Coming to terms with the fact that your ex has a new relationship can be challenging after divorce. This is especially true if you feel your ex is keeping it from you or you’re the last to find out.
You might ask yourself, “Why is my ex hiding his new relationship?” Or, “Why has my ex lied to me about seeing someone else?”
However, there’s likely a good reason behind his actions. It’s important not to jump to conclusions about why your ex is hiding a new relationship from you. Keep an open mind until you know the facts.
For instance, Caitlin, 40, and Jonathan, 42, divorced two years ago and Jonathan delivered the news that he wanted a divorce in a text message.
Of course, Caitlin was shocked and tried to convince him to work on their relationship. But Jonathan no longer wanted to put effort into trying to save their marriage and he filed for divorce, saying he was ready to move on.
Then two years after they split, Caitlin was having coffee with a friend who asked her if she had met Jonathan’s new girlfriend, Angela.
Even though Caitlin had adjusted somewhat to living separately from Jonathan and they were cooperative co-parents of their two children, Caitlin was blindsided by this news. She was also angry at Jonathan for not telling her about his relationship with Angela.
While it’s never ideal for getting this kind of information indirectly, it’s a good idea to keep things in perspective and realize that your ex might not intentionally be trying to hurt you. He might have valid reasons to want to keep his new partner a secret.
Why is my ex hiding his new relationship: 10 reasons
When your marriage ends, it’s normal to feel rejection,anger, sadness, and regret. So, when you find out that your ex has a new girlfriend from someone other than him, some negative feelings might surface.
Here are some surprising reasons why your ex might be hiding his new relationship:
1. He doesn’t want to hurt you
If your ex is a person that avoids conflict, he might be trying not to reopen an old wound. He might want to side-step any confrontation, either in public or private, that might upset you and trigger upsetting feelings.
2. He’s fearful of your negative reaction
Perhaps he thinks that if he shares this information with you, you’ll respond badly and lash out with anger or jealousy. This is especially true if he’s the one who left (like Jonathan) and you’re the person who feels rejected (like Caitlin).
3. The relationship is extremely new
Your ex may have just started dating this new romantic partner and may not be sure it’s serious enough to tell you. He might want to test the relationship before telling you about it.
4. He may not be ready to make a commitment
He might not want to go public because he’s wavering on whether he’s ready to commit to his new partner.
5. He might be worried you’re not ready to move on
Sometimes people feel that they need to create boundaries to move on after a divorce. This might mean keeping some personal information private and not sharing it with their ex.
If he’s ambivalent about his feelings toward his new partner, he might want to wait to go public with this relationship. This could help you understand why has your ex gone quiet suddenly.
7. He is worried you’ll try to sabotage the relationship
If your ex is in a new relationship, he might hide it because he is fearful that you may try to ruin his new relationship. This is especially true if you have expressed angry or jealous feelings.
Likewise, he might want to protect his new partner from negative feedback from you or others.
8. He wants to keep his new relationship private
Maybe your ex is keeping his new relationship a secret because he’s concerned about you doing something to embarrass him or discourage his new girlfriend from staying in the relationship.
9. He is a secretive person
Remember when you were a couple and assess whether your ex ever hid information from you.
Old habits are hard to change and he might not think it’s a big deal to keep his new girlfriend a secret. If he’s more reserved than you, he might be uncomfortable being vulnerable and sharing personal information.
Check out this video to understand the science behind a person who keeps secrets:
10. He is worried about losing you as a friend
If your divorce was amicable, like Caitlin and Jonathan, he might worry that you would treat him differently if he had a girlfriend. He’s not willing to risk losing your friendship, so he hides this new romantic relationship from you.
If you are wondering, “why is my ex hiding his new relationship,” it’s important not to assume the worst. You are likely to be less disappointed or upset by giving him the benefit of the doubt.
Instead of reaching out to your ex, focus on ways you can find happiness. After all, you can’t control his actions, but you can avoid feeling like a victim by focusing on your own life.
Even if you never find out why your ex is lying about his new relationship, it’s time to move on and be a bigger person.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Terry Gaspard MSW, LICSW has been a therapist and relationship expert for over 30 years. Her work focuses on helping individuals, couples, and families become more resilient, build stronger relationships and marriages, and recover after break-up and divorce. She is a contributor to nine websites including The Gottman Institute Relationship Blog and the author of the award-winning book Daughters of Divorce: Overcome the Legacy of Your Parents Breakup and Enjoy a Happy Long-lasting Relationship.
Terry?s book, The Remarriage Manual: How to Make Everything Work Better the Second Time Around, was published by Sounds True in February of 2020. Follow Terry at her website.