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Should you keep engagement news from your ex?

Date

Jessica Martin

Just lean over and tell her! ... Ashton Kutcher is keeping his engagment news from ex Demi Moore.

Just lean over and tell her! ... Ashton Kutcher is keeping his engagment news from ex Demi Moore. Photo: AP

According to some rather imaginative gossip mongering doing the rounds at the moment, loved-up pair Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis are keeping news of their (alleged) engagement on the down low as to not upset Kutcher's ex, Demi Moore.

Isn't that considerate?! In a time of (one imagines) immeasurable joy and excitement, the happy couple are playing mum because of an ex-partner's feelings. (You will note that no such thought has been spared for Kunis's ex, Macaulay Culkin though – perhaps Mila and Ashton don't think he will care. Or is too drugged out to notice.)

Regardless of whether or not this juicy story is true (hint: it's probably not) and, all cynicism aside, it does raise an interesting question – should you keep engagement news from an ex?

Wedding secret: Mila Kunis must be very understanding.

Wedding secret: Mila Kunis must be very understanding. Photo: Getty

If you were unceremoniously dumped for another, despite having just spent five hours in Ikea together the weekend before, then no, keeping news that you've moved on with your life and have found someone who has more hair on his head than his back is not necessary. Is accidentally on purpose including them on a group Save the Date email necessary? Well, that's up to you.

If you were the one who ripped your ex's heart from their chest, squeezed until the blood ran dry and still find yourself avoiding, "How are you?" texts two years later, then as much as it may upset them, you're actually doing them a favour by replying with a, “Well, funny you should ask…” and telling them your news.

“In these sorts of cases a 'cruel to be kind' approach can be best,” says clinical psychologist Gemma Cribb. “If your ex is in denial, or still holds hope that you will be together again, being honest about your engagement can help them to understand it's time to move on.”

If your ex is now your fiance… Hmmm, yeah, you guys should probably talk about it.

When considering other factors Cribb says that, more so than the reasons behind your break-up or the time that has passed since, the most important tidbit of information to ponder is the nature of the relationship you've established with your ex since the break-up.

“If your ex still has the capacity and personality to take their potential hurt out on you (for example, financially or with child arrangements), then it is wise to protect yourself by keeping an engagement secret until you can be safe. Other than this, if you are still in contact, treat them as you would any other friend. Protecting their feelings by hiding the truth only keeps them in denial if they still have feelings for you or hopes for reconciliation.” Not in contact with each other? You have no obligation to tell them, says Cribb. “You are living like strangers so you would treat them as you would any stranger.”

And finally, if for whatever reason you think your news is any of your ex's business, what would hurt them more – knowing now because you've told them, or finding out from another source later? Because really, what are you going to do? Hide all the evidence of your impending nuptials forevermore? Even if you wanted to it's unlikely in our instantly up-to-date social media age that your news will not be leaked - not least of all because your mum has started posting wedding inspo to your Facebook wall and you've already created an Instagram hashtag for your engagement party, amirite?

Being nowhere near betrothed myself I can only personally consider the flipside of this question. I've always thought hearing news that my ex (a great love) was engaged would hit me in the stomach harder than a Miley Cyrus-flanked wrecking ball - I used to think I'd rather not know. But time, that great healer, is an excellent softener of blows, and I now imagine that when I eventually learn of his engagement after stalking his Facebook page one day (there's no way he'll be telling me himself), I will feel a little sad but mostly happy. For him and for me. Learning of an ex's engagement, however painful, is also kind of freeing, so maybe it's time to pick up the phone and give Demi a buzz, hey Ashton?

12 comments

  • Should not one's main concern as far as feelings be the person you are planning on sharing a life with and not someone who was part of your life? If a potential life partner is more concerned about an ex's feelings than your own, it is time to run very, very fast.

    Commenter
    Dan
    Location
    Brisbane
    Date and time
    September 26, 2013, 8:15AM
    • Exactly what I was thinking. I don't think it's necessary to rub it in your ex's face but it is also a bit too precious to keep the news secret/quiet to spare your ex's feelings. You and your partner's feelings and plans should be of prime concern.

      Commenter
      TK
      Date and time
      September 26, 2013, 8:42AM
  • When an ex told me she was getting married, I responded with "good for you!" and went on my merry way knowing full well she was his problem and not mine.....

    Commenter
    sum
    Date and time
    September 26, 2013, 8:45AM
    • Interesting topic especially since we now live in a world where whether you like it or it can be very hard not to know what your X is up to thanks to social media and peoples need to mention every mundane thing they do. Before that people would part and move on and for the most part you wouldn’t really hear about them or if you did you were at least already over them. These days it’s in your face and I think it causes more damage than good.
      So in short NO I don’t think your x needs to be told that you’re getting engaged UNLESS you are still close friends.

      Commenter
      Trinity
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      September 26, 2013, 8:55AM
      • After seperating from my first wife we were rather amicable and still quite good friends; it seemed that removing the pressure of a relationship allowed us to move on and it seemed like we were in a really great place. That was right up until the moment I told her about my engagement, something inside her snapped and we don't talk anymore.

        I wouldn't reccommend keeping an engagement from a former partner but be prepared that they may not be quite so willing to share in your new found happiness...

        Commenter
        justaguy
        Date and time
        September 26, 2013, 8:57AM
        • I haven't seen or heard from my ex for two years now. But it would still upset me immensely if I discovered he found someone else. So I don't want to know, because I'm still in love with him and I would feel like he betrayed me all over again. But that's my problem, not his. Him telling me about his new love serves no purpose - it's not like he needs my permission and I don't think he would hurt me that way. When he left he wanted me to find someone else.

          I can't see myself moving on with someone else but if I did, I wouldn't say anything to him. Apart from a phone number which may or may not still be valid, I have no way of contacting him. Besides, when he left, he forfeited all right to know what's going on with me and my life.

          I have the attitude that you get one chance with me. If you blow it, that's it, you walk out of my life and don't come back. I'm not interested in revisiting old hurts and making friends. We broke up for a reason and those reasons are probably still valid, so telling an ex my "news" is irrelevant.

          Commenter
          Audra Blue
          Location
          Brisbane
          Date and time
          September 26, 2013, 10:18AM
          • omg - some of you are just twisting yourself into knots about something that doesn't even matter.
            It's going to be difficult for you when a real problem comes along.

            Commenter
            johnno
            Location
            Sydney
            Date and time
            September 26, 2013, 12:52PM
            • There's a reason why they're you're ex, it's because it wasn't meant to be. How much do you really owe them? The only reason I can see to keep it quiet is if your ex is a bit of a psycho and the response could be very bad.

              My ex of 6 years was engaged to someone else after 6 months of breaking up with me and I found out through a friend. I was glad he didn't tell me as I know I would have started down the long and pointless road of 'why her?' With a friend I just took in the news and cried buckets for a few days.

              I don't know how my husband's ex-wife found out about our engagement. I've never asked and it's none of my business.

              Commenter
              Ripley
              Location
              Hunting Aliens
              Date and time
              September 26, 2013, 1:25PM
              • If you still in love with your ex then yeah it will certainly hurt to find out they are getting engaged to someone else especially when you weren't engaged to them when you were together. Other than that I don't see no problem I would not care if any of my ex's got engaged, it’s like good on them wish them all the happiness.
                We usually find out all the things on facebook so in the end can't really avoid it we will know in the end one way or the other.

                Commenter
                snow
                Location
                sydney
                Date and time
                September 26, 2013, 1:49PM
                • I told my ex I was getting married hoping he would realise time was running out and try to sweep me off my feet again. He didnt, and now I am married to a g1mp...

                  Commenter
                  Amelia Fraser
                  Location
                  Melbourne
                  Date and time
                  September 26, 2013, 2:45PM

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