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Is it Okay if He’s Friends with His Ex?So, you start dating a new guy. He’s great. Interesting, attractive, intelligent and fun. All seems well until…

You find out he’s still pretty tight with an ex.

Sure, there are situations where former partners have to maintain contact. If they share a circle of friends, have kids, or work at the same place, for example.

But these two have none of those obligations, and they’re still very close.

Like, they hang out. They talk. REALLY talk. Probably about his relationship with you. They’re downright chummy, and it kind of weirds you out.

It’s not that you’re jealous. You’re not afraid he’s cheating on you with her. If he wanted that, they’d still be dating. No, this is something else.

You don’t want to sound possessive or insecure, but you’re not cool with the connection he has with her.

And the worst part of it is you end up doubting yourself. What if you are just being clingy?

 

So here’s the real question. Is it okay that he still pals around with a former girlfriend?

The quick answer? Maybe. But probably not.

A recent Oakland University study actually took a close look at over 850 post-dating friendships. What these researchers discovered was kind of alarming.[i]

According to the study, people with “darker personality traits,” like narcissism and psychopathy, were more likely to remain friends with an ex after the breakup. Their reasons were mostly pragmatic and almost always selfish.

Former partners don’t normally stay close friends. Most people move on.

Unless that is, they see their ex as a “desirable resource” they can use when convenient. A resource for what? Well, that ranges from help meeting other eligible singles to easy random hookups.

Yeah. Scary.

Is it a guarantee your guy is thinking along those lines? No, not at all. But if he’s still friends with an old flame, you have good reason to be uncomfortable.

Luckily, dealing with it is pretty straightforward.

First, talk to him. Let him know you’re not comfortable. He may defend the friendship, which is normal. Just maintain your stance.

Is it Okay if He’s Friends with His Ex?Don’t let your imagination get the best of you. In other words, DON’T accuse him of anything. And don’t draw any lines in the sand. It might seem like a good idea to give him an ultimatum, but it’s not.

This isn’t a Lifetime movie. If you end up saying, “It’s her or me!” you’ve gone too far.

Just let him know his connection with a former girlfriend is going to have a negative impact on his connection with you. You’re not okay with that.

If he’s receptive, understanding, and willing to change, great! It may take a bit of time to work out the kinks, but a sensitive, mature guy will get it.

If, on the other hand, he refuses to take your feelings into account, run. Don’t expect him to suddenly decide your feelings matter later. If they don’t matter now, you deserve better.

A lot of former couples manage to be civil around each other after the breakup. That’s a sign of maturity. But if your guy is besties with his ex, that’s a red flag.

Tell him that doesn’t work for you and give him the chance to change it. If he won’t, it’s probably time for you to move on.

[i] Rense, Sarah. “If You’re Still Friends with Your Ex, Chances Are You’re a Psychopath.” ELLE. Hearst Digital Media, 13 May 2016. Web. 19 May 2016.