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Manage Your Dating Past and Enjoy Your Dating Future

By Heather Belle, MFC & Michelle Fiordaliso, MSW

Manage Your Dating Past and Enjoy Your Dating Future


 In 1969, Dr. David Reuben wrote the ground-breaking book, Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex*.  Forty years later people know plenty about sex but the topic that’s so confusing is what to do when the relationship is over and you’re left with an Ex. The missing link in many of today’s dating dilemmas is that Exes often sabotage your ability to find or keep true love.  Why?

1. People Have More Exes Than Before
These days everyone has an Ex (or four). In the United States, there are at least 25 million divorced people and one million more each year. And that’s not mentioning the even greater number of breakups. With later-in-life marriages and frequent divorces so commonplace, people have more Exes in their lives. Given the overwhelming numbers, no matter what the duration of the relationship, the odds are that someone in your past, or in your partner’s past, may be affecting you. Until you take a good, hard look, who knows whether the “Ex effect” is positive or negative? Who are the Exes in your life?

2. It’s Now Politically Correct to Stay Friends with Your Exes
In the past, no one expected Exes to be friends. Most people made a clean break. Today it’s vastly different. Everyone has become so PC that saying goodbye just doesn’t happen. If you take a look at people’s Facebook friends, you’ll find many of their Exes. It would be considered rude to ignore a “friend request” from an Ex. Nowadays the person who says she can’t be friends with an Ex is seen as unsophisticated and insecure. And you’re really lame if you can’t handle your boyfriend’s Exes. However, a pseudo-friendship with an Ex can be like mold or high blood pressure – a deadly, silent killer. Are you friends with your Exes?

3. Strides in Technology Have Given a Whole New Meaning to “Reach Out and Touch Someone”
Private sources of communication, like cell phones and email accounts, have made the new etiquette of staying in touch with Exes super easy. It’s so simple and casual, most people don’t even consider what they’re doing. It can all seem flirty and fun when Exes text you while they’re out with friends. Or when you email them a link you know they’d like. Or when they say a quick “hey” on IM. Since it’s just verbal communication, it’s not really cheating. Or is it? Well, emotional infidelity with your Ex is as much of a threat to your new relationships as physical infidelity.

One of the downsides of technology is that these forms of communication mean you can be reached at any time. Your workday can be invaded by a hostile email from an Ex-husband. While on a great date, you can get a text from an Ex that leaves you confused and, more importantly, throws you off your game. The benefits of technology are unquantifiable, but the downside in the Ex world can be huge. Is technology keeping you too closely bound to your Exes?

The good news is that any Ex issue, from his Exes to how to handle kids, can be resolved.

If you suspect that an Ex has been keeping you from moving forward get all your Ex questions answered in the new book, in stores Sep. 1, Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Ex*.

Get more from Heather and Michelle at

About the Authors:

Heather Belle, MFC

Heather earned her undergraduate degree from Vanderbilt and her graduate degree from Pepperdine University. She has worked with individuals, couples and families, counseling children in the Los Angeles public school system, many from divorced families. She was a board member of The Rape Treatment Center and Stuart House a non-profit that helps children cope with sexual abuse. She has built a career in the entertainment business.

Along with producing an award winning documentary she wrote and created web-based therapeutic programming including an interactive therapeutic CD-Rom for children with diabetes which garnered national acclaim, including a press conference with President Bill Clinton. She is a screenwriter and contributing columnist for eHarmony’s advice site. Heather lives in Los Angeles with her four children


Michelle Fiordaliso, MSW


Michelle is a playwright and psychotherapist. She earned both her undergraduate degree and her master’s degree in Clinical Social Work from New York University and has counseled individuals and couples for the past fifteen years. She is currently the clinical director of and a contributing writer on eHarmony’s advice site.


Michelle is the 2008 recipient of the PEN USA Community Access Scholarship for writing and a 2007 finalist for The Sherwood Award. A regular blogger on sites such as The Huffington Post and The Hot Mom’s Club, she lives in Los Angeles with her son.

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