Should You Tell Your Partner You Ran Into Your Ex? Here’s What Experts Suggest

I always dread the moments I accidentally bump into an ex, because it's inevitably when I'm in a rush and looking like a mess — not that it really matters. (Let's be real, it matters to me.) But once you've made your awkward small talk and your not-so-smooth escape, the question becomes: Should you tell your partner you ran into your ex, or is it better to just keep it yourself? To answer this question, I reached out to several relationship experts for their take on this super awkward situation. The answer, it turns out, is unsurprisingly complicated.

"It's completely up to you if you feel like telling your partner or not. There's generally no need to tell your current partner that you ran into an ex unless there's really something to tell," Erica Gordon, millennial dating expert, founder of The Babe Report, and author of Aren't You Glad You Read This?, tells Elite Daily. However, if you do decide not to disclose the encounter, Celia Schweyer, a dating and relationship expert at DatingScout.com, tells Elite Daily you run the risk appearing like you're hiding something. If that's of concern, she says you're better off disclosing the info right away.

"It’s better that you tell your current partner that you ran into your ex instead of [them] hearing about it from another person. Some people can spin stories or add information or meaning to what they witness. So, it is possible that when your current partner hears it from another, they might get the wrong idea," Schweyer warns.

Gordon adds that if you do decide you to tell your partner you had an unplanned run-in with an ex, make sure you don't have any ulterior motives. "It's important not to tell your partner you ran into your ex for the wrong reasons. Don't tell your partner this information to make them jealous, for example," she warns. "If something happened during the run-in that you think you should be honest about, that's when you're telling your partner for the right reasons."

It's complicated, but there are some situations that are a little more clear. Here's when the experts say it's OK to keep the info to yourself, when to open up, and how to go about it.

When It’s OK To Keep The Info To Yourself

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According to Gordon, there are some cases where discretion is the better option. “If you know that your partner is generally quite insecure, especially when it comes to comparing, you might know that it's best not to bring it up, especially if it was a completely innocent run-in,” she says, and advises trusting your judgment and not feeling as though you need to tell them.

Gordon adds that if the run-in really was NBD, there is no need to make an issue out of it. “If neither you nor your ex were flirtatious when you saw each other, and it was a quick and harmless run-in, it's OK to keep it to yourself. It's your decision if you want to tell your partner or not. We aren't talking about cheating with an ex — we're talking about simply running into an ex. Share if you feel like sharing, if not, don’t,” she says.

When You Should Talk To Your Partner About Running Into Your Ex

There are some scenarios where Gordon says you might feel obligated to talk to your partner about seeing your ex, specifically if something inappropriate happened. “If a line was crossed by either you or your ex, you'd want to be honest with your partner about that. If it was more than a quick, meaningless run-in and you actually ended up going for lunch or dinner, or one of you was flirtatious or expressed lingering feelings, it might be best to be honest about it,” she explains.

How To Approach The Conversation

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If you’ve decided your best course of action is to be transparent about bumping into your former flame, Gordon says to just stick to the facts. “Just tell the truth. If you felt nothing, there are no lingering feelings for your ex, and this run-in only confirmed that? Tell your partner. If you realized you might still have some unresolved feelings, tell your partner the truth,” she suggests.

Schweyer adds that having a straightforward and open attitude can help keep the conversation on track and productive. “Being defensive would make you sound guilty. Well, of course, there are times that we feel awkward when talking about certain things. So, just tell your partner about it, stay relaxed, answer his or her questions nicely, and don’t add unnecessary information because it would just make you look like you're trying to cover up something,” she says.

The experts ultimately agree that your safest bet is to just use your best judgment about whether or not it's something that needs to be discussed. “It is OK to keep that information to yourself when you don’t want to disclose it. If you think it is something not worth having a talk about, then it probably is[not],” Schweyer concludes.