We are constantly told not to mention our exes with someone new, but is that right? Here is why you should talk about your exes.
As you probably already know, talking about an ex on a first date is a pretty major red flag. When someone uses their opportunity to get to know someone new by unloading a biography of their ex, you assume they’re still hung up on that relationship. You probably never thought there are valid reasons for why you should talk about your exes.
The lingering feeling of an ex
No one wants to be a rebound, yet moving on from a prior relationship is not so simple. The end of any relationship is sure to continue on with regret, sorrow, and lingering feelings of anger.
No ex leaves your life without making an impact on you and your journey. Although we learn something positive from every relationship we enter and exit, that take away isn’t always so black and white. [Read: 10 signs your ex is still holding you back from a better relationship]
Why have you been talking about your exes
When someone starts talking about their exes, the first thing you think is that they are still hung up on them. That can be the case, but not always.
Talking about our exes releases any bitterness or grudges we may have been hanging on to. It also lets us analyze that relationship and anything we can learn from in retrospect.
We may avoid talking about this because it can hurt and reopen old wounds. However, not facing these things leads to avoidance. And that can lead to repetitive mistakes in future relationships. Even though you have long been told that talking about your exes keeps that relationship alive, talking about your exes actually helps you move on. [Read: 12 reasons why the no contact rule always works]
Why you should talk about your exes with your loved ones
The struggle to move on after a significant breakup starts with reflecting on your time with that person and how you are feeling now. Be honest with yourself. Figure out if you can move forward in a healthy way or if there was any trauma that could potentially halt you from entering into a new healthy relationship.
A great way to start this process is venting to friends and family to move past that initial shock. But, once you’ve grieved for your ex and are ready to move forward with someone new, more feelings may bubble up. You may find that you still need to discuss the impact that relationship left on you.
Whether there were trust issues, communication problems, infidelity, or anything else, it is entirely normal for those obstacles to reoccur in the future. Hurdles like these affect us all. But, if they’re preventing you from experiencing happiness and causing you to stay invested in the past, talking to a professional about it might be just what you need.
So, friends and family have heard you vent and offered their advice. If you’re still struggling to get over a breakup, speaking to a therapist on your own terms may be the best thing you can do to begin to free yourself from any serious baggage.
This experience can help you to learn more about yourself and your relationship patterns. Perhaps you become clingy when your trust wavers. Maybe you avoid confrontation. By speaking to an unbiased third party about your past, you become more aware of your tendencies. And you can start to overcome some of these obstacles.
Talking about your ex seems like you’re dwelling, but it actually aids in you becoming more self-aware.
Why you should talk about your exes with your new partner
Once you have worked through some of the issues you had with your ex, your newfound awareness will help you enter your next relationship with a healthier and clearer mindset.
But, that does not mean you are done talking about your ex. Many say to keep the past in the past. But, the past always affects us. And sharing your experiences with someone new is actually beneficial.
Although it’s not recommended to share intimate details of your past with someone you’ve just met, once a new relationship develops into something you plan to move forward with, having a discussion about your former relationships leads you into a new chapter of working together to overcome the past. [Read: How to talk about a past relationship with a new partner]
Exes and the things your new partner should know
By sharing your history with a new partner, you’re not only starting your relationship based on openness and honesty, but you’re helping them to understand and empathize with your past pain.
This can help them to comprehend the reasoning behind any of your current behaviors and help you both to face problems head-on before they even arise. But proceed with caution.
When you are first easing into this talk make sure to stay on topic. You want to share your experience, what you took from your time together and the break-up itself, and how you want to move forward with them. A discussion about your ex should always focus more on you and the situation. Don’t focus on the ex themselves.
It is vital that your new partner knows about any lingering issues from your past. Trust, jealousy, and self-esteem are all things we carry with us from exes. And if your new partner cannot understand where that came from, it can be extra hard for them to deal with.
So, be open. Share how you felt in the relationship. Share what you went through. And share what made you have trust issues or why you are still dealing with that. Talk about what you learned and how you want to do better. [Read: Your dating history and which exes your partner should know about]
What you shouldn’t say when talking about your exes
Having these conversations with someone new isn’t always easy, especially when things are going so well. We don’t want to bring up a difficult topic out of the blue. But, to maintain that level of new relationship bliss, these sensitive but important discussions should take place.
A conversation about exes is just as important as any other serious and delicate conversations such as those about politics, religion, or family. As long as you’re over your ex and your partner is over theirs, these types of talks should do nothing but shed light on your experiences and what you’ve learned from them. [Read: 15 things all couples HAVE to discuss in a perfectly happy relationship]
Just be sure these talks are focused on you and your growth. When it comes to talking about your exes it should revolve around the experience, not the person. This is why it is so often assumed that talking about your exes is horrible.
Complaining about your exes and how bad they were or how they did this or that, is not good. That is what shows you in a bad light. It says you are not over them. Even worse, that you blame them for things not working out and take no responsibility yourself.
Any conversation about your exes should not focus on your ex by name. It is not about them, but how your time with them affected you.
And don’t forget this is a two-way street. If your new partner hasn’t shared their past relationship experiences with you, be sure to express to them that you care about them and want to move forward. This is especially crucial if you notice repetitive behaviors in them that strike you as questionable.
Hopefully, you now understand why you should talk about your exes. It is not a red flag or a sign of complaining, but a way to mourn a loss and move forward.