Heartbreak coach Lana Lennox talks about when the best time is to approach that sensitive subject of an ex partner with your new love.
So you’re in a great new relationship, or maybe even a few dates into something that has the potential to evolve into a new relationship. A dilemma you’re inevitably going to be faced with is……when do you mention your ex?
I think it goes without saying that turning the conversation to your ex on a first date isn’t a wise move. But I do think that the ‘ex conversation’ is one that doesn’t do any harm to be addressed fairly early on into dating or a new relationship. But only once you’ve built up a deeper sense of connection and trust. There’s no point in revealing all of that personal stuff to someone who won’t be sticking around in your life for long.
But let’s say you have found that connection, common ground and trust and you want to broach the ex conversation – or he does. Be careful as this isn’t the green light to bitch about them, tell your new beau how you were viscously wronged by them, what a waste of space they were, how they left your heart shattered and so on. Verbalising all of that in such an emotionally attached way might make you seem like you’re actually on the rebound. In fact, if you’re doing that, you probably are! Obviously if he can’t stop talking about his ex, this is also a huge red flag that he’s not over her.
However, if both of you have cut the emotional strings to your exes, finding out about your new partner‘s past relationship reveals a great deal about them as a person, their non-negotiables, their values and what they want out of their next one. And if you’re talking about your ex and let’s say it was a bad break-up; you were cheated on for example, if you feel comfortable to, then go ahead and reveal that. Be honest and candid but not in a way where you’re letting those raw emotions take over. Stay calm and talk truthfully but with a positive tone. After all, that experience has led you here! By opening up authentically and revealing this mindset, it shows your new or prospective partner that you’re able to speak freely and express your feelings but at the same time, you’ve moved on from that and not wounded or playing the victim. It will also display strength and indicate to him that this isn’t behaviour you’d put up with in a new relationship!
It doesn’t hurt to ask questions about your new partner‘s last relationship either. I’m not talking giving them the Spanish Inquisition but phrase your questions in a way that encourages them to reveal what didn’t work and what they learned. This will give you a few clues as to what they want in a new partner. If they say that their ex was the jealous type, you’ll know that they might be sensitive to evidence of that behaviour in a new relationship. It gives you a bit of an insight into where they might be vulnerable. At the same time, if the relationship failed because he says his ex claimed he had no get up and go and you’re after someone with ambition and a zest for life, then you’ll also know that after the dating honeymoon period ends, this might be something that comes up for the two of you!
Ultimately the ex conversation isn’t one that needs to be repeated again and again. It merely offers some clarity on what both of you want, need and expect in your next relationships. The two of you are starting here, now, completely new. It also doesn’t hurt to remember that there are two people in a relationship and probably two viewpoints on why it ended. If you’ve built up connection and genuinely feeling good about where it’s going, stay open-minded! Your past relationships could well have ended to lead you to each other.