Should you worry about your partner’s contact with their ex?

The longer we date, and the more dating experience we get, the more likely we are to date someone who has an ex who they’re in contact with. Could be their child’s parent, could be an ex that’s a part of their friend group, or something else entirely. The question is, should you worry about your partner’s contact with their ex?

In my opinion, it all comes down to why they’re connected, what sort of connection they have, and I’m afraid to say it, trust.

Why your partner is still in contact with their ex should play a pretty significant part in figuring out if your concerns are valid. For many people, staying in contact with their ex isn’t something they want to do, it’s something they have to do. There are a ton of possible reasons why your partner and their ex have to be in contact. Co-parenting a child, lots of mutual friends, co-workers, etc. Those are obviously good reasons to stay in contact with an ex because you have to remain in contact.

If the reason your partner and his ex are still in contact isn’t because it’s something they have to do, but something they’d like to do, it’s a different story. Now, as with all things, context here is important. If your partner is friends with an ex from 10 years ago, and their relationship is mostly cordial, and primarily a friendship that is relegated to social media, that’s probably not something you need to worry about based on those facts alone. If your partner is still in their most recent ex’s life, and sees them once a week or so, that would probably cause for concern.

Finally, how much do you trust your partner? How much do you trust that they not only want to be with you, but also don’t want to get back with an ex? Because, here’s the thing, if you don’t trust that your partner would rather be with you than their ex, it doesn’t matter if they’re currently in contact with their ex or not. If you think that the only thing stopping your partner from getting back with their ex is the frequency of how often they do or don’t contact each other, your relationship, whatever it is, is in pretty bad shape. If all that’s stopping your partner from leaving you is a chance meeting one night, your relationship is not in good shape.

I don’t think it’s unreasonable for your partner, whatever the level of your connection, to remain in contact with an ex. Why they’re in contact matters, but I don’t think the only time someone should be in contact with an ex is because they have to be. That’s why the connection they have is so important to consider. Some people have an ex who stopped being a romantic option so long ago that now they’re just really good friends. Context, is with so many complicated romantic connections is key.

Just remember, context is a big part of the equation, but trust is the bigger part. If you don’t trust your partner with their ex, it doesn’t matter if they have to remain in contact or not, take that as a warning sign. Not necessarily about their fidelity, but about your trust in them. I can’t speak for the wisdom of trusting or not trusting someone, or whether you have cause to trust your partner, but I do know that NOT trusting your partner is generally a bad sign. If you can’t trust them with an ex, what makes you think you can trust them with anyone, you know?

Good Luck Out There.

Also published on Medium.