WHILE no one would like to think a partner is hung up on a former flame, new research suggests it is all too often the case.
In a poll of 2,000 people, more than half of those in a relationship said sex was better with an ex and that they think of them during sex with the current partner.
Half of women and a third of men questioned say they have slept with an exCredit: Getty
One in three people in relationships have secretly messaged a previous lover, while half of the women and a third of the men questioned said they have slept with an ex.
Georgette Culley speaks to women who have done the deed with an ex – or would like to – and shares more findings from the poll by the website illicitencounters.com.
EVENTS manager Georgia Carter cheated on her boyfriend of two years, bar manager Adam, 31, with “toxic” ex Lee*, 29, who is a salesman.
It didn’t end well. Georgia, 27, from Bolton, says:
Georgia Carter cheated on her boyfriend of two years, Adam, with ‘toxic’ ex Lee*Credit: The Sun
“When Lee broke up with me I was devastated. He was my first love and it came like a bolt from the blue.
“We started dating when I was 23 and had been together for 18 months before he ended our relationship.
“He never gave me a reason — he just said he wanted to be single. But I always suspected there was another girl.
“After our break-up he kept messaging me and it was messing with my head.
Lee ‘sweet-talked’ Georgia back into bed before ghosting herCredit: The Sun
“My friends told me to stop talking to him but I could never fully cut him out.
“I’d go a few months without hearing from him and then a WhatsApp message would pop up saying, “Hey G, I miss you. I need to see you”.
“I’d feel a surge of adrenalin and I missed him too. Stupidly, I met up with him.
“He sweet-talked me into bed with the usual platitudes and told me he’d made a massive mistake and wanted me back.
“After we slept together I thought things would be different, but then he ghosted me.
“Determined to move on and meet a nice guy, I blocked him on all social media.
“I joined dating apps and two years ago, I met Adam. He was gorgeous and made me laugh.
“We hit it off straight away and fell into a whirlwind relationship.
“Everything was great for six months until I bumped into Lee on a night out.
“‘Why did you cut me out?’ he asked, giving me those big puppy dog eyes.
Stupidly, I let him buy me a drink.
“One drink led to another and I ended up at his. We had great sex all night.
“But when the alcohol wore off the next morning and my hangover kicked in, I became riddled with guilt.
Georgia unblocked Lee on WhatsApp before the second national lockdownCredit: The Sun
“I promised myself it would never happen again. For a few months it didn’t but once the guilt wore off I started to think about Lee when I was sleeping with Adam.
“Not because Lee was necessarily better in bed, but I was still in love with him.
“Before the second national lockdown started I unblocked Lee on WhatsApp and we started talking again.
“After a few weeks we met up and had sex again. But afterwards, it was the same cycle — he ghosted me and I felt guilty.
Georgia confessed everything to Adam and is now trying to win him backCredit: The Sun
“We went for nearly six months without speaking until I got weak and started sexting him again.
“Adam became suspicious as I was always guarding my phone. One night at dinner I confessed to everything.
“He was devastated and ended it. Now I’ve completely cut Lee out and I’m trying to win Adam back, but I think it’ll take time for him to trust me again.
“It’s the biggest mistake of my life.”
MEDICAL administration worker Marie-Rose, 33, is from Nottingham, and is a single mum to two daughters, both under seven.
She describes sex with her ex, a 35-year-old builder, as lovely but feels that seeing him is stopping her from getting on with her life. She says:
Marie-Rose feels that sex with her ex is stopping her from getting on with her lifeCredit: Damien McFadden
“For me as a single mum, the thought of dating and being rejected and starting from scratch is overwhelming, so it’s easy for me to fall into the arms of my ex.
“I started dating John* in my early twenties. We dated for six months and got on like a house on fire in and out of the bedroom.
“We broke up because we both wanted different things and would end up arguing.
“He works all over the country and I don’t want to move around.
As a single mum, Marie-Rose says the thought of dating and starting from scratch is ‘overwhelming’Credit: Damien McFadden
“I often wondered if we’d tried harder could we have made it work, but there were problems we couldn’t resolve.
“I focused on moving on but we remained friends and as the years rolled by, he stayed in my life.
“We’d talk on the phone or text every three months or so and on birthdays and special events.
“Then, several years later, we met for dinner and ended up in bed.
“We weren’t doing anything wrong – I was single, and he was single, but I wasn’t sure if it was healthy as I know we can’t go anywhere. It began to happen more regularly.
“Sometimes we’d discuss possibly getting back together, then realities would kick in – I had had my kids and didn’t want more, he still wanted children – and we’d go our separate ways again.
“But, as always, a few months later that tug of the ex starts again and I’ll miss him and want to see him.
“The sex is lovely. Familiar and fun and without the stress of new relationship worries.
“But I know having him in reserve is stopping me moving forward.
“It’s preventing me from getting myself back out there and stopping me finding the man I can spend the rest of my life with.
“Truth be told I’m scared to go on Tinder and internet dating and, frankly, I’d rather be held back with an ex I know and can rely on.
“I know I’m going to have to break the habit.
Marie-Rose says it is ‘impossible’ to date new people during lockdownCredit: Damien McFadden
“We’re both single now but I do worry he will find someone new and forget about me.
“Lockdown has made it worse as it became impossible to date new people.”
SINGLE Melissa Jayne, a 28-year-old admin worker from Manchester, has slept with every one of her exes after breaking up and insists sex with an ex is best.
She says: “I know it’s bad but I’m addicted to ex-sex.
Melissa Jayne has slept with every one of her exes after breaking upCredit: Matthew Pover
“It’s always better than sex with someone new because you know exactly what the other one likes in bed.
“So, if I’m feeling horny, I’d rather message an ex than go out and have a one-night stand. It’s much safer, too.
“I’ve had four serious relationships and have slept with every one after we broke up.
“One ex I still sleep with today – nearly seven years after we split up.
“At the moment, I’m single but sexting two of my exes, we plan to meet and have great sex once lockdown is over.
“My friends think I’m mad and tell me one day I’ll get hurt, but I’m pretty level-headed about it.
“If I think I’m getting too involved again, I’ll back off.
“One time it got a bit messy because I was sleeping exclusively with an ex and he was seeing another girl.
Top 5 reasons for doing it
- Boredom in the bedroom with my current partner
- Sex was great with ex and I wanted to do it again
- We reconnected on social media
- I missed her and wanted to see her again
- We met each other on a night out
- Boredom in the bedroom with my current partner
- I was feeling lonely after a break-up
- I was approached by ex on social media
- I was curious about seeing them again
- We bumped into each other on a night out
“I did feel jealous when I found out and realised I was still harbouring deeper feelings for him, so I stopped seeing him.
“Overall, my experiences with exes have been great and mutually respectful as no one gets hurt. But it has caused problems in new relationships.
“Most men get uneasy when they find out I’m still close to my exes and think I’m still in love with them.
“They feel threatened when their name pops up on WhatsApp or they like my pics on Instagram.
Melissa insists sex with an ex is bestCredit: Matthew Pover
“One time, I even called out my ex’s name in bed.
“Needless to say that was the end of that relationship.
“But until I find someone special, I’ll continue to sleep with an ex – as it really is the best sex.”
HEALTH care assistant Ellen Pepper, 23, from Rutland, East Mids, follows her exes on social media and checks on them at least twice a day.
She says: “I’ve had two serious boyfriends and after we broke up I kept tabs on them online. It’s what social media and Google was made for.
Ellen Pepper follows her exes on social media and checks on them at least twice a dayCredit: News Group Newspapers Ltd
“While our relationships ended amicably I couldn’t bring myself to delete them.
“I like spying on them and seeing what girls they have added after me.
“Sometimes it can damage my self-esteem as I’ll compare myself to their new girlfriends. But I can’t help myself.
“I’m friends with them on Instagram, Snapchat, WhatsApp and Facebook and check up on them at least twice a day, sometimes more. Deep down, I know it’s not healthy.
“There are times when I feel sad when I see them posting loved-up pics with new lovers or when I see them using the same pick-up lines and pet names to girls online they used on me.
“Although it hurts, I can’t stop it.
“I should be moving on but it’s so tempting as it’s so easy to see what they’re doing at a click of a button.
“There are positives to it. Seeing the things I didn’t like about them helps me know what to look for in a new partner, and I can see where they are going in our small town and avoid bumping into them.
Ellen doesn’t think she will ever delete her exes off of social mediaCredit: News Group Newspapers Ltd
“But mainly, I do it because I’m nosy. I’m not the only one doing it. Every girl I know still checks up on her exes online.
“We grew up in a digital world and it has become the norm. Older generations don’t understand it.
“I can’t see myself ever deleting my exes and am sure I’ll collect future exes too.”
IS it ever a good idea to get back into your ex’s bed?
Psychologist Jo Hemmings says: “It pretty much depends on two factors – why are you doing it and what are the likely consequences?
Psychologist Jo Hemmings says you must consider the consequences before having sex with an ex
“If you’ve been single for the last year, the chances are pretty high that not only have you not had any sex but that you have also felt a bit lonely and isolated at times, in need of a hug and a little intimacy.
“If all you are after are a few happy memories and some good sex with someone that you definitely no longer have feelings for, then provided that your ex is of the same mindset and not looking to reignite your relationship, it can feel comforting, reassuring and help with the build-up of sexual frustration.
“But if you are considering sleeping with your ex because you want to get back together and they were the one who originally broke the relationship up, then you are in danger of being hurt all over again.
“Try to think about both the intent and the consequences of sleeping with your ex.
Sometimes just one more sexual encounter with your ex can give you the closure that you needCredit: Getty
“How do you think you will feel afterwards?
“A warm, satisfied and comforting glow as a one-off?
“Or will it make it more complicated, heighten your expectations and possibly take you several steps back in the healing process?
“It can be so tempting – specially right now, post-pandemic.
“The familiarity of ‘the devil you know’ feels so much safer than the risk of going into a new relationship.
“Sometimes just one more sexual encounter with your ex, where a break-up was messy and difficult, can give you the closure that you need.
“But only if you are convinced that you feel nothing emotional for them and know that they are on the same page and share the expectations of what will happen next.
“Either that your relationship was a case of ‘right person, wrong time’ – which you both feel – or that you both recognise that this is a one-off, just for pleasure.
If it’s because you want to show them what they’re missing in order to get them back, then that is not such a good ideaCredit: Getty
“Sometimes sleeping with your ex with a view to becoming friends with benefits is OK too – especially if the sex was the best bit of your relationship.
“But if it’s because you want to show them what they’re missing in order to get them back, then that is not such a good idea.
“Essentially, if you know that you can separate your emotions from your sexual desire then it’s OK, but if you have any doubts or unrealistic expectations then it could be an emotional disaster.”
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