The Ex-Factor

the-broken-heart-questions-whyWe all have been there, even had the experience. Yes, at one point in our lives, we have all had to deal with an ex-partner in our current relationship. As I talk to my friends about their experiences,  I have heard many stories and am amazed at how having our current partner’s ex show up out of the blue can create some waves in a relationship.

This begs the question, how do you deal with the ex-girlfriend of your new boyfriend?  He had spoken of her once or twice and they are still very good friends. I mean, the green monster inside of you knows that he’s been inside of her and they know which trigger points to press to get each other going – whether it’s temper, laughter or “you know”!

Under normal circumstances, no one wants to deal with an ex-partner for any extended period of time. However, in practical and mature terms, sometimes you can make allowances for certain situations, even when you are afraid of the outcome.

When the relationship is young, and that includes when you have not yet declared your feelings for each other publicly, it can be very challenging when the ex resumes space in your partner’s mind.

As told to me by my friend Daphna, when this happened to her, she was overcome with jealously and rage because the ex had asked to stay at her boyfriend’s place for a six months while working in Holland. She did not know how to cope and it caused a lot of friction in their relationship. He did tell her about it, when they started dating. Daphna reasoned that while they were a couple, it was his apartment and they had only been going out for a few months, so Daphna felt she had no right to demand the ex stay ELSEWHERE!!!!

So if  you were in Daphna’s position, what would you do? Mark your territory? I say no. Let it go. If you stay awake at night waiting for that unguarded moment, your life will pass you by and will cause anxiety, tension and unnecessary stress that is not necessary.

Here are a few tips I found online to deal with the EX-FACTOR from our friends at All Women’s Talk:-

1. First and foremost, you should be respected. It is your right to expect that your boyfriend shows respect for you, and that includes not allowing the ex to cause problems. He should make it clear that he won’t tolerate any disrespect towards you. If he allows her to get away with causing difficulties between you, you should question whether he is committed to a relationship with you.

2. Watch to see whether she uses him as her Saviour. The most annoying ex is the one who turns to her ex whenever she has a problem, be it practical or emotional. She’ll call in the middle of the night because her plumbing’s burst or she’s locked herself out of the house or she needs a ride everywhere and her dramas are often invented as a way of getting his attention. If noticed, point out to your boyfriend that he’s not her saviour and doesn’t need to ride to her rescue. She can call a plumber, locksmith or a taxi!

3. Be friendly (to a point). Some exes are best handled by treating them in a friendly manner. You may not actually want to be friends with her, but civility doesn’t hurt. This may also disarm any exes who set out to be hostile. If she does behave hostile, however, let her know exactly where to get off.

4. Don’t let her attitude get to you. She may be a thorn in your side, but try not to let her behavior or comments affect you. In fact you may find that you are less bothered by her if you see her as someone to feel sorry for. Definitely do not let her see that she is getting to you, or she will probably continue. If she pretends to be all sweet when he’s around but then behaves like a total B*%#H when he turns his back, call her on it then see what her response is.

5. Trust and confidence are key ways to cope in this situation. So unless your partner gives you reason not to feel confident then you should trust him. He is with you, not her, and if your relationship is secure then she can not come between you.

6. Old Flames Burn bright. If she still has feelings for him, then you need to voice your opinion early and set boundaries.

My advise to Daphna is that for the time the ex was staying with her boyfriend to just ensure that she kept the lines of communication open. It has only been two weeks since the “stick figure” as he referred to the ex was in the apartment. Daphna knew they would never be friends and but rationalized that the nights she didn’t sleep over, could either be spent worrying they would screw each other or she could put herself on a limb and trust her partner when he said that he had zero interest in the stick figure.

I don’t know what I would do, but surely, it’s a tangled web. What are your thoughts?

Girl Interrupted.

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