Dear girlwiththafro…My boyfriend isn’t comfortable with me talking to my exes

..and has asked me cut off all contact with them. What do you think? Is it reasonable to ask someone to do that?

ran into ex

Now I’m no relationship guru  by any stretch of the imagination, and I can’ t really draw a lot from personal experience on this one, so I’ve relied on the thinktank of our generation’s leading minds (twitter) to generate  a few different opinions about this.

My basic thinking about this is that for individual requests, it all depends on how the relationship ended, how close you were to your ex before the relationship started, and what the nature of the relationship is presently..In fact, there are people who you may not have dated officially, but have had ‘things’ with, that might actually have been more intense than any official relationships you’ve been in. So let’s broaden this out to ‘anybody you had a crush on that was reciprocated regardless of official status’.

Twitter offered me a mixed bag of opinions  – some folk were saying that it is reasonable to an extent, and others saying that underlying insecurity or jealousy plays a part. My spidey senses feel that requesting that your significant other doesn’t speak to ANY of their ex’s whatsoever, is a kinda controlling and evidence of a level of insecurity.But perhaps there are some circumstances where asking you to not contact someone could be reasonable..

1) The “Bugaboo” Ex.

This is the ex who still can’t let you go. Maybe you ended it and left them heartbroken, and they’re still trying to sweep  up the tiny, barely alive pieces of their once intact atria. Part of their  sweeping exercise involves a fairly regular stream of text messages, phone calls and emails asking ‘why, girlwiththafro. whyyyyy????…I can change!!!! I can be a better maan!!”. (Ok, this hasn’t actually happened to me surprisingly. I mean, you would think my fabulosity would engender that kind of behaviour, but these are strange times we’re living in..).  In these scenarios, often you’re left in a quandary. You feel slightly guilty, so you don’t want to cut them off – after all, you are the cause of their grief on some level. Which is why your significant other has to put their foot down and say “no more Mr/Mrs Nice guy, to the emotional trash can they must go!!!”……Having said that, I still can’t really see why they should ask you to not speak to them AT ALL. Maybe suggest limited contact for your own emotional health, but asking you to cut off all contact seems extreme.Surely it’s your decision to know how much you can handle? If you respect your partner, you’ll do what is appropriate, and if you don’t respect them then you have a bigger problem than your bugaboo ex.

2) The Ex that is way better looking/cleverer/well built than your current S.O.

You know, as women and men, sometimes we can be a little insecure. And contrary to popular belief, I do think it’s reasonable to pander to a small percentage of your S.O’s insecurities. They’re always going to be there on some level. Gentlemen, if your ex girlfriend looks like Meagan Good, and your current girlfriend looks like..err… Gollum? Then don’t be surprised if she’s a little bit wary of you guys having contact.Ditto women if your ex is a 6 ft 5 Adonis and your current boyfriend is Bilbo Baggins. Actually, this a lie, I don’t think it’s reasonable to ask someone to not contact their ex because they’re better looking than you. The solution to this one is to go to T.K Maxx and buy yourself some self-esteem. T.K Maxx sells everything. You can thank me later. If they wanted to be with their ex, they would be. Unless their ex broke up with them and they still want them back. In which case, why are you with them anyway?

3) You know something about their ex that they don’t and you can’t tell them.

Maybe you’re a member of MI5 and you can’t tell anyone. So you know that your partners ex is actually a Colombian drug lord who is, at this very moment, calling and talking to her in a hidden code which is actually a signal to the guy next to him on the bus to prepare to shift large amounts of cocaine from Stockwell to the Isle of Man.In which case it’s perfectly reasonable to tell your S.O not to speak to their ex. Maybe your male gut instinct tells you that this guy is dangerous. Maybe your woman powers see something your male companion can’t. It all sounds a bit fishy, this ‘gut feeling’ type thing, but hey, sometimes you just know.

Ok, jokes aside, I would be very wary of someone who asked me to cut off contact with ALL the people I’d ever gone out with or had a ‘thing’ with. I think it’s a sign of a fairly controlling temperament. If you have a significant amount of contact with one of your ex’s though, I think you should ask yourself, why? Do I still need closure? Is this relationship appropriate? And ask whether you would be comfortable if the shoe was on the other foot. Do to your partner what you would have them do unto you. It’s the Golden Rule.
If there is one of your partners ex’s that makes you particularly uncomfortable for some reason, then I think it’s reasonable to raise that concern with your S.O, and hopefully you can both come to a respectful agreement on the best way to interact with that person.
Ultimately, if you’re in a relationship with someone, they’ve chosen YOU. They must think you’re pretty awesome. (Unless they are gold-digging, or they just want to have sex with you, or it’s an arranged marriage type thing, or you’re both settling.) And if they decide to un-choose you to be with an ex, then that’s their loss. Also, if they act in a consistently inappropriate way around ex-flames, is that the kind of person you want to be with anyway? Someone who has to be constantly told how to behave?

That’s my two cents. What do you think, guys?


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