In today’s video, I’m going to discuss the very tricky issue of what to do when your partner is keeping in touch with their ex.

What are the right things to do when your boyfriend still talks to his ex?

Today we’re answering an email from a viewer named Soren. Soren writes

I’ve seen a few questions about being worried that a boyfriend is talking to their ex. But what do I do when my boyfriend actually does still talk to his and she’s in brackets of toxic ex.

She messages him on social media and approaches him on nights out? I feel like that messaging makes my retroactive jealousy recovery 10 times harder. I’ve expressed that I don’t like it, and then it makes me uncomfortable.

Boyfriend Still Talks To His Ex

The first thing that is perhaps worthy of a conversation with your boyfriend, is why is he talking with his ex? You mentioned that his ex is toxic, in your words. So, why are they messaging each other?

What should you do when your boyfriend still talks to his ex??

Anytime you’re worried about a partner keeping in touch with their ex, this should be the first question that you ask yourself. And, possibly the first question you ask your partner if it becomes an issue in your relationship.,

So there’s a lot of different views on keeping in touch with your ex. Some people think that when you’re in a new relationship, you should completely break contact and never message your ex again. Whereas other people, remain good friends with their ex for years, and sometimes decades after their relationship. And it’s totally harmless.

It’s just a genuine platonic friendship. Other people keep in touch with their exes for more nefarious purposes. Sometimes, they want that ego boost or that sense of still having options. Keeping options here and there as a kind of salv for their ego. Which is kind of a dodgy thing to do.

If you’re in a monogamous relationship, other people might keep in touch with their ex out of a sense of guilt or obligation. Particularly if their ex has some kind of mental issues or emotional issues, something like that.

They may have nurtured a sense of dependence on your partner. And, there might be some mutual sort of support, encouragement, or a sense of obligation there.

Now, it’s up to you to decide what is appropriate and what is not. I think t’s worthy of a conversation before you go leaping to conclusions about why they’re keeping in touch.

Boyfriend Still Talks To His Ex

Unfortunately, there’s no real easy answer to this. And there’s so many different scenarios. There could be 1,000,001 different reasons why your partner is keeping in touch with his ex. And in my view, any conversation with him needs to start there with this question of why.

Frankly, if you’re with someone who is keeping their ex in their life, as a kind of ego boost wanting to keep their options open, that’s probably a pretty good indication that you and your partner don’t share the same values.

And maybe you’d be better served in a different relationship.

If you express to your partner that you don’t love the idea of them keeping in touch with their ex, and your boyfriend is not listening to you and kind of disregarding it, then again, that sends a pretty clear message to me that perhaps you’re lower on his list of priorities than you ought to be.

However, depending on how intimate or significant your boyfriend’s relationship with his ex was, again, sometimes people feel a sense of obligation to keep in touch with their ex, because their ex is having problems.

So I’m not saying it’s right or wrong. It’s really not for me to judge. But I have to come back to this idea that I think any conversation on this topic needs to begin with the question why.

It’s up to you to talk to your partner to sort of figure that out, and maybe establish some really clear boundaries that are perhaps lacking right now.

Zachary Stockill
Zachary Stockill

Hi! I'm a Canadian author and educator whose work has been featured in BBC News, BBC Radio 4, The Huffington Post, and many other publications. I'm the founder of, the author of Overcoming Retroactive Jealousy and The Overcoming Jealousy Workbook, and the host of Humans in Love podcast.