How Close Should My Boyfriend Be With His Ex?

How Close Should My Boyfriend Be With His Ex?
Evan,
This may be an age-old question. My boyfriend is best friends with his ex-girlfriend. They dated for two and a half years, broke up 5 years ago, have many mutual friends. They met in graduate school and went through some hard times together, so I understand why they stay friends.

However, they are way too close. They talk on the phone 2-3 times a week, meet up for lunch/dinner. My boyfriend once told me she’s so important to him that if we ever get married and have a house, she would be invited to our house for holiday dinners. The first time I met his mom, she could not stop talking about the ex. She told me their entire dating story, why they broke up, how the ex-girlfriend’s parents still think my boyfriend is the best guy for her (oh yeah, the mom is also good friends with the ex girlfriend’s parents). Of course, I was annoyed but maintained my cool. I did have a discussion with my boyfriend after this incident, and he thought his mom was inappropriate.

The ex-girlfriend also will not stop posting on his Facebook wall almost daily, with intimate posts (“awww… your stress won’t last much longer”), pictures of their families having thanksgiving dinner last year before we started dating, pictures of them dancing together back in graduate school, etc.

I don’t think her intentions are pure. I trust my boyfriend 100% and I really don’t think he’ll cheat on me with her. I just think the whole situation is disrespectful to me and her behavior is very inappropriate. He’s letting her do that to me and to our relationship. He refuses to distance himself from her and thinks I’m being unreasonable by asking him to do so. I have met the ex-girlfriend. She was extremely nice to me, so much so it felt unnatural since she doesn’t know me at all.

 

 

 

So, my question is what kind of friendship with the ex is too much? Where do we draw the line? Am I being a jealous girlfriend to feel the way I feel? I have dated guys who were on civil terms with their exes and I was even friends with the exes, so I really don’t think I have jealousy or insecurity tendencies, it’s just that this situation makes me really uncomfortable. –Irene

Some men are better boyfriends than husbands.

Dear Irene,

Your story reminded me of someone I know – a female friend who has a similar relationship with her ex-boyfriend. It seems pretty clear from the outside that the ex-boyfriend is her best friend and “soulmate”, while the husband is merely the father to her children. The husband provides money and stability, but they don’t truly connect the way she does with her ex. The husband seems to accept this and there is virtually no probability that she would leave him for the man she dumped seven years ago. Some men are better boyfriends than husbands, she concluded. And she’s right.

Which is why I’m not willing to go out on a limb and suggest that you’re in the same situation. After all, I don’t have all the facts. Among the important ones:

How old are you? 35-year-olds are usually better decision makers than 25-year-olds. They’re often better able to separate relationships into different components and can see things clearer in retrospect. I have a number of girlfriends that I’m appalled that I ever dated, a handful of girlfriends who were wonderful whom I didn’t appreciate, and a few girlfriends that really, would have been better off as friends. I’m guessing this guy is no different.

How long have you and your boyfriend been together? If you’re a recent couple, you don’t really have a right to say anything about how he lives his life. You don’t have any leverage on a man until he loves you, and the more you pressure him to change, the less likely he’s going to be busting out the “L-Word” any time soon.

Nothing makes a man want to cheat (or leave) more than a girlfriend who doesn’t trust him.

And the most important fact that we’re not privy to…

Who dumped whom? Usually, the person who got dumped is the one who still wanted to be in the relationship. The person who did the dumping is the one who thought long and hard about whether it was a wise decision to end a 2 ½ year relationship. If your boyfriend concluded that, all things considered, his ex was not a good fit for him in the longterm, whether its due to different views on sex, money, religion, or personality conflicts, then that’s all you need to know. Ask yourself this: would YOU take back anyone that you’ve dumped? That’s right. Neither would we.

And the real truth is that I wouldn’t take back anyone who dumped me either. Sure, at the time, I was reeling, and wishing things could be different. But then the smoke began to clear and I started to see my ex’s for what they were – normal, flawed women, not visions of perfection like I made them out to be. So even those who dumped me wouldn’t get a second shake today. Think about the men who dumped you and whether you’d truly take them back. I’m guessing you wouldn’t.

At the end of the day, it’s not my place to say whether they’re “too close”. Two to three times a week does seem excessive, I’ll admit. What I would probably suggest is that if you’re “the one” for your boyfriend, he’ll start to show it in his actions and won’t want to spend as much time and energy on his ex. You won’t have to say anything at all to make it happen. If you find you’re not getting your relationship needs met, you can leave. In the meantime, get out of your own way. You’re getting yourself tied up in knots and it’s surely not serving your goal of maintaining a healthy relationship with your boyfriend.

You’re the one who just said you trust him 100%.

You’re the one who said he won’t cheat with her.

How about you start living your life like it?

Because nothing makes a man want to cheat (or leave) more than a girlfriend who doesn’t trust him.

As I’ve said many, many times before, it’s either full trust or no trust.

What do you think is going to lead to a better relationship.

And if anyone wants to get on my case about telling her to accept her boyfriend’s behavior, please go back to that paragraph where I said that if she’s not getting her relationship needs met, she should leave. But if she’s GOING to be in the relationship, the way to handle it is to be trusting, not edgy and jealous.

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Comments:

  1. 31
    BeenThruTheWars

    Watch your back around his openly disrespectful mother.  She’s either very immature and rude, or else she’s pushing her own agenda – if not both.

  2. 32
    Selena

    I concur with Ruby #11: “people get back with their ex’s all the time”.
     
    I’ve been back and forth with lovers several times. TWO of my ex’s married women they were involved with before me, after we broke up. Have wondered sometimes how much contact was going on while he and I were still together – hmm.

    I think the coolest, least jealous woman would be uncomfortable with this situation Irene. Question is: do you think you will EVER be comfortable with it? I wouldn’t. But then, I would have been out of there right after meeting Mom.

  3. 33
    Darren Miller

    Hey Even or Irene. This is déjà vu to me. I say that because I was the boyfriend who really connected with my ex. We literally did everything together, from leaving my house in the mornings (we didn’t live together) and working together, to leaving work and going for drinks, yeah pretty intense. It was the fact we had so much in common and had so much history.
    I don’t talk to my ex as much as I used to as my girlfriend didn’t like it. Looking back now when she did say stop talking to her, but I still did and that didn’t work at all. I only understood when she sat me down and asked me what I really wanted from the relationship. I responded with ‘all I want is you’, and she said she felt the same but she was unhappy about me talking to my ex all the time.
    If I really wanted to talk to my ex then there was nothing she could do about it. However, I could see in her eyes how much this hurt her and I realized I have to take her feelings into consideration and compromise.

  4. 34
    Irene

    Thank you all so much for your comments and advice. I was the one that originally posted the question to Evan and here’s an update:

    I ended up breaking up with him 2 weeks ago, without reading any of these comments since I didn’t get an email notification until yesterday lol. But I think the decision agreed with most of your comments. To clarify a few things: he is 30, not sure who broke up with whom re the ex gf (he said it was mutual), like #13 Zann (love your comment btw) said, it was irrelevant in my eyes, we dated for 9 months, he started to say L word a lot after the first month, at least 10 times a day, it felt artificial to me.

    What triggered the breakup: (on the phone) we were planning a trip to go to San Diego together for a wedding, not only did the mom invite herself, she informed him that she will be staying at the Ex gf’s parents’ house, I told my ex bf that it made me feel uber uncomfortable and she should just stay with us.. he said “you want me to change my mom’s itinerary just for you?” and I just lost it. And towards the end, he stated ” I cannot give up my friendship with #$^#(ex gf) base on what we have.” WOW

    We had our one last face to face talk last weekend (also to give each other some belongings back), and it really cleared the cloud for me, my ex bf told me the ex gf bad mouthed me in front of his mom before the mom even met me. Apparently the ex gf thought I was rude to her when I first met her, I was not even close to rude, just not as friendly, which I thought was reasonable. Nonetheless, the mom never liked me and tried pushing me away the whole time passive aggressively since she never told my ex bf that she didn’t like me until we broke up. It was a relationship set up for failure.

    My takeaway from this experience is never put up with a guy who doesn’t take your concerns seriously. My ex’s normal response was always “why are you mad for nothing?” It doesn’t matter its the fact that he’s best friends with an ex or the fact that you don’t like watermelon and he loves it, respect is everything in a relationship. And Angie @ #8 is totally right, he has a emotional relationship with the ex and a romantic/physical relationship with me, having his cake and eat it too. He was still confused at the end of our break up conversation, asking “what went wrong with us?” after I voiced my discomfort countless times. This guy obviously is helpless and it is not my job to make him a better person. I think Darren Miller @33 is a much matured person than my ex.

    I agree with some of your comments that trust is what makes a relationship, but in my case, there were just too many variables, and I don’t have the time or energy to deal with this mess… and I honestly feel bad for the next girl.

    1. 34.1
      GL

      EWWWW! What a jerk! So glad you got out of it. Some people live in this grey, f***ed up world. I have the same concerns about my ex. I feel like I should warn the universe about the crazy crap I went through. His crazy ex actually physically abused him because of me.

  5. 35
    MC

    Irene,

    So happy for you, what you did was right! So many actors in this movie are behaving in a wrong way, good for you you got out! He, she, and the she-mom will never be happy, but now you won’t be around for them to blame everything on you…

    And by the way, “what went wrong with us?”, really? Yeah, I feel bad for the next girl too… Unless she walks away, just like you did!

    Good for you!

  6. 36
    cindy

    Thanks to all for the wonderful commentary and advice.  I am facing a similar situation (tho contact with the ex is not as much).  My BF acts like I shouldn’t be bothered, as “nothing is going on”.  Without flogging a dead horse, suffice to say that I have now made him have to face the situation, and waiting to see how he will handle it.  The gut intuition thing is telling me somethings not right.  (Ex is still crazy about him, asked if they could be friends with fringe benefits if they had to just be friends, –and has taken him back twice before after other break ups. You guys have encouraged me to realize that I’m not crazy, that there is reason for concern, and that there is a basic lack of respect for our relationship. (been seeing him for over a year).  I’m not just being paranoid or unreasonably jealous! T h a n k s!

  7. 37
    Goldie

    Wow, I’ve always been the biggest proponent of staying friends with your exes (and made sure I stayed friends with mine), but this post just goes to show you that someone will always try and take it too far. If you’re cutting down on the time you spend with your family, SO etc. to spend time with your ex-GF, to the tune of 10-20 hours a week (what with those phone convos, lunches and dinners), that’s not “staying friends” in my opinion. And I’ve always found the daily commenting and posting on the same person’s FB to be a dead giveaway that there’s still something going on.

  8. 38
    samantha

    Thank you for this insightful email. My boyfriend gets on better with women then men and has kept alot of ex’s as friends. He is a nice guy so its no wonder they want to stay friends. I have had trouble accepting it at times as a couple in particular clearly want more but as you have shown the more I get upset the worse the situation gets and its not worth it. I have decided to not mention a thing show trust and see where it leads, as you clearly wrote if your relationship needs are not met you can walk away.

    I am thank ful to have found such a clear and honest approached advice. Again many thanks .

  9. 39
    JD

    Irene,
    Good for you. My ex-fiance had an ex-live-in girlfriend like this. She dumped him because she wanted to have a baby and he didn’t.  They 37 by this point and her biological clock was ticking, but his wasn’t.  His family invited her to every family holiday while mostly ignoring me and called her their “fifth sister” in front of me. As soon as we started dating, she became more involved with him. They already worked together, had lunch together regularly.  He invited her to all parties at his house. Then she started taking him to and from the airport, watching his dog when he’d visit or had to go away for work.  She tailored his clothing, made his favorite meals, ran races together. We had a long-distance relationship so she saw him more than I did and whenever we had problems, he would talk to her about it.  She would pull me aside and say things like, “You do know he’s an asshole right? You’ll be disappointed if you live with him.”  Meanwhile, when they were together at a party, he would gush over her and vice versa.  He would literally leave me without even a care as to where I was to talk to her for hours. We even had to triple date with her and the man she had the baby with.  It was so awkward.   We got engaged and our relationship ended when we went to a destination wedding for his brother.  She came too and paid $5000 to be there.  The family treated her like family meanwhile, I was going to be their sister-in-law in only three months.  My ex-fiance catered to her, his sister gushed about her, hung out with her, never called me once to hang out or get to know me.  In fact, his sister didn’t like the way that my ex-fiance was treating his ex-girlfriend. She thought he seemed “cold” to her and she didn’t like it that I didn’t want to be with her 24 hours a day….His sister and brother told him that if I couldn’t accept the old girlfriend as a family member, I shouldn’t be part of the family!  He told me that she would be in his life forever and that he thought we’d fight about it, so less than 24 later, he dumped me …on the phone.  He waited until we were back to our respective houses.  He left me with all sorts of biils, my kids cried because they were attached to him.  He never talked to them at all.  He never talked to me about it really…it was over, end of story. He choose the ex-girlfriend and so did his family.  It was all really odd considering that the ex-girlfriend left him to have another man’s baby and couldn’t live with him either but I guess they are spiritual soulmates.  He wouldn’t consider my feelings ever and in fact, rearranged a party date to include his ex and exclude me!  I was leaving my secure job, selling my house, moving my children for him, and he wasn’t willing to just curtail his relationship with the ex.  I never asked him to end it, but I told him that I wasn’t going to be her best friend (she had bought me shots on the wedding night and asked me to be her best friend, which I thought was so odd…).  In the end, he just wasn’t able to commit to me, to make me a priority and his family seemed like they already voted too…they wanted the ex-girlfriend…not me.  Very, very painful.  I was absolutely devastated especially since we had known each other for over 32 years and were reunited lovers and friends ourselves….You’re better off and so am I.

  10. 40
    Linda

    Wow. Insightful. My significant other just recently took a trip with his x wife guess where? Hawaii. OF course it was for his “boys”. Did I mention he had promised that trip to my daughter and I… True. Well about ready to leave and this is after 71/2 years. His family still loves his x and I am “that” woman. Life is educational. I am in my 40’s. I am educated and a professional. Perhaps I have no common sense.

  11. 41
    Cat

    I just went through this but not just with 1, actually 4 ex girlfriends. Only one I felt all right about cause she dumped him. All the others he dumped and maintained a co-dependent relationship with. He has held a relationship with 3 of them for 18-20 years and the last girlfriend of 12 years over the past 4 years behind my back, and she and I do not like each other at all. I actually hate her. His relationship with all them was secret. He told me he stopped seeing them but never told me anything about the ex of 12 years until I got spyware and found out everything. I suspected. After a 4 year relationship this was highly painful mostly because he said the worse things about me to them behind my back and shared my private details even illness with them. I have found this guy to be a total narcissist and studied the traits of narcissist and his one ex girlfriend also is. They are narcissists and have highly co-dependent relationships. He and his friends are all English… I am American and NEVER experienced this before with ant boyfriend andI have had foreign boyfriends from other countries. This guy is a complete liberal and has no boundaries but does not use drugs, comes from a broken family and lacks confidence, Very handsome guy but he never seemed to respect my feelings- I left him but I am shattered by the entire fact that he lied and constantly lied and saw them behind my back. I do not recommend English men but I am sure not all are like this but many- look at Prince Charles.

  12. 42
    Cat

    Also trust is not black and white esp when a partner betrays you- life is not black and white and to say you trust or don’t is immature to say the least. When you trust then something happens so you don’t trust or trust again immediately- good grief you people who say this must have little experience of the world- trust is gained and for some it is a gradual thing, not instant…. no wonder the divorce rates are so high- you completely trust then once something happens, you don’t.  It is relative based on a person’s background and needs as well as experiences. If your teenager gets pregnant, has an abortion, etc… as a parent would you fully trust your teen not to get pregnant again instantly? or not trust them so disown them? I think the normal thing would to gain trust again over a period of time by them proving that they are going to do the right thing. Same with recovering from infidelity in your marriage- it takes time to regain trust esp trust that has been fractured.

  13. 43
    marymary

    cat
    I’m sorry for your experience. I’m English born and don’t think that your ex or Prince Charles are typical.  Two men don’t represent all English men.
    Mind you, at least Prince Charles demonstrates that not all men are looking for younger and hotter. Even one with lots of options.
    Beware the man who causes you to hate other women.  The other women are a distraction. The real problem is him.  I guess there is some fascination to watching your boyfriend prance about with other women but best to spare yourself the drama and just leave.

  14. 44
    Hassi

    The thing that really puzzles me is why anyone would want to be great friends with an ex.  I can understand if they grew up together and or can’t avoid each other due to their social circles; were married before for instance.  In all of these cases however, you still don’t expect the best of buddies… but something civil.  Is there a shortage of people around to start new friendships with? What about your other circle of friends?  Surely not everyone lives their lives like Friends (the American comedy show). I am not friends with any of my ex BFs because I see no benefits in it whatsoever.  The ones I wanted to be friends with in the past was only because I had feelings for them!  And the ones that wanted to maintain a friendship with me was because they still had feelings for me.  What is the point?  Make new friends I say and keep your present BF/GF at the top of your priority.  You don’t need your exes – they became an ex for a reason.

  15. 45
    angela

    I call bullshit!!! that’s just not normal honey!!! Hello.

  16. 46
    lchoc

    I don’t understand these people who say if you trust he won’t cheat then let it go. Even if you don’t think your boyfriend will cross any physical boundaries it doesn’t negate the emotional boundaries.  A person can not possibly fully invest in a relationship with someone when they’re holding on to emotional ties with someone else, regardless of if they happen to go as far as banging them or not.  So just because she trusts her boyfriend isnt going to get down to business with his ex doesn’t mean she isn’t getting hella shortchanged.
     
    They’ll do everything they can to keep playing both sides of the fence and as long as they’ve got that friendship card you’ll always lose so don’t even bother trying.  

  17. 47
    Caitlyn

    Ohmygosh right!!!! I kinda have the same problem with my boyfriend. Like his ex still texts him sometimes & talks to him, & he knows it makes me mad & really jealous so he tries to distance himself from her. But sometimes i just wish that she would just completely forget about him altogether because it just makes me mad that she still talks to him, especially because it always makes me think that she wants him back. & I think she is still in love with him. :/ which is another thing I really hate because I love him more then anything. But I guess I need to just forget about it, & not worry about it because I don’t think anything will happen, & plus my trust my boyfriend with all my heart & he said that he would never cheat on me or anything so I trust him :) so anyway, what I am trying to say is I know how you feel  & I know what you’re going through, & yes I know it really does suck. But if he REALLY TRULY loves you like mine loves me, then you should have nothing to worry about :) just trust him that he won’t hurt you :)

  18. 48
    WhatsGoingOn

    Irene, I know this post was awhile ago and I just found it.  I’m glad you were able to find closure and think you made the right decision.  This guy does not seem to have any emotional insight into his own situation or feelings or to his family dynamics and until he matures he is not going to be a good partner for anyone.  You are right to say beware of a bf who does not take your concerns seriously and is dismissive of how you feel.  That shows a distinct lack of respect.  And clearly he was not that clueless because he did decide the basis of your relationship was not strong enough for him to make any compromises.
     
    I don’t see this issue so much as a trust issue as an issue of care and respect.  Clearly what was distressing you was the fact that you felt unwelcome and an outsider in your own relationship.  The staking of a place for his ex in his life and telling you this is the way it has to be, the attempts of his mom to unfairly undermine and get rid of you and he didn’t even defend you, ignoring your feelings of hurt, this is bad behavior.  If he loved you and your relationship was important to him, he would defend it against attack from all others.  
     
    When we first started dating, my fiancé’s ex gf who lived in another continent kept calling him several times a week.  You can imagine the effort that took given how far away she was.  He didn’t always take her calls but didn’t stop her either.  It really began to bother me when she started sending angry messages to us when he didn’t call back right away.  He had not told her about me.  I finally sat him down and said look he had the right to be friends with his ex but this was too intrusive, he needed to set boundaries.  He said was I jealous?  I said maybe a little but how would you feel if my ex bf did that?  Plus it was kinder to her to tell her where he stood so she can get on with her life.  She had broken up with him for another guy and that didn’t work out and now I suspect she’s lonely and wants him back.  He did respect me because our relationship was strong and told her he was in a serious relationship and then faded out contact after that.  She also backed away after he made it clear. It helped that his mom liked me and also told him the same thing.  Friendships with exes are ok but you need to have healthy boundaries!

  19. 49
    judy

    What an interesting topic.  In my own experience.  I’m the ex-wife and his wife can’t stand me.  However, when my ex-husband or rather my child invites me to ex-family “do’s”, I weigh up how important it is to me and my child to attend, because the ex-wife will do a hissy fit on me anyway.
    When I was going to get married again, the ex-wife was really insecure about the fact that her husband was going to get married again (she was in a relationship herself) and called my future husband every single day. 
    My decision to cancel my wedding plans were based on the fact that, despite the limits that I placed (no, she is NOT coming for the holidays or either festivities), and the fact that my husband to be had difficulties HEARING them, it was obvious that he and she were still in a relationship (at least emotional) despite being divorced.
    Whether they would marry again, I have no idea.  But something was present, and even if it was not love, it was something.
    I did not want to take that into my “new” marriage.
     
    Judy No. 10 – This is not the same Judy but I agree with you.

  20. 50
    Anna

    I understand and have been experiencing similar problems with my current boyfriend. He is very social and friends with several of his ex girlfriends which a few of them still have feelings for him. There is one is particular I am worried about. When he first spoke of her and himself in the past; he said they broke up because she is not a nice person. Now he talks to her on the phone several times a week, has been meeting up with her more often and I’m not sure how often he texts her. He does do work related projects with her but I know that it is not all just work related. I hear the phone conversations. I became more so worried when he said that she should tag along with us to our next Hawaii vacation. We are going with a group of friends but I feel that it is disrespectful to force me into spending the entire vacation with his ex girlfriend. I think he would not be as understanding if I brought an ex along on our trip. I’m confused and am getting a little tired of having hurt feelings. I want to tell him in the best way because I don’t want to step on any toes.

  21. 51
    Desiree

    Way to go Irene :) U deserve better. No woman should have to share their boyfriend with the boyfriend’s ex. When a guy is friends with his ex is one thing, but what he had with his ex was a little beyond “friendship”…. He practically had two girlfriends. I congratulate you on escaping that hell.

  22. 52
    Tia

    Can I just ask the pink elephant in the room question? Once she first found out about this 1-5 dates into it, why did she agree to continue if she knew he had a female friend, and she can’t tolerate that? Don’t you think it’s psychological, and there is something in herself that….

  23. 53
    Lisa

    Wow. Hard one. But maybe someone can help me too. I googled this because I’m torn up worrying about my best friend. She has a baby and toddler with her husband and they all live with his ex-girlfriend (!) She just moved back in with them! I’ve told her I think its not wise when she lived with them about a year ago (!), and I know she agreed but said she was nice.. She also said ‘no’ when the exgirlfriend wanted to come to their wedding 3 years ago, so I don’t think she wants it either but seems to think its ok? Is it?? They live in the middle of nowhere and the ex has been living at the other end of their farm (still on their land) all this time but just now moved back into their house with them. Just in time for Christmas with the newborn! I’m so worried about my friend but I know its not my business but I’m just so worried she’s not got the emotional strength to say ‘no’ anymore… I mean this woman is bonding with her children as well?? And renovating in their house? What rights will my friend have if their marriage breaks down? I mean having small kids drains you and its not the best time for romance, so it puts a strain on every marriage.. I just keep thinking how vulnerable she is but then she is a smart woman.I guess all I can do is be there for her to talk to but it just makes me mad. We’ve been friends since school and they’ve only been married about 3 years… and of course he was together with his ex for something like 10 years… I just don’t know what to do?! I know its not my business and I do live a fair way away with my own husband & small kids so only see her occassionally so can’t really see whats going on. But it just seems a recipe for disaster! I should just stay out of it, right??

  24. 54
    Sofia

    I’d honestly leave. Maybe that’s not really healthy with your relationship I mean if you trust him 100% than why not give it a shot. Good luck 

  25. 55
    ForHerByHer

    I actually don’t believe this is a hard one. I think it’s straight forward. The boyfriend, his family, the ex-girlfriend and her family have not transitioned into a  healthy new relationship with one another. It’s blatantly obvious that this is uncomfortable for a new girlfriend… ANY new girlfriend and sadly, nobody seems to be understanding this and making that change. 
    He may be Mr. Perfect in many ways, but it’s important to think of yourself in a situation like this. The boyfriend has to UNDERSTAND how unhealthy this is for his own life and the new woman in his life. Nobody else can make him understand it and until he understands it, he won’t make changes.
    If I were in that situation, I would move on. It’s going to be a very long struggle with lots of issues being brought up.
    These two haven’t really broken up yet!

  26. 56
    Jane

    I can’t believe you’re saying just as long as you trust him and know he’s not cheating it’s okay! What ever happened to RESPECT? If you trust a man and he’s not cheating on you but walks all over you, and disrespects you, that doesn’t make a good relationship! Cheating is not the only thing that matters. It matters that the man you’re with respects you and if his ex being in the picture makes you feel disrespected he should care about YOU more than he cares about HER (you’re the one he’s dating) and cut her out of his life — at least if he cares about you at all/has any respect for you. And if he doesn’t? Then be gone fool! Don’t waste time with a man who doesn’t respect you and who cares about his ex being in his life more than you being in his life. That’s what it comes down to.

    1. 56.1
      Nissa

      What Evan is suggesting does not warrant the level of irritation in your post. Evan has not spent much time here suggesting “if you are not respected, dump him”. Why? Because most women asking this question won’t. He already says “If you find you’re not getting your relationship needs met, you can leave”.
      I agree with you; if you are not being respected, that’s a dealbreaker, so dump the guy. The problem here is that the poster says ” I don’t feel respected, but I don’t want to dump him – I want him to change to what I want him to be”.
      But the boyfriend has been clear. He wants both women in his life at an equal level (the poster has described disrespectful, consistent interaction vs. respectful, occasional interaction), and if the girlfriend does not like it, too bad, because the other girl is more important to him (as evident in the poster’s comment that after she discussed it with him, he apparently was not interested in making any change, only that his mom should have shut up about it).
      So perhaps you are more in agreement with Evan than you think.
      that most people in general don’t want to give up the good things they are getting in the relationship in spite of the things they don’t like. So perhaps here is another way to say it: only you can decide what is a dealbreaker, and what is not. If it’s not a dealbreaker, then the LW has chosen, and Evan’s post is about what to do when you have CHOSEN to accept the behavior.
       

      1. 56.1.1
        Nissa

        Sorry the last paragraph was not supposed to come up. :-(

  27. 57
    Pol

    I know not a lot of people are as cautious as I am, but I always make my boyfriends consent that they will not be talking to their exes.  If they find it to be too much coming from me, I know that they’re not willing to make compromises for me.  

  28. 58
    NN

    Interesting to read different opinions about this topic. I became a ‘victim’ of a similar situation. My ex-boyfriend was extremely close to his ex, chatting DAILY and his excuse was that he had take care of his ex’s daughter (who had a father!). I was understanding at first, he made me feel good and i was happy – until he went home (where his ex lives) and stayed at her place two weeks. Why? Because the little one was missing him. Accepted that too (stupid, i know!). I told him that i was feeling uncomfortable about it but he convinced me that they are just friends and there was nothing for me to worry about. But what he did not tell me upon his return, is that while he was staying with her, he had planned to take them on holiday for two weeks for Xmas and New Year. He did not ask me to join. I was really hurt and left. The worse part of it all is that he never told her that he was with me. We were together over one year and i did not realize how much i was being hurt and disrespected. This is a classic case of an egocentric man who cares not about the feeling of others.

    Irene? If you love this man, consider yourself lucky that at least his ex knows of your existence. My advice – leave, you deserve better. The pain, stress is simply ain’t worth it.

  29. 59
    maria

    I have a great friendship going with an ex of 7 years.  We have heaps in common but….could not live together.    It is mature and grown up to be able to let a person go when you know that it will never work out.   Having said that, Why should you cut every person out of your life just because it didnot work out.    I cut everyone out of my life with my first divorce, it was painful,isolating and lonely.   I have matured and I have a best friend in my ex.     The new gf should wake up and grow up……some friends are better than family.  I am sure a current gf has a past as well and has not cut everyone out of her life!!

  30. 60
    Terica

    I am going through something just like this..  Of course I wouldn’t be up at 6:15 a.m on the internet searching for answers..  I wasn’t bothered by my boyfriend’s ex wife at first until I seen she just used him everytime she called was because she wanted something and when she did make promises to do something, she wouldn’t follow through with it.. My last straw was the other week she came to eat and later told My boyfriend that I was meaning to act like his ex girlfriend did when she was present.. That was it!!!!! I was pissed off!!  I had ENOUGH!!! 
     

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