Why Does My Husband or Wife Talk to an Ex?

People like to relive past memories and talk to someone they know. It creates a sense of being understood—that someone knows you and gets you.

Not only do people enjoy talking to an ex-partner because of this shared history, but often it can be easier to talk to an ex-partner because they are less involved in what is currently going on. It is often easier to tell a bystander the truth about any given situation, as opposed to someone who might actually be impacted by the truth (see expectations and lying).

The key to dealing with a husband or wife, boyfriend or girlfriend, who remains in contact with an ex, is not to try to control or limit the contact. If a spouse or partner wants to contact an ex, or chat with old boyfriend or girlfriend, it's probably best to encourage them to do so. People have a natural tendency to resist attempts to control their behavior (see relationship dynamics).

If you try to limit or control what a partner does, it can have the opposite effect. And if you complain about your partner’s contact with an ex, he or she typically they won’t change the behavior; they will instead just try to hide it from you (see survey results—lies lovers tell).

When partners start hiding their behavior, it creates distance within a relationship. Rather than being someone you can talk to, you are now someone to hide things from. Trying to limit a partner’s contact with an ex often places people on the “outside” rather than on the “inside” of their relationship (see my boyfriend hides contact with his ex).

So if you want to be in the know, it's best to try and understand why a spouse wants to talk to an ex, and to be supportive (see empathy and truth telling).

By being supportive and understanding, you stand a much better chance of earning your partner’s respect and appreciation. Couples can grow closer when they try to understand and accept their differences.

Related Information:

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