5 Tips for Contacting Your Ex Without Ruining Your Current Relationship

Singer Adam Levine recently let it leak that his pre-wedding prep includes doing something that may make fiancee Behati Prinsloo raise an eyebrow. People's "sexiest man alive" has reportedly contacted all of the many ex-girlfriends he has hurt so that he can apologize to them.

You may think this is a sweet gesture or even a sign of maturity and emotional growth on Levine's part.

Or maybe you think he's out of his mind. That he's selfishly attempting to redeem himself when he could have just been a decent guy from the start.

Whatever your opinion is of the Maroon 5 frontman, the reality is that ordinary folks in extraordinary relationships sometimes feel the desire to get in touch with exes -- to make amends and even include them in their lives. But is it a good idea?

We spoke with relationship expert and couple's coach Christina Berdebes about the dos and don'ts of reconnecting with a past love -- as well as times when you'd be crazy to try it in the first place.

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Berdebes actually commends Levine and others who contact their exes in an effort to both give and get closure. She says it makes no difference whether they're accepting of the apology or not (which, we hear, is good news for Levine!).

"If you do not handle the relationship from the past with closure, then most likely your self-esteem decreases," she told us. "You may build resentment toward yourself or bring old wounds to your new relationship."

Berdebes says she has worked with many people who contact exes to apologize once they're about to get married or in another stable relationship. The majority of the time, the response from the receiving end is shock at first -- who wouldn't be surprised or even horrified to hear their ex's voice on the phone? But the end result, she said, is usually positive.

Of course, this all depends on how your new partner feels about the whole thing. If your husband or boyfriend doesn't feel safe or secure with you chatting with a former boyfriend, she cautions, do NOT go full steam ahead.

So, still thinking of reconnecting with an old flame? Here are 5 tips for contacting your ex without hurting your current relationship:

1. Examine your motives for wanting to connect with an ex. What has occurred recently in your relationship that has you seeking out a past boyfriend? Did he piss you off? Are you not being heard? Did he contact his ex? Are you still in love with your ex? Or are you simply really happy and over the past and want the closure you never got? You need to dig deep, write it all down on a piece of paper, and reflect BEFORE making that call.

2. What are you hoping will happen? Everybody has needs. But what gratification are you looking for here? Maybe you want to hear his voice, or get revenge, or even gloat about your current great relationship. Try to understand what it is that you want to achieve by contacting an ex.

3. Ask yourself how important is it that you get in touch with your ex. On a scale of 1 to 10, how strong is your "need" to do it? Write down your number and reflect. If you are at an 8 or higher, talk to your partner about what you're thinking. And speaking of, that brings us to #4, which is ...

4. Talk to your partner! There's no way to avoid that step unless you really are looking to kill your current relationship. When you talk to your significant other, you are showing you respect him and want his input. You're also saying, You are important to me and I want to keep trust in our relationship.

5. Don't expect things between you and your partner not to change in some way. Telling your husband, fiance, or boyfriend that you want to reconnect with an old flame isn't going to be easy. Don't expect that he will be open and supportive. And even if he is, understand that your relationship will be shaken up, so give him some space to process your reasons for wanting to involve your ex in your life.

Have you ever gotten back in touch with an ex? How would you feel if your husband or boyfriend wanted to do it?

 

Image via Hill Street Studios/Blend Images/Corbis

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