I am a little skeptical when a person says they’re still friends with their ex. Actually, let me clarify, not friendly with their ex, because not every break-up is fire and fury, but constant daily texts are a red flag and a reason to address it. After all, an ex means the past, an end of a relationship. It’s not fair to others to drag down a new relationship and not give it the chance to breathe for a friendship with an ex. Now, granted there are exes and exes. If he has children with this woman, it’s a totally different story. You can’t expect him not to co-parent with his child’s mother, but just an ex-girlfriend? He is playing with fire, and not allowing your relationship to get emotionally close while he is clinging to a friendship with another woman he’s been romantically involved with. 

So if your boyfriend still contacts his ex, I totally get why you wouldn’t be 100% on-board with it. Maybe he has no ulterior motives, maybe he’s just clueless as to how you feel. If you are concerned about your significant other’s relationship with their ex, you are completely justified in addressing it in a calm and respectful way. You don’t want to come off as accusatory, Sometimes asking the questions will help guide you to a better understanding.

1) Does his ex know about you and the status of your relationship?

A big tell-sign would be if he is maintaining a friendship with his ex, almost keeping her as a backup option, and he hasn’t mentioned to her that he has a new girlfriend. He’s made his choice, and now his actions speak volumes. He’s either fully committed to you, or he’s still playing the field. If he hasn’t told her and is keeping you a secret, it might be a good time to suggest he does, or that he should take a hike. 

2) Are they in constant contact?

 Are you worried about a yearly “Happy Birthday” on Instagram, or are you concerned with daily texts and calls? If he is still leaning on this “friendship” to fill an emotional void, he is preventing you from filling that space. Daily texts only happen if he is reciprocating, if he stops daily texts, so the friendship can continue at a respectable distance and you can feel more confident in your relationship.

3) How long has that relationship been over and how long have you been dating?

If he has remained friends for years with his ex, then you might have less to worry about. A more recent break up in the past couple of years might indicate that there are some unresolved issues there. If you have only recently started dating your boyfriend, then you may not have a firm enough foundation to withstand your beau talking to his ex. Unfortunately, the only way to navigate this is to broach the subject in such a way, that he can easily respond positively. Unfortunately, if he gets defensive, it may be an indication that he values that friendship over your relationship. He can’t have his cake and eat it too. If he wants something significant with you, something needs to give. 

4) Is he prepared to see her only when you are around?

Let’s face it, “Hi darling, I’m out having a drink with my ex-girlfriend”  is probably not going to sit well with you. “Hi Darling, I would like to introduce you to my ex, can we go for drinks?” now…that’s so much better. Maybe if you see the dynamic between them, you will have a greater understanding of their friendship, and realize that you have nothing to fear. I believe what is good for the goose is good for the gander. If he can still go on dates with his ex, so can you. Unfortunately, you have to understand that you are not in an exclusive relationship in this case. 

5) Is he prepared to tell his ex how he feels?

If he is talking to his ex as much, or more than you, you have an issue. If every time you’re out and you see the ex texting him then clearly this is an issue, and it’s okay to say something. If she’s met you and still continues to text daily, this is disrespectful of you and your new relationship. Likewise, if she has unwarranted hostility towards you, it’s unnecessary and suspicious behavior of a jealous ex. It’s time for your boyfriend to take a stand and remind her of where his loyalty stands. 

Once you’re ready to bring it up, take a deep breath and just do it. If he doesn’t realize how you feel, then he can’t change anything. If your partner seems defensive, try to understand that clearly, it’s a loss to him, but if he truly wants a good, solid relationship with you, then the choice will be far easier for him. I doubt he would want you dating others, and if he doesn’t mind, then at least you know that you are not in what society recognizes as an exclusive relationship.

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