In an ideal world, breaking up with someone would be clean cut and hassle-free. People would admit and accept they’re not compatible, then move on with their lives. In reality however, being human means that splitting up is often a lot more complicated. We have separations that are a little too friendly, ones that are highly contentious, and some which are downright confusing, simply because we’re actually not very sure what happened. If any of these scenarios sound familiar, here’s some advice on how to balance a past lover with your new one.
“…he’s one of my best friends.”
As wonderful and new age as it may seem to you, no one entering into a relationship wants to hear their new partner uttering these words, or anything to this effect. It’s not that your new flame is necessarily hoping the breakup with your ex was a bitter one, it’s simply that it can be uncomfortable joining this particular club. The club being one where everyone has some intimate experience with you, whether sexual, mental or emotional.
Letting go of deep connections with an ex, if you choose to do so, can be empowering. You make way for a new person to become your best friend and you allow them to re-discover all the reasons, and more, why others have loved you.
“…but I don’t mind if he talks to his ex.”
It’s very commendable to know you’ve chosen the right partner, whom you can trust with their own ex, but don’t be overly encouraging of their attachments to the past. You may be utterly confident about a relationship they could hypothetically have, but if they don’t want that freedom, then let it go. Don’t use it to try and balance the presence of your ex in your life.
We’re not suggesting you totally cut people off here, but you must acknowledge when someone new deserves time that is uninterrupted by your previous lovers. In our opinion, dating an ex collector is the most uninspiring type of threesome there is. No one wants to feel like they’re living in someone else’s shadow, or that they can’t get close enough because the vacant position is actually still half filled.
“…I hate my ex, she was a complete @*@%@$^@.”
Hating your ex passionately can be just as damaging to a new relationship as still loving them. If you can’t forget the reason for your break up, the next best move is to heal from it. Walking around with a heart filled with anger, malice or regrets isn’t attractive and could potentially get in the way of new experiences with other people.
Another tip is that no matter how positive the allusions may be, don’t compare the habits of your new love to those of your old. Don’t tell your new partner how much better, slimmer, more intelligent, or rational they are. Take them on the merits they present, not how they stack up against an ex.
“…he’s the father of her kids, I have to put up with him.”
It’s true, dating someone that has a good relationship with their co-parent is far easier than dating someone who’s constantly fighting or bickering with them. Having said this, there should still be limitations on the amount of influence ex-partners have over the two of you.
As long as children are safe and cared for, the relationship you have with their parent and how you run your joint lives should have minimal input from anyone else. This includes how the household operates, how you manage your finances and your life as a family unit. If you’re the newcomer, don’t allow yourself to be dictated to, and if you’re the one with the interfering ex, put some clear boundaries in place.