Signs Your S.O.'s Toxic Ex Is Hurting Your Relationship

It's not easy to admit, but sometimes, a toxic ex's behavior can be harmful to even the best of relationships.

A bad relationship from the past can have a continuing influence on your significant other, whether this person is still trying to be in your S.O.'s life, or their past behavior is having a lingering effect on how your partner views themself and their relationships. But how can we recognize the signs, and what can we do to move forward and build a healthy future together? We turned to Callisto Adams, certified dating and relationship expert and author of HeTexted, for her insights.

Sweety High: What exactly is a toxic person?

Callisto Adams: A toxic person is an individual whose influence around others causes damage, hurt, and trouble in the emotional, physical and/or financial aspects of their lives.

Woman confronting man bored in hoodie: Shutterstock. Mother and teenage boy having an argument.

(via Shutterstock)


Also read about: How to Spot Toxic Ex Behavior


SH: What are some telltale signs that your significant other's toxic ex is actively meddling with your relationship?

CA: A toxic ex-partner can affect current relationships directly or indirectly.

Some common signs that your significant other's toxic ex is meddling with your relationship in an active manner are

  • They've become a cause of fights and disagreements
  • You notice a sense of draining and a sense of staggering negative emotions whenever you make contact with the ex or talk about them with your partner
  • Your partner's ex was overly jealous, controlling and manipulative. That can reflect on your partner's behavior with you and the way they carry themselves within and outside the relationship


SH: How can you and your partner work together to set strong boundaries when dealing with this person? What are some steps that can be taken to move forward?

CA: Unless there are children involved, one of the best ways to work this out is no contact at all with the ex-partner, especially if they're persistent in what they're doing.

On the other hand, you can stay by your partner's side letting them know you're there for them. This way you allow your partner to feel safe to do the same thing for you. Giving your relationship a sense of partnership and togetherness.

Woman comforting man couple: Shutterstock. Attractive wife comforting husband embrace and showing support. Woman upset man, expressing sympathy and understanding, say sorry, family sitting on comfortable sofa at home.

(via Shutterstock)


Also read about: 5 Signs You Might Actually Be the Toxic Friend


SH: What are some signs that your S.O.'s ex's past behavior is still affecting them, even if they no longer are in contact?

CA: They get surprised by particular kind behaviors towards them, or particular "normal" behavior and treatment towards them.

For example, they went out and the next time they see you they expect you to require details and "proof" of what they did, or to have a moody stance when you meet them after that day or night out.

They get surprised when you don't depict characteristics of manipulative or controlling behavior, such as making them ask permission to go out, making them prove to you the location of their stay, or guilt-tripping them for going out without you.

Generally, it's how they carry themselves, and how they expect you to behave (according to what they're used to).


SH: What are some ways you can grow together with someone who's used to being hurt by their toxic ex?

CA: Showing them affection, letting them know you're there for them and reassuring them of your affection, love, and positive feelings through actions and verbal expressions are some of the ways you can be supportive to a partner who's used to toxic behavior in the past relationship(s).

That way, you give them a safe space to communicate and be open with you so that you get to know about their troubles, and the way you can grow as a couple from those troubles and issues.

Therapy can also be tremendously helpful in such situations, especially if you notice you have difficulties in communicating openly with one another.

Man and woman holding hands comforting each other: Shutterstock. Closeup of a support hands. Closeup shot of a young woman holding a senior man's hands in comfort. Female carer holding hands of senior man

(via Shutterstock)


Still trying to get over your ex? Click HERE to read our top tips for healing and finally moving on.