This handy heap of advice was originally published on GQ.com.
Deep breath in, then exhale: It’s not cheating if you still talk to your ex girlfriend. Phew!
If you’re like, “Her? Gross! Meg broke my heart. Why would I want a reminder of that period I pretended to like Dave Matthews Band? I don’t WANT to talk to her”—great, you’re in the clear. But perhaps you shared a deep love with your ex and even though the relationship didn’t work out, you still want to catch up every once in a while. That’s totally chill.
Which is to say, it’s totally chill if your current partner knows you’re still talking to Meg. If she has no idea, you’re being a sneaky dick. Sorry. So here are three tips for telling your current partner about your friendship with your ex in a manner that will allow you to keep them both in your life.
1. Make Sure You’re Over Meg
Here’s the thing: Women know everything. I’m not going to tell you how, but it’s true. If your girlfriend doesn’t already know you’re secretly waxing poetic with your ex via late night text messages, she will soon. So be up front about it. First thing’s first: Why are you up late texting Meg “Crash Into Me” lyrics? Are you miserable in your current relationship and perhaps harboring some unresolved romance for the one that got away? If so, you need to have a larger conversation. But maybe you’ve just had a late-night recollection of the time the Dave Matthews Band tour bus shit all over Chicago and you want to tell Meg because you know she’ll laugh. Go for it! We should never stop talking about that great moment in American history. But even if you just want to be friendly with Meg and maybe get lunch with her when she’s in town, you still have to tell your partner. If you’re wondering if the nature of your friendship with your ex is appropriate, a good rule of thumb is to ask yourself if it would make you uncomfortable if the situation were reversed.
2. Don’t Tell Her, Ask Her
As stated, your new lover probably already knows that you’re talking to Meg. So just be chill, upfront, and honest about it, as soon as possible into your current relationship. Say this, casually: “Hey Sasha, after Meg and I broke up we kept in touch. She won’t be a huge part of our lives or anything, but we text from time to time and occasionally we grab lunch or coffee and catch up. Does that bother you?” Chances are Sasha won’t be thrilled, but if she’s an understanding, mature human, she’ll understand and allow it. Asking her if she’s okay with you and Meg keeping in touch gives her an opportunity to be Cool Girlfriend. (She’s probably also been in touch with her exes, and your honesty will guilt-trip the crap out of her.)
3. Never mention Meg again.