Handling an ever present ex
Unless you and your partner are both novices to love, you have both dated in the past. But it becomes a problem when the past negatively affects your present relationship. We’ve all felt a certain niggling feeling and the truth is, it’s natural to feel some insecurities about your partner’s past.
When you’re in a relationship with someone really special, and enjoy being the object of his or her affection, it’s inevitable that you’ll feel some apprehension about the ex.
While some people manage a friendship with an ex (and can even reunite), for most people an ex’s presence can hang like a dark cloud over your relationship. If you want your current relationship to work, there are ways of dealing with a meddling ex. There are some proven ways to deal with an ex who disrespects or who simply has no regard for your current relationship or your relationship status.
1. Set healthy boundaries: Continuing contact with an ex often delays the mourning process, sends mixed messages and hampers the ability to move on or start a fresh relationship. If meddling relates to an ex-spouse, be clear about keeping the contact cordial for the sake of your children, maintaining a strong relationship with your children and a loving relationship with your current partner. Speak to your partner about your ex and reassure your partner that there is no future with your past. However, if there is a level of uncertainty about returning to your ex, take time out for yourself to think.
2. Be clear about expectations and your role, so if it is a meddling ex-boyfriend/girlfriend, you need to ask yourself what is in it for you by continuing the contact. As for your ex-spouse, keep communication related to the logistics of the children and your role as their parent only.
3. Identify who owns the problem: as a general rule, don’t agree to any changes of plan when having a discussion with your ex without first touching base with your current partner.
4. Keep emotionally and physically distant. This will create healthy boundaries and protect your current relationship. Exes who communicate often can reconnect or create a rift between current partners. If the presence of an ex is not controlled, it may become a sore point in your current relationship, since partners who have exonerated themselves of their past relationships have little patience with others who have not.
If clarity of boundaries is not respected, seek mediation assistance from an unbiased family member or friend so that there will be guidance to assist both parties (in the case of a marriage) in meeting the needs of the children and still keeping the parental relationship intact. If the meddling escalates to obsessive heights within a non-marital case, more serious resorts may be sought.