What To Do If Your Partner's Ex Texts You About Your Partner, Because It Can Be Stressful AF
As you flip through your photo album picking the perfect snap for the 'Gram — you get a text that makes your heart fall out of your body and flop on the floor like the SpongeBob theme song. Not only is the message from partner’s ex, it's about who your partner "really is." And before you can even breathe, you’re totally freaking out. It’s not always easy to know what to do if your partner's ex texts you about your relationship. Run away to Prague? Throw your phone in a pot of boiling spaghetti? Call your mom? Whether your boo and their ex had a pretty gnarly breakup, or if they’re still kind of friends — exes coming back into your life can be totally disorienting, especially when it’s done with a text from out of nowhere (#rude).
"Usually exes text, message or call to stir up trouble or find out a key piece of information for their own 'research,'" Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Nicole Richardson, tells Elite Daily. "Talking to your current partner’s ex will probably not help further your own relationship." If your current relationship is going totally well, getting a message from your partner’s ex can be everything from kind of random to totally uncomfortable. If you’ve never met their ex or if you know them, but not in a conversational-texting-during-the-day way, getting a message from your partner's ex can lead to a lot of questions.
"The real question to ask is why are they contacting you?" NYC-based relationship expert and love coach Susan Winter told Elite Daily. "It's not proper protocol (unless their ex is genuinely concerned for your well-being)."
If you’re getting the sense that the ex is contacting you just to cause drama, the experts say the first thing to do is to leave them on read. Though getting a text from your partner’s ex may pique your curiosity, according to Winter, engaging with them too much can potentially hurt your current relationship. "Talking to your partner's ex can create friction for everyone involved in this fragile new relationship," Winter says. "Exes are exes for a reason, and should be left in the past."
If the ex seems to be contacting you for your own wellbeing (i.e. saying that your partner could be potentially shady or harmful) the experts share that it may be worthwhile to listen, but with lot of with caution. "Hold all of their words with a grain of salt — as you keep talking, ask for proof or documentation," Rubin says. "Ask their intention: is it to get back together or to warn you of potential danger? Is it revenge? Anger?"
If it’s clear your partner’s ex still has feelings for your partner or if they’re not happy that your new boo has moved on, their ex may be reaching out just to make trouble. “In most cases, this kind of 'information' is malicious gossip,” Winter says. “It can be a covert attempt to get you out of the picture and reinsert themselves into their former relationship.”
Although it may feel uncomfortable to tell your partner about the text, both experts share the importance of letting them know that their ex contacted you soon after getting the text. “If you and your partner wish to have a close relationship, it’s important to tell them,” Rubin says. And if the texts don’t stop, or if the conversation takes a weird turn, according to Winter, telling your partner can help you navigate how to move forward.
“Your partner will have insight as to their ex's intentions, disposition, and how to best handle the situation. The two of you can discuss the best methodology for dealing with this person,” Winter says. “Your partner needs to know what's going on. They can intercede on your behalf.”
Of course, if you’re getting the sense that the ex may be expressing some hard truths or if they’re sharing sensitive information about your ex, Winter attests that you may want to make a mental note about what they're telling you. “Acknowledge the information for what it is, and observe its relevance,” Winter says. “There could be cases where this is the truth. Store it in the back of your mind, but don't let it taint your current affection."
If you’re feeling a little weird, or if you’ve felt some shady vibes from your boo — a text from their ex may be a sort of confirmation of your own feelings. If your relationship got super serious super fast and you're wondering if everything is a little too good to be true, hearing from an ex may give you some hard-to-hear insight on your new boo's past that may ultimately help you connect with your partner deeper.
No matter what, if your relationship is feeling stressful or uncomfortable or if you feel like your partner isn’t who you thought they were — it’s always OK to reach out to friends and family for help. You deserve support and honesty everyday, and if your boo is making you feel otherwise, it may be worthwhile to check in with your partner and yourself, as well as ask for some space.
If the information the ex shared with you is pretty touchy or even a little triggering and you think you may want to know more, Rubin says it’s OK to take time to respond. “You can reply with ‘I received your message but I’m not sure if I’ll talk to you. Please give me a few days. If I’m interested, I’ll reach out,’" Rubin says. Of course, no one knows your relationship better than you do, and if you feel comfortable responding to your partner's ex right away, or if you want to talk to them more — you know what's best for you.
If you’re on the subway or at a party and suddenly get hit with a totally random text from your partner's ex, it’s OK to feel weird about it. (It’s also OK to never reply and to immediately tell your boo what happened.) Interacting with exes can be really stressful! Especially when texting comes into play. Still, with enough open communication, you and your partner can tackle whatever comes your way. You deserve honesty and support in all of your relationships, and that's a message that should never be stressful.
If you or someone you know is experiencing any form of abuse, you can reach out the National Dating Abuse Helpline at 866-331-9474 or texting "loveis" to 22522 or The National Domestic Abuse Violence Hotline by calling 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), by using their live chat.