If Your Partner Had These 9 Experiences With Their Ex, They'll Be More Loyal To You
Even though they're not together anymore, the experiences your partner had with their ex may have taught them some pretty valuable life lessons — including how to be more loyal. "We are shaped by our past in many ways and this definitely includes relationships," Jonathan Bennett, relationship and dating expert at Double Trust Dating, tells Bustle. "For better or worse, your partner has been profoundly changed by [their] past partners."
Maybe their ex cheated on them, and as a result your partner has learned how not to act in a relationship. Or maybe they were long-distance while with their ex, and along the way learned the value of trust and loyalty. How did they handle these moments? What did they take way from them? You might want to ask and see if your partner would like to share a few stories, and reveal more about life with their ex.
"You can learn a lot about your partner’s loyalty (or lack of it) by looking at past relationships," Bennett says. "If your partner was devoted and dedicated to an ex, there’s a good chance [they] will do the same in your current relationship. The greatest predictor of future behavior is past behavior." So, if they've had any of the below experiences with their ex, it may give you a better idea of the kind of partner they'll be for you — now and into the future.
1. They Went To Couples Counseling
If your partner went through a rocky period with their ex, or simply wanted to improve their relationship, they may have gone to couples counseling. And if so, that can say a lot about what type of person your partner is.
"Going to couples counseling with an ex shows that your partner is committed to working on a relationship when things get hard," psychiatrist and relationship expert Dr. Scott Carroll, tells Bustle.
Even if that particular relationship didn't last forever, their willingness to try and improve things is a great sign. "It shows that they will work on a relationship instead of bailing and cheating," Dr. Carroll says. "Plus they probably learned something about communicating and relating."
2. Their Ex Cheated On Them
You can only hope your partner hasn't experienced cheating, or had their heart broken in this way. But if they did, there may be a silver lining. "Anyone who has been cheated on knows how awful it feels," Bennett says, so it may mean your partner will be less likely to turn around and do the same to you.
"People who have been cheated on should have a better sense of the pain involved," Bennett says. "Ideally, they would be more willing to show loyalty towards those they love — or simply walk away if a relationship isn’t working — rather than finding someone else on the side."
3. They Went Through Tough Times Together
If your partner went through a major loss in life — and successfully weathered it with their ex — they may have learned a thing or two about being committed to a relationship.
"Relationships are difficult by themselves, but certain life experiences can cause even more strain," Bennett says. "These involve illness, job loss, death of loved ones, and so on. If your partner went through one of these with an ex, it shows that [they're] willing to stick with another person through the trials of life."
Again, past behavior can predict future behavior. So if anything were to happen to you or your partner down the road, you can rest assured they're the type of person who will stick it out, and always have your back.
4. They Were In A Long-Distance Relationship
Was your partner in a long distance relationship with their ex? If the answer is yes — and they didn't seem to have any problems because of it — that's a great sign.
"Having a long distance relationship with an ex shows that a partner can be faithful and commit to a relationship," Dr. Carroll says.
It can be tough to be away from a partner for long periods of time, so anyone who's able to make it work — in spite of the distance — is likely someone you can trust.
5. They Helped Their Ex Through An Illness
How people react when the going gets tough often reveals a lot about their character. If your partner stuck by their ex's side when they were sick, Dr. Carroll says they may be more loyal.
Maybe their ex had a physical illness that made the relationship feel lonely, or a mental health issue that made it tough for them to connect. If your partner experienced trials like these without panicking or running away, you can bet they'll do the same for you.
6. They Introduced Their Ex To Family
Introducing a partner to family is a big step, so if your partner gladly did so with their ex, it may mean they're the type of person who values commitment.
"Introducing your partner to your friends and family intertwines your partner with your life," Dr. Benjamin Ritter, founder of Live for Yourself Consulting, tells Bustle. "It includes that person as part of your life that is forever and not separate. This experience helps solidify that the relationship is important."
They may not be with their ex now, but the fact your partner took their old relationship so seriously may mean they'll do the same for you.
7. They Spent Time Apart
When your partner was with their ex, were they secure enough to spend time apart? And did it all go down without any drama?
"Spending time apart can be a good indicator of loyalty in a relationship," Bennett says. "If your partner and [their] ex spent significant time separated through travel, schooling, or any other factor, it’s a good sign your partner understands loyalty."
8. They Had Their Ups & Downs
If your partner went through ups and downs with their ex, that's actually a good thing, as it means they've likely learned how to discuss problems, as well as how to argue in a healthier way.
This is in comparison to a relationship that was "perfect," where your partner never had to argue or say what was on their mind. "Moments of conflict, tension, hurt and disappointment can all be moments of learning," therapist Julie Williamson, LPC, NCC, RPT, tells Bustle.
So if your partner has "been there" and "done that" with their ex, they may be better equipped to communicate with you — which will only make for a healthier relationship.
9. They Cheated On Their Ex
If your partner has been cheated on, they probably learned firsthand how painful it is — and as a result might (hopefully) never do the same to you.
But if they were the ones who cheated on their ex, it may have taught them something valuable, too. "They may have learned it wasn’t worth playing that game and dealing with all the related drama," Rosalind Sedacca, CLC, a dating and relationship coach, tells Bustle. "That may have made them a more loyal partner for you."
Of course, you may still have to talk about boundaries. Your relationship is unique and different from the one your partner had with their ex, so you'll still want to make sure you're both on the same page when it comes to commitment — so history doesn't repeat itself.
If your partner experienced some of these ups and downs with their ex, they may have come out the other side a more loyal person. Not "perfect," by any means. But definitely someone who understands what loyalty is, as well as how to have a healthier relationship.