Some people are really, really good at fucking up your life – you might know them as exes or humans that linger like an eggy fart. How can someone only last 30 seconds in your love box but then a lifetime in your memory? There’s simply no logic in it.
Even when they’re long gone they can rear their head in new, shiny and unscathed relationships, because unfortunately romantic experience is relevant info to new partners. But how you go about sharing that can result in a conscious uncoupling on the spot (shit’s fucked), and who wants to give their ex that satisfaction? Not me, for one.
We listened to the wise advice of Married At First Sight expert and RSVP‘s dating + relationship psychologist, John Aiken, about how to tread carefully when dredging up the past, because if anyone’s seen relationships fall apart, it’s this guy. Plus, you can’t chuck an Andrew-shaped bandaid on all your Cheryl’s, you know?
ALL IN GOOD TIME
There’s nothing worse than finding someone wildly attractive during you long-term peen hunt, only for them to talk about their ex on the first date – it’s enough to make you dry up or return to flaccidity then and there. Aiken recommends waiting a solid month before even heading down that path, saying that:
“If you do it too early, it might scare them off because it says that you’re not over them, or you’ve got baggage, or you’re bitter.“
Of course, every relationship is different so you should gauge how it’s going for yourself. Can you manage that? Hmm, weird things happen to people when they start developing feelings, so you can’t even trust yourself in that state at times. Just stick to the one-month rule. By then you should’ve gotten past the early-day judging, where everything you say and do is considered a red flag.
DON’T BE EMO
I guess the hard thing about exes, other than the fact that they hang around like a rogue skin tag that just won’t fall off, is that they remind you of failure. Whether you find the partnerships’s demise a good or a bad thing in the long run, there was a time where that person hurt your feelings or you hurt theirs, and that’s not very nice, is it?
It’s so bloody important not to let yourself get emotional when talking about your ex to your new boothang. Think of them like a piece of furniture in which you have no feelings towards, because you’re not allowed to speak either positively or negatively about a previous lover. You must be as neutral as gender in 2017.
“You want to talk about the past relationship in a very matter-of-fact way and give a clear signal to your partner that you’re over it – you understand what happened and that you wish them all the best, so that they’re not frightened that you haven’t actually let go of the past.
Give your philosophy on it, make meaning of it and then move on to another topic so that it’s not something that raises red flags for your other partner.”
There’s always such a thing as too much information.
“You don’t want to go into all the sexual stuff, you don’t want to air their dirty laundry or really run them down in front of the person,” says Aiken.
Sure, it can be hard when your partner brings up getting dessert and it sparks a memory that you want to share, but they don’t care about the time you ate Ice Magic off Tom’s meat stick. They just don’t, and it’s not dissimilar to that of walking in on your parents having the sex – that kind of thing can’t be unseen or unheard.
And for the love of god don’t compare the two relationships or bedroom antics, whether that’s in your mind out loud. A dildo will fuck you up just as good, trust me.
DAMNED IF YOU DO, DAMNED IF YOU DON’T
Unfortunately you can’t just avoid the ex talk altogether. Wouldn’t that be nice? Anyway, Aiken says it’s important (and even beneficial) to talk about your exes in a new relationship so that it’s clear what kind of commitment you’re after.
“People will want to know what they look like [Editor’s note: do not fall into a FB stalk hole], how long you were together and why it didn’t work because people want to understand who you are and how you tick in a relationship.”
Look, the above should help you refrain from self-sabotage in your current relationship. But – and there’s a huge but – if you’re not over the last dick you rode or crack you tongued, then whatever you’ve got going on right now is going to fail regardless.
Sort it out.
Photo: 500 Days Of Summer.