Got a problem ex?

For many of you, dating someone new can be a very exciting and easy ride. Your new love interest can be fun and carefree with no major complications. On the other hand, your new partner may come with some baggage attached in the form of a problem ex. When you’re faced with this tricky situation, when is it ok to put up boundaries with their ex?

There’s generally no issue with your partner having contact with their ex as long as there are no lingering romantic feelings between them. The ex must also want to encourage the new relationship, be open to meeting and spending time with the both of you, and be happy for the relationship to take priority. In this case, they’re simply an old friend that is happy for you both – so contact should continue. There’s no threat there.

On the other hand, you’re not over-reacting and you need to limit contact with the ex if you see the following 10 problem signs:

1) the ex still has romantic feelings for your partner

2) the ex only wants to see them without you

3) the ex doesn’t like you

4) the ex wants to break up the new relationship

5) the ex expects to get priority over the new relationship

6) the ex flirts with them in front of you

7) the ex keeps secrets with them

8) the ex poison’s friends against you

9) the ex turns their family members against you

10) the ex continues to use pet names with them

In this case, there’s a major problem with your partner having continued contact with them. It’s destructive and it will break you up, because the ex has no interest in celebrating you or your new relationship. They don’t have your best interests at heart. They want you to fail.

So if you’re faced with this awkward situation you must act. The only solution is to talk to your new partner and come to an agreement about putting in place new boundaries around contact with the ex. If they get on board with you, the ex will eventually let go and move on. However if they refuse to do this, then you’re not going to last, because the ex will always get in the way of your happiness.

John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship psychologist, as seen on the hit show Married At First Sight, and on Ch 9’s Today show, Today Extra and A Current Affair. He is a best selling author, regularly appears on radio and in magazines, runs a private practice in Sydney, and is a sought after speaker. (

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