If you had a nasty break-up in the past, the last thing you want to do is bring up your ex to relive what happened! But, not every break-up is full of anger and there are mature endings with two exes living amicably.
Regardless of how your previous relationship ended, to build a healthy, long-lasting relationship with your new flame, the foundation should be based on trust and openness. You will want to be vulnerable and open about your past, but when and how should you tell your new partner about your ex?!
How And When To Start The Conversation
Should ex talk come up on date number 1? Absolutely not! However, it is a safe conversation to approach after 1 – 2 months of serious dating when you’ve built a strong, emotional foundation.
The conversation can help both people in the new couple to get to know each other better, their dating style, attachment style and what they value in relationships. Did they get heartbroken in the last relationship? Did they cheat or get cheated on? While it can be hard to talk about, being vulnerable is important for growing in your relationship.
But, how do you bring it up? In this day and age, it’s a bit easier thanks to the interconnected world of social media. If you ever posted a photo with your ex on your social media, your new boo has probably seen, and maybe even tried to creep them! Hey, no shame – we all do it!
However, it allows you to bring it up by mentioning the photos and quickly going into the conversation. Be upfront, honest, and keep things simple by explaining the relationship, how long it lasted, and what happened. It’s wise to call them by their name rather than “my ex,” as it puts a good boundary in place.
It’s useful to bring up what lesson you learnt throughout the relationship. There is no need at this point to bring up specific details like where you met, or how much your family loved them.
From here, give your new partner some space to observe their reaction. Do they seem angry, frustrated or sad? Maybe it’s time for some reassurance that you are, in fact, over the relationship. Or, if they are open and curious, it’s a good sign that they feel genuinely interested in learning about your ex. In this case, you can dive into the relationship a bit deeper, answering any questions they may have.
What To Do And What Not To Do When Talking About Your Ex
Don’t Dwell On The Past
How do you avoid dwelling on the past too much? Well, of course, you might have fond, happy memories with an ex and if you still live in the same city you did when you dated them, chances are you might go to the same venues or parks you did with your ex. If that’s the case, bringing them up occasionally is fine, but always talking about them, especially if very fondly, suggests you are not ready to move on.
Always remember that the point of the conversation is to create a solid future with your new love interest. Focus on the future, create new memories and bond over the current situation you are in.
Don’t Talk Down On Your Ex
Red flag alert, red flag alert! Talking down on an ex says way more about you and your character than anything else. If the relationship wasn’t great, it is completely fine to be open and honest about how you were treated and how things went down, but saying downright rude or defamatory things about someone you dated make you come across as bitter, mean and very immature.
Sure, sometimes it can be funny to share little anecdotes about your ex that drove you crazy like how they always left trousers on the floor, how they liked odd food or how annoying their friends were – this could be cheeky, silly bonding session. But it should never be below the belt or cruel.
If your ex-partner completely broke your heart, don’t be afraid to be vulnerable and share that with your new flame. Everyone has a past and there is a lot to be said about overcoming heartbreak! It shows you are strong, resilient and persistent.
Plus, it’s not unlikely your new partner will have some stories of their heartbreak, too. Pretending not to care about having your heartbreak just isn’t cool.
Don’t Share Sexual, Intimate Details About Your Ex
This one is tricky. While it is important to share your status and sexual health situation (this should, of course, happen with any new intimate partners!), when it comes to the details of your sexual past with your ex, it’s probably best to keep that to yourself.
Consider what good telling this information would bring to the relationship – if any? It might just upset your new partner and cause an unnecessary dispute over something that just doesn’t need to be known. Some couples might want to discuss this, but it’s important to tread lightly here.
Do Share If You’re Still Friends With Your Ex
Sometimes exes are in the same friend group so they’re bound to come around eventually. Never let this spring into your new love unexpectedly! Let them know the situation and always be respectful with at least a heads up in advance to them showing up.
There are no real rules around ex being friends, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes it can be more complicated, like if children are involved. However, if you have remained in each other’s lives, try to keep it a distant friend – not someone you’re texting 24/7 and when they do come around try and avoid pet names, any flirting, recalling the past and reminiscing about inside jokes.
Putting It All Together
Talking about your ex might be a little awkward, but it’s a good sign for a mature, healthy relationship moving forward. Open communication, trust and vulnerability are all a must to build and maintain a healthy relationship. But, that doesn’t mean you need to spill all of your secrets, some details are better left unsaid.