Starting a relationship with someone who can’t let go of their ex-partner can be an uncomfortable experience. Depending on their connection with their ex, it could affect you and your current relationship.
However, some ex’s are unavoidable, such as the parent of your partner’s child. These exes must be included in your lives and new relationships, which you and your partner must agree upon and discuss.
If you are unsure about how to react to your partner’s relationship with their ex, we’ve answered some common questions to help you out:
How Guys Might Keep Tabs on their Ex:
Guys are more likely to keep tabs on their ex if they co-parent or own a business with that ex. They may also have leftover feelings for them. Guys going through a divorce will contact their ex to settle affairs. Depending on his connection to his ex, circumstances will change.
Do Guys Normally Keep Tabs on Their Ex?
It isn’t abnormal to keep in touch with your ex if you have a good reason.
For those guys out there who social media stalk or obsess over their ex, then no, this isn’t normal behavior.
Depending on why your partner is still interested in what their ex is doing, they may be exhibiting obsessive behavior or just normal breakup routines.
Typical reasons guys keep tabs on their ex include divvying up personal property, co-parenting children, or even sharing custody of a business they built together.
If, however, your guy cannot let go of their ex for some reason, there might be deeper emotions at play.
Should I be Worried if He Keeps Tabs on His Ex?
Many people get worried right away when they find out their partner hangs out with their ex or keeps tabs on them.
Sometimes this worry is justified, while other times it stems from feeling insecure about your partner and their ex. This is an entirely subjective situation where the reason your guy is keeping tabs on his ex may mean one or more things.
You must know why he keeps tabs on his ex before getting worried or jumping to conclusions. You don’t want to ruin a good relationship with your guy by being unnecessarily jealous.
Here are a few reasons why your man might still be in contact with his ex and whether or not you should worry:
The most common reason your man might contact his ex is usually a co-parenting situation.
Ex-spouses with children will keep in touch regularly, sometimes even daily during the school year. This is to coordinate a time to see their kids, make sure they know who is picking them up from school, homework, school projects, extracurriculars, and more.
Don’t get jealous if your partner is keeping in touch with their ex because they share a child. Their situation is already difficult and emotional. To burden them with your dislike of their ex or your discomfort will only make it harder for them to help co-parent their child.
Try to support them through this time and help them with as much parenting as they need.
The one reason to be a little jealous is most likely if your partner has leftover feelings for his ex and is keeping in touch with them over it.
However, know that this isn’t always a sign that they are cheating on you. Rather, they are probably still working through their feelings for that person and are struggling to let go.
Getting angry at them for emotions that they can’t help is not productive. Instead, try to find out what they can’t let go of.
Sometimes, people hang on to their ex not because they still are in love with them, but because they had imagined a whole future with them, and now have to let that idea of their future go. Maybe they were going to travel, buy a house, start a family, or launch a business together. Now, that will never happen.
Letting go is hard, especially for the person who was dumped. The one who dumped them will not be as affected by the breakup and will not struggle to let go as hard.
If, however, you do truly suspect that your partner has strong romantic feelings for their ex and wants to be with them again, take care of yourself first and leave or voice your concerns. Don’t wait around for your partner to let go if it isn’t right for you.
Recency of Breakup
Sometimes your partner is keeping in touch with their ex due to the recency of the breakup.
If you are with someone who just left their relationship with, say, an abusive or difficult partner, then they may be staying in touch to settle affairs. This could mean divvying up furniture or belongings, going through a divorce attorney or lawyers to finalize the separation, or even deciding who gets to keep the dog or cat.
A person going through this is not keeping tabs on their ex because they have feelings for them. Instead, they are trying to leave that ex behind by finishing up all loose ends or difficult separation requirements with them.
Support your partner as much as possible during this time and help keep them safe and calm as they pull themselves away from a difficult ex.
Their Friendship History
Sometimes friends date and break up. This doesn’t always keep them from being friends again.
Friends are capable of having romantic or sexual affairs, realize that it isn’t for them, and then continue to be friends after a “breakup.” Sometimes, friends who try to date or to be romantic or intimate will not actually be a couple or in an official relationship.
If they weren’t in an official relationship, then they aren’t really “ex’s.”
Knowing your partner’s history and past encounters with that friend will help prevent you from feeling insecure about their friendship. However, if your partner is secretive or doesn’t want to talk about what happened, it might be because they are uncomfortable with what happened or want to protect their friend’s privacy.
If your partner is still friends with their “ex,” that doesn’t mean they have feelings or unresolved sexual tension with them. It could just mean that they tried something that didn’t work and now can move on.
Being truly bothered by the relationship your ex and their friend have together might be something you need to work through on your own or together. If they refuse to cut ties with their friend and it really bothers you, then you might be the one who needs to leave the relationship.
Always take care of yourself first!
Their Workplace Proximity
Dating a coworker is always a struggle when the relationship ends.
Not only do you have to see them every day at work, but you also usually have to interact with them and work on team projects together. Dating a coworker means you are stuck with them regardless of how the relationship turns out.
This can often lead to someone leaving their job or moving to a different department. However, not everyone has the luxury of quitting or packing up and moving to a different floor in the office building.
Sometimes, couples even start businesses together and run that business even if they break up.
If your partner is stuck in their job for financial or professional reasons and can’t avoid their ex, it isn’t their fault that they see them all the time. Please don’t jump to conclusions about how your partner and their ex conduct themselves when at work.
It may be that your partner is just as uncomfortable as you are with the situation.
How Do Guys Typically Try and Keep Tabs on Their Ex?
Not all men will try to keep tabs on their ex. Sometimes it is unavoidable.
For those guys who are stuck with their ex for whatever reason, they will most likely still have their phone number and social media contacts to keep in touch. Depending on their level of connection, their reason for keeping tabs on their ex will change.
For former spouses with kids, calling or texting weekly is common practice. For a guy who is still romantically interested in his ex, he may be watching her social media page to see if she has found someone new.
For coworkers, email chains and direct messaging throughout the workday is essential to keep business moving forward. This is unavoidable and usually quite awkward.
If your guy is trying to go out of his way to keep an eye on his ex, he may have an obsession or can’t let go of them. This should be carefully confronted or discussed between the two of you.
When you find out why he is keeping tabs on his ex, make the informed decision on whether or not you need to support him, intervene or just leave the relationship altogether.
What Can you Do to Help Him Forget his Ex?
If your guy is keeping tabs on his ex and it bothers you, try to talk to him and find out where those emotions are coming from.
First and foremost, you need to understand the situation and be empathetic to what is going on. As we mentioned before, supporting your partner as they deal with their ex, whether through divorce or co-parenting, is really important and helpful to them.
If you attack your partner with accusations and angry emotions about them still working through things with their ex, you will either push them away or end your relationship without meaning to. Not only do they need to work through their feelings about their ex, but you need to work through yours.
Furthermore, if your partner is still struggling to get over their breakup, find out what keeps them from letting go. They may be mourning the future that they thought they would have, the kids they thought they would have, or the new adventures that will now never happen.
They may also be struggling with losing their ex who was probably a very good friend and confidant.
It would be best to recognize that they have lost an important person in their life while also reassuring them that you will try your hardest to be their next important person. Support them, work with them, and listen to them to assure them that you will be there for them.
This has the potential to help them overcome their breakup while simultaneously strengthening your relationship with them.