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Dealing with an Ex: They’re Still in Touch and I Hate It!

A man who's on a date with his girlfriend texting his ex.

Dear Joan Actually,

Finally, I found someone awesome. He’s a great guy, but he’s still in touch with his ex. I can’t stand it. They don’t hang out a lot, but they definitely still talk. I want to be cool about this, but I don’t want to get hurt. Should I ask him to end it? How can I do that without sounding crazy?

-Lexington, KY

The beginning stages of any relationship require adjustment. Unfortunately, this may include adjusting to your guy’s old news. It’s not easy to dealing with an ex or even discussing the ex diplomatically. Since you don’t know much about her, you can start thinking that she was some kind of mythical goddess and feel a little threatened. It’s easy to let these feelings get a little out of hand and, when you do, you’re guaranteed to show off some very unattractive behavior.

Keeping an ex around can make things more complicated, if it’s not handled appropriately. In other words, your boyfriend needs to manage this potentially tension-causing situation. You, on the other hand, need to figure out what really bothers you about the contact they have.

I hope you haven’t been betrayed in the past or think that you are anything less than a great catch. If either of those situations apply to you, take some time for yourself and get that figured out before involving your boyfriend.

Give yourself a break (and him the benefit of the doubt) and remember the following:

He’s not with her; he’s with you. If he wanted to be with her, he would.

If your boyfriend’s relationship with his ex is fueling the flames of insecurity, talk to him about your insecurity–not his behavior. Here’s a couple ways to start that conversation:

“It’s nice to know you’re the kind of guy that ends things on good terms, but I am feeling a little jealous of your ex-girlfriend.”

“I feel uncomfortable when you talk to your ex-girlfriend. I need some reassurance.”

After sharing your feelings, do NOT get naggy and press the issue. Just sit back and watch what happens. Assuming he wants to keep you around, he will do what he can to ensure your happiness. If you’ve indicated that something bothers you and he does something about it—that tells you something. If you bring up an issue and he doesn’t do anything about it—that also tells you something.

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