My girlfriend is talking to her ex behind my back (11 reasons why)

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I feel really lucky to have an amazing and attractive girlfriend.

But I also feel like I swallowed a pail of nails because I have a giant problem.

I know I’m far from the first guy who’s had this problem but it’s keeping me up at night. It’s also making me space out daily as I stress over what to do next.

The problem?

My girlfriend is talking to her ex behind my back.

I’ve watched every episode of Dr. Phil and read enough articles to sink a ship, and in the end, what I’ve come up with has helped me understand a lot more about what’s going on.

I’ve put together this list of 11 reasons my girlfriend is talking to her ex behind my back.

They’re not all my fault by any means, but they’re also things I’m going to have to deal with and bring up with my girlfriend if I want to salvage this relationship.

If you’re having the same problem then I hope these reasons shed some light on the situation for you as well.

11 reasons my girlfriend is talking to her ex behind my back

Before I get into the reasons, I just want to let you know that you’re not alone.

Also: there’s nothing wrong with you.

I know you’re probably angry and want answers, but you’re also worried that if you go about this the wrong way in confronting your girlfriend, you could blow the whole relationship up.

Let’s be honest: you’re probably wondering if you should just dynamite the whole relationship.

And maybe you should.

But before you do, take just a few minutes of your time and read these 11 reasons.

In my own case, I’ve ended several relationships because of this exact reason. I wanted to find an innocent explanation, but instead what I found out was bad. It was a dealbreaker both times.

In one of the relationships, my girlfriend of two years left her cell out on the table when she went to the bathroom and it started getting pinged with enough heart-eye emojis from her ex to make my jaw hit the floor.

The other time — which was more recent — the crisis built up slowly as my girl of six months talked more and more about her ex and seemed to be trying to play me off against him or compare me.

I didn’t like it but I tried to ignore it until one day at the gym, I saw her literally draping an arm on his shoulder and laughing at his jokes like she was deeply in love.

That was the end of that.

I’m really hoping that I won’t have to end my current relationship, but it’s very much a possibility at this point and it looks like deja vu all over again.

My girlfriend is talking to her ex behind my back and now I finally know why.

1) She’s not over him

This is first on the list because frankly, it’s the most common.

When I found out my girlfriend is talking to her ex behind my back I immediately thought of this: she’s not over him.

I jumped to that conclusion because it happened in my past relationship. I was dating a girl that I’d completely fallen for, but she simply was not over her ex.

And it burned our relationship to the ground.

If she’s talking to her ex behind your back then you need to take it seriously. I’m not saying to become a jealous control freak, but I am saying to realize that you’re walking on thin ice.

Especially if she had a long and intense relationship with her ex then he has the power to attract her back to him and sabotage what you have with this girl.

If she’s not over him then your relationship is in the danger zone, big time.

2) She thinks more highly of her ex than you

Even if she’s not still in love with her ex, I can guarantee you there is some reason she is talking to him behind your back.

Do not gaslight yourself into believing it’s “just to be nice” (although there is one exception which I’ll get to below).

It’s normal and healthy in a relationship that you each encourage each other to become better and improve.

But if she cuts you down quite a lot and makes you feel not good enough then her decision to give her time and energy to her ex says a lot.

Specifically, it says that she may think more highly of him than she does of you.

Even if she’s not wanting to get back with him, she’d rather chat with him than you, and that spells major trouble ahead unless you can get back on track and solve the issues that are plaguing your relationship.

3) Want advice specific to your situation?

While this article explores the main reasons your girlfriend is talking to her ex behind your back, it can be helpful to speak to a relationship coach about your situation.

With a professional relationship coach, you can get advice specific to your life and your experiences…

Relationship Hero is a site where highly trained relationship coaches help people through complicated and difficult love situations, like dealing with a partner who talks to her ex behind your back. They’re a very popular resource for people facing this sort of challenge.

How do I know?

Well, I reached out to them a few months ago when I was going through a tough patch in my own relationship. After being lost in my thoughts for so long, they gave me a unique insight into the dynamics of my relationship and how to get it back on track.

I was blown away by how kind, empathetic, and genuinely helpful my coach was.

In just a few minutes, you can connect with a certified relationship coach and get tailor-made advice for your situation.

Click here to get started.

4) You’re her backup guy

Nobody wants to be the fallback guy, but it happens.

And if she’s talking to her ex behind your back then there’s a pretty high chance you’re her fallback guy.

Even if you’re committed, she’s engaging in something called hypergamy, which means trading up on guys to find the highest status male.

The reality is that for one reason or another she sees her ex as high value and you’re just a guy who’s currently a placeholder until she finds someone better.

That may be her ex, or it may not. But rest assured that if she’s talking to him you’re the fallback guy and she’s exploring other options.

Especially if you’re in the early stages of your relationship, you need to proceed very carefully here.

Listen to Digital Content Creator for RedEye Shelbie Bostedt on this one:

“If you know she isn’t emotionally prepared to enter into a new relationship, you shouldn’t be putting any pressure on her to enter into one with you, no matter how much you might like her. That’s the fastest way to make sure she isn’t interested in you.”

5) He wants her back

Your girl may be on the fence but there’s a solid chance that her ex wants her back and is making his move with texts, calls, and social media interaction.

Even if she’s not the one initiating it, this needs to be nipped in the bud before your woman is packing her bags and heading for the door.

If she spent time with this guy then he knows her pretty well and has tips and tricks for how to get her emotions on the hook and get her back on the romance merry-go-round.

I’m not going to lie, you’re in a tough position here.

If you forbid her to talk to him you’re the insecure jealous boyfriend, but if you ignore it then next thing you know her ex has her back in his arms.

6) Your relationship is on the rocks

If your girlfriend is talking to her ex behind your back then your relationship probably isn’t about to be featured on the Hallmark Channel.

Just a guess.

Whatever issues you’re having, you should try to deal with them as soon as possible.

Let’s be fair here:

The problems may be almost all on her side;

Or they may be mostly on your side;

Or it could be a toxic mix where you both play a 50/50 role.

Either way, consider seeing a relationship therapist if things are very bad and try to communicate as openly as possible about the issues you’re facing one-on-one.

This is a good way to start improving things without directly bringing up her secret chats (yet).

7) She’s getting ready to cheat (or already has)

This is the worst-case scenario and I know that nobody reading this wants it to be true.

But you need to face the possibility that your girl has already cheated or is about to do so.

Bad, disgusting, awful:

But entirely possible.

So how do you know without straight-up accusing her?

There’s no way to know for sure without finding evidence or her admitting it. But one of the biggest signs is that she never has time for you.

Relationship expert Sam Whittaker says:

“The problem may not show up in a busy schedule or unexplained nights out, she may just make it clear she wishes she were somewhere else.”

Adding that:

“When she’s with you, these days, she may constantly seem distracted. Even if she’s technically sitting beside you, her mind is somewhere else…or, with someone else.”

8) She’s testing the waters

This is a related scenario. Your girlfriend may not have cheated and may not even (consciously) be thinking about cheating, but she’s “testing the waters.”

You know when you’re going swimming and you dip a toe in to check how the water feels?

She’s doing that, but with her ex.

The jury’s still out on whether she really wants to get back with him, but some part of her misses the guy and she wants to see how it feels to talk to him again.

But she doesn’t want you to know that she’s back in that headspace, so she keeps it clandestine.

9) She wants to play you off against her ex

I was writing earlier about my more recent ex-girlfriend who started trying to play me off against her ex-boyfriend.

It was humiliating, lame and 100% bullshit. But at the time, I did have feelings for this girl and I scratched my brain for how to respond to her in a way that wouldn’t just start a huge fight and crash our whole relationship.

I hated every minute of her catty remarks, sarcastic expressions, and stupid competitive insinuations.

She was basically telling me that if I wanted to keep her I should “rise to the challenge” and somehow prove I was worth her time and love. Then she intentionally showered her ex with attention until our confrontation in the gym.

She tried to hide her renewed talks with her ex from me at first but I don’t think she tried very hard. And her toxic mind game didn’t work because I left.

Plus, now that I’m out of that relationship I can see just how sick her strategy was, and I’m glad I bailed.

Never negotiate with a relationship terrorist!

10) She’s stopping a disaster

Here are the two exceptions I talked about.

One is that your girlfriend is stopping a disaster and trying to defuse her boyfriend because he’s ready to blow.

He may be an unstable and toxic individual who is telling her horrible things and making her feel that she has to solve his problems.

Especially if they had a codependent relationship in which he was the “victim,” and she was the “savior,” then he may be putting a burden on her to fix his life and save him.

And she’s falling back into that role, but keeping it from you because she doesn’t want you to get the wrong idea and she doesn’t want you to know how twisted and toxic her last relationship was (in case it makes you think less of her).

11) She really is “just friends” with him

This is the best possible outcome and is the other exception. It’s possible your girlfriend really has friendzoned her ex and sees him purely as a friend.

She is talking to him because they shared a special time together and she’s either unable or unwilling to fully cut him from her life.


But the question remains why she would keep that from you.

And the only good answer I have on this is that some form of emotional intimacy, conversation, or connection is lacking from your relationship.

It’s not that she’s about to cheat or still has feelings for her ex.

It’s just that she’s still enjoying talking to him and doesn’t really want you to know — probably because it will make you feel inadequate and highlight some communication gaps she senses in your relationship.

My girlfriend is talking to her ex behind my back so what should I do?

At this point, you have a better idea about what could be going on.  In my situation, I’m still asking myself what to do.

My girlfriend is talking to her ex behind my back so what should I do?

I noticed him peppering her with compliments on her Instagram for a few weeks and then — unfortunately — overheard her having a Skype call that was definitely with him and looked like it might not have been rated PG.

I’d like to think I’m not a jealous guy but I’d like to keep the “free love” stuff to the ‘60s if possible.

I’m not looking for a threesome or an open relationship and I’m not cool with her talking to her ex behind my back, especially if it’s getting sexual.

At the same time, I’m in love with this girl and I don’t feel ready to dump her.

Right now I’m working on improving my own inner stability and finding inner peace, and considering what to do next.

I’m resolving my own boundaries and working out a way to express them to my girlfriend clearly and in a way that won’t be extremely accusatory.

Next steps

None of us are perfect and I don’t want my relationship with her to crash in a flaming wreck.

But I also know that I’m not willing to go on with her still being into her ex and not being open with me about what she feels is missing from our relationship.

I’ve tried to ask but she won’t open up…

And at this point, if she feels her ex is the one she’d rather open up to then our time — sadly — may have come to an end.

At this point, I’m going to withdraw my attention and focus on myself.

As DevelopAttraction advises:

“Being a challenge to your girlfriend is an important part of seduction and must feature many times in your relationship. You can’t think that once you have ‘got the girl’ within week one of dating that from then on all will run smoothly.”

If she doesn’t come after me and feel like there’s still something to salvage in our relationship after the next month or so then unfortunately it will be time to say goodbye.


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Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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