Ex-relationships belong in the past, but what happens when they’re a part of your present?
If your boyfriend still talks to his ex-girlfriend, it’s understandable if you feel uncomfortable and even insecure about your relationship.
However, in some cases, talking to an ex is perfectly normal. For instance, maybe your boyfriend and his ex were friends before they hooked up, and they agreed to stay friends after the breakup. Your boyfriend talking to his ex doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s still in love with her.
On the other hand, a man will sometimes keep talking to his ex when he wants to get back together with her, or even cheat on you with her.
So…how can you tell which situation you are in, and what should you do about it? Here are some questions to ask and some advice to follow to work out his intentions and to find a workable solution.
14 Tips When Your Boyfriend Still Talks To His Ex
1. Is he open about it, or does he hide it?
Does your boyfriend openly talk about his relationship with his ex, or does he pretend that his ex doesn’t exist? Do you know when he’s with her, or does he lie about his whereabouts and act secretively when it comes to his former partner? This could help you figure out whether there is something to worry about.
While there is a small chance he wants to go back to his ex even if you hang out with them, and your boyfriend openly talks to you about her, it is more likely to be true if he has been dishonest about you when it comes to this.
2. How often does it happen?
Do they talk constantly or only occasionally? It’s one thing if your boyfriend checks up on his ex every few months, but it’s a whole other thing when he does it every few hours.
If your boyfriend and his ex meet in person once in a while to chat, there might not be anything to it. They’re not interested in being together anymore, but they still want to stay up to date with each other’s lives. That’s perfectly fine.
On the other hand, maybe his ex is an active part of his life, and they constantly talk to each other. They’re always texting and hanging out, and it’s normal that it bothers you. However, does this frequency of interaction mean that they are cheating?
Spending so much time together is certainly risky, but maybe they’re trying to stay friends. However, if they are spending more time together than you think is right, you should voice your concerns. Let him know that you wouldn’t mind if he occasionally checked up on his ex, but you don’t want his ex as the third person in your relationship.
3. Is it just texting, or do they meet up?
They might be texting frequently without actually meeting in person. This could be better, but you can still have an emotional affair without actually seeing each other.
On the other hand, your boyfriend might just want to know what’s going on in his ex’s life. You can’t really know whether there’s anything more to it unless you look for other signs of infidelity.
However, if they just text and don’t meet up, the problem certainly isn’t as big as it seems—at least not yet.
4. Do you know his ex?
Do you know his ex and even hang out with them, or is she a mystery to you because he keeps her a secret? If you know her and you hang out together, it’s less likely that he’s having an affair. Keeping her a secret, on the other hand, is a red flag that he might be cheating on you.
If you do know who his ex is, you could even talk to her about it. Try to find out how she feels about your boyfriend and whether they really are just friends.
Of course, you can’t directly ask her about it, but mentioning him and seeing how she reacts to his name and the things you say could help you figure out her true feelings. If she is still into him, it will be obvious, and if this is the case, you might as well go ahead and ask her directly.
You should also talk to your boyfriend about her and watch his reactions. Ask about her and get him to tell you stories about their relationship. You will likely notice if he still has romantic feelings for her.
5. Who ended the relationship and why?
Who ended the relationship? This matters. If your boyfriend broke up with his ex, it’s less likely that he’s thinking about getting back together with her. However, if she broke it off instead, he might be trying to win her back.
Another important question is why the relationship ended. Maybe the circumstances have changed since then, and what stopped them from being together is no longer a problem. Perhaps it was something your boyfriend did, and he regrets it, or it’s his ex that made a mistake and now she wants to patch things up.
6. Were they friends before they dated?
So, they say that they’re just friends, but when did this friendship start? Maybe they are trying to stay friends after a recent breakup, or maybe they were friends even before they dated and now want to go back to the platonic relationship they had before.
If they had a history before they dated, it is more likely that they are just friends now.
Maybe your boyfriend’s ex is part of his inner circle of friends. They don’t spend any alone time together, but they’re hanging out together with other friends. If this is the case, you might not have anything to worry about.
7. How long have you been together?
Are you in a long-term relationship, or is it possible that you’re the rebound after his relationship with his ex? Is he serious about you, or are you just seeing how it goes?
Are you just a fling? If you’re not in a long-term relationship, you might be the rebound that isn’t meant to last. Did your boyfriend properly grieve the relationship he had with his ex before getting into a relationship with you? This is a necessary step for something long-lasting.
If he wasn’t over his ex when you hooked up, he likely isn’t over her now either. If you stepped back, do you think they would get back together?
If you haven’t been together for a long time, it makes it more likely that your boyfriend will go back to his ex. If you are, instead, in a long-term relationship, and their relationship ended a long time ago, there’s likely nothing to worry about.
8. Do you feel secure in the relationship?
Do you feel secure with him, or does it feel like you’re going to break up any second now? If things are falling apart already, his ex just makes it even more difficult for you to stay together.
The state of your relationship is important in figuring out whether he’ll run back to his ex because of it. If you are having problems, and he chooses to confide in her about it, it’s very risky. It might even lead to an affair.
Did you feel secure before she came back into his life, or did the problems start long before then? He might be trying to run away from your problems by going back to his old life that he had with his ex.
Or…is your relationship actually in a good place, and are your concerns mostly just based in insecurity and doubt? If you have a happy, healthy relationship despite his continued contact with his ex, it’s far more likely to be entirely innocent.
9. How does he react when you talk about his ex?
Talk to him about her. Does he flinch when you try to talk to him about his ex, or does he smile whenever he says her name? Maybe he tries to change the subject or looks very nostalgic while he reminisces about the memories they shared.
Maybe he will be secretive instead and try to lie to you when he talks about her. He’ll avoid saying her name or telling you anything specific that would help you identify her.
Notice all the changes in his behavior and try to understand what he’s trying to say. If he still has feelings for her, you will notice it, and you have every right to speak up about it even if it means making him choose between you and his ex.
10. Talk to your boyfriend.
Talk to him about it and express your concerns. If you feel like this could end your relationship, let him know that, but don’t give him an ultimatum. Ask him whether you’re just a rebound and whether he’s thinking about going back to her.
Be prepared for him to deny everything. However, notice what exactly he says and the way he behaves. It might help you read between the lines. If he is still into her, he’s not going to be that great at hiding it. You could ask him and watch his reaction instead of getting distracted by the words he says.
If he has already been lying to you about this, he will keep lying. This is why it’s more important to pay attention to his actions rather than his words.
11. Set boundaries.
No matter how normal this may be, you have every right to be upset about it and voice your concerns. If you don’t like him talking to his ex, let him know that and set clear boundaries.
For instance, maybe you don’t mind it if they hang out in a group of people, but you don’t want them to be alone together. Maybe you don’t mind if they get in touch every month, but you don’t like them chatting every day.
Set clear boundaries by telling him what you’re okay with and what you can’t tolerate. Learn to say “no” as well. If he wants your permission to go on a date with his ex, he’s not going to get it and he needs to learn to deal with that.
Does he treat his ex the same as his other friends though? Tell him that you would be fine with that friendship if it was the same as all the other friendships he has. However, if his ex is special to him, you’re not going to be okay with it.
12. Ask him to open up to you.
It’s not okay if his ex knows more about him than you do. If he confides in her, and even talks to her about your problems, you can’t let that slide. Remind him that you’re the one he should be talking to and encourage him to open up to you and be more vulnerable.
Let him know that you don’t want his ex to be closer to him than you are, so he shouldn’t confide in her more than he does in you. Encourage him to speak up without fear of how you’ll react, and let him know that he can be honest with you.
His ex shouldn’t be the first one to know when something happens to him, good or bad. It should be you. So help him to let his guard down and remind him that you want him to talk to you about these things, not his ex. If he says that they’re just friends, ask him whether any of his other friends know the things his ex knows.
13. Ask to meet his ex.
If you’ve never met his ex, you can ask to meet her and watch his reaction. If she is nothing but a friend to him, why wouldn’t you be allowed to meet her? Stop him from being secretive about it and ask to be a part of what’s going on. If there’s nothing to be worried about, he’ll introduce you without much complaint.
On the other hand, if the thought of letting you meet his ex bothers him, you’ve got to ask yourself why, especially if he’s secretive about her altogether.
Let him know that you don’t want to be kept in the shadows anymore. If he wants to hang out with his ex, you can hang out together.
14. Find out whether he’s cheating.
Look for signs that he’s cheating, such as being secretive and lying about his whereabouts.
If you think he could be cheating, call him out on it instead of going through his phone. You can even ask him to show you the messages between him and his ex instead of looking at them behind his back.
Your boyfriend might not be cheating yet, but he could be thinking about breaking up with you to get back together with his ex. If this is the case, you should know about it.
Your boyfriend talking to his ex-girlfriend could mean different things. This situation calls for a cool head and a calm, rational approach. Your feelings are valid, make no mistake about that, but that doesn’t mean they are based in reality. Whether you are feeling jealousy, anger, hurt, or betrayal, pause and reflect to figure out whether those feelings correspond to what is happening.
Finding a way through this will require continued communication, not just a single chat. Whether he stops talking to his ex or you find a way to deal with their friendship, nothing will change overnight. The conversations you have won’t necessarily be easy ones either. After all, your concerns are somewhat suggestive of something untoward without being outright accusatory.
This is very much one of those situations where you must work together as a team to address the problem, rather than fighting against one another.