elite Daily, emphasizing that even then, you should be careful about what you say. "If this ex is trying to provide dirt on your current love interest, I don’t recommend commiserating," she adds.
But not all contact from your SO’s ex is automatically nefarious, says Connell Barrett, Dating Transformation founder and executive dating coach. "For example, if your partner and the ex are still friends, then the ex may at some point have cause to talk to you," he tells Elite Daily. In that case, the communication doesn't have to be awkward. That being said, Barrett adds it's important to loop your partner in, especially if their ex doesn't have pure intentions. "If you sense the ex... is somehow 'up to something,' then end the conversation civilly and let your partner know right away about the contact. Clear, honest communication is a must between you and your SO," he explains.
Relationship expert and owner of Her Aspiration, Sonya Schwartz, agrees and tells Elite Daily the best policy is to be cautious but open when they reach out. "They might try to contact you instead of their ex for a serious matter," Schwartz says, and suggests it's best to play it cool until you have a clear idea of their agenda. “In my opinion, it is always important to listen to what they have to say. Be polite and simply ask why they're contacting you," she says. However, Schwartz warns that, more often than not, the ex is probably not reaching out with your best interests in mind. "In most cases, your current partner's ex is just trying to break up the relationship you have with your current partner in an attempt to gain them back," Schwartz explains.
There may also be a chance your SO's former partner is contacting you because they aren't so former after all. "It might be that your current partner is cheating on you with their alleged ex," says Schwartz. "This happened to me in a past relationship, so it's not really uncommon."
Ultimately, how you deal with this situation is up to you and your own instincts. "Whatever the reason [for the contact], you can always decide whether to continue communicating with them or not," Schwartz explains. So, if the conversation feels suspicious, it's OK to trust your gut and cut off communication. If not, proceed slowly and thoughtfully. It may be a little awkward, but if you're honest and keep an open mind, you've got this.