This happens to a lot of people – their partner is still friendly with his/her ex. Some people are fine with this but others hate it and see it as a threat. What do you think about it?
It’s natural to assume something is going on if your partner is still friends with their ex (or exes) but try to bear in mind that a lot of people find it a perfectly healthy situation, especially as a lot of breakups are filled with drama so staying friendly can be seen as a bit of an achievement.
However, not all such friendships are healthy, especially if some feelings are unresolved and one person hopes there’s a chance that they’ll get back together.
In general (and this might not apply to you and your partner) it’s okay if:
- Both of them have clear boundaries – for instance, they don’t keep texting one another every day or expect the other one to change plans for them.
- They share a lot of mutual friends and there’s a good chance that everyone will meet up and some point.
- Your partner and their ex actually started out as friends anyway – It’s often easier to go back to being friends then.
- They have children together – being on friendly terms is better for everyone concerned, but particularly for the children.
- They work together – it’s better if they’re on friendly terms when they’re working and it might be impossible for them to avoid one another in the working environment, besides which, it’s difficult for other colleagues if there’s an ongoing atmosphere.
- If they broke up years ago and have redefined their relationship so that they can meet up as two people who get on well but have no desire to get back together.
But what if it’s not like that? For instance, it’s not okay if:
- Your partner turns to their ex if he/she is having a hard time with you. It’s unhealthy and disloyal because turning to their ex can become a habit – one which you probably don’t want to encourage!
- Their ex is having a hard time letting go or moving on. That’s not healthy for anyone involved.
- Your partner and their ex don’t include you – in that case, trust your gut instinct and speak up about it. They may say that it’s alright and call you ‘jealous’ or ‘paranoid’, but if you feel that something’s going on behind your back, it’s putting a strain on your own relationship.
- If their relationship was unhealthy anyway, staying in touch as friends can prove to be quite toxic for everyone concerned.
- Their ex isn’t happy about the relationship you now have with him/her. Maybe they’ve said nasty things about you and shown a lack of respect, in which case it’s not healthy for your partner to remain in contact.
So, basically, it’s fine for people to be on friendly terms with their ex, but it’s easy to cross the line, so if something is making you feel uncomfortable, speak up and be honest about your feelings. Communication between you and your partner is the key to your relationship becoming stronger and more committed as time goes on.
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