Depending on how a previous relationship ended, the ex talk can be one of the more uncomfortable conversations in a new relationship. And for the most part, it doesn't really have to happen. "If the past is in the past, and it's not affecting the current relationship, then there's no real reason to have to mention it," says Justine Shuey, PhD, a sexologist and sex educator. "It's expected that people have exes. You and your partner had lives before one another." So no need to quiz your S.O. on their little black book if things seem fine.
That said, there are a handful of red flags that might mean it's time to have a sit-down with your partner about their ex. There's no need to get accusatory, and it's generally not your place to tell your partner to cut off communication with their ex, Dr. Shuey says. But it's important to figure out where their relationship with their ex stands if something alarming comes up. This is your time to communicate to your partner how that relationship makes you feel ("I" statements can be crucial), and to workshop ways you can both be more comfortable with the situation.
Ahead, some warning signs to look out for. But remember: Just because something is on this list doesn't mean it's inherently "wrong." If it doesn't bother you, and your relationship seems to be chugging along just fine, it's best to let sleeping dogs lie. "If the past is in the past, it can be left there," Dr. Shuey says. Amen to that.