This week, someone actually sent in an LTR question. It was very exciting. Who knows, maybe the answer will help you out, too. You can send your own questions to [email protected].
Q: My girlfriend doesn’t like it when I talk to my ex, but I can’t imagine never talking to her again. What should I do?-The Ex Files
I caught you with a post-it…from your ex!
Hey Ex Files,
This has been an issue for me in every relationship except my first one, so I can understand how frustrated and caught in the middle you may feel. I think it’s completely natural to want to stay in touch with people who have been a big part of your life, like a past girlfriend—especially a long-term one.
I mean, think about it: You slept next to that woman every night for however many years you dated. You made pancakes together like 300 times. You know her middle name, and her parents’ middle names, and you even met her grandma. You borrowed her clothes almost daily and her cat started to favor you over her. All of her friends knew and loved you and invited you to their parties. That’s some serious closeness. Obviously, you’re over it now and you know it ended for good reasons, but does that mean you have to erase it and erase her from your life? Are you supposed to pretend it never happened?
On the one hand, it seems completely unnatural to never contact an ex again. It’s an instinct to want to see how she is doing—whether you do an innocent Facebook search, or browse through a few Instagram photos to see if her current girlfriend looks exactly like you (typical). It just seems very final to stop communication completely, almost unnecessarily so. We’re all adults, we’ve all moved on—what’s the harm in staying friends? Or at least checking in once a year to see how the person is doing?
It also really sucks when a current girlfriend tries to tell you what to do or whom you can or cannot talk to. That can make you feel restrained by your current relationship, even if you didn’t care that much about talking to your ex in the first place. It’s the principle of it. Being told that you can’t talk to someone, even if it is for a good reason, just ends up making you feel a little suffocated sometimes. Or it can make you wonder if your current girlfriend doesn’t trust you. Right? You don’t care if she talks to her ex, do you? (If you do, rewind and consider if it’s even fair for you to be asking this question. You’re not the queen. Unless you are! In which case, omg, thank you for reading!).
All of these things being said, there are still lots of important reasons why you should consider not talking to your ex, too. The biggest one is you current girlfriend’s feelings. Those are pretty important—in fact, they should probably be your priority. Your own feelings count (of course!) but you can’t expect to have a successful relationship if you completely ignore how your gf feels about anything, especially this. Her feelings have to be part of your decision. Otherwise, you probably just need to be alone.
It’s totally up to you whether you continue to talk to your ex. But I think the only way to do it is if your girlfriend knows about it and is at leas partly okay with it. She might not be excited about it at first, but maybe there’s a conversation the two of you can have and reach some sort of compromise. Maybe not. Maybe she will never be okay with it, and then you just have to decide if that’s a deal-breaker for you.
Before letting “talking to your ex” ruin “being in your current relationship,” though, maybe consider which one of these things will move you forward in your life, and which one of them is just going to keep taking you back to a nostalgic, but ultimately not very productive, place. One final option is to just stick with your current relationship for a really, really long time, and you’ll start to notice that your partner doesn’t really care what you do anymore! It’s pretty awesome.
If you wait long enough, you and your ex can be besties again.
Have ideas for topics you want to hear about? Know a great LTR couple we should interview? Send your cool stuff to [email protected].