When to Talk About Your Ex

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Everyone has a past, but how it affects your future can be a major problem. When to tell your current significant other about your ex can be a messy situation, so CM has a few tips on how to approach the touchy subject.

At the “Right” Time

There is never really a right time, but there are wrong ones. For example, telling your significant other that you don’t want to go to a certain restaurant because it was your ex’s and your “spot”– that’s fine.  However, when your current partner buys you a gift or opens up to you about something personal, going on about how it reminds you of your ex and even comparing your current boyfriend or girlfriend to a past one, is really not acceptable.

In Conversation

Your significant other does not need to know every little detail of your past. Sure, honesty may be the best policy, but graphic specifics—good or bad– are definitely not necessary. Constant mention of an ex can also be a risky habit, as it may put your intentions into question.

“I don’t mind that my boyfriend has ex’s, because I do as well, but I do mind if he talks about her in every conversation. It just makes me think he is not over her,” said Tara Kepner, a Villanova University sophomore.

When Avoiding Awkward Situations

If you know that your ex will probably go to the same place or party as you and your current significant other, then either decide against going or give fair warning—at least to your current partner. Obviously, you can’t run and hide every time your ex comes around, but you should respect how your boyfriend or girlfriend may feel with such an encounter. To prevent awkward situations, explain your circumstances, and seek your partner’s opinion. Most likely, having his or her support and understanding will only strengthen your relationship.

If You’re Still Friends

“To keep your life moving in a healthy direction, you need to determine exactly where an ex fits into your life, or he'll continue to affect you and your future relationships," said Janice Levine, Ph.D., author of Why Do Fools Fall in Love?, in an interview with Cosmopolitan. If your ex and you are on good terms and consider each other friends, then this can become a problem. It may cause jealousy in your current relationship and tension between the ex and your boyfriend or girlfriend.

Remember the golden rule and put yourself in your partner’s shoes. How would you feel if they were friends with their ex? It’s great to be on good terms with past partners, but just remember that you broke up for a reason.

If there’s a Problem

If your ex is stalking you, bothering you, or especially if you are starting to feel unsafe–share that information. It could become a dangerous situation, especially if your past relationship was abusive.


This story is part of our week-long series about sexual health and awareness. Check back tomorrow for the next addition!

Sophomore > Journalism and Sociology > Penn State University

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