The ‘ex-factor’ could be the key to making your new relationship work


Madison Wood

Illustration by Jennifer Luxton / A&E Editor

Exploring a new relationship is always novel and exciting, which often makes it hard to focus on anything but the present. However, if longevity is what you are looking for, it can help to look back on past relationships to better see the potential future of your present relationship.

This idea is what I have termed the “ex” factor. The “ex” factor is what your significant other’s ex can tell you about the relationship you are entering. Now, granted there are always exceptions to the rule, and there are other aspects to consider. But the three components of this theory can really help one gain some insight to the relationship they are exploring.

First is the person, or people, that make up the past. It is important to know who they are, and what role they played in your significant other’s life — not so that you can look them up and do some digging of your own, but moreso to learn more about that part of your partner’s life. People come into our lives as blessings and/or lessons which mold us into the people we are today.

Learning what impact the ex had on your partner’s life can be insightful to what your partner considers important in a relationship, how they view roles in a relationship or where a relationship falls into their priorities.

Second is knowing why the relationship ended. The majority of the time, the same situation can be applied to your relationship, if there is an ending of course. For example, if your partner’s last relationship ended because he or she was cheating, chances are they will do the same to you. Even if they ended their last relationship to be with you, the rule still applies. Once the flame wanes, history can repeat itself.

However, there is also a positive side to this coin. If your significant other and their ex maintain a healthy relationship because they had an amicable ending then you can conclude that if the relationship ends between the two of you, there is a very good possibility of keeping things civil after the break-up. Regardless of whether it is a positive or negative ending, it is always important to keep in mind that you are subject to the same treatment.

Lastly is honesty and openness. Now this one is more obvious as it is always an important factor in any relationship. When your significant other is willing to share their past, it creates trust. Being vulnerable is not always easy to do. In fact, one of the reasons it makes it so hard to open up is because it invites the possibility of getting hurt.

However, when your significant other is willing to put themselves in that place, it shows that they are making an effort to be honest and not hide or keep anything from you. This is an important building block for setting the foundation of a long, lasting relationship.