How Close Should My Boyfriend Be With His Ex?

How Close Should My Boyfriend Be With His Ex?
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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  1. 91

    My current (ex) boyfriend I was with for 5 years, he was hanging around this group of single girls, I was suspicious he was into one of them as he was going out a lot and not inviting me along ect. According to him I was jealous… We broke up and sure enough he was with one of those girls. I had no contact with him for 2 years and then towards the end of last year we started hanging out as friends again we were getting on really well. Then his new girlfriend dumped him for hanging out with me, and then she begged for him back saying she wanted to have children with ect. Then a few months later we ended up getting back together after he did much convincing. She went away on holiday over this period and sure enough as soon as she landed back in the country she’s messaging him and they were hanging out. One afternoon he’s at the beach I call him from work and ask him what he’s up too he says hes at the beach, I ask him who with and he says nobody. At dinner that evening he gets a message on his phone from this her and opens it up and there she is standing in her bikini at the beach and he taken the photo. I went to leave and he begged me not too he saying they’re just friend ect. He was saying she asked me to take the photo. I bet she did!!! I told him he could be friend with her but I did’t want this type of shit happening ever again. Long story short it’s happened again!!! I believe respect is the most important element in a relationship and he has disrespected me and he has allowed her to disrespect me also. I should have left the second I saw that photo, as I knew in that instant what was happening I felt sick but I stayed and it’s messed with my head. Of course now I’m a crazy jealous bitch…. but then so was she at the time… Best leave and find someone who isn’t searching for love triangles…

  2. 92

    I’ve been through this twice and walked away twice

    never again

    rather stay single

    too unhealthy to be with a partner go on and on about their ex and how wonderful they are and ignorantly put others down…

    who is the immature one?


  3. 93

    I honestly don’t think it’s healthy to be in a relationship with someone who is friends with their ex. If there is no children involved then there is no reason to be friends. How are you suppose to move on with your life and heal if you break up with someone then stay friends with them. To me that’s toxic. I broke up with my ex and heck no don’t want to be friends. It just causes problems with your future relationship. But everyone is different but I do feel that people should pay attention and respect their current girlfriend or boyfriend not their ex. Because when your in a relationship your best friend should be that girlfriend or boyfriend not your ex.

  4. 94

    Enjoyed all the posts!  I am a gay guy with my partner for 10 years.  He is still extremely close with his ex-boyfriend, whom he dated for about 4 years over ten years ago.  This guy is now married to a man.  The issue I have is that he talks to him several times a day (in the same business but purely by choice), and he often comes to visit.  When his husband is away and anything goes wrong, my partner steps right in to help.  I am CERTAIN they are not having sex but it’s this emotional attachment that bothers me.  I feel like there’s not as much emotional energy left for me.  We just got back form a trip late last night, and he met the ex for drinks because of issues he was going through.  This really hurts my feelings, and I have spoken about it for years.  My partner lives me me (thereby saving lots of money), etc. and I am getting very resentful.   Would it be possible to still date him but ask him to move back into his own apartment (which he won’t like because of $$$ issues).  Appreciate your advice, because this thorn won’t go away.  I’m reminded of a Dolly Parton song “I Just Want to Be Somebody’s Everything” and that is NOT how I feel.   Thank you!!

  5. 95

    I am friends with almost all of my exes going back 20 years.

    Something I learned after a 9 year relationship went sour (she cheated on me, I forgave her, a year and a half later she dumped me) was I’m not going to let any woman tell me who I can and can’t stay in contact with in my life – especially women.

    That girl systematically pushed every woman out of my life due to her own insecurities.  Dumb me, I obliged and many of my female friends and exes that I was friends with faded away.

    Guess who I had to talk to about my emotional despair after she broke up with me by leaving a note on the dishwasher at 5am?  Nobody.  Guys dont talk about their emotional distress with eachother.  We only have our girlfriend and our female friends and our mother.  9 years of cutting women out of my life in order to placate her rampant insecurities and then she dumped me for no reason ( I did forgive her for cheating even ) and I was left alone in the world with nobody to talk to but a bunch of stoic dudes.

    Nowadays, I absolutely do not kowtow to these ridiculous demands made by insecure women.  I am best friends with a few of my exes, and friends with many more.  I talk to some of them almost every day, some of them not so often but if I call or they call there is always a rapid answer.

    If I was the boyfriend of the letter writer in this article, I’d say knock it off or I’m walking.  He obviously had no problem hanging out with the mentioned ex and his girlfriend together.  The ex was very nice to the girlfriend.  The girlfriend obviously knows the nature of the relationship between the boyfriend and the ex so it’s not something being kept secret.

    So he has a friend that he’s slept with before in the past and has known for a long time.  So what?  How many women have male “friends” they’ve slept with in the past that they maintain contact with?  How many women have a bunch of male “friends” who are all secretly wanting to get into her pants and she keeps them around because she likes the attention?  Honestly the boyfriend in this article is not even close to that bad.

    I can summarize it up in one sentence my now ex girlfriend said to me.  She said she liked to dress slutty and go to nightclubs because it made her feel good about herself to get hit on by guys and reject them, I had nothing to worry about.  My only “rule” about her going to nightclubs with her friends was to wear her promise ring and make sure to make it home after the club closed.  When I turned the tables and said, “How would it make you feel if I popped on my tuxedo, got all GQ and went out to a place where I knew 25-50 women would hit on me, just because it made me feel good?”

    She was stumped and without answer – this is the double standard us men get to live with.  If I so much as went to a nightclub by myself and didn’t come home I would probably see a slobbering crying mess ready to dump me on the couch when I got home the next morning.  But for her it was just a “girls’ night out” to make her feel good about herself.

    One of my exes put it bluntly and simply and it’s good advice for any girlfriend (including the above writer) to take to heart.  She said “Keep his belly full and his balls dry and you wont have anything to worry about” and it’s true.

    My new girlfriend does exactly that and beleive me I have no need to cheat and she has no need to feel insecure.

  6. 96

    Boy is that hilarious, Taylor. So women have “friends”and men have actual friends in their exes.  Women only keep guy “friends” around to boost their pathetic self esteem, but YOU have deep, meaningful friendships with your exes.  Geez, I wonder why your ex cheated on you and dumped you with that ever so subtle double standard. You’re truly embittered and seem to have a very unhealthy view on women and their intentions, just because you were cheated on by one. Glad you have endless wisdom from your ex to guide you on your current and future relationships. Hilarious, dude.

    Any guy who feels the need to have 5 exes around to chat with on a daily basis while in a committed relationship or married is not satisfied in his relationship. It’s really very easy.

  7. 97
    Dallas merry

    I’ve learned something today

  8. 98

    I found this page while googling the subject of friendship with exes, I’m in a similar situation. I’ve been with my boyfriend 2 years and recently found out that the overseas friend he texts (occasionally, I thought) is a former lover. She’s married though and that’s the only reason they’re not together, she would not leave her husband. She apparently strung my boyfriend along for years, saying she was getting divorced. She broke up his last relationship before me.  He eventually ended it with her and found me (the facts/timeline around this is a bit blurred) but they stayed “friends”.

    When I found out about them I was really upset that he’d lied about their history. They text several times a week, this is how I became suspicious, he was texting her constantly when we were out together, even on the plane when we were about to fly home from a trip! It’s a bit much. I eventually confronted him and he confessed to being involved previously. I texted her and she was flustered at hearing from me but then hit me with some info about the relationship which contradicted what my boyfriend had told me. There was lots of drama.

    He swears there’s nothing going on, that they’re just friends and he doesn’t have many friends, not people who he can really talk to.  I think she’s still into him, even if just for the attention. I was dismayed to discover that he had been badmouthing me to her. It’s like some co-dependent relationship. The situation was making me ill. He said he’s not been speaking to her as much because of this but it could resume any time. It’s like he’s keeping her around as a backup, even with the husband in the picture. I feel like my boyfriend isn’t giving himself to me completely with her around. I’m not sure what else I can do, just hope that he will see things from my point of view. The ironic thing is he’s very jealous of other men, even if they just speak to me and has dreams about me cheating. I would never do that and try my best to assure him of this. I also have no exes in the picture, I just wish he would do me the same favor.

    1. 98.1
      M Nguyen

      Hi Rachel,

      I has faced to the exact situation like this. Ive been struggling about it for 4 years. I think i’m not strong enough to continue it anymore.

  9. 99

    My exwife and I get along.  We have two kids who are almost 7 and 13… so because of that, we do have to coordinate schedules and keep in touch on things related to them.  And certainly with correspondences sometimes other topics are discussed (usually really tame things like how her trip is going or how much beer to add to beer cheese dip she is making, etc).  Sometimes my ex shares random or minor personal things going on or even frustration on issues in life.  I do not generally initiate discussions like that.  Some discussions I have shared details or read some of these exchanges (texts usually) with my girlfriend, such as my ex complaining about finance issues with her boyfriend (a key issue I had with her when she was with me, with her on the other end of the spectrum).  I would consider myself a friend of my ex because I believe it is just better to get along than hold on to negative viewpoints and I have traditionally always been that way with exes.

    I am 47, my girlfriend is 46, my ex is almost 40.  IMO, we should be above petty jealousy issues.  However, my girlfriend gets upset when I help my ex.  I do not really help her in major ways or in person assistance with things, but right now she went on vacation with her boyfriend and I agreed to watch her dogs in addition to have our kids during the timeframe.  It sucks to get in trouble when you really feel you are not doing anything wrong.  Like this blogger identified, exes are exes for a reason… and there should be trust in that, and even more assurance if the person you are dating is the one who broke it off with their ex (as I did in my case).  I wish I could get my girlfriend to not be upset with it.  Like I told her, I would be fine with less contact with my ex and I do not seek out helping, but I am a logical person, if something makes sense I am ok with it.  For example, several times when I have the kids (we have joint equal custody and placement) I will take her boyfriend’s son too so they do not have to worry about getting them all to school in the morning.  My viewpoint is, if I am helpful when they need help, I hopefully can count on them for help when I need it.  In the end, it is mostly just about just retaining a more adult and mature viewpoint on things.

    What also sucks for me is it seems the relationship with the girlfriend is going well and I treat her well, but I still get in “trouble” with how much she perceives I talk to or assist my ex.  To me it is not all that often… to her it is entirely too often.  All in all, I think in situations like this people just need to talk it out… and there certainly should be a level of trust when it is rather obvious that everything is on the up and up.  For one, one of the reasons I tell my girlfriend about conversations I have with my ex is so that she, hopefully, would feel like I am not hiding anything from her.  The biggest thing that bothers me is I feel I do a lot of good things and thoughtful things for my girlfriend on a regular basis and do not bring her strife beyond what she manufactures out of things like this.  I wish she would focus on the positives and use them to avoid making negatives where I feel there need not be any.

  10. 100
    Amy b

    people need to realise that a relationship is a partnership not a way to own someone. if you trust your otherhalf then thier is nothing to worry about. people can have friends as exs people can have friends of the opposit sex and guess what…. it doesnt always end up in sex. people need to deal with thier own insecurities and emotions with out making them choose. yes he chose to be with you not his ex. if he wanted to be with his x hes had seven years to do it. they shared a connection and made a friendship. what right do you have to pull him away? your obv the person he wants to be with. why cant you just be content with that knowledge? and trust him.

    1. 100.1

      I trust in good friendships with exes with healthy boundaries (not chat/call 2-3 times a week). But sharing intimate emotional feelings is emotional affair. And people in this emotional affairs always try to maintain the illusion that it is just a special “friendship” and they want their gf/bf, wife/husband have to accept that. They are kind of narcissists love all the benefits and want to use both gf/bf and the ex for something.

  11. 101

    I know this situation very well. The ex wive is still friends with the man. They both don’t have enough boundaries. I find her nice but too clingy and very annoying. When she calls everyone is supposed to jump. She will always be in his life, because their friends and he allows it. Oh and she is the biggest drama queen!

  12. 102
    M Nguyen

    Thank you very much. I’ve thrown myself in the exact situation for 4 years. And now i know my answer is.

  13. 103

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

    This is bullshit. I’ve noticed that a lot of the advice on this blog puts the onus on the woman–on her suppressing her concerns in order to accommodate her partner’s behaviour or lifestyle under the assumption that she will drive him away if she doesn’t. We all have issues and insecurities; jealousy can be completely unfounded and at times ridiculous, but if people are always required to grit their teeth and suppress how something makes them feel at the risk of a cheating partner, it creates a completely uneven power dynamic. If a man cheats on his girlfriend or wife, it isn’t because she was distrusting. Sure, it makes an easy excuse, but people cheat for a multitude of reasons. To chalk it up to something so simple is really unfair.

    If someone is to understand their emotions through their partner’s behaviour, then the opposite is true as well. You can’t say, “your feelings are making him act this way” without applying the same logic in reverse… “His actions are making me feel this way” is equally valid. At the end of the day, partners should be able to compromise and accommodate each other. If something makes you uncomfortable, there is no reason why your partner shouldn’t at least attempt to take steps to mitigate that or meet you halfway.

    1. 103.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      If you don’t trust your boyfriend, dump him. Don’t stay and spend all your time telling him how much he sucks. Not sure why you’d disagree.

      1. 103.1.1

        With respect, I don’t think that is actually helpful. Obviously, if you think someone isn’t trustworthy, you have no business being with them. I do believe people are responsible for their own baggage; if you have trust issues, that’s on you to deal with… but I think telling women that their distrust is the cause for their partner’s cheating is fear-mongering and unfair. Everybody is going to have trust issues at some point, and I would expect at least a modicum of kindness and empathy when at one point or another I am one of those people.

        But I genuinely don’t think this post is about trust issues as much as it’s about basic human psychology. I don’t think the OP sounds jealous or distrusting in an unreasonable capacity; she is experiencing what any human would experience at being sent signal after signal that they are not as good as someone in a comparable position. She could have been on a new job, being told how wonderful her predecessor was, and she would still feel this way. It is natural to feel inadequate or threatened in a situation where you are being compared to a predecessor.

        Moreover, her discomfort seems less to do with distrust and more to do with the impositional nature of the ex-girlfriend’s continued closeness to her boyfriend. No one wants to feel like their intimate relationship has a third party; I have certainly been there with people who weren’t even exes, but friends of my SO. I certainly didn’t think my SO was going to sleep with them, nor did I think they wanted any booty from my SO, but I was frustrated by that individual’s constant presence in our relationship. People make the mistake of thinking that jealousy is only limited to romantic/sexual relationships, but it certainly is not.

        All that being said, my personal advice to the OP would be to make her discomfort known, but not to make it some kind of failing of the boyfriend, or some fundamental flaw in the relationship. I’m taking her word here that she has healthy self-esteem and isn’t just distrusting and insecure. I do believe that people can have a healthy friendship with their ex, but that friendship should be no different than other friendships, and that means it should never feel like an imposition on the current relationship.

        1. Evan Marc Katz

          Fair, but this line from your previous post is not:

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

          Actually, it’s not bullshit. It’s as close to a fact as you’ll find in dating advice. Imagine you had a boyfriend who was checking your phone, monitoring your social media, repeatedly asking you where you were, who you were with, and letting you know who you were “allowed” to be friends with. Does it make you feel closer to him? Does it make you feel trusted? Does it strengthen your relationship? No, no, and no. Mistrust erodes relationships. There’s nothing really to debate.

  14. 104

    Hi again,

    I don’t think anyone sane would debate that mistrust erodes relationships, but not all erosion leads to cheating, nor is erosion always the result of mistrust. So to say that mistrust -causes- cheating is a pretty big leap. If my response to a mistrusting partner is to cheat on them, I think that says as much about me as it does about them.

    I generally disagree that “nothing makes a man want to cheat more than a girlfriend who doesn’t trust him” is a fact. Make him want to leave, sure–I can see that absolutely. Mistrust >> erosion >> end of relationship is a perfectly logical progression to assume… but that has nothing to do with romantic or sexual relationships exclusively. This happens in all kinds of relationships.

    Where cheating is concerned, I think it’s important to differentiate between causation and correlation. Yes, there is a correlation between mistrust and cheating, but correlation is not causation, and a statement like the one above obscures this. There is a correlation between socio-economic status and life expectancy too, but it’s not that being rich causes better health–it’s that wealth gives you resources and access to services and lifestyles that are generally more conducive to maintaining good health. In the same vein, mistrust doesn’t actually cause cheating, but it produces circumstances where someone may, among many other potential responses, decide to cheat and use that mistrust as an excuse. I know it’s tempting to look at this difference as inconsequential because the result is the same, but I wouldn’t do that because it holds consequences for how a person understands their relationship in hindsight and thus approaches future relationships. I can take responsibility for eroding my relationship with someone, but I shouldn’t blame myself for their choice to cheat. I shouldn’t go through life worrying that my flaws will be the root cause of someone cheating on me. If I think that my feelings are illegitimate just because they are negative, I am doing a disservice to myself and my partner.

    I know this may all seem very nitt-picky, but my contention is primarily that promoting a view that encourages women to see their jealousy as the cause of cheating is a kind of fear-mongering. I think it’s a lot more productive to point out that mistrust erodes relationships, regardless of the type of relationship. That in itself should be motivation enough for people to be honest with each other and work through their crap. By making it about cheating, it puts the onus of fidelity on one person.

    1. 104.1

      Well said. I dated a man for barely two months.  As soon as he revealed his X-wife was his “best friend and confidant”… (whom also works for him)… I was out of there fast!  I knew it was only a matter of time before my relationship with him would end with her so close to him in the picture.  Now…  the first question I ask on my first date is “How friendly and currently involved are you with your x.”  They will always allude to the relationship being over with the x… but when you start to notice the cracks… get ready to leave…  you have to keep asking questions until you can consider really dating a man.  An x-girlfriend buzzing around to me is just like “the fly on your wedding cake.”  Only an emotionally intelligent man can understand this.  Evan Marc Katz has the worst advice on this matter as he is not able to connect with a woman’s emotional intellectual wiring.  This is not about women’s insecurities… it’s about respect.  A man with an x around is just not dating material.

  15. 105

    No no no…. you’re his girlfriend and you DO have a right to be upset by this. I’m sorry but even if you’re not in “love” yet, that’s weird as hell he’s still so close to his ex

  16. 106

    They still keep in touch. I see them liking each other’s posts on Facebook. Maybe they have other ways of communicating. I don’t want to find out. She dumped him. I know that he’s still in love with her. She’s still there because she wants to play him and annoy the current GF. This has been going on since 2013.

    I am the current GF. Yes, I was annoyed and told him. He got mad because I have zero trust in him. We’re still together, but I stopped investing in the relationship. He’s not going to be a loss, if I lose him.

    He demands 100% trust but has 0% respect for me.



    I won’t care if I lose him.


    1. 106.1

      You’ll be better off to let him go… there are plenty of other men who would understand what a real woman needs from a man.  All women need to stand up to this boyish behavior.  These types of men are not worth investing in.  It’s like gambling.  A soulmate is someone who is there for you 100%.  He is not your prince charming.  I wish you find someone worthy of what you have to offer.

  17. 107

    I see this more of a boundary issue than a jealousy issue.  Sure, they can remain friends, but there is a limit to the closeness.  Does he have emotional intimacy with his ex and is it preventing your relationship from growing that level of intimacy?  A relationship is an investment.  I don’t work all week to give my paycheck to someone else.  Is the friendship preventing him from investing equally in your relationship? Is he more supportive of her needs versus your own?  Do you spend time with them and feel like more of a third wheel than part of the conversation?  Are they transparent with their friendship or is there something hidden?  Are they acting inappropriately? Truthfully, out of respect for his relationship, this woman should back off and he should as well.  Not that they cannot remain civil or even be friendly, but that scenario seems a bit overboard.

  18. 108

    I have been in a relationship with a man for 8 months now. He is super smart, as well as nice looking, fun and a talented musician. Here is my situation. First off, he is very close friends with two of his exes and they hang out occasionally, mostly they go to bars for drinks together and sometimes also dancing.  He is also friends with many of his short term ex lovers, a few of them he also gets together with quite regularly. So far I’ve not been invited to hang out with them, except for a couple of times.  It drives me crazy that he wants to go out drinking with them and I feel it’s not healthy for our relationship and quite possibly a risk, since alcohol is often involved.

    Another thing that I don’t like at all is that one of his exes lives out of town and when she comes to town he invites her to stay in his guest room at his house, they are apparently like brother and sister according to him.  Facebook has become an unpleasant experience for me lately, once I discovered that he had 40 or more exes as fb friends and many of them posting and or commenting on this pics. Anyhow I am constantly being exposed to his past lovers every time I turn around, its either we run into them, he goes out with them or I see them on facebook. There’s hardly a day goes by that I am not exposed to one or more of them. The bottom line is he has a ton of women friends and he has no intentions of letting go any of his friendships with them, and I would never ask that of him, but the question for me is whether or not I can be okay or even want to be okay with the constant reminders of his past lovers on a regular basis?

    I think it is possible to work through the fears, and perhaps insecurities regarding exes, but I can also tell you that it takes a lot of trust, patience and understanding to pull this sort of thing off. I can say that it has been a real challenge for me to just let go of my fears and to have total trust in this situation, knowing that there is more risk than involved.

    He and I are currently working on a variety of structured conflict resolutions to see if we can work through our differences, our feelings and emotions regarding this situation and to see if we can come to a certain amount of compromise.


  19. 109

    My fiancé and his ex-wife were divorced 30 years ago.  They have one daughter together.  Their divorce was nasty.  Each has moved on, remarried, divorced.  But, the ex has always interfered with my (now) fiancé’s relationships — to the point of managing somehow to break up every relationship he’s had.  Yet, my fiancé is still “friends” with this woman!!!  She is a lying, manipulative, evil person to say the least. She is now in the process of causing major problems between my fiancé and me.  When I try to explain to him how I’m feeling about his ex, he gets totally angry AT ME, like I shouldn’t say ANYTHING BAD about his ex!  Our latest argument a few days ago (about her calling about nothing special at all hours) was a real doozie. We’re not talking now and looks like we may be headed for a break-up.  I cannot understand anyone who would be “friends” with a person who is constantly messing with his life — and the lives of innocent people!!!!

  20. 110
    New Year

    Whether you stay or go, I hope you are at peace.  If you guys work it out then it’s beneficial to you both.  If you can’t, well, it sucks but maybe you can be a friend too.  Friends kind of help us not get lonely and desperate.  But they can also get possessive so balance it out.

  21. 111

    To me it didn’t sound like the lady questioning was concerned with the guy cheating….and it doesn’t mean he’s doing the right thing either nor that it’s ok to do what he’s doing just because he won’t cheat. If she and this guy have built a good relationship (and the ex is the major problem ) then he should respect her enough to understand how it’s stressful and confusing for him to still be so involved. There’s a huge difference between being friends with an ex in the sense of the occasional “hey what’s up” or chilling with your significant other there but I assume he slept with this ex…very intimate already….unless they had horrendous sexual chemistry then it’s inappropriate to even be involved, they don’t have a child together, if they are so compatible that he won’t stop this nonsense with his ex then he needs to stop the nonsense of leading on his new gf. It’s bs how many people think it’s ok to have your cake and eat it too even when it’s hurting someone they “care” about. It’s more complicated had the exes have children together but if not then there’s no good excuse except they aren’t over one another. If that’s incorrect then he would say “sorry not sorry, I care too much about my current gf to risk it by staying involved with you” and perhaps send an Xmas card and hang out altogether every few months or less. That’s just my opinion, and I have seen maaaaaaany cheaters and narcissistic abusers get away with using people

  22. 112

    I’m quite torn on this issue because, on the one hand, I have always had close guy friends, and my ex-husband and I were best friends. When we split up, we maintained our close friendship for a few years (it was a fairly amicable split). This friendship was absolutely no threat to either of our current relationships. Neither he nor I would ever have cheated, and we weren’t in love with each other any more. However, I must say, I did not publicise my friendship with him, and I have always been sensitive in my friendships with guys. I would never intentionally do anything that would make the guy’s girlfriend feel uncomfortable because I’d hate to be in her position.

    When it comes to guys I am dating, I have learned to trust my intuition (not my fear). If something feels off, I listen to that feelings, and if I’m in doubt, I ask him. I listen carefully to his answer and pay attention to his actions. At the end of the day, you can’t get inside his head or the head of the female friend, you can only make decisions based on what makes you feel comfortable and what you are willing to tolerate. I would say that the strength of character and the integrity of the guy goes a long way here. There are some men whom you just know would never cross the line, and those guys are worth giving the benefit of the doubt to in a situation like the OP’s. More immature, dubious guys who have this kind of relationship with their ex are not ones I would tolerate.

    Having said that, what would worry me much more if I were the OP is her boyfriend’s apparent disregard for her feelings. In a healthy relationship, some kind of compromise is usually the order of the day in situations that cause conflict. The OPs boyfriend should take some kind of steps to help her feel more comfortable… it’s no good him burying his head in the sand and saying that her feelings are her problem. I think in this situation, it is reasonable for the OP to feel uncomfortable, and if he is a good boyfriend, he will recognise that, even if he doesn’t agree with her. A good partner cares about his partner’s comfort level.

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