How Do I Tell My New Girl I’m Friends with My Ex?

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Q: I’m friends with my ex. How and when do I bring that up to my new girl?

A: While it’s noble to try and remain on good terms with an ex, let’s address the elephant in the room in regards to an actual friendship:Why are you friends with your ex? Don’t get me wrong. I’m sure she’s a lovely woman with many fantastic qualities. I mean, you dated her for some time, right? Here’s my problem, though: there needs to be at least a couple of good, healthy reasons for maintaining a friendship with an ex, like you have the same group of friends or cross paths at work.

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So, with that in mind, ask yourself: Are you over your ex? Romantic feelings are sticky, and they blur the lines between what you once were and what you want to be now—and what you should want to be now is strictly platonic. But to get to “strictly platonic,” you both need space. So if there is no reason to stay in contact, you have to cut ties completely—for at least six months. It’s the best way to heal your breakup wounds. Any mingling you decide to do during this interval is going to thwart your efforts to move on and enter a truly happy new relationship, because you may backslide into the broken one. Stop the bleed.

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That said, if you are sure you have a healthy friendship with your ex—and it’s been well over the six-month grace period—it can still be an awkward subject to broach with your new girlfriend. So when do you bring it up? At the beginning of dating, there are very few reasons you should need to bring up your ex. “You want to address this issue only when you are at the serious stages of your relationship. This is not important enough to mention in the first month of dating,” says dating expert Whitney Casey. The exception is if you are taking her to a place you know your ex is likely to be, like a mutual friend’s party or wedding. Other than that, stay mum.

Find out more on how to bring up the ex to your new girl from Men’s Fitness.