Some people have an ex-boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife that was very troublesome in their past relationship together. Perhaps they were cheaters. Maybe the were physically, emotionally, and/or psychologically abusive. They may have been neglectful or even possessed a personality disorder. Many exes are exes for a reason: because they have notable problems that led to or at least contributed to the demise of your previous relationship together. However that relationship ended, perhaps you can just give a sigh of relief that that person is no longer in your life. Hopefully now you can just move on and choose better in the next relationship.
On the other hand, letting go and moving on from such relationships can be challenging for many reasons. One factor that often can keep someone tied to their troublesome ex is the temptation to want to warn the new person they are starting to see (or someone who is considering starting to see your ex) about all of the terrible traits and tendencies of the ex. You may tell yourself that warning the new person is just “the right thing to do”. Or you may tell yourself that “I wish someone would have told me about their problems earlier on, so I am going to give someone else the favor I never got”. There are many rationalizations and justifications to warn a new person about the problems with the ex. So, should you?
When Warning Others is a Bad Idea:
In my opinion, after having working with such scenarios in a therapy context over the years, I would usually say no. The ensuing problems generally outweigh the benefits. It is usually not a good idea to warn the new person in the life of your ex about all of their problems and issues. Here is why:
*Most of the time, the new person won’t believe you and it will backfire. They will see you as the jilted ex who is just being vindictive, vengeful, and trying to get back at the other for any number of possible reasons. Plus, there is a good chance the ex will have told their new partner many negative things about their previous relationship with YOU as well. You coming and telling their new partner bad things about your ex often just makes you look bad. Even worse, it may even confirm some of the negative things said about you behind our back.
*Warning the new person about your ex keeps you stuck with and connected to the other person—emotionally and otherwise. It can be hard to forgive, let go of, and move on from a past relationship with you tracking what your ex is doing and then trying to “poison the water hole” by telling new significant others all of their bad qualities. It makes you seem still “hung up” on your ex, which will also be unattractive for any new person you might start dating that finds out about this bad habit.
*They might—gasp—actually be good for/with someone else. Maybe just the combination of the two of you together were bad, but your ex might actually be good together with another person. It could be that with your collection of personality traits and background, maybe you both just brought out the worst in each other before, but others may actually bring out the best.
When Warning Others is a Good Idea:
There is generally only 1 reason to warn someone new about an ex: if they are actually significantly dangerous in some notable way. If they physically abused, sexually assaulted, stole from, or did other heinous acts to you that would be grounds for arrests perhaps, you may wish to contact and warn others. However, this is hardly ever the case. And even when the other person was significantly abusive in notable ways, the reasons for still not warning their new significant others stated previously may still apply. This can be a tough decision based upon whatever the individual circumstances may have been. Still, not disclosing is still usually the best policy, as has already been clarified.
They say that “loose lips sink ships”. Pretty sound advice most of the time across most situations. Hasn’t there already been enough war? When is it time to put down the weapons and go your way? The judgement call to warn others is up to you. Please at least consider the points noted in this little article. Please have a strong filter to NOT disclose things to the new partner before disclosing anything to their new partner. So please pray about it, consult with others, and give this some deep thought on whether to disclose and warn someone or not. Finally, remember that ultimately, people are free to date and marry whomever they want. So if your ex and someone new mutually decide to date and even marry, that is up to them. Agency, after all. Please keep all of these things in mind and remember that “…neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.”—1 Corinthians 11:11.
P.S. If you can questions, comments, or a future article request for me, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the author
Hello, my name is Dr. Randy Gilchrist (aka "Dr. G"). I am a licensed clinical psychologist, a licensed marriage & family therapist, and a certified hypnotherapist in private practice in Roseville, CA (www.dr-rg.com), practicing since 1997. Also, I am happily married in the temple (Manti) since 1996 and have 4 sons. I am a volunteer writer and contributor to LDS Dimension. I use my training, education, and experience to share insights with LDS Dimension on all things of interest to the LDS dating community. Please read my articles and columns on this site to assist you in your online dating journey. Also, to be considered for an answer in a future Q and A column, please email me your dating/relationship oriented questions to email@example.com. Finally, I also offer a powerful, effective worldwide custom hypnosis recording service just for LDS Dimension members for weight loss, pornography, and many other issues of concern to those in the LDS dating community (please learn more now at www.dr-rg.com/lds; email me questions to firstname.lastname@example.org).