The Vanderpump Rules cast is no stranger to dating drama, so it was not shocking that Kristen Doute and James Kennedy sparked controversy on their Mexico trip when Jax Taylor caught them hanging out alone. Although Kristen and James were in committed relationships with other people at the time, both partners weren't in Mexico, making it look extra suspicious after a night of partying and drinking. (Also their rumored history of hooking up since their breakup definitely complicates the situation.)
This scenario begs the question — is it OK to hang alone with your ex when you are dating someone else? We found out what real people thought, and had a relationship expert weigh in, too!
Andre Anthony Moore, is a New York State Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in private practice in Greenwich Village. Moore explained that, “every love story is different and, it’s never a good idea to make assumptions,” but this question “really has to do with how much two lovers are able to trust each other.”
Elie M. of NY had a similar sentiment to Moore, explaining that he would be OK with a partner hanging with an ex, because he would, “have to assume the best judgment” of the person he is dating.
Jason W. of NY told us that he wouldn't mind, but only if they had a conversation about it beforehand. “After the fact would be tough — it’s not so much about something possibly happening or even the trust, it’s about being open and honest.” Moore agreed, “it’s never a good idea to tell your lover you’ve done something after the fact. It’s always a good idea to discuss what you’d like to do beforehand.”
Jennifer S. of TX had a more concrete opinion; she thought it is “definitely not” OK to have a partner hang with an ex alone. She explained, “they are an ex for a reason,” and “if they spring it on you after the fact, there is a reason to be suspicious.”
Although Moore agrees the conversation should happen beforehand, he doesn't think cutting off all contact with previous long-term partners is entirely necessary. Moore explained, “true love is about being free. It’s never about subjugation.” As long as the exes are no longer romantic, there is no reason to make them end a platonic friendship if its meaningful. It's best to communicate these issues with your partner to dig deeper into why they feel that way in order to move forward.
Similarly, Jessy K. of NY still hangs out with her ex even though they have both moved on to other relationships. She explained that her partner knew that they would be hanging out in a work capacity from the start, so it was never an issue or source of tension.
Moore has worked with clients who have had partners remain close to an ex and allowing that friendship to continue strengthened the couple's relationship by instilling why they were a better fit for each other than the old partner.
In the case of the Vanderpump Rules cast, Kristen’s history with James definitely makes it harder for her current boyfriend, Carter, to trust her. However, the scenario in Mexico that sparked cheating rumors shouldn't necessarily doom their relationship. Moore explained, “lovers make mistakes all the time. They misinterpret and misunderstand what’s really happening and can easily hurt one another;” however, that doesn't mean they can’t make it up to their partner.
In order to turn that hard situation around, Moore suggests trying a concept that comes from the Guttman Research Institute, called Negative Sentiment Override. “If you mistakenly hurt your lover, you can show him or her five kindnesses to make up for the hurt, or make five positive comments for every negative one.” The five kindnesses or positive comments serve to reinforce good behavior and strengthen a couple's love for each other.
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