We can’t delete past lovers like a bad series link (we thought The Valleys was a good idea, too). So here’s how to deal when your ex is weighing you down.
Unless you’re one of those couples who parted on a “better to have loved and lost” hug, an expired relationship comes with enough baggage to rival a Kardashian mini-break. So we called in counsellor Trudy Wilson to help us sort out all the ex factors.
When It’s Your Ex Your ex hasn’t moved on and constantly tries to get in touch via social media, texts, and calls.
“If there is a genuine reason for the contact (for example, sorting out the return of possessions) then deal with this quickly and through a third party, if necessary,” says Wilson. “Not responding to or limiting/delaying responses sends the message that the relationship has changed and is over. It may take some time [so] it’s important to be consistent.”
You’re still friends with your ex but your current beau doesn’t seem to like it all that much.
“Try to put yourself in your partner’s shoes. How would you feel if the situation were reversed? Consider how upfront you were about this information in the early stages of the relationship. It’s to be expected and reasonable that your partner may feel uncomfortable or concerned if you are friends with your ex. Be prepared to compromise and don’t dismiss your partner’s concerns. Open and honest communication is vital.”
You aren’t quite ready to get over your ex yet, but he has moved on with someone else.
“Allow time and space to work through these feelings. If you’ve been hoping to reconnect with your ex, then it can be more devastating when they begin a new relationship. If you’re struggling to come to terms with this, you may benefit from talking through your feelings with a counsellor, who is trained in dealing with relationship dynamics.”
When It’s Your Man’s Ex Your new man’s mates are still friends with his ex, making it difficult for you to win them over.
“Accepting that this is likely to occur is probably half the struggle, especially if the relationship was long-term and social groups are well-formed. It’s important to be realistic. Being relaxed and playing it cool (which is a tough call!) is probably more likely to appeal to others who are getting to know you. With the passing of time and the strengthening of your relationship, it’s less likely to be an issue.”
The ex is unable to let go and is harassing your guy.
“Ultimately, it’s up to your partner to decide what they want to do [but] if he hasn’t already, now may be the time to request that their ex ceases contact. Assess whether there are mutual friends of your partner and their ex who may be able to provide support to the ex around the impacts of ongoing harassment.”
Your BF’s ex is trying to be friends with you, like FB friending you or even asking him for your number.
“Respecting your boundaries is important, particularly in a new relationship. If this feels like it’s stepping over these, then it’s probably wise to politely decline. Remember, the relationship’s about you and your partner – not you, your partner, and their ex.”