Why Do Guys Talk To Their Ex? [Ask A Dude]

Hey Dude,

I’ve been dating my boyfriend for about a year, and things have been great. The only issue I have is the fact that he still keeps in touch with 2 of his ex’s. One of them is the girl he lost his virginity to and had a relationship with for over a year. She cheated on him and later ended marrying the guy. He said she was young, so he forgave her and they still talk. The other is a girl he dated not even a year after his first girlfriend, and they lived together for about 6 months. She ended up leaving him a note saying she moved out of state to be with her mom, because she didn’t know what to do with all their fighting and financial issues. My boyfriend said he would have probably married her. I’m not sure how frequently he talks to either one of them, and I can’t figure out why it bugs me. I trust my boyfriend, and I don’t think he has feelings for them, but I just don’t understand why he still has to be fiends with either of them?! Am I tripping for letting this bother me? I’m not friends with any of my ex’s, and it’s for a reason. Is it normal for guys to still be friends with their ex? Do they reminisce about the relationship or is it strictly friends? When we were first dating I had a few guy friends that were not boyfriends or anything close to it, but whenever I would text them my boyfriend would get noticeably bothered by it. Is it fair for him to talk to ex’s but I can’t even talk to guys?

Thanks for your help,


Dear D,

I’d like to take the third part last-jk. I’m actually going to start with your last part first.

NO: It’s not okay for him to talk to his ex’s and you not be allowed to talk to any guys at all. On the other hand, just because he’s bothered doesn’t mean you have to cut yourself off from talking to people or making friends, because they have a penis.

YES/NO: You’re not quite tripping because you’re letting this bother you. However, you are letting this build into something bigger that’s going to make you flip out if you don’t talk to him.

YES: It’s normal for a guy to be friends with an ex. Not necessarily every ex (depending on how many there are and the circumstances of the break up), but it’s totally possible to find new ground in a new kind of relationship that has new boundaries. Which is what happens when you go from being BF to BFF. What are they talking about? Eh, who knows? Do they reminisce? Probably. I talk about the past with my ex’s, well, the ones I talk to, and with others we just check in with each other about what’s going in. I don’t have too many ex’s I’d called besties, but I’m also at a point where there’s no ill will or resentment over the past. Because on that kind of energy and effort I just don’t have the time to spare. Nor should I, or anyone else for that matter.

NO: You don’t totally trust your boyfriend. I’m sorry to burst the bubble, but if you’re this obsessed and bothered, you just don’t. Either you’re worried he’s got feelings for them or you’re worried that he can be persuaded to get with them if either woman makes a move. And if you don’t trust him to resist their charms then YOU DON’T TRUST HIM.

So now we’ve established what’s what with you. Now you need to figure out what’s what with him. COMMUNICATION. PERIOD. IS KEY. Talk to the boy. Tell him it bothers you. Hell, tell him you don’t even know why it bothers you. Will he stop talking to his ex’s? Probably not, and I don’t necessarily feel like he should, but that’s one dude’s opinion. He’s got the right to interact with whomever he wants and vice versa. What will happen is you’ll both be on the same page, and hopefully the honesty will help breed a bit more security.

Being friends with an ex can be perfectly fine. People we’ve cared deeply for and who we consider seminal parts at various points of our lives are ones that we tend to want to stay connected to. In some form or another. It hurts to have to completely abandon or give up on someone like that. You want to honor what there was, and you never know who could be a really great friend you can confide in. Is there a question of “what if?” Absolutely! There always will be, lots of people have those thoughts, doesn’t mean you act on them and it doesn’t mean those are the thoughts that are fueling the friendship. We have them. Who-in being honest with themselves-hasn’t at one point or another?

Talk it out. Hug it out. Knock it out.

From Ex-perience,

The Dude

[Got a Dude itch you just can’t scratch? Sick of trying to come up with a not-totally-crazy-girl way to bring it up to your guy friends and get their take on things? Totally over over-analyzing the cryptic messages he leave on your Facebook Wall? We got your back, girlfriend. Send your question over to askthedude [at] collegecandy [dot] com. The Dude won’t sugarcoat it, beat around the bush, or any other weird cliche that means lie to you. Like a nice, juicy hot dog, he’ll be 100% real beef, 100% of the time. So bring. it. on.]



    1. --? says:

      sorry mate but i have to completely disagree with one of your points.
      if the guy really cares about/ respects the girl he is wit he WILL stop talking to his ex's.
      you should want your partner to feel comfortable and important.
      the reason you maintain the relationship with the ex is that you like that attention and it acts as a constant reminder that you can get a girl. you've got a girl now you don't need your life boats. man up!
      communication is key, talk to your partner and come to a mutual understanding of what interactions are an are not acceptable with the opposite sex/ previous partners.

    2. Kate says:

      I agree. Being on cordial terms is very nice. Keeping in touch? No.

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