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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  1. 31

    Oh baloney Evan  #21. “the reason is….”
    If he is hiding it from her it isn’t necessarily because of HER. 
    And Evan #25, man you assume a lot unless you posted only a portion of her letter!  She sounds vulnerable with her move to a new place close to him, he sounds sneaky in not being up front with the text messaging in the first place and they BOTH need to get a grip.  He needs to be open and up front about his relationship with his ex (which he doesn’t seem to be doing) and she needs to be up front about why it bothered her enough to read his texts.  They BOTH need some real communication or she may as well pack up and move back home.
    Geez.  If your partner is acting sneaky that is a huge red flag!  Communication should be open honest and real. 
    Let’s all tune into channel W I S E and remember it is all about trust.

    1. 31.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      @Aciana “If your partner is acting sneaky that is a huge red flag!” And who is acting sneakier? The person who invades someone else’s cell phone or the person who maintains normal relations with an ex? There’s a big difference between being “sneaky” as you accuse him of, and not being allowed to mention his ex for fear of the irrational recrimination that we saw in the original poster’s email.

      Years ago, I had a girlfriend who told me that if I ever cheated on her, she’d dump me instantly, whether it was a kiss, a one-night stand or a love affair. I told her I wasn’t planning on cheating on her, but if I ever did, I could assure here I wouldn’t tell her about it. She got STEAMING mad at me. “Why wouldn’t you tell me? Don’t you have any honesty? Integrity? I would expect you to be a man about it!”

      I told her that – in this hypothetical situation, it made absolutely no sense to confess to infidelity, because the punishment was already pre-determined. I was getting dumped. And if I hypothetically got drunk and made a mistake and immediately regretted it and swore to my guilty self never to do it again, how would I benefit from telling the truth? I wouldn’t. I would be toast. Her lack of understanding DICTATED my response.

      It’s so easy for you to talk about people who lie as if they’re another species. Get off your high horse. You lie, too. Except you justify it. “I didn’t want to hurt him”, “I didn’t think it was necessary to disclose that to her”. People lie out of either self-preservation (“No, honey, I’ve never cheated on you. Our relationship means everything to me”) or they lie to protect others (“No, honey, I’m not talking to my ex-girlfriend.”)

      But understand, the lie comes directly out of the OTHER persons’ ability to handle the TRUTH. You probably have some girlfriend who you can say, “Yeah, that outfit makes you look fat”. You probably have many more to whom you could NOT say that. Are you a worse person for protecting the insecure girl from her own insecurities? I’ll bet you don’t think so. I’ll bet you think you’re just sensitive to her feelings.

      So instead of jumping all over this guy who is loyal to an ex who was with him through tough times, look in the mirror and pay attention to all the lies you tell on a day-to-day basis. And realize that you’re not pure honesty and integrity – you react to each individual differently. And if that means a little white lie (“Yes, honey, I came twice. You were amazing) to keep the peace, I’m sure you’re as guilty as the boyfriend mentioned above.

      As for me, I have a wife who CAN deal with honesty, so she GETS honesty. Honestly, she wasn’t who I thought I was looking for. Honestly, I see women every weekend I’d sleep with. Etc, etc. But because my wife doesn’t judge me for my honesty, she gets all of me. She knows when I talk to my ex. She knows when I have a crush on someone at a party. She knows EVERYTHING and allows me to be myself around her.

      And THAT’s why I keep her. That’s why I would NEVER cheat on her. Because to cheat on her would be to go back to a world of women who freak out about every perceived slight as if it’s a mark of infidelity. Thinking thoughts and acting on them are two VERY different things. As a woman, you can’t be the thought police. You can only trust and let him be himself.

      Stop judging men for your own fears and insecurities and watch how well they respond. I’m telling you: It’s nothing short of miraculous.

      1. 31.1.1

        ” I told her I wasn’t planning on cheating on her, but if I ever did, I could assure here I wouldn’t tell her about it.”
        Wow! You knew what the punishment would be, so you would just cheat or maybe continue to cheat even. If you were going to cheat, then shouldn’t you end the relationship?
        Everyone is reading the email and putting words in both peoples mouthes. We all are drawing from our own past experiences.
        On our deathbed will we say. I regret giving up that realtionship with the Ex ( hmmm….why were they and Ex again, oh yeah! ), or will we say, how much better could my relationship have been with my lover, had I let my Ex’s be Ex’s and make my lover feel safe and adorded.
        Ex’s are Ex’s for a reason. They didn’t make you feel safe, or respected or weren’t kind………….something. Is that what you would pick in a friend? Then why do we want them to be friends. You can be friendly without being friends. Put your lover first when it comes to friends of the opposite sex that use to be something more!
        That maybe a bit jumbled.

        1. Unknown_ Planet

          I agree with Allen. Respect is a big deal in a relationship and if both don’t have that, then why bother to be together. It’s not about he or she. I am talking about respect. Respect each others thoughts and feelings are important.

      2. 31.1.2

        I’m going to print this out and pin it on my wall.
        I have been the one punishing my boyfriend by being insecure and driving him away. It’s hard for people who have been scorned, but in reality we just need to man up and move on and give new partners a clean slate. I have felt jaded that my boyfriend has lied to me in the past, but in reality I probably deserved it for being a controlling, snoopy bitch-machine. I’m going to try what you said, I’m just going to let go and trust him. A month ago I would have been right there with all the crazies spouting nonsense about how a man should earn trust and work harder at it, but you’re right, it makes more sense that by instilling trust in him he will feel like he can open up more, which is all I really want.
        Thank you 🙂 and I hope this gets through to more crazy insecure ladies like myself.

        “Wow! You knew what the punishment would be, so you would just cheat or maybe continue to cheat even. If you were going to cheat, then shouldn’t you end the relationship?” – I think Allen missed the point, that was not what you implied at all.
        Anywho, I have completely changed my mind frame.

      3. 31.1.3

        Noticing a message pop up on a phone is not necessarily “invading” a persons cell phone. That’s just silly. I notice messages on friends and relatives phones etc.. it’s called Iphone. Messages show up. If I saw a message on my mom’s phone from the handyman running late- I’d say, “Hey, Mom- you have a message from your handyman here you might want to read.” She would not get mad and think I am invading her phone, because she is not hiding anything and wouldn’t assume that I was trying to hurt her in some way from casually observing a message pop up.


        If there’s nothing to hide, why get upset if someone notices something that is obvious? Just silly. I use my bfs computer sometimes. His messenger frequently pops up. Am I doing something wrong because I see it? Technology is rampant now days- seeing a text message flash on a screen is a lot different that logging into your email.

    2. 31.2

      Right! If Emily is expected to trust her boyfriend no matter what then her boyfriend should be expected to trust Emily with the truth aswell. Unless the truth is ugly… my husband doesn’t walk around hiding anything from me and that’s why I trust him even if he was talking to another girl I would still trust him because he’s proven it to me and he has shown me for years that he has nothing to hide.

  2. 32

    This is a very encouraging thread. When I first started dating this year, I’ve had people tell me that to be friends with one’s exes is bad form; that, once you’ve slept with the person, there’s only two ways your relationship can go: to a marriage/LTR, or into oblivion; that, once you’re no longer seeing each other, you’re expected to cut off contact and that to do otherwise is borderline cheating. I was told in these same words as Amy said in #26, “why would you want to be friends with your exes anyway?” and I didn’t even know what to say to that! It made very little sense to me – maybe fifty years ago, when people married their first serious BF/GF at the ripe old age of 18-20 and hardly ever divorced, the ex was a rare beast and, in the unlikely case you had one, it was possible to cut them out of your life – but things are so different in this century. The way I see it, you’ll end up eliminating a lot of friends/business connections from your life if you cut off contact with your every ex. I am so relieved to hear that that staying friends actually works for a lot of people in real life. Thanks 🙂

  3. 33

    I’ve got to say this, though:
    EMK #25: “Plus, there’s a reason this guy broke up with his ex – as such, she’s far LESS of a threat than a woman he hasn’t dated before.”
    Well, what if she was the one that broke it off, he didn’t want her to leave then, and still wants her back know? These things do happen 😉

  4. 34

    How much would you complainers like to bet that the letter-writer has previously behaved with insecurity towards one of her BF’s exes, and that is why he shields her from his contact with the ex?

    As far as why people should be friends with their exes in the first place, this person was your boyFRIEND or girlFRIEND.  Just because they are no longer the “boy” or “girl” part doesn’t mean they should no longer be the “friend” part.

  5. 35
    [email protected] from a Peaceful Divorce

    There are a lot of good comments here and this is certainly an important topic. I agree with Evan’s take on this.
    Nothing is sexier than confidence.  The best way to have a good relationship with someone else is to have a good relationship with ourselves.  If we are constantly worried about not repeating past hurts, then we are just looking to be hurt.
    Trusting your partner will not only strengthen your relationship but it will also make you feel better.  You can’t be happy when you are constantly second-guessing someone else.
    Happiness is an inside job.  Focus on making yourself happy instead of trying to control your partner to make you happy.
    I agree with Evan about the miracle of trust.  What we focus on expands.  If you love and appreciate your partner, that is what will grow in your relationship.

  6. 36

    It’s also possible that he didn’t lay everything on the table before she found out, because he’s tried that before and previous girlfriends freaked out. Maybe he didn’t want to get burned again, but then he wouldn’t be trusting his new girlfriend and painting her with the same brush which isn’t good either.
    But yeah, Goldie #36, who’s to say she didn’t break up with him. I love reading these letters and everyone’s responses, but there is often way too much unknown information which leads to assumptions, etc.
    I applaud Evan for all of his valiant efforts and sage advice. 🙂

  7. 37

    Wow, bad behavior on both sides.  It doesn’t matter whom acted first and did what, they both just need to part company.  I don’t see this as being a fixable situation, as both parties are rooted to their positions.  They’re just going to waste time being at an impasse and resentment will build.

  8. 38

    I dated a man for five months – everything was great.  A few weeks ago, he got a call on his cell phone and for the first time walked (read: ran) away from me to take the call.  I had a weird feeling about it but decided I trusted him and let that feeling go.  One day later he was behaving miserably.  He told me the phone call was from his ex that he is still in love with even though he hasn’t seen her in five years and she is married.  He then told me she calls every three months or so to tell him not to be with anyone and that they are going to be together when she gets divorced.  He was hoping I would be able to steal his heart and break her spell – that’s why he didn’t tell me.  Well guess what?  You can’t steal something that isn’t available.  I trusted and I got burned bad.  If a guy is not honest and open about it, forget it.  As far as I’m concerned, sneaking around or not disclosing information is a lie.  So do I think this girl’s boyfriend sneaking around is a red flag?  DEFINITELY.

  9. 39

    What does “he avoided me physically” mean? I understand not kissing or hugging when both are ill, but how about a caress or hand-holding? And then you wash your hands! Also, I’m not sure I’d believe Emily when she said she thought the text might be something “important”. She should just own up to the fact that she wanted to snoop!
    I think it’s much easier to be friends with an ex when either you or the ex (preferably both) are in solid, committed relationships. EMK writes about being friends with several ex’s, and how understanding his wife is, but he’s happily married, so he and his wife both feel secure. 
    This relationship is still very new, and Emily’s already made a big move to be with her boyfriend in an unfamiliar country. So there are still lots of things that are undefined in this relationship, and I don’t think they can possibly know each other all that well after only 4 months together in a relationship that was long-distance with only “intermittent” visits to boot. IMO, her boyfriend should be doing everything he can to make this transition as easy as possible for both of them, and that includes not being secretive about his current friendships, and making Emily as much a part of his world as possible. And Emily and her boyfriend both need to practice a bit of impulse control, for sure! Why the big rush to move in together so quickly?
    And I, for one, have been trusting and non-judgmental with men, and I’ve STILL gotten burned. Being trusting doesn’t stop an untrustworthy person from taking advantage of you, sorry. EMK, I received an email from you recently talking telling me to “believe the negatives and ignore the positives”. How does this jibe with your advice to stop judging men for your own fears and insecurities? How do you know when you are being insecure and when you are believing the negatives?

    1. 39.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Ruby – Believe the negatives, ignore the positives meant this:

      When he says “I’m not ready for a relationship right now,” believe him. He’s GIVING you the red flag; you’re just ignoring it because you want him to like you.

      This is very different than when a guy maintains normal relations with an ex and YOU THINK it’s a red flag because of YOUR fears based on previous experience.

      There’s no red flag in the original email. Just an insecure girl who doesn’t understand how exes can be friends.

  10. 40
    Dawn Quow

    Trust does not come automatically. Its something that has to be built, brick by brick. Sadly they have both started off on the wrong foot, she by violating his privacy and he by witholding information that could be seen as explosive in certain contexts.

  11. 41

    @29 Christie, ditto.

    Evan, I do agree with you. It really depends on the situation. I don’t think it’s black and white. If he’s a trustworthy guy that handled this situation wrong, then he can remedy that. If he hid it from her from the get go cause he wasn’t sure how to handle it, then that can change. If he didn’t mean to hide it, but she took it that way, they can discuss it and he can reassure her. She needs to let it go and not hold any grudges. Both need to have open communication and she needs to let him be friends with his ex and stop being jealous of it. They both will need to move forward and keep building their relationship. I sympathize with her because her life is probably out of balance. I feel like he should help her out to stabalize or something. That would improve their relationship and her security.

    In the end, we don’t know how this guy feels about his ex. Sometimes people want to get back with their ex’s and sometimes those ex’s want to get back together too. And sometimes both ex’s know why they aren’t together. Can’t deny that.

  12. 42

    Dear Emily,

    If you operate with the presumption/assumption that your boyfriend is cheating or highly likely to cheat, then you are almost guaranteeing that he will.
    A good male friend of mine once said (in response to his overly suspicious/jealous girlfriend) that if he’s going to be found guilty of a crime and be punished for it, then he might as well go out and commit the crime!

    It is not a question of “letting your boyfriend be friends with his Ex” – that would imply that it’s up to you to decide/control who your boyfriend keeps as friends. That is not a recipe for a mutually supportive and equitable relationship – it’s a recipe for end-of-relationship.

    If you pull a “it’s either her or me” ultimatum, the chances are pretty high (IMHO) that he will bail on you completely. Not because he wants to go back to the Ex, but because he’s just not up for a girlfriend who’s an insecure control-freak.

    Your best bet? Get to know ALL of his friends. Have a party and invite everyone over, including the Ex. And make out her invitation as “and partner/guest”. Who knows, she might have a new guy in her life that you just don’t know about.

    Good Luck!

  13. 43

    “I really don’t understand why some women are so afraid that their boyfriends are going to go running back to their exes”

    The reason is because those women have done it in the past.

  14. 44

    Why didn’t he invite Emily to join them for lunch? Wouldn’t you automatically want to introduce your girlfriend, who recently moved to another country to live with you, to your friends? Isn’t that just common courtesy?

    The fact he didn’t is what is suspicious.

    1. 44.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      I wouldn’t have invited my jealous girlfriend to meet my innocent ex either. What an unnecessary and uncomfortable dynamic when the two are better kept separate. You have to start thinking like a guy instead of thinking strictly from “the woman is always right/the man is always suspicious” point of view.

  15. 45

    I’ll venture that the reason this post hits quite a few nerves is because the experience of dating someone who isn’t quite *done* with an ex is more common than the experience of being an irrationally jealous new girlfriend.

    Same deal as to why legions of women won’t date *separated* men.

  16. 46

    EMK #47, 50
    Thanks for answering my earlier question, and clarifying that.
    I have to say that I don’t agree, though, that the boyfriend should keep Emily and the girlfriend separate. I still think his best option is to invite Emily and be as OPEN and inclusive as possible. She did, after all, move across a great distance to be with him. If Emily refuses to meet her or categorically states that her bf should never have an ex as a friend, well then, maybe her move was a big mistake. Like I said before, committed couples don’t have private, “separate” ex’s as friends.

  17. 47

    IMHO, if people can handle they and their partners being friends with an ex, I think that is a good sign they can handle other potential relationship stressors without folding.   Sounds like a good quality.

  18. 48


    You wouldn’t invite your jealous girlfriend, WHO CAME FROM ANOTHER COUNTRY TO MOVE IN WITH YOU to have lunch with your innocent ex? How pray tell, did you know she was a jealous girlfriend? And why wouldn’t you assume that once she saw how innocent your ex was there wouldn’t be a problem?

    Seriously Evan, this kind of compartmentalism might be appropriate in the first few weeks of dating, but NOT when someone has moved to a different country to be your live in. No Way.

    And I do not have to think like a guy to have “the woman is always right/ the man is always suspicious” point of view. I don’t Have that POV. Hiding a friendship from someone you are seriously involved with is wrong period. For both genders.

    1. 48.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      This is my last post on this.

      Selena, don’t yell at me. My job as a dating coach is to tell you how to succeed with men in dating and relationships. But you don’t have to listen to me.

      Go ahead, do it your way. Accuse him of something untoward. Make him feel like a bad person. Check his cell phone. Lemme know how it goes.

      This man is innocent. I’ve had many lunches with women where it didn’t even occur to me to invite my wife. Her presence there is unnecessary. My friendship with these women is a separate entity. Thus, it’s up to you to accept HIS truth, instead of assuming he’s lying to you. It is not his obligation at all to invite his live in girlfriend everywhere he goes. How exhausting would it be to be in such a relationship?

      Seriously, get out of your own head and into his. In trusting relationships, Selena, all of this is irrelevant. So my wife is having lunch with her ex. So she’s having drinks with a male colleague. Who cares? She’s married to ME! The ONLY reason I should care is if I’M insecure or don’t trust her. I do trust her, so I don’t give a crap about who she sees when I’m not around. THIS is how you have a healthy relationship.

      This paranoia about the ex doesn’t sound like anything that I – or any man I know – would want to be a part of. I MUST invite you along to lunch with my ex? Really? The only guy who puts up with such demands is a man with no balls. Congratulations, he’s all yours. But he’ll start to resent the hell out of you and you’ll probably have no respect for him.

      Pat Allen said: “If you tell a man what to do and he listens, he’s not a man”. I wholeheartedly concur.

      1. 48.1.1

        How do we know he’s innocent?How do we know the ex is innocent? Often, these situations aren’t innocent. I experienced something similar…

        My bf was talking to a former fwb behind my back while we were together. He had cancer and he invited her to come sit with him while he got his chemo treatment. He never told me about it. 1 week later, we were out to dinner and his phone started blowing up. It was the former fwb. She was texting him about how much she missed him and he should come and visit her in this hotel room she rented to party in for the weekend.

        I was not amused by this- he insisted it was innocent, he had no interest and they were “just friends”. He said she was inviting him to a party.  So, I said, let’s go to this party! He begrudgingly took me after calling her to let her know he was bringing me. Which, I wondered, why is he warning her if it’s just a party? Why does it matter?… So, we went to the hotel party and found her, by herself with her friends passed out upstairs, a bunch of booze on the table and a bed folded out in the living area of the suite… oh, and some graphic pornography on the TV… It was very uncomfortable and later I learned about the hospital thing, etc..

        I was hurt that he hid this relationship from me and felt very disrespected by him and her- this woman clearly got the message that a sexual advance was appropriate.

        I really think carrying on a secret relationship with a former sex partner behind your significant other’s back is dishonest, it sends the wrong message to the former flame and it can also create a situation like the above mentioned. I was so hurt, and what hurt the most was losing the trust and respect I had for my partner. If you love your partner and value your relationship, you need to be open and honest and not put yourself in compromising situations. If you follow the Golden Rule- relationships can work pretty well.

        With that said, sure- you can maintain a friendship with an ex. I have friendships with exes. The difference, I tell my BF about it. If I am going to see that ex, I mention it, and I ask my partner if it bothers them. I respect my partner and want to give them the opportunity to express themselves and/or ease any concerns they might have. How my partner feels is important to me.

        I am okay, if setting some ground rules helps my partner not feel crazy, jealous or insecure. I am aware that people are human and that these emotions are normal and common. I have dated men that freaked out about an ex, a friend or even a stranger. I am a pretty attractive woman and when I am out and about, I am approached many times a day by men- so, I have dealt with many bfs feeling insecure. I totally can understand why. If they were approached by many woman every single day, I might feel a threatened too. Which is why I try to show consideration and understanding to my partners.

        For the most part, if you communicate with your partner without judging them, you can resolve these things- and in the end, if I truly loved a guy and it drove him insane that I was hanging out with an ex, well- that’s an easy thing. The person I love takes priority. If it was necessary to keep that ex in my life, I would invite them to meet one another or only invite the ex to come around when my bf was around. To me, it’s not a big compromise to be sensitive to the person I love’s feelings.

        I don’t look down on people for experiencing insecurities. It’s all in the way you handle the situation. I also, have nothing to hide, so that helps.




  19. 49

    Not that anyone here cares, 😉 but if I end up with a boyfriend who meets his ex for lunch, texts her, appears to take a private call, etc. without being open with me from the beginning about their continuing contact, he will likely become my ex real soon. It wouldn’t be due to supposed jealousy or my feeling insecure. I could feel very secure about our being  together with a good future ahead. Rather, a sense of trust that would be broken. Not a worry that he might sleep with her again or leave me.
    And not to be a hypocrite, but if I kept in contact with an ex, my new boyfriend would know about this before any new contact had been made. It shows there’s nothing to hide or defend myself for, and that I trust him enough to be secure, understanding and accepting of the situation. And if he’s not, well then that would likely show we’re not the best match.

  20. 50
    Dawn Quow

    I just wanted to add that Evan I’ve only just discovered your blog and I so wish that I had found it earlier. Your comments are quite insightful and sensible. You have really great material here. I’m going to keep reading.

  21. 51

    A few (possibly conflicting, anyway different) thoughts come to mind:
    First, did anyone else find the boyfriend’s response when they were both sick to be selfish? He shouldn’t only care about whether he catches her cold. He should also care about not giving HER whatever pathogen he ingested (which could be transmitted through close contact).
    Second, back when hubby and I were dating, he would have been right to worry more about any NEW guy I went to lunch with rather than any EX.  Why? Because I was through with my exes, even if we did stay friends.  There just really were no sparks left.
    Third, if the boyfriend in this story did invite the ex over for dinner, wouldn’t that be good in some ways?  He would be introducing his ex to his new girlfriend, and everything would be out in the open.  I don’t think the girlfriend should feel threatened by that possibility.  She should only be concerned if they are doing a lot of things together that don’t involve her.
    Don’t be too harsh on anyone.  Jealousy can be a very, very hard emotion to deal with – even when one knows it is wrong or unhelpful.

  22. 52

    I’m not saying that a man must invite his girlfriend or wife every time he has a casual lunch with an ex. But in this new relationship, where Emily has moved from another country to be with her bf, where she clearly feels insecure and probably knows no one else, inviting her along to meet his ex makes perfect sense to me. 
    Selena, I think you hit the nail on the head in #51

  23. 53
    Dawn Quow

    I just wanted to add that I only recently discovered this site. It has been a refreshing discovery. Marc your comments are so insigthful and sensible. I will certainly keep reading,

  24. 54

    There’s a simple solution to all of this:  He can either be best friends with his ex or best friends with his girlfriend.  This isn’t a shades of grey and explain it away issue. 
    Hey – he can go to lunch with the ex. He can plan this out for a month in advance. BUT – If his girlfriend finds out that she is getting a colposcopy the day of the lunch ONE day before the lunch . . . he throws the ex girlfriend under the bus. His girlfriend comes first.
    The ex girlfriend wants to get together and talk about b.s.: Books, movies, music, etc. etc.  They make plans to have a drink after work.  The girlfriend gets laid off from her job THAT day at 4:00 p.m.  The boyfriend throws the ex girlfriend under the bus to be with his GIRLFRIEND who just had the rug pulled out from under her feet.

     The ex girlfriend invites him to spend a weekend day at the beach. He says, “Hey ex-girlfriend!  My girlfriend and I both work Monday through Friday and we get so little down time together, so I’m going to bring her along –okay?”
    That’s how it works.  It’s okay for a man to be ‘friends’ or ‘friendly’ with an ex as long as the ex-girlfriend:  Knows her place. 

    As long as she (the ex-girlfriend) knows – a GOOD romantic relationship?  The man and the woman save all their relationship talks for the two of them. That means the ex-girlfriend can’t get mad at her ex-boyfriend that says in response to her questions about this love life, “Hey Sally! That’s between me and Amy. I can’t be disloyal to her.”   As Evan has said, Ex’s  Are Ex’s For A Reason.   The ex-girlfriend should be made to understand this when she finds herself being blocked out from the most intimate and deep emotional level with the man in the triangle.  
    Now if the Original Poster’s boyfriend is NOT doing these things in regards to how he manages balancing his time with his LOVE Interest versus the person he used to have sex with  –  then she needs to be concerned.   It should tell her that she’s made a man a priority that treats her like an option. And she should go.  She’s settling for less than what she deserves.

    Everyone deserves loyalty from a romantic partner and to be priority.  I have parents who have been married for 40 years – and they still truly love each other. That love that has grown?  My mom will tell you – her husband is loyal to her and puts her first.    

    All that said, If he IS throwing the ex-girlfriend under the bus when it’s a choice between the two women – she has no worries. His loyalties lie 100% with her.

    Side Note: This is how it works for my boyfriend and me of 10.5 months.  The issue in our relationship was MY male friends that I had dated or been involved with. My current and what I believe to be Forever love is not a jealous man with a ton of past relationship issues. Those are in the past.  But he needed me to SHOW him that he was first in my behavior. So I’m looking at it from the boyfriend role.  I made an active choice that my love was my best friend and the man that deserved my loyalty – above and before any other man in my life.  So if I can do it – so can the original writer’s boyfriend!

  25. 55

    Unless your boyfriend is in prison, there’s really no way you can keep tabs on his every move. People have contact with the opposite sex every day! Yes, they’ll find some of them attractive and maybe even fantasize a bit. That’s normal! Other people don’t stop being attractive just because you’ve chosen to be exclusive. BUT, he chose to commit to YOU. So if you have a healthy relationship, you shouldn’t feel threatened whether it’s lunch with an ex or someone “new” (as Helen said) from work, etc. But if you act like the prison warden and snoop through his cell and emails, then you’re making other women seem far more attractive to date… If you accuse an innocent man enough, he’s either going to dump you or finally commit the crime he’s paying for already.

    Also, Dawn, #60, his first name is Evan. Marc is his middle name. 🙂

  26. 56

    Yeah, EMK- why do so many people call you Mark or Marc? It’s annoying me, and I’m not the one it’s directed at! 

    People, come on, we all know the name that is the first in sequence is the one that takes precedence. Now, if he was calling himself E.Marc Katz, that would be understandable, since you wouldn’t know what the “E” is for- but the first name is right there on top of your screen!!

  27. 57
    Evan Marc Katz

    Here are some of the ways that people have found me in Google last month:

    Evan Mark Katz

    Eric Marc Katz

    Mark Katz

    Mark Evan Katz

    Marc Evan Katz

    Evan Michael Katz

    Evan Marc Kats

    Evan Marc Ken

    Evan Marc Kaatz

    Evan David Katz

    Marc Evan Kat

    Evan Mac Katz

    Evan Marckatz

    Evan Mark Kratz

    Evan Marx Katz

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    Mark Evan Jatz

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    There are more, but these are pretty priceless. Also, there are plenty of people looking for pictures of my wife. Plenty of people searching for coupon codes. And a small handful of people who are looking for some evidence that I’m a crank by typing in Evan Marc Katz hoax, Evan Marc Katz fraud, Evan Marc Katz complaint.

    God bless you all for caring enough to read. You might not like what I have to say, but I’m no hoax or fraud, and the only complaints come in directly on this blog.

    I’m off to throw a party where I will undoubtedly drink too much and make a few single women smile. I’m very glad to have such an understanding wife and would encourage all of you – especially the ones who disagreed with me today – to try to BE that understanding woman.

    She’s the one who gets the guy in the end.

    Have a great weekend, y’all.


  28. 58

    Deep down inside, I know Evan is right.  But I’m still having trouble wrapping my brain around it.  I have been the type that if I find out the guy I’m dating is still involved with his ex, I don’t hound him about it.  I just walk away and they’re free to work out any unfinished business they may have. 

  29. 59

    You may be deceived if you trust too much, but you will live in torment unless you trust enough. ~Frank Crane

    Speaks volumes.

  30. 60

    You know I had not thought of it until now, but one of my ex boyfriends was going to be in town a couple of years ago (he had a job for a hotel chain at the time and traveled a lot) and I had made plans to meet him for dinner/drinks…I told Jake off the cuff as an FYI and he asked me to cancel.  So I did.  No big deal, Jake being comfortable means more to me than one semi-awkward catchup dinner with someone I haven’t seen in 7 years.  And it was that particular ex, because Jake knew the guy was a jerk.  I have another ex that we have had dinner with when he was in town, but since he’s engaged and lives in Japan a) there was no threat and b) we are obviously trying to butter him up to show us around Tokyo someday when we save enough money to go!

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