My boyfriend keeps in touch with his ex-fiancee and I hate it. Where do I draw the line?

I recently came across a few conversations on my boyfriend’s phone with his ex-fiancee (I wasn’t snooping, he had asked me to message someone for him while he was driving). I confronted him about it, and he said that they keep in touch from time to time. When I asked why, he said it’s because they were friends before getting together, and since they’ve known each other since childhood he wanted to keep some form of friendship with her. I don’t want to be jealous but I do feel uncomfortable that they’re still in touch. For context, she called off the engagement, not him. Should I insist he stop speaking to her or just accept it? – Paula, TX 

Hi Paula, 

Thanks for writing in. This is a tricky problem that crops up a lot – where do we draw the line when it comes to exes? Before you go any further, it’s worth spending some time reflecting on why you feel this way in the first place:

  • Are you insecure about other areas of your relationship? About yourself? 
  • Are there trust issues between you and your partner? 
  • Or are you simply uncomfortable with exes being in the picture?

It’s important to determine why you feel the way you do first. If it’s insecurity on your part and less so about the ex, that’s something you can work on. Especially if you have a good relationship and no reason to doubt his commitment to you. 

On that note, it’s worth mentioning that he did give you permission to access his phone, which, if he had something to hide, he probably wouldn’t have done. That counts for something. 

But if you do determine that you’re simply uncomfortable with exes being in the picture, then a talk around boundaries is needed. I would not insist that he cut off all communication with her, as this falls under the umbrella of control. And if he feels controlled, well, that’s only going to make the situation worse. 

Instead, focus on finding a middle ground that works for both of you. Some acceptance and a lot of understanding will be needed on both sides and to reach this, you mustn’t “attack” your partner. Keep the conversation calm and simply express your feelings on the matter using lots of “I” statements. 

Finally, if the root of the issue is that you don’t trust him, then a bigger conversation will be needed around your relationship in general and whether you can get back to a place of trust or not. It may be the ex is just a symptom of a deeper issue that needs addressing. 

Wishing you luck and strength, 

Evie 

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Evie is on a mission to revolutionize relationships and help you sort through your emotional woes. Her popular column helps readers break free from societal restraints and create empowering relationships - both with their inner selves and with those around them. With a wealth of experience in relationship counseling, backed by several professional certifications, she’s open-minded, big-hearted, and extremely compassionate… But she’ll also be completely honest in telling you the (sometimes) brutal truth, so you can get straight to the heart of the matter. Maybe you’re trying to save a marriage that currently feels like a sinking ship? Or worrying that your new friend isn’t quite as nice as they seem? Perhaps you’ve accidentally killed your partner’s goldfish and are weighing up the pros and cons of going to the pet store and finding a doppelganger, or fessing up? Whatever the dilemma, Evie’s at the ready to help sort through the emotional turmoil and guide you towards the next best step. To get in touch with Evie, click here.

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