Too Soon? When It's Acceptable To Talk About Your Ex In Today's Dating World

You eventually get to an age where almost everyone you date has an ex — or two. Having ex-partners can be considered a good thing. It means you're not new to relationships, you've taken a risk (and it's always a risk to fall in love), and you've probably learned a lesson or two along the way. We are, at the end of the day, every person we meet, everyone we loved, and every experience we've had, or as Maya Angelou so eloquently put it, "You are the sum total of everything you've ever seen, heard, eaten, smelled, been told, forgot — it's all there. Everything influences each of us." In other words, everything we bring to a new relationship is all of our experiences that made us who we are — exes included.


But having an ex and talking about said ex are two different things. Even if the relationship ended amicably and you only have good things to say about them, it doesn't mean you should roll into a first date prepared to tell stories about that ex. Like a lot of things in life, there's a time and place, and a first date is not where one should be spilling the details of former lovers.

So that begs the question: When should you talk about your ex? It's not as though you can ignore the topic forever and if things are getting serious, there's a good chance your partner will want to know at least something about them, just as much as you might want to know about their ex. 

When is it okay to talk about an ex?

Not. The. First. Date. It doesn't matter if you're back in the dating world after a long hiatus due to a devastating breakup, you don't want to bring your ex into the first date. No matter how you angle the topic, it's not a good look.


It can be hard for people to want to date someone who drops the ex-partner subject on the first date, because it can look like they're not ready to move forward. No one wants to waste their time on someone who isn't mentally and emotionally moving toward the next chapter of their life.

That being said, should your date ask about your ex, then it's better to give a bit of information than to try to dodge the subject altogether. Telling your date when your last relationship ended and how long it lasted are details that aren't likely to be emotional, so you can navigate your way out of the topic without going on a rant.

More than anything, you want the ex matter to come up naturally. When it does, then you can decide how much you're comfortable sharing and how much you'd like to hang onto for further along the road of getting to know someone.


How should you talk about your ex?

It goes without saying that discussing an ex is tricky territory. Whether you're the one who's doing the talking or you're listening to your date regale about their former love, it can be awkward and even lead to judgment. Why did their ex break up with them? How did their relationship end so badly? The best way to avoid judgment from both sides is by keeping things neutral.


"As tempting as it may be to lay out all of the terrible traits of your ex, this is a tactic that can backfire," relationship coach Brenda Della Casa tells Elite Daily. "Let's be real; no one wants to be out with a bitter or angry person. It's boring and draining. The more negative stories you share, the more opportunity you give the other party to question your role in the breakup."

Not only should you avoid the negative stuff, but endlessly singing your ex's praises and putting them on a pedestal isn't a good idea. It can look like you're still hung up on them and no one new wants to feel like they're in competition with your ghosts.

Although your ex was a part of your life, what you choose to share and when is ultimately up to you. You're not under any obligation to give up information you don't want to, nor must you share what you choose to at any specific time. Some people are most comfortable spilling everything as soon as possible, while others just aren't, and that's something that should be respected. You'll know the right moment for you when you feel it.