Here's What To Do If You’re Uncomfortable With Your Partner Talking To Their Ex
It may be nice to pretend that your partner never dated or loved anyone before you, but the fact is we all have a past. But it's one thing for that past to exist in, well, the past, and another thing when that past keeps popping up in the present because your SO is still in contact with their ex. In some cases that’s totally fine, when the romantic aspect of the relationship is really over and everyone is respectful of one another. But if you're uncomfortable with your partner talking to their ex, there may be good reason. If your gut is telling you something is off, it's worth exploring why you feel that way and knowing what to do in that situation.
To help sort through this confusing and often fraught issue, I reached out to the experts: Diana Dorell, intuitive dating coach and author of The Dating Mirror: Trust Again, Love Again , and Stef Safran, matchmaker and founder of Stef And The City, who helped break down when to worry about your partner staying in contact with and ex and when not to sweat it. Plus, what to do in each of these situations. Here's what they had to say.
How to know if you should be worried or not.
According to the experts, being concerned about your partner’s continued contact with an ex comes down to two factors: how secure you are in the relationship and your ex’s behavior. “If it's transparent and they are communicating that they need to speak to their ex about something specific, then take the high road and relax. If it's happening without you knowing consistently or if they are skipping dates or important times with you to contact an ex, then it's something else!” Dorell tells Elite Daily.
Safran adds that if they act secretive about their communication, that’s a clear red flag. “If you are noticing that when they are with you they are taking their calls, texts and emails and not present, then you should be more concerned,” Safran tells Elite Daily. “When people hide things from you ‘as to not upset you’ then you should worry. Without trust and honesty, any relationship is doomed to fail.”
What to do if there is nothing to worry about.
If, after considering the dynamic of their relationship, the reasons they're in contact with their all seem reasonable and respectful, Dorell says to give yourself a break. “Take deep breaths and give yourself that self assurance and self love so you aren't needing validation from your relationship to feel OK.” she says. “Appreciate your partner — it's amazing what this can do. And taking the time to just diffuse it and stop giving energy to it also helps.”
If you want some concrete steps to help you feel better about the situation, Safran suggests taking a more proactive approach with the ex. “Think about getting to know the ex better so that you feel more comfortable around them,” she suggests. Or if they're dating someone new, she advises: “See if this person is open to having you meet their new significant other, when that happens.” This works because we fear what we don't know, and by illuminating that unknown, it can make you feel more secure with the friendship the ex shares with their partner.
What to do if there is reason to be concerned
If you suspect that there is legitimate reason to be worried about the dynamic between your SO and their ex, Dorell says it's time to put your communication skills to work. “Be clear around your feelings. If it makes you uncomfortable, communicate that and also state what would make you feel more comfortable,” she says. Also, be thoughtful about your timing, says Safran. “Find a time when you are not mad and you can actually talk. Discuss how you feel and ask for a reasonable solution.”
If your partner is receptive to what you are saying and is willing to make some compromises, great! However, if they shut you down or dismiss how you feel, Dorell says this doesn't bode well for the relationship. “If the behavior doesn't change after you've communicated, then recognize that you are with someone who doesn't honor your feelings and you may want to rethink being in the relationship,” she explains. “Love yourself enough to recognize that you have a choice always to stay in the relationship or shift away from it and into one where your feelings are respected and honored,” Dorell concludes.
Ultimately, it’s not just about choosing a partner who honors your feelings — though, as the experts say, that’s essential — but it’s about honoring your intuition as well. If you feel like something is off about their friendship, speak up. After all, you deserve a relationship that makes you feel safe and secure. We all have a past, but what really matters is how your SO makes you feel in the present.