Haunted By Your Partner's Ex? What To Do When They Just Won't Go Away

Haunted By Your Partner's Ex? What To Do When They Just Won't Go Away

It's a huge inconvenience, but it can be resolved with some patience.

By Marianne Garvey

Are you being haunted by your partner’s ex? If they are still in your love’s life, it can be hard to create a loving, trusting relationship with your partner.

Some couples weighed in on the annoyance of the ex still hanging around, with Sandra, 41, from New York, saying it took months of hating her husband’s ex-wife before she finally saw the light.

“It makes me sad to admit but I grew to love my partner's ex who was always hanging around,” she says. “She was good with his kids, but that peace definitely didn't come until months of despising her and realizing she truly wasn't a threat.”

Paula, 27, a musician from Brookyn, says she was humiliated by the many women her ex stayed friends with.

“My ex-boyfriend remained friends with women he hadn't successfully closed with and it was so humiliating,” she says. “All these friends who hadn't wanted to sleep with him at the time, but what, I guess he was still hoping someday might do so? Gross.”

Marina, 33, from New Jersey, says she had the opposite problem—her ex-husband’s ex wouldn’t leave her alone. 

“My ex-husband's new girlfriend wouldn't leave me alone on social media, constantly liking my stuff or trying to slide into my timeline even though I wanted them both out of my life forever,” she says. 

Karen, 42, from Westchester, New York, who is married, has recently begun talking to her own ex boyfriend.

“I’m happily married, but the ex from 20 years ago has popped up and I like talking to him. Dangerous territory,” she says. 

Amanda, 44, from New York, says, “I once dated a guy who was constantly introducing me to friends of his who had started out as women he had gone on dates with, and it seemed like this endless stream of collegial exes.”

“The whole thing felt like it had no boundaries, and like I was being groomed to take my position as the next ex turned friend,” she says. 

So what to do when your significant other’s ex just won’t get out of the picture?

New York based relationship expert James Michael Sama offers Personal Space some advice. 

“When our boyfriend or girlfriend's ex just won't go away, we find ourselves walking a very thin line. There could be any set of circumstances present, and it's important to understand that even though you are this person's love interest now, their ex was once in your position, too,” he explains. “Perhaps the most important thing is, no matter how difficult it may seem, is to remain cool, calm, and collected. Showing extreme jealousy or hostility towards the ex could signal to your significant other that you're incapable of handling conflict or have a tendency to fly off the handle. This could be one of the reasons they left their past relationship in the first place, so it is not a quality you want to bring back to their mind.”

James says the ex is likely struggling with letting go of the relationship, and is fighting an internal battle with his or herself to try to figure out how to move on. Also, if there are children or pets involved, you may need to accept that this person is going to be in your life for as long as you are with your partner. 

“This is another reason to keep yourself composed at all times,” he says. 

“But If their presence becomes a real issue for your relationship, the next step is to have a sit-down conversation with your partner and discuss how their ex's presence is making you feel. It's important to utilize the word 'feel' because it will resonate and let him/her know that you are not just being dramatic, but are genuinely being affected by this situation.”

On the other hand, if there is nothing concrete keeping this person around (kids, pets, etc.), then your partner should be willing to cut off contact with their ex by blocking their phone number or completely halting response.

“Direct confrontation with the ex is the absolute last resort, unless you are 100 percent positive you can have a mature conversation about the situation and come to a conclusion. This, of course, would be very rare,” he says. “This is a difficult set of circumstances for anyone because nobody likes to be reminded of their significant other's past, let alone physically see or hear about the person who was once in your position. However, this is also often a temporary inconvenience for a permanent improvement opportunity, where you are showing your partner how you will handle adversity and unsavory circumstances, which will undoubtedly be present in your future together, in one form or another.

“Take a deep breath, look him or her in the eyes, and understand that while their ex is a nuisance, they are just that—an ex. A past best to be left where it belongs.”

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Personal Space is Bravo's home for all things "relationships," from romance to friendships to family to co-workers. Ready for a commitment? Then Like us on Facebook to stay connected to our daily updates.

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