Anyone who has ever had a romantic relationship that ended has an ex. For some, that ex remains firmly in the past, but for others the break might not be quite as cut and dried. Sometimes, for many different reasons, it is harder to let go, and, even after someone finds a new love, that ex might linger in the background.
For example, it has been reported that Selena Gomez, Justin Bieber’s ex, has written lyrics into her new songs that are thought to be directed at Justin, despite the fact that their connection was over long ago and he is now married to Hailey Baldwin. What can you do if your partner’s ex just won’t go away?
There are many ways your partner’s ex can make themselves known and affect your current relationship. They might call often and disrupt your time together. Or maybe he or she keeps asking to talk, and it is on your partner’s mind that they have to either appease them and text them to let them know they can talk later, or it somehow hangs over their head.
You might not be aware of the direct contact or request to communicate, but you may notice a sudden mood change in your girlfriend or boyfriend. There are situations, too, when the ex’s emails, calls, or texts can be directed at you, expressing anger for taking the person away, or even suggesting there might still be something going on—which can contaminate the trust between you and your partner even if it isn’t true. Basically, any time an ex is being intrusive or disruptive it can derail your whole day, evening, or even your relationship.
If it is ongoing communication that is getting in your way, ask your partner to clarify what exactly is fueling the continued contact. Is it guilt, which can be a normal response if your partner is the one who facilitated the break-up and wants to lessen the blow? Is he or she worried about the ex’s well-being and feels the need to stay in touch to make sure they don’t hurt themselves? Or is there any chance they still wonder about reconciling and want to keep the pathway open just in case?
Once you get to the bottom of the continuing communication, and you rule out the third possibility, you can begin to put checks and balances in place. If it is one of the first two issues, decide as a team that the calls need to go unanswered and ignored when you are together, thus protecting your time as a couple.
If the relationship ended amicably and your partner aims to be friends with the ex or agrees to see them, it’s important that you are included, and even join them if they do meet. By doing this you make the statement that the ex is talking to the two of you as a united front. This is along the lines of what Hailey is trying to do when she friended Selena on Facebook and connected with her on Instagram.
If, however, the ex continues to be intrusive and does not respect the boundaries you set, then it might be time to encourage your significant other to cut ties completely, stop taking phone calls, and unfriend the ex on social media. Sometimes you have to completely unplug from the old to move forward with the new. Along the same lines, if your partner feels a need to talk about the ex with you, designate a time to do so, so that it desn’t keep coming up when you are together and seep into your life.
Settling the past and paving the way for the future can be a tricky business. Hopefully, if you work together and communicate, you will be able to find the right balance.