Should I Let My Boyfriend Be Friends With His Ex?

Should I Let My Boyfriend Be Friends With His Ex?

I want to know where you stand on the whole “staying friends with your ex” thing. Recently I moved to the country/ town where my boyfriend lives, after a few months of long-distance relationship with visits intermittent. Things had been great between us. Of course it’s early days. We’ve both been loving, attentive, kind and considerate. Two things happened when I got here, however, which have me thinking. I don’t know if they’re related.

First, when I arrived I was very ill with a horrible cold. My boyfriend was also sick (with food poisoning) but he avoided me physically. No hugging, kissing… He explained it was because he didn’t want to get sick again in the last few days before his work ended before vacation. I was hurt but understood. I had thought he’d lost interest but took what he said and accepted it. Second, a few days ago while he was on skype with his dad, a text-message came to him on the phone. Yes, I made the mistake of looking at it! We hadn’t been private about these things in the past at all. The text was from his ex-girlfriend arranging to meet him for lunch on Friday. I made the additional mistake of scrolling back and then realised they’d been talking while I was making him dinner. He had gone outside to speak privately, and I had a hunch it was something untoward.

Well, I wrote a note saying “I’m sorry I invaded your privacy. When the text came I thought it might have been important. Your ex-girlfriend wasn’t to meet you for lunch on Friday.” I was very tired and just went up to bed. He came up soon after and we talked. He defended being friends with her (they dated for about two years) saying she helped him during a very difficult time in his life and so on. I told him I didn’t think it was appropriate. Also, I pointed out his tendency to keep his relations with her private. Once in the past, he had received a text from her and he turned over the phone so I wouldn’t notice. I made no comment at that time…

I think it is unacceptable for him to be meeting her, texting and talking with her when he is four months into a new relationship. What do you think? He said he’s not attracted to her and so on, but I just don’t like the idea of him hanging out with her, what if he invites her over for dinner, etc? By the way, I do trust my boyfriend, but I find it almost an insult to me, or to our relationship, that he would still be in touch with her. Please answer my question, I’d love to know what you think. Thanks, Emily

Dear Emily,

Yeah, you probably asked the wrong guy.

I think you are particularly sensitive to your own needs and feelings and somewhat clueless about the needs and feelings of your boyfriend. So let’s get this straight:

Your boyfriend has only lost interest if he shows no affection when you’re both healthy, not when you’re both sick.

While it may not feel good to have your boyfriend keep his distance when you had a horrible cold, you have to admit, it’s pretty practical, isn’t it? My wife travels for a living and I can recall at least two times when she wouldn’t kiss her sick husband because it might jeopardize her health before a trip. How selfish would it be for my need for affection to outweigh my wife’s need to stay healthy? How insecure would I have to be to think that my wife’s act of self-preservation was somehow an insult to me?

This is paranoid thinking and it serves you no practical purpose. Your boyfriend has only lost interest in you if he shows no affection when you’re both healthy, not when you’re both sick. Cut him some slack, will ya?

Next, you “made the mistake of looking at his text message,” and then “you made the mistake of scrolling back and reading the conversation” and then you made the mistake of bringing this whole thing up with him and then you made the mistake of thinking that it’s inappropriate for ex’s to be friends… I could go on, but this is enough of a run-on sentence already.

Jealousy is a useless emotion, Emily. The only thing that jealousy indicates is how insecure you are. It says nothing about your boyfriend.

If you have a man that’s untrustworthy, then he shouldn’t be your boyfriend. If he’s your boyfriend, then you have no choice but to trust him completely.

If you don’t trust him because you’re insecure about his friendship with his ex, you’re only going to accomplish the following:

1) You’ll make him feel like crap because his own girlfriend doesn’t trust him.
2) You’ll make him feel trapped because he’s dating someone who reads his text messages.
3) You’ll make him feel that he can’t be honest with you about his friendship with his ex – because he CAN’T.
4) You’ll make him feel that he can find a woman who DOES trust him.
5) You’ll make him feel that he can’t be himself around you, which is the highest compliment a man can give to a woman.

Trust is the foundation of any relationship, Emily, and if you don’t have it, you don’t really have anything.

Good men and women stay in touch with their exes because their exes are kind people with whom they share a lot of history. What you forget when you’re jealous of the ex is that there’s a REASON they broke up. And if he’s with you now, trust that there’s a reason he’s with you, too.

You’ll be surprised at how well men respond to being trusted.

There’s no reason for a man to destroy all evidence of his past just because he’s dating you. I have photos, love letters, and emails from women in my past. I even wrote to my ex on Facebook today. She’s had us over for dinner multiple times. Not to mention that my wife has her first wedding album in a drawer in our home. What? I should make her burn it because I’M insecure that she left him 6 years ago?

If you’re insulted that your boyfriend is in touch with his ex, that’s your prerogative, but you’re pretty much ensuring the destruction of your own relationship.

Because any man who cuts off his friendships because of an insecure ex will get what he deserves – an irrationally jealous girlfriend who will never trust him no matter what.

Be a class act and invite her over for dinner.

You’ll be surprised at how well men respond to being trusted.

P.S. A woman’s fear of being hurt is one of the main reasons why men disappear. Click here to learn more:

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Comments:

  1. 271
    Jade

    You have every right to be concerned about this behaviour.  He is still in contact with his ex?  Still going for lunch with her?  The fact is, he is not emotionally available for a relationship with you and I am sorry to say this, but it is fairly obvious to me that he still has very deep feelings for his ex.  PLEASE listen to your gut instinct.  When he did not hug you, I can tell you that that is a sure sign he has got someone else on his mind.  I know what I am talking about.  I have been there, done that, worn the T-shirt.  You are worth better than that.  You deserve a Man that can give you ALL of himself, not just a little bit.

  2. 272
    HopefulAfterDivorce

    Evan, I love your articles!! I have a history of unhealthy, co-dependent relationships(as I have learned through several years of therapy!) I’ve been working hard to understand what healthy relationships “look like” as I have never experienced one. I also work hard to undo my unhealthy thinking. I SO appreciate your direct approach when giving advice! It’s the tough love that some of us need to hear but it also gives me the confidence to let go of these unhealhy ways of thinking(such as jealousy over boyfriend being friends with an ex) because I truly want to experience a healthy relationship. Your advice is very freeing. Thank you!!

  3. 273
    Rita

    I don’t see ANY reason to be friends with ex’s.  What’s the point?

  4. 274
    Mill

    Evan, I’ve been enjoying your posts, but I believe you approached this one rather crudely. Everybody has his/her own idea of whether keeping in close touch with an ex is good/bad. Here, the woman does not seem to support it, while her partner actively keeps in touch with his ex, even showing arguable signs of secretive behaviour. It might’ve been better if he were open about it in the first place, instead of her going behind his back.

    I’m not saying he is wrong for staying in touch with the ex. I’m saying that a woman (or a man) has the right to feel negatively about this, and if they doe, it doesn’t immediately equate to them being insecure/not trusting. For all you know, he may be one of those jerks who cheats with the ex. I do not support the way you berated her for not being able to embrace this set-up. Sure, he doesn’t need to burn photo albums, but sneaky texting? Making pivate lunch plans? It’s something for them to work out together. But it most certainly isn’t a case where you blame one side for feeling sensitively.

    I personally do not prefer a partner who keeps a close relationship with an ex, and I believe that’s a fair preference to have; on my end, I cut my ex-partners loose because that’s what enables me to make a healthy recovery, thus ensuring I have no emotional baggage which wouldn’t be fair to any future partner of mine. Everyone is different here.

  5. 275
    Paula Wood

    Are you having a laugh ? Of course it’s wrong , he shouldn’t be even texting his ex or even meeting up with her ! Dump him now before he breaks your heart , totally unacceptable behaviour!!

  6. 276
    Trina

    To the person that wrote to emily. Youbare a selfiah mam and an ex ahould be put in the past.  Its inmapropriaye and juat proves that you are a needy man and not happy with yourself that you cant be happy with the one woman you are with. Sex ia not the only way of being inmapropriate.  Your wrong period! Get a clue!

  7. 277
    Jamie

    Wow … I was feeling woooow me. My boyfriends ex asked when we got together. Obviously the timeline overlapped…. but you’re right he’s with me how dare I get jealous that she comes to my house while I’m at work and leaves as soon as I get home. I’m not being sarcastic, I know he loves me. I shouldn’t worry. I’m better than that

  8. 278
    KateT

    I like to think I’m open-minded and can see both sides of the coin however, this is frustrating. I was in a similar situation with my BF of now, three years, but NONE of us can generalize or assume the many factors that could influence this particular situation. In my case, I was upset, NOT because of the friendship, but because of the LYING. Evan, I too was extremely wary of the fact that you had a double standard when claiming that his trust should be assumed, but not hers? Why didn’t he initially assume that his GF would be trusting of an honest friendship with an EX!??? That’s been my biggest issue with my BF maintaining contact with his ex. It’s ironic because I truly try to explain that it wouldn’t be such a big deal, if he didn’t lie about it, but that doesn’t convince him that it’s not true because he NEVER gave me a chance. I plead with him that if he were honest, I don’t care who he’s friends with and would be happy to meet him, but it’s difficult that he CHOSE to not give me that chance, and then I AM blamed for it because I am labeled insecure. I wasn’t insecure, his disrespect, dishonesty and lack of integrity did not make me feel secure. Again, I don’t think there’s a one-size-fits-all for this and I agree with Evan that it’s important to realize when issues are just your own insecurities,and not let them ruin a relationship, BUT this guy LIED initially, which really sucks AND like many people on the thread said, I think whatever it may be that personally is uneasy to your partner, should be a priority, no matter the context. Values should be shared and this would prevent the incompatible partners from staying together.

  9. 279
    Rock-sana

    Emely has been completely honest, express her concern and inconfort openly (admit to feel jealous is very difucult for someone who is balanced, but it is a feeling and therefore should not repress but handle it, you can not judge a feeling). She immediately told her Boyfriend when and  how she find out (without been proud – been honest). She has first been honest with herself about how she feels, hiding feelings to be “cool” or “modern” or  others think that is the way a great person acts, is a recipe for disaster.
     
    Your boyfriend  has to learn about honesty and courage to be open about his thinking. If it is fine for him for both of them to see “ex” Then he has to say that out loud and strong, then Emily with her freedom can make a decision if she is ok with his position, if she decide to grow as a person or  look for someone who has a similar vision to hers.
    That’s honesty, every human being is different so no right or wrong or a particular way to act. All we can do is first be honest with our feelings and then honest with your partner and show who we are and what we think. Good Emily for being honest with yourself.

  10. 280
    Gigi

    I’m sorry but she should be concerned.  I allowed my new boyfriend to maintain his “friendships” with several previous people.  While on vacation I saw a vulgar full crotch shot with vulgar comments from one of them that was married.  I didn’t react until I saw his response which was and equally vulgar picture of his package & describing what he wanted to do with her…the week before he told his daughter’s that he wanted to marry me.  He’s not a youngster.  We are both 63.  I was stunned, shocked, & devastated.  Needless to say I broke up.  I call BS on maintaining old relationships

  11. 283
    jacx

    hey so i have the same problem, and i tried to talk to his ex, and even ask if she would have dinner with us so i can feel more confertable about their relationship but she said that she doesnt need my friendship and she doesnt think i need hers, and she doesnt feel she needs to meet me or be friends with me because i am dating her ex.

  12. 284
    Wyatt Dick

    There are no rights or rules in a relationship, just two unique people trying to be happy together.

    A loving BF should know that a new GF–especially one who has given up so much to move to his town–would naturally be insecure or jealous about him hanging out with an Ex. Right or wrong, such feelings are human nature. And they are difficult to simply reason away.

    That doesn’t mean that having an Ex for a friend is necessarily impossible, but you need to recognize that it is a special situation that needs care. A good BF would basically not hang out with any Exes that he just liked the company of. If he wants to remain in regular contact with an Ex, it needs to be a for a really good reason. They should have a truly special bond that doesn’t compete with the relationship, but that is also worth the cost of preserving. And then you are going to have to talk to the GF openly about it and see what you can do to work something out that works for everyone. Make it above board. Have the Ex over for dinner. See if she can possibly be friends with your new GF. Whatever it takes to make this as unthreatening for your GF as possible.

     

  13. 285
    Pete

    Look how the answer distorts what’s going on here. He makes it sound like he’s “just in touch with his ex”. Then he makes it sound like she’s telling who he can and can’t talk to. THAT IS NOT WHAT’S GOING ON. He is more than “just in touch”. He is making dates to spend time alone with her. That is what she’s upset about. She doesn’t care they still keep in touch. She doesn’t like him giving her preferential treatment. This is a common thing people do with their ex. They breakup but still carry on a slightly more than friends emotional type relationship. It’s not cool. Then they use the jealousy word to justify their actions. What is it with people and not knowing to show their significant other they’re valued and a little more prioritized than friends?

    This guy should’ve been dumped. Why? Because when you let your significant other do this crap, you hurt and wait and try to trust, and then they use all your negative feelings as a reason to cheat on you and blame you for it. Dump people like this. They’re not ready or able to have a meaningful relationship. Everyone who defends that crap is just rationalizing why they should be able to do it. When the tables are turned they can’t handle it either.

  14. 286
    M

    Emily, this man’s response to you is BS. Your boyfriend should respect your feelings and YOU, and by being secretive. Yes, you should have trust for your boyfriend, but he has given you valid reason to distrust him. If this is something you have talked about, and he as seen that it upsets you, he should be putting your feelings above those of his ex-girlfriend because you should be his first priority. This man thinks that relationship are always dealt with logically and that is the best way they will work, and while that is important, a relationship that relies only on logic really just sounds boring. You have the right to be emotional if your intuition is stinging. You have to do what is right for you, but he also deserves to know how you are feeling. Give him a chance to defend himself

  15. 287
    Rosie

    I feel that Emily had a very rational fear. I don’t think that she was being over dramatic, actually- her concerns seem pretty reasonable. Two years is a long time, enough to fall in love with someone, that’s for sure. Its very difficult -yet, not impossible- to get rid of every emotional response to that other person and stay friends the way he seemed to be claiming. I understand that trust is key in a relationship but the sneaking around and excuses -although, reasonable- can still be worrisome. I think Emily was “insecure”, I think she felt worried that this man she was very into seemed to be more interested in his ex when she was right there in front of him.

    I’m not an insecure woman, and I’m also not the jealous type. But come on, you can’t say that he wasn’t raising any red flags! I know I would be concerned too. I wouldn’t freak out on him and I wouldn’t accuse him of anything, but I would talk to him about because it is something that would bother me, of course I wouldn’t leave it alone. That doesn’t make me insecure, that makes me rational.

    If he wanted to meet his ex on Friday for lunch- why didn’t he just say so? From what I gathered before she never acted crazed or jealous around other girls -again, I don’t actually know-. So why lie? That’s what would go through my head. Why lie? Why hide it? I’m confident in who I am, so go ahead, meet with your ex. Who am I to stop you, right? But he was lying and sneaking around and I think that was what really upset her…. But that’s just my opinion.

  16. 288
    Be True To Yourself

    On reading the posts here, it is evident that we all think and behave very differently and we all have our ideas of right and wrong.  I have recently ended a four month relationship because I have found myself feeling increasingly uncomfortable with the arrangement between my ex and his former partner.  This was not a decision that I made lightly, on the contrary.  Despite our feelings for one another, I’ve had to accept the fact that I do have the qualities required to be accepting of his on-going arrangement.  Due to distance, he stays at his ex partner’s home for approximately one week at a time to enable him to maintain contact with his child.  Although I have admiration for him for being a caring and loving parent, this situation does not rest easy with me personally.  No amount of reassurance will ever remove that niggling doubt of uncertainty of potential intimacy between them both during his stay.  The opportunity will present itself time and time again and I cannot find it in myself to be accepting of it.  This has been painful to admit and I believe and acknowledge that these are my shortcomings not his.  Hats off to all those people who do not, and would not feel threatened by this situation.  You are made of better stuff than I am.  In essence, what I am trying to say is that you have to be honest and true to yourself.  It is said that a lack of boundaries invites a lack of respect.  I believe there is truth in this sentiment.  Boundaries define who we are; what is me and what isn’t me, what I am comfortable with and what I am not, etc etc.  I reiterate some of the the sentiments contained within the posts here and I agree that if being protective of my feelings is seen as insecure than so be it.  I can live with that, however as a mature adult with grown up children I have to accept that at this age and stage in my life, I cannot continue a relationship with someone with that kind of set up and/or level of commitment to somebody else.  They are happy with this arrangement and while it not my place to dictate any different in respect of what I perceive to be appropriate and inappropriate, I can dictate what is and what is not appropriate for me.  In conclusion, the only solution in my mind was to end it and while it hurts like hell, I have to be true to myself.  Matters of the heart are always very complex and seem to be more so the older I get.  Forming a trusting relationship is not easy and running in the opposite direction anytime there’s a cross word or indifference of opinion is not the answer in every instance, however if it does not feel right and you’re left feeling increasingly uneasy with no sign of resolve, then hold your head up high, say your peace and move on.

  17. 289
    Lulu

    The answe Even gave is off the wall and a fantasy one! What planet did you come from Evan… You don’t take her concerns seriously just by your response. These are real problems with exes and being in contact with them when there is no common reason  will cause issues in new relationships. What I mean by common reasons is when you have children together and there is constant communication between exes because of children and not making plans to go on  dates or spend some caring time with ex. If that’s the case then your using new gf or bf  as a bandaide to move on and that is called “rebound”!

    1. 289.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      I come from Planet Trust. Relationships on our planet have a much higher success rate than on both Planets Fear and Paranoia. If you have a boyfriend you can’t trust, dump your boyfriend. But don’t have a boyfriend and treat him like a criminal.

  18. 290
    Dawn

    why not have sex with the ex as well if that was good to? There needs to be some boundaries and respect.  I don’t think it’s so much about insecurity as feeling like, the past is the past, build on your present and future with your current partner.  There’s nothing wrong with keeping in touch on occasion with an ex if that’s the only intention on both sides.  And there’s enough trust built within the relationship that you know for a fact there’s no romantic interest there.

    Theres the possibility of self esteem issues, there’s also the possibility of not having enough boundaries and not feeling like a priority in the relationship.  If a man is continually making you the relationship a priority, always communicating and being honest, you can choose your battles.  If something is missing in the relationship, you don’t feel secure about the relationship, not necessarily about yourself.  There’s a difference.

    Evan, sounds like your wife has very little boundaries.  And that could be why you married her.  Sounds like you can do whatever you please and she wouldn’t even bat an eye lash.

    1. 290.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      @Dawn

      Aha, I’m glad you wrote that. My wife and I have a very successful marriage specifically because we are both inclined to say yes and try to please each other. So when she takes a job as the school treasurer, even though I know that means that takes away from our time together, I say yes. And when she says she wants to go out with her Mommy friends for the fourth time in two weeks when I haven’t left the house at all, I say yes. And when she says it’s important to be with her family for Thanksgiving and Christmas even though it means I’m not going to see my family, I say yes.

      Successful couples SAY YES when there’s no strong reason to say no. So, to turn it around…

      If I go to speak on a Matchmakers Cruise in the Caribbean with a group of 40 women and me, should my wife say NO?
      If she said no, what would that say about our relationship? What would that say about me?

      It would say she doesn’t trust me to not cheat on her for four days on the high seas. And I don’t want to be with someone who thinks that little of me. Which is why the very thing you call “no boundaries” is what I call trust, emotional IQ and selflessness. We each try to say yes to each other as much as possible and in the rare situation that one of us says no (what you call a boundary), we talk it out like adults.

      Fact is, when I do “whatever I please,” my wife DOESN’T bat an eyelash because I’m honest, ethical, and have never given her any reason to mistrust me. So we go back to the beginning: if you’re with a man you don’t trust, dump him. But if you trust him, you’d BETTER let him do pretty much whatever he pleases, which is EXACTLY what you’d like him to do for you.

      1. 290.1.1
        Jeremy

        Such an excellent comment, Evan.  And not to beat a dead horse, but it is so FASCINATING to see the difference in how men and women perceive “boundaries” – both in terms of what boundaries should entail and how important they should be.

        1. Henriette

          Please, @Jeremy: some men and some women.

      2. 290.1.2
        Dawn

        Thanks for the response, Evan.  And I completely understand where you’re coming from.  I noticed you mentioned very reasonable examples you gave to say yes to, mostly work related and ‘mommy’ friends.  What about ex boyfriends of your wife? And, I’m coming from a place of wanting to learn,  I’m just learning, improving and trying to understand how to be the best partner in a relationship.  I’m thinking when a couple is living busy lives between work and family, hobbies/gym, etc., is it really that much of a priority to spend extra time with a former partner? I can understand if they’re decent people, and you keep in touch, catching up and wishing them well, but what purpose does it serve? In my experiences, ex’s who I thought were friends actually were just trying to take another stab at getting back together in some way, or hook up.  I would be more trusting of knowing the background of the relationship (childhood friend, high school sweetheart, best buddies growing up), in order to feel comfortable with my boyfriends ongoing friendship with an ex.

        1. Evan Marc Katz

          @Dawn: “Is it really that much of a priority to spend extra time with a former partner? What purpose does it serve?”

          The answers to this are extremely varied:

          1. If they are parents, they have no choice but to remain a part of each others’ lives for the sake of the kids.
          2. If they were married for a long time, they were a unit that is hard to replace. Divorce is like cutting off a limb. Perhaps they still see redeeming value in their friendship even though they couldn’t live together for the rest of their lives.
          3. If they just dated for a bit, perhaps they’re “just friends.” I have two women I dated for three weeks 13 years ago that I’m still friendly with. My wife and I go out with them and their husbands. Before they had husbands, I would see them alone for dinner or sometimes with my wife. They were friends. Nothing more.

          Your key phrase is this: “In my experiences, ex’s who I thought were friends actually were just trying to take another stab at getting back together in some way, or hook up.”

          Yes, there’s a lot of that. But hopefully you can see three examples of relationships that are NOT like that, which should give great weight to the idea that your version of events isn’t the only one, and that, yes, men and women can be friends. What “purpose” do female friendships serve? Not that different than male ones.

  19. 291
    Leia Lai

    I found out recently that my boyfriend and his ex were still in touch. They even had an agreement that he can stay in her house during his fishing trip, and she can use his beach house on her holidays.

    Well, we are a new couple (dating for six months), so there are many new things we learn from each other.

    At first he said she’s his relative. But he admitted soon afterwards that he lied and told me the truth.

    I was mad and stayed away from him for a few days. Finally I told him that I felt uncomfortable with the arrangement. But I also said I will understand if he likes to keep in touch with his ex in a more neutral way, coz good people make good friends. And let him make his own decision on this matter.

    He told me that he already spoke to his ex a few days ago that he will no longer meet with her and will only send messages for Christmas or New Year. He did not mention about the house arrangement. I did not ask, but I think it’s quite clear he is wiling to limit the interaction with his ex for me.

    So, in my opinion, voice out our discomfort, but let him decide. We are adults who knows what’s best for ourselves. I can always opt to leave if he insist on the ex.

     

  20. 292
    Helen C

    This is such a fantastic article.  Thank you for helping me to see sense when I was worried about an ex.  My fiancé has been more loving, affectionate and appreciated me more because I trusted him after reading your article.

  21. 293
    Victoria

     
    As I scroll down reading the comments, clapping and nodding, my eyes watered. I’ve been with my boyfriend for some time now and recently we’ve been going back and forth because of his secretive ways. Not too long ago, my boyfriend received a text message from a person calling him “baby”. When I asked him about the text, he seemed startled at first and told me that it was his female relative who had messaged him. Although he tried to put me at ease by reassuring me that it was not a big deal, I still felt uneasy about the whole situation. Ever since that occurred, he has never left his phone around me and takes it everywhere he goes.In addition, whenever his so-called female “relative” calls him, he never picks up the phone and always has an excuse for not answering her call. I’m not the kind of partner that requires their S/O passwords because I trust them and respect that they will not do anything to tarnish our relationship. However, I did not believe that she was just a relative nor a close female friend.I repeatedly asked him to admit the truth and he insisted that it was just his relative. Due to the fact that he was unforthcoming, I decided to do my own little investigation.I found out that the person whom he was messaging was his ex girlfriend. I also found out that he had “put a ring on it” (lol) and that she has children as well. Although he told me that he has no children, I found it hard to believe since he already lied to me about his ex being his relative.When I confronted him about my findings, he told me that his past is his past and that I was evil minded,delusional & insecure. I’m 18 and my boyfriend is 25. We met in school and he is my first boyfriend.Despite our age differences,we had many similarities and a great relationship. Due to the constant issues, it has become hard for me to trust him and has put a strain on our relationship.

  22. 294
    Lisa

    I am friends with a lot of my exes but here’s the difference between me and her man he keeps it a secret I don’t.  I think if you add friends with an ex and in a relationship you do need to be considerate of your partners feelings and let them know. You also need to include your partner in that friendship. By that I mean introduce the two, invite them out together treat your opposite sex friends the same way you do the same sex friends. The issue here is he’s being secretive which makes it seem like it’s a shady relationship even though it may not be. If your ex is truly your friend then she would want to meet and befriend your girlfriend. The girlfriend is in a new city with likely no close friends so it’s a perfect solution. To the writer I suggest that you not get mad but tell your boyfriend that you would love to meet his ex and get to know her better .  If he balks or seems uncomfortable then I am willing to bet it’s more than friendship. If he welcomes it then do just that welcome her as your friend too. You can expect that he will give up important friends for his relationship.  He may be being secretive because he knows or thinks it will bother got either based on your prior reactions or other dating experiences that ended negatively when he was open. It may be he’s not shady and this explains things.

    As far as illness and caring for a sick loved one I really think that’s a gender thing. As women we tend to be nurturers and care givers. It’s also our instinct to put others first. So if our loved one is sick your instinct is care for them even if you will get sick . You put them first and are not even thinking about yourself. Men think more practically and say why would you want two people sick and they don’t share the innate nurturing instinct. Part of resolving this as a woman is to realize men are different and it’s not that he does not care he just has a different perspective.

     

     

     

  23. 295
    Mary Anne

    I get this and had a similar situation.

    However, she is in a relationship and has two kids (and lost one at birth) so my boyfriend was her “best-friend”.

    Things soon got out of hand. She wanted to monopolize all of his time. They were always together. He cancelled dates with me to spend time with her.

    I’m not insecure but everytime we planned a weekend together she would get together with his most recent ex (with whom he has a kid – now 15) and push him to cancel our plans. They used his kid as an excuse (I can’t complain if she wants to spend time with her dad – so I brought her along).

    We are now 5 years into this relationship. His daughter won’t come to our place anymore because she “hates me” – always had a great relationship with her. So I am lost.

    “Ex Best-Friend” was calling my boyfriend in secret daily and he’d get mad at me. She even went so far as to post crap about me on facebook publicly saying I was “Stealing” her best friend. She wrote me a letter with another ex telling me that I had no friends etc. Really? My boyfriend did nothing and says he’s caught between these women.

    He doesn’t talk to her as frequently anymore BUT we have no intimacy, no relationship, this ship has sailed and he threatens weekly that he’s leaving. So I told him to leave.

    Way too complicated and I became a victim of some jealous ex’s. Whoa!

  24. 296
    Sheela

    I guess it’s ok to talk to your ex sometimes to keep the desire, fire etc. but it’s good if you will tell everything to your partner. Don’t let the relationship be boring there must be something new and a bit challenge when it’s becoming consistent. Always keep God in the center of your relationship.

  25. 297
    wing

    Ignore the writer, he don’t know what he talking about.  You worry and feel insecure because he try to hide and try to date ex. You don’t have to be ok with it. 95% guy will sleep w ex again after they caught up and be together. Why we girl want to take the risk. If he can’t understand that simple part, go date your ex and have a lunch or dinner, let’s see how he react.

  26. 298
    Carol

    I am quite surprised  and disappointed by Mr. Katz’ response, though I think I understand his goal is to show the OP that her feelings of jealousy and mistrust are repellant to men. MY response to that is, SO WHAT? Every human being is free to do what they want, feel how they feel, and also free to set boundaries any way they choose.  If she is uncomfortable, and I do not know ANY woman or man, who would be comfortable with their boyfriend/girlfriend hiding calls, texts, leaving the room to talk to an ex, then she should speak up and say “When you are secretive, and hide communications to your ex from me, I feel uncomfortable, worried,  jealous, insecure, whatever, etc. It is THEN up to the secretive person to decide if the woman’s feelings are worth altering their behavior. If they do not, then the girlfriend needs to decide what she is  willing to put up with in this relationship. Personally, I would find it very difficult to tolerate lying, hiding calls, texts, etc because that is dishonest and therefore the person is not deserving of my trust.  I would also begin to wonder what else are they hiding or lying about?  I don’t care if he thinks I’m jealous or insecure. Those are  my feelings,  and he can think what he wants. And, if the boyfriend is lying and hiding stuff because he feels the girlfriend would be upset, then where is HIS TRUST in his girlfriend to have a calm rational conversation about why he wants to still be in communication with his ex?Where is his responsibility to OWN his wants/desires  and where is his responsibility to be honest?

    Women need to stop worrying about how to catch a man and start believing THEY are the prize to be caught, and learn how to distinguish between guys who are worthy of her trust and those who are not. When a man shows he is 100% completely trustworthy, he will get a truly radiant woman who has no fear in the relationship. Trust is earned, not demanded, and if you do something sneaky don’t expect to be trusted. Duh.

  27. 299
    Jenny

    This article is the worst advice on staying friends with an ex. Common sense says if you need an ex in your life, you obviously have an emotional bond, meaning a new relationship will not have that access.

    Let him know you are not comfortable and when he decides to fully end the past relationship to call you and see if you will take him back.  Remember your worth and know that a relationship built on distrust and distraction is not one that endures.

  28. 300
    chrisa

    I can not believe the reply to this girls concern. Absolutely wild. I think guys should not be friends with his ex girlfriends. I don’t know why this dumb respond to the girl was in such a guy’s perspective. I can trust a guy but I don’t give a crap. If he is friends with his ex and plans on going to dinner and calling with her that’s overboard. He is obviously hiding things from you to turn over his phone and such. That is a lack of trust right there. He is purposely hiding something because he KNOWs it’s wrong or something you won’t like. That is a symptom of cheating. Not saying he is cheating but cheaters don’t admit things they hide it. And no, just because they are your boyfriend does not mean you have absolute trust for them.

     

    leaving is not the solution to everything. There are times when to confront and work things out. And talk. If a guy has had sex with a girl and been intimate with a girl and felt love with a girl and was attractive to a girl once in his life in the past, why would you be okay with him seeing this girl again? It makes no sense how so many people just go “oh I’m chill with it cause I trust my bf” well lots of bfs cheat it’s good to be concerned and alert. I’ve seen a girl cheat on a guy recently and her boyfriend refused to see it because they were “best friend ex’s”

     

    dont get me wrong i bet some boyfriends have special situations where they are friends with their ex but their girlfriend is also a friend of his ex so it all works out.

    But if you don’t know the girl or don’t like the girl it’s probably a bad thing. From what you described it sounds like bad news and the fact he is hiding it means he knows it’s not considering your feelings or respecting your relationship.

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