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Sex + Relationships

The Do’s and Don’ts of Talking about Exes

So, let’s say you’re in a relationship, and you have dated other people before. The awkwardness of bringing up an ex is really inevitable. But we are all adults here. There is no reason to pretend that exes never existed in the first place. So, why is it seemingly always an instant mood changer and precursor for an argument or some good old passive aggressiveness? And more importantly, how do we get over those feelings and act like grown-ups instead? 

First of all, if you are with someone who brings up their exes in some attempt to belittle you or compare you to an ex in a negative way, hit the road! You should also never have to listen to far too intimate details about a past relationship for no reason. I believe that (outside of a funny/relevant story), bringing up exes should be for a productive purpose. For example, if you want to describe things in your last relationship that really upset you, this could be beneficial for helping your new partner to understand you. Discussing past communication difficulties can help new couples know their weaknesses and maybe how to recognize discomfort with their new partner. If your partner is bringing up these things in a positive, serious manner, look at them as a learning opportunity; not as an opportunity to get offended. 

Think back to conversations like this that you have had. Did you get mad? Let’s consider why you probably did and why you (probably) shouldn’t have. I completely understand that it is not fun to imagine your significant other giving their time and affection to another person, it’s gross! But it should not make you mad at them. You are probably mad because you feel jealous about the time you missed out on or because you are comparing yourself to the ex. Stop doing that! Remember, they broke up and he/she is now with you! Getting upset about the past is honestly pointless and can be very detrimental to a relationship. Be thankful for the ex. Your partner probably learned a lot from them and appreciates you more because of them. In a way, they gifted you with their breakup that led to your relationship! If you find yourself constantly obsessing over their ex, you probably have some insecurities that you should consider or your partner is not showing you love in the way you need it. Either way, talk to your partner about your feelings. Why bottle them up and wait for yourself to explode when you could have a civil and meaningful discussion? The focus should always be on the present relationship and where it can go, bearing in mind what broke the past relationships. 

Basically, any successful relationship needs comfortable and productive communication from both people. If something your partner says bothers you, first ask yourself why and go from there. Remember to talk to them about it either way. They should be willing to hear you out and help you find a solution as a team. If you cannot have a mutually respectful conversation about your feelings/problems, you might want to reconsider the relationship. 

At the end of the day, remember, they are with you for a reason. If they did not want to be with you, they probably wouldn’t be. Be confident in your ability to love and be worthy of love from your partner!   


I am a pre-med biology major with a huge passion for women's health. I love my fellow ladies and love celebrating all of the incredible things that our minds and bodies can do. I love to dance. I also love desserts, doggies, and politics!