Should You Allow Your Partner to Maintain a Friendship With His or Her Ex?

Should anyone allow their partner to maintain a friendship with his or her ex? Wouldn’t that be relationship suicide? You’re just asking for trouble if you tolerate that sort of nonsense, right?

These are questions I encounter regularly when working with my clients. You, too, are familiar with them from your own experiences and those of your family, friends, and acquaintances. But perhaps these are the wrong questions to be asking.

Here is a different question: In what way is a romantic relationship similar to boarding a plane and taking a trip to a another country?

Think about it. If you are planning a trip overseas, certain things have to be in place, such as ticket and passport. You will likely be dragging along some baggage, whether it is just carry-on or mountains of luggage. You will probably have a general or specific destination in mind and at least a few expectations. Can you see any similarities yet?

Some people travel lightly and spontaneously, open to any adventure and misadventure that presents itself along the way. They may get lost or miss connections. Yet in so doing, they may discover fun little details typically overlooked by most travelers, have unusual and interesting experiences, and strengthen their sense of self-efficacy by figuring out how to fix their mistakes in a country where they might not even speak the language.

Others plan each day in 15-minute increments-weeks in advance! By doing this, they are exercising as much control over the trip as possible. Each adventure is orchestrated as carefully as they can manage it, making sure they hit all the high points that are important to them. They leave very little room for misfortune. Obviously, even the most carefully laid plans can run amok, but they have the local US Embassy on speed dial, just in case.

Can you see how people take these approaches to their romantic relationships, too? Regardless of whether yours is a happy-go-lucky style or a tightly controlled style, however, travel and romance are fraught with peril. Risk. Discomfort and inconvenience. If you hold too tightly to your schedule when travelling, for instance, you risk missing out on some phenomenal experiences you did not even know existed. When you hold too tightly to your partner, you risk driving him or her away and missing out on what might have been a phenomenal relationship.

Is there a chance your partner could return to his or her ex? Certainly, no matter how much you try to control the situation. But for now, your partner is with you, so find a way to make sure he or she has the trip of a lifetime while in this romance with you. Be unforgettable, fun, adventurous. Take that risk and be that risk! (Besides, whose story is more interesting in the long run?)

Dr. Loral Lee Portenier, transformational psychologist and coach, works with women who are tired, hurting, or confused to help them reclaim their power, renew their passion, and revive their purpose for living. She teaches people how to turn life transitions into transformations instead of disasters as they learn how to live their dreams. Discover more about how she can help you at

Request your complimentary Discovery Session now! [email protected].

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