Finding out that your boyfriend has been lying about texting his ex sets grounds for getting worried, trust issues, and suspicion.
Amidst the high-intensity feelings your logical sense feels clouded, and making a decision regarding this situation can feel overwhelming or even irrational.
Keeping contact with an ex tends to be a controversial topic. If texting his ex isn’t wrong, then lying about it definitely is!
Here are 6 things to do when your partner lies about his contact with his ex:
1. Communicate with him regarding what he did and why he lied about it.
According to a 2013 study on conflict management, the first step to solving an existing conflict is to decide whether to address it.
You should be able to openly talk with your partner about stuff that bothers you.
Clear communication helps you establish a firmer bond and clear up any uncertainties regarding your partner or relationship with them.
Texting an ex—especially while in a relationship—is something a bit outlandish, so you deserve an explanation.
It’s okay to want to hold your partner accountable for the wrong things they do.
Lying lies in the disrespectful spectrum regardless of the motive—the only exception can be white lies.
Be clear and straightforward that you know he’s texting his ex and lying. Here’s how you can address this issue with him:
- “Our relationship is built on trust, and I want us to be able to talk about things that bother us. You told me you’re not texting [his ex’s name] yet you are and I want to talk about that.”
- “People remaining close with their exes is one thing, but lying about it is confusing to me. Is there any reason why you lied about not talking to [your ex’s name]?”
- “As much as I trust you, lying about not texting [your ex’s name] is definitely making me uncomfortable. It crosses my boundaries.”
- “Texting your ex is something I still don’t know how I feel about, and even worse lying about it. Despite that, I’m willing to hear what you have to say about it.”
- “I love and care about you, however, lying about talking to your ex is too much. I would appreciate it if you told me why you felt the need to do that.”
Give focus to the fact that he lied, why he did it, and how it affected you.
Tell him how he has made you feel, and give him the opportunity and space to explain by keeping your cool and rationality.
2. You deserve to know the reason he lied about texting his ex. Ask him.
Before you make any assumptions and decisions, first figure out the reason he has for texting his ex and lying to you.
This will help put at ease some of the worries you might have regarding his faithfulness.
Are your partner and his ex co-parents, colleagues, friends, or part of the same friend group?
If so, keeping contact with an ex is normal. However, it’s the secrecy that makes room for doubts and suspicion.
So, ask him:
- “I understand that you’re conditioned to keep in touch with your ex. However, I’m concerned as to why you hid it from me. Would you mind explaining to me the reasons?”
- “I’m open to hearing and understanding the reasons why you hid the fact that you’ve been texting your ex.”
- “I feel like I could be missing a point here. Hence, I’m open to hearing your views and concerns regarding this situation.”
3. Observe his reactions closely when you bring the topic up.
Is he telling you the truth, or lying even more?
Finding out a hurtful truth about your partner—especially the fact that they’ve been lying about it—can feel very unsettling.
There’s the fear of being lied to again yet there’s also the desire to find a good enough excuse to justify his wrongful behavior.
This is why you’ve got to observe his reaction and response when you address the fact that he lied about texting his ex.
Based on his response, you can tell a lot in terms of what’s going on: whether you should be worried and whether he’s suspicious.
Here are some of the green flags he can showcase in a situation like this:
- He is open and willing to hear you out;
- He addresses the issue;
- He gives you a proper explanation as to why he felt the need to lie;
- He talks about the situation calmly;
- He comforts you and reassures you that there’s nothing going on;
- He offers a solution.
If he behaves similarly, then chances are that there’s nothing fishy going on between him and his ex. He might have genuine reasons for not being honest.
He could be lying to you again if he:
- gets angry;
- tries to dismiss your feelings;
- attempts to change the subject;
- gets very defensive;
- tries to put the blame on you;
- tries to manipulate you into feeling bad for bringing things up;
- refuses to talk about the subject at all.
4. Ask yourself: “Am I the reason he felt the need to lie or is there something else?”
Take a moment to think whether you’re an understanding and rational person during similar situations or not.
I’m not saying that he’s not at fault, because no matter what, he should’ve told you the truth.
However, I want you to think about possible characteristics you have that might make it hard for your partner to open up.
Dr. Alison Block explains in HPC that people in relationships lie for reasons like avoiding conflict, not hurting their partner’s feelings, etc.
He might’ve seen lying as the only option if you tend to be the person to:
- react harshly when an ex is brought up;
- show that you’re overly jealous;
- not justify any circumstance of keeping in touch with an ex.
If the contact with his ex is conditioned due to co-parenting, jobs, similar friend groups, and the like, then your partner may have had a genuine reason.
He knows your reaction to it, and he’d know the small importance of the act, hence hiding it may have been seen as the reasonable thing to do.
He knows that you won’t be able to handle the fact that their contact is mandatory, so he decided to conceal the truth instead.
5. Come up with a solution by taking everything he’s said and done into consideration.
Take everything he has said and decided at face value.
Whether you’re happy or not with his explanation and decision, there’s not much you can do about it aside from coming up with a solution.
There are 3 possible ways this could’ve played out:
- He’s decided to stop talking to his ex because it’s not worth risking your relationship.
In this case, you can try showing your appreciation for him regarding his decision and encouraging him to open up to you in the future.
- He has a good reason for keeping contact, a plausible explanation for his lie, and is set on proving that there’s nothing going on between him and his ex.
Here you can reflect on your behavior, keep an open mind to the situation, set boundaries, and get to know your partner’s connection with his ex a bit more.
- He has absolutely no reason to text his ex, tried giving you a horrible explanation, lied some more, and doesn’t stop their contact.
If this turns out to be the case, then you have to consider the entire relationship and your partner’s intentions.
Think of your boundaries, self-respect, and the values you look for in a partner and relationship.
6. Know when enough is enough and when to let go.
Let’s face it: most people feel uncomfortable knowing their partner is talking to an ex.
And I honestly don’t blame you if you’re part of that large group.
If you’re uncomfortable with your boyfriend talking to his ex, and he’s well aware of it but doesn’t attempt to correct his behavior, then it’s best to let go.
Here’s when you should consider letting go of the relationship to choose a better path for yourself and your well-being:
- He continues texting his ex for no genuine reason;
- He doesn’t consider your feelings regarding his connection with his ex;
- He doesn’t seem to show any regret or guilt about what he’s done;
- He keeps saying that he’ll cut contact but he never really does;
Everything that oversteps your boundaries intentionally should be a cue for you to get out of that relationship.
You’ve given him the time and opportunity to think over and over again, but he’s not doing anything about it.
You don’t force him to do something because you’re hoping he chooses you over his ex, but if he doesn’t, then maybe it’s time to break up with him.
Whatever his reasons may be if you can’t bring yourself to accept the fact that he’s close to his ex, prioritize your feelings and peace, and let him go.
Why do guys keep in touch with their exes in the first place?
A study done on people who keep in touch with their past partners shows that 40% of the people who are in relationships still keep in contact with their exes.
That’s quite a lot, for such a socially unacceptable thing to do.
But why do so many people still talk to their exes, your partner included?
Well, here are some of the possible reasons why he’s still texting his ex:
– Because of feelings that never went away.
One of the most common reasons people keep in touch with their exes is because of their remaining feelings for one another.
When people break up, it doesn’t necessarily mean that all the feelings they had go away automatically.
Maybe their reason for breaking up wasn’t even a lack of love.
They would have realized that breaking up was a mistake and they can’t let go of them no matter what.
People who are still in love with an ex will continue texting them as a way to not lose contact.
– An external factor conditions their connection (e.g. a child).
Some people are bound together by responsibilities and circumstances, meaning that even if they wanted to, they can’t stop contact.
This is especially true for people who co-parent together, people who work together, and people who belong to the same, tight friend group.
By not having any kind of contact, they’ll do more harm than good to each other and the people important to them. Hence keeping contact is necessary.
– They have decided to remain friends.
Contrary to popular belief, it’s possible!
Two people can break up because they think they’re better off being friends: they were never able to develop deeper feelings for each other.
In such cases, they notice themselves eventually falling out of love but not wanting to lose their best friend.
Although not romantic love, some people platonically love their exes and still think that they’re fun and reliable.
They enjoy each other’s presence and value it because of the time they’ve spent together.
– He wants to have a “backup” for his current relationship.
People love having a plan B, and when they’re unsure of a relationship, they don’t like losing their other “options”, in other words, they’re players.
Another reason that guys have for texting an ex is that they’re in their “comfort zone”, a person they know and are comfortable with.
So instead of doing the decent thing and deciding to spend some time alone and not be in a relationship until they’re ready and serious, they talk to other people.
– His ex attempts to contact him, and he doesn’t think much of it.
It’s also possible that an ex can’t let him go, and he doesn’t think much of it.
This usually happens with men due to the fact that they tend to be clueless in reading the room.
Probably an ex can’t let go of him, they keep texting and texting, and he feels bad for not replying to someone he used to be with—not even thinking of the fact that it’s a bit unusual to keep talking to your ex.
Why is he lying to you about it though?
Lying is wrong. It can cross boundaries, and it can ruin relationships. Especially in this case.
Some of the reasons he could be lying to you about texting his ex are reasonable and some aren’t:
- He is being unfaithful—in different ways—and is trying to hide his infidelity;
- He’s not putting much thought into his actions;
- He wants to keep his ex around because he can’t let go of the love they had;
- He’s trying to win his ex back;
- He has a non-romantic connection with his ex but can’t bring himself to tell you because he knows he will be perceived negatively and that might hurt you.
If you’re feeling split between decisions, you can always reach out to an expert at any time!
Is it ok to ask your partner to stop talking to his ex?
It’s not okay to force someone to do something they don’t want to.
Think about it this way:
What good will it do to demand him to stop all contact with his ex, if, at the end of the day, he still wants to talk to her?
You should leave it up to his better judgment, and if his better judgment is telling him to continue, then what’s the point in being with him?
Presenting him with an ultimatum will make you look controlling.
You set your boundaries and communicate them to him.
If he’s very well aware that he’s stepping a boundary while he’s doing it, then the decision is up to you.
Don’t tell him what to do. Instead, tell him what you’d do, if he does something in particular.
It’s okay to let him know you feel uncomfortable with him texting his ex. However, it’s not okay to ask him to stop texting his ex.
On the other hand, you have every single right to leave the relationship the moment you feel your rights, respect, and boundaries have been violated.