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. 241

    The guy is just a lying cheating whore. Simple. I’d run like HELL.

  2. 242

    WELL…..a relationship should be about honesty, if he had to hide the text it isn’t honesty. His focus should be more on building something with the girlfriend not hanging on to an old one. Just because your not comfortable with it doesn’t mean your overbearing or insecure at all. The so called boyfriend should take into consideration that it is causing an issue between them. Either the current relationship has meaning and value…. Or it don’t.

  3. 243

    Thanks you for this response!  It sums up how I’m feeling perfectly!

    Here’s my story…

    My oldest, closest friend happens to be an ex-girlfriend on mine.  We dated for 1 year 16 years ago and have been platonic friends for the past 15 years.  We even lived together as platonic friends for two years after we broke up, which I admit is strange but hey it worked for us.  She currently lives 6 hours away from me with her BF (who’s also a very good friend of mine) but we keep in touch and I try to go visit them about once a year.  At this point I pretty much consider her the sister I never had.

    My fiancee (whom I’ve been with for 3 1/2 years) has real trouble with this situation.  I’ve been very up front with her about my friend since the start of our relationship.  When I went to visit my friends I not only asked, but practically begged my fiancee (then GF) to come with me so they could meet.  Her reaction was pretty much “Hell no,” so I went on my own.  Conflict has arisen since I want to invite my friends to our wedding (I think one’s oldest friends should be at one’s wedding).  Conflict has arisen because my family has been kind to my friend and supportive of our friendship.

    My fiancee and I have a fundamental disagreement over whether one can be friends with an ex (I’m friendly with most of my exes).  That I can live with, but while my fiancee has never laid out an ultimatum (“It’s her or me!”), I often feel there’s an ultimatum implied if we’re to avoid constant conflict…and I don’t find that fair.  I don’t think I should be asked to choose between my current love and my oldest friend and if i was asked to choose I feel I would be justified in choosing against whomever was making me make such a stupid choice.

    1. 243.1

      Wow Adam, I find it very interesting  on how you find it difficult to choose between your ‘old friend’ (ex) and your Fiancé if it’s making her unhappy. You’ve asked your fiancé to spend the rest of your life with’ve made a decision to love, nurture and respect her so you can both evolve. Leave the past behind and focus on what you have..your Fiancé is number 1. If you’re not feeling that way maybe you have unfinished business with your old friend that needs to be explored.

      All the best.

      1. 243.1.1

        Wow Bianca, I find it very interesting that you think I can’t love, nurture and respect my fiancee without letting her dictate who I can or can’t associate with.

        So if your Significant Other disliked your friends (whom they have never met), including people who you’ve known most of your life, you would just sacrifice everyone else in your life to appease them?  What if your SO had some issue with your family…would you never see your family again so easily?  The matter isn’t that I’m “choosing” my friend/ex over my fiancee.  The matter is that I shouldn’t be asked to make such a choice.

        It pains me that this friendship this makes my fiancee unhappy, but trust me, I am equally unhappy over the fact that my fiancee won’t give my friend a chance, refuses to make any attempt to understand why we’re friends and will not treat her with the respect or common decency that I treat all of the other people in my fiancee’s life with, regardless of how I feel about them, simply because they are important to my fiancee.

        Moreover, my fiancee knew of this friendship in particular and my penchant for remaining on friendly terms with exes in general within the first couple weeks of us dating, yet had no negative things to say about it until much, much later.  Now, if you think being friends with an ex is never okay and you would never date someone who was…well, I find that a fairly arbitrary condition quite frankly, but I’m not going to change anyone’s mind on it.  But if that’s how you feel, don’t date someone who very clearly states they are friends with exes.

        More than just and attempt at dictating which other important people in my life I should or should not associate with (something I would never do to her), my fiancee’s actions on this topic represent a fundamental problem with (and an attempt to chance) WHO I AM and who she knew I was since day one.



        1. Stacy2

          Adam, let me try and save you some grief here. I am going to go out on a limb and state that your fiance may not actually care about you ex as much as she cares about you CHOOSING her over the ex. Can you understand this? She wants you to demonstrate to her, that she is more important than your ex. By refusing to do so, you’re engaging in a power struggle that will make noone happy, My guess is, that if you actually told he that she is more important to you and that you are willing to never see you ex-gf if that what it takes… she may actually become ok with you seeing the ex after all! May be, she just needs some reassurance that your relationship is secure. And she is not wrong. She should be more important than your ex. If you’re even thinking about who to chose, you probably shouldn’t get married to her.

        2. GoWiththeFlow


          “The matter isn’t that I’m “choosing” my friend/ex over my fiancee.  The matter is that I shouldn’t be asked to make such a choice.”

          You are right Adam.  You should not have to end a 17 year friendship because your fiancé has trust and insecurity issues, especially since your she has never met your friend.  I’m sure you two have gone ’round the block on this several times.  It might be a good idea with the wedding approaching for both of you to go to a counselor to solve the issue.

          Good luck!

  4. 244

    I can understand where you are coming from, but you really aren’t giving any thought to your fiancee.  You are with her now and it isn’t really fair to keep up a relationship with a past GF.  Some people can deal with it and some cannot.  I did my best to deal with it in a situation of my own and it turned out he was lying, sneaking, betraying and cheating.  That is always a possibility in situations like this, no matter how honest you may be.  Why stir the pot???  If you really want to marry your fiancee and you truly love her, you would pick her over the old GF.  That’s not saying be rude to your friends, but if you wouldn’t pick your fiancee over the old GF, I think you have some serious thinking to do.  Just my opinion.

  5. 245

    The single best piece of relationship advice I can give to a woman after years of being single and dating is if you want to know how a man will be in a relationship, if you want to see his character and if you want to know how he will treat you look very closely at the relationship he has with his exes.  Not just the interactions or lack there of but how he speaks of them, how soon he does so and is it overall negative or positive.  Don’t judge a man by how he treats his Mother or his Sister that’s an old wives tale.  Certainly if you have a man that treats his Mom or Sister like crap that’s likely a red flag, unless of course she’s an alcoholic or abusive or such, but men that love maternal family members mean nothing as to how they will treat wives or girlfriends.  Some of the biggest jerks cheaters and liars have loved their mothers to death.  I am on good terms with all on my long term exes but one, and that is my choice, he lied and cheated and I do not want him in my life, he would be in mine.  Since age 16, I am 37.  I have attended 3 of their weddings, but even those that I never speak to could call me at anytime and most will email me once a year or so.  I know their wives they know who I am dating I who they are if not married.  I do not speak poorly of them they do not of me, I always tell men I come with references 🙂 Here is why this is important, we all have that one okay maybe two crazy ex, see I have one in the bunch.  But you don’t want to be with someone who is on bad terms with all the people they have ever dated seriously , that is a huge red flag!   You would rather be with someone that is able to maintain a friendship or at minimum be on good terms with those people because that shows he’s a good guy.  Look no one likes break ups and sure after some of my break ups there was anger and it took time for it to heal but eventually we were friends.  If these two can break up and still be friends even better.  Short term men I have dated who had exes that all hated them well guess what they cheated on all of them and me too!  They were pathological liars.   You also don’t want men who talk poorly about all their exes and men who say all their exes are crazy run from that guy immediately he’s crazy.  Because people that say stuff like that do not take personal responsibility for their own actions and like to bad mouth others which is immature.  Look at it like this one day you are pretty likely to be that ex and he’s going to talk about you like that do you want to be spoken about like that?  You don’t want a man that has inappropriate relationships with exes of course not and there are men and women that do.   I tell all my boyfriends about my communications with my exes.  The exes that I am close friends with meet my boyfriends.  If my exes have girlfriends I befriend them as well many have become best friends and it is all out in the open no phone hiding or hiding and it MUST be this way.  This is where the guy made the mistake.  But the girl who has been dating this man for a few months I believe is making a mistake of thinking this relationship is a lot more serious than the man does.  She moved to his city after a few months ummm…l with what commitment?  Is he her boyfriend?   I’m not sure at this point he owes her anything she is acting very needy and clingy with no justification and she probably just ruined this.  Was the move a mutual thing?  Did he ask her to move?  Did he ask her to be exclusive?

    1. 245.1
      curious observer

      This is really good advice!

  6. 246
    Tiger Lily

    I found this a little troubling from Emily’s secondary post: “Another to add, it turned out (after boyfriend and I talked) that his ex was sneaking around on her current boyfriend, not telling him she was meeting mine for lunch.”

    The ex GF — sounds like just about everything is on the table for her.  Maybe Emily should be more trusting, maybe the BF should be more open, maybe there should be more hours in the day so that we could text and talk and have lunch with everyone all of the time, every day!

    I see this whole scenario as more of a priority matter — who is the BF’s priority?  Current or ex?


  7. 247

    My bf is in constantly contact with his ex-wife, technically separated.  She text him and calls him every day, and it is not about his 9 yrs old daughter.  She says that she calls him because he is her friend and friends are there when need it.  Beside that she calls him and ask him if he’s with me.  She knows he has a gf.  He stays talking to her like nothing, listening to her nonsense.  He takes her to doctor’s appointments, to the ER when need it, and if she’s not feeling good health wise he stays over to take care of his 9 yrs old daughter and her 14 and 12 yrs old as well.  The ex doesn’t have a drivers license but drives everywhere.  He says that he is helping her until she receives her first social security check (applied for disability).  Pays all of her bills because supposedly she can’t, but she receives two social security checks for her two oldest, food stamps, etc.  The fact that she calls him and text him 15-20 times a day for no reason it really bothers me.  I don’t do that because I understand that he is working.  The reason I know she text and calls him all the time is because of his brother.  He says that she drives my bf crazy.  I have talked to him about this situation and how uncomfortable all of these makes me feel, and he tells me that knowbody is going to prevent him from seeing his daughters.  He knows better then that because I am always asking for the girls, and making sure he spends time with them.  I tell him to take them out for quality time.  But not spending time with them at her house.  His family do not agree with the things that he is doing.  They have told him that she is taking advantage of him, using him.  He never has money because of what its going on.  Today he is taking her for an appointment and staying over because she can not be around the girls.  Supposedly something to do with the radiation in her body due to the testing they are doing on her today.  I am trying to be supportive but this is too much.  

    1. 247.1
      Karl R


      First, it sounds like you’ve already made up your mind to leave your boyfriend.  If so, go ahead.


      Second, it sounds like you want someone to affirm that you’re in the right and your boyfriend is in the wrong.  Why bother?  If you don’t like the situation, you’re allowed to leave him even if he’s 100% on the moral high ground.


      Third, it sounds like she is taking advantage of him.  It’s quite possible that she’s acting out of necessity.  She may not have anyone else she can turn to.  She may just be doing her best to survive and take care of her kids … using the only resource available.


      If I was in your position, I could sympathize with the ex-wife’s circumstances.  I could admire the generosity and charity the boyfriend shows toward her.  And I could walk out of the relationship because it’s not making me happy.


      Don’t insist on being the “good guy” in the breakup.  In order to be the “good guy”, you have to make the other person be the “bad guy” … and the other person will generally object to that.  Breakups go more smoothly if you let the other person know that you think they’re terrific … but the relationship just isn’t working for you.

      1. 247.1.1

        well said

    2. 247.2

      Jain, for all it’s worth, I’m with Karl R on this one.  The part that stands out to me is that you’ve already told him how uncomfortable this is making you feel, but he didn’t take any concrete steps to increase your comfort level.  I think this situation could possibly be salvaged, if you both set and maintained some reasonable boundaries for contact with the ex, that work for both of you (honoring his relationship with his daughters while also making you a priority, i.e. limiting contact to just things related to the daughters).  However, if he really isn’t willing to do that, then I’m not sure what else can be done.  You can’t force him to do something he doesn’t want to.

      I don’t think he’s necessarily “bad” per se (sounds more like someone who is well-intentioned but has weak boundaries–and I know you can’t make him grow a spine.  Nor is it your job to do so, even if you somehow could).  I also don’t think you’re in the “wrong” either and don’t blame you for being uncomfortable about this.  Most women don’t want a man who is another woman’s caretaker (especially his ex!)  I just think this sounds like the wrong fit.

  8. 248

    Evan is right. I have been that girlfriend who has nearly lost a lovely man because of my own insecurities. You guys need to think about what he’s saying cos your not listening to him. You will push him away, and you’ll be in the same position you are now with someone else, this insecurity you have is something that burdens all your relationships not just your current one. you need to think about the sort of girlfriend or boyfriend you are before you can really evaluate wether this ex is a threat to your relationship. You have chosen to be with the sort of person that can’t just cut people out of his life. And don’t you sometimes feel like your are putting on a pedestool? Like you think she’s so amazing that he really wants her? No. There not together, he chose you.

  9. 249

    This response is BS. And here is why:

    All relationships are build upon trust. Hiding lunches and meeting with exes and calling her while your girlfriend is making dinner is disrespectful and not worthy of trust.

    In a healthy relationship you discuss eachother’s needs and wants. In a relationship you make agreements and you set healthy boundaries. Each person and case is different. But the point really is that marriage or a relationship means sacrificing some things for the common good.

    If she feels unsafe when he makes calls and lunch dates with his ex behind her back – I wouldn’t tolerate that period- then all she has to do is to tell him that. If he can’t cherish her feelings and accommodate her at all in what she needs then he is not the right partner for her.




  10. 250

    I’ve recently went through the same thing. I wouldn’t say that if you feel uncomfortable with him talking to An ex makes you insecure..becaus it doesn’t ! Think about it , your ex is an ex.. And if he’s in a new relationship.. Why is there a need to communicate with someone of your past ! It’s disrespectful to you! If they don’t have any kids or something that bonded them together bedsides their intimate connection then no if you fell uncomfortable he should understand and do what will make your relationship stronger! My boyfriend has stopped talking to his ex! But the only difference with us is that they’re messaging each other saying how much they miss each other ! We spoke about it and I took myself out of my shoes to get where he was coming from in his point of view! He had no problem with not taking to Her .. But now you have to figure weather he thinks you don’t trust him or you’re insecure ! Which sucks because that may not be the factor .. It maybe you don’t trust that ex and you don’t knw their intent .. But if you know your significant others Intent you guys can figure something out ! But in my generation !! They all thots with bad intentions! Girl tell him to chunk up the ✌️ And let her go if she’s not important to him anymore

  11. 251

    I would really hate to be the person who wrote that letter and have to read your response.  That was a serious checkmate! An ex is an  ex for a reason if you want to be with her that’s I confident and screams neediness. The perfect prescription needed for a boyfriend to run far away from you

  12. 252

    My husband got reacquainted with his high school girlfriend years ago. Feeling secure in my marriage, I had no problem with him being friends with her, we even went to her wedding and my daughter was her flower girl! Eventually her husband left her with triplets (5 year olds) and that’s when she initiated an affair with my husband. Hubby dumped her after a few months, then he found someone else that his brother in law (the honest and faithful Catholic…lol) introduced him too. That was three years ago and he just married the other affair last year. All I can say is that I’m happily divorced! I hear his new marriage is on the rocks, no surprise there. It really doesn’t matter who your man is friends with, if he wants to cheat, he will find someone willing, since women betray each other all the time. Let me clarify, desperate women betray other women. The biggest loser in this whole scenario is my daughter who is now an adult, she can’t stand her dad anymore.

  13. 253

    I have to call bullshit on you saying it is OK to remain friends with an ex.  It is a recipe for disaster. Period.

    When you go into a serious relationship with someone, you should at the very least respect them enough to not continue seeing your ex.  If you do continue and your partner objects, the least you can do is stop the relationship with the ex out of respect and love for your partner.  Your concern should be about fostering your new serious relationship, not about keeping in touch with an ex.

    In general, most people don’t have single friends of the opposite sex once they’re seriously committed or married. Why should they? Your spouse is your opposite-sex friend now and there’s no reason for you to be friends with old flames anymore. You’re going to want to spend quality time with your mate, and having your single, opposite-sex past lover there as the third wheel in the background will just be awkward.

    (Just for simplicity’s sake,  I will refer to the person who was left as “she” and the person who did the leaving as “he”)

    Something else that needs to be addressed is that when someone wants to remain friends with an ex after he leaves her, she usually agrees to the friendship because there is false hope that one day they will reunite, whether he has a new girlfriend or not.  Because of this, she won’t look for a new relationship and find her true soulmate as long as she still believes there is a chance to get back together with her ex and that won’t change as long as he remains “ friends” with her, even if this “friendship” goes on for several years.  He is ruining her life by remaining friends with her.

    We must remember that when two former lovers grow apart, it’s not personal… it’s life….and it is best for all concerned.

    The relationship you and  your wife have with your former lover is quite out of the ordinary. As wonderful and light and flowery as it sounds,  I wouldn’t be surprised if there were feelings left unsaid by one or both of the women  involved.  It is obvious that you make it clear that you will leave someone if they don’t accept your former lover who is still a friend, therefore any woman who fell in love with you and wanted to keep you would have to put up or shut up…or leave.  I wonder if that happened in your case and you just aren’t aware of it.  People are capable of doing extraordinary things when they are in love, including pretending they are OK with something.  If not, then like I said, your case is very rare and unusual.

    I have researched this a bit because of my experience and friends’ experiences and all the counsellors and experts say it is best and safer to just move on.  Holding on to a dead romance isn’t worth unsaid toxic emotions between a couple or the emotions that spill out and become a war that eventually divide them simply because someone won’t give up the ghost on a former lover.

    My big question is…

    “Why is it so damn important to keep a former lover in your life anyway, considering the fact that the vast majority of people wouldn’t appreciate their partner spending time with a former lover anyhow?”

    Perhaps people who don’t understand why their love doesn’t want them to remain “friends” with an ex, have their priorities “out of sorts” and need to reassess what is important to them…their selfish need to hang on to an ex even if it hurts their partner or the healthy growth of their new relationship without the background “noise” of an ex causing ripples in what could have been  a calm pond.

    Any energy put into a relationship with a former lover is energy drained from what they can put into a new relationship.

    People want to be with someone who is strong enough to cut the umbilical cord to past lovers and move on.

    It is offensive for you to label people who don’t want former lovers hanging around as green-eyed, irrationally jealous girlfriends who should shut the hell up. Don’t forget, men don’t appreciate their girlfriend’s ex lovers hanging around either. It is normal human behaviour not to desire your partner to have a friendship with an exlover.

    “Psychology Today” reports many reasons why “remaining friends” is not conducive to a healthy future for anyone involved and why it is often best to just move on.


    Being friends with an ex is like keeping an empty bottle of wine in the fridge-You don’t get anything  from it and it takes up room for something new.









    1. 253.1
      Karl R

      Carol asked:

      “Why is it so damn important to keep a former lover in your life anyway, considering the fact that the vast majority of people wouldn’t appreciate their partner spending time with a former lover anyhow?”

      What would you do if your brand-new boyfriend / lover objected to one of your platonic, same-sex friends.  Maybe because he has diametrically opposed political beliefs from her … or he has incompatible religious beliefs from her … or he strongly disagrees with life choices that she’s made.

      Would you ditch a friend (who has been part of your life for years or decades) just to make a boyfriend or lover happy (even though he has only been around for days or weeks).

      If someone is still friends with an ex, then they are friends.  And they have been friends far longer than you have known them.  And if loyalty to their friends is a priority, they’re not interested in ditching any of their friends for someone who a brand-new addition into their social circle.


      It’s called loyalty.  It’s generally considered to be a positive trait.  Especially in marriages.

      Loyal people tend to be loyal to lots of people.  Disloyal people tend to be disloyal to everyone.  You can’t find a partner who is more loyal to you by choosing someone who is less loyal to everyone else.


      Exes and social circles:

      If I met a date/girlfriend through online dating, or met them at a bar that I happened to be visiting, then there wass no particular point in remaining friends with them after the breakup.  We just went back to our separate lives.

      I dated four women that I met at church, one of whom sang in the church choir with me (an activity that caused us to see each other twice a week).  The choir is a rather tight-knit social group.  Was I supposed to quit the choir and change churches just because we broke up?  It was far easier to remain civil / friendly and stay in choir.

      I dated at least seven women that I met at the dance studio and/or the dance community.  Was I supposed to give up my main form of exercise, my favorite hobby, and my largest social circle just because I broke up with a woman?  It was far easier to stay civil and/or friendly with the woman instead of rearranging my life.

      I dated one woman who was part of a group of college buddies that I hung out with for decades.  Was I supposed to avoid that entire group of friends after we broke up?  We had already decided that we worked far better as friends than boyfriend/girlfriend.  It was easiest to just just stay friends.

      These women weren’t just average members of my social circles.  They were ones that I particularly liked.  That’s why I dated them.  We shared common interests.  That how I met them.  For the relationships that lasted longer, I grew to trust them.

      I typically don’t have drama-filled breakups filled with pain, antagonism and betrayal.  So after the breakup, these are still women that I trust, that I like, that I have common interests with, and that I share a circle of friends with.

      For some exes, the only way that they differ from the rest of my close friends is that we used to have sex.


      Carol said:

      “When you go into a serious relationship with someone, you should at the very least respect them enough to not continue seeing your ex.”

      Do you have pets?

      I’m allergic to pets.  If you started dating a man who was allergic to pets, would you get rid of the pets you had lived with for years out of respect for the man you had just started dating.

      We’re not just talking about making him happy.  Allergies impact a person’s physical health.


      As someone with allergies, I’m smart enough to realize that none of my dates were going to get rid of their animals (who had been around far longer than I had) just for me.  If I insisted, it was far easier for my dates or girlfriends to get rid of me.


      Carol said:

      “If you do continue and your partner objects, the least you can do is stop the relationship with the ex out of respect and love for your partner.”


      I don’t fall in love during the first days of dating.  Or the first weeks of dating Or the first month of dating.  Of all of the women I have dated, been in long-term relationships with, and had sex with, I could use the term “love” to describe my feelings for two of them.

      And if there’s a woman that I’m dating and having sex with (even if she’s someone that I see long-term potential with), the fastest way to ensure that I lose respect for her is for her to start dictating who I can remain friends with.


      Carol said:

      “It is obvious that you make it clear that you will leave someone if they don’t accept your former lover who is still a friend, therefore any woman who fell in love with you and wanted to keep you would have to put up or shut up…or leave.”

      That’s correct.

      My friends had been around longer than my date.  They had demonstrated their trustworthiness and loyalty.  I wasn’t ditching them from the brand-new woman I was dating.  If she didn’t like it, she was expendable.  My friends aren’t.


      Carol said:

      “People are capable of doing extraordinary things when they are in love, including pretending they are OK with something.”

      So, these people are deceiving their boyfriends/girlfriends … and possibly deceiving themselves as well.

      They sound like lousy partners.  Good riddance.


      Carol said:

      “I have to call bullshit on you saying it is OK to remain friends with an ex.  It is a recipe for disaster. Period.”

      Really?  My wife is still friends with a guy she was in a relationship with over 30 years ago.  We’ve gone to hear his band play a couple times.

      We’ve had dinner with two other ex-boyfriends of hers.

      When we go out dancing, there’s a good chance we’re running into at least one woman I’ve dated.  Sometimes two or three women I’ve dated.


      If either of us was interested in pursuing something further with any of these men and women, we had plenty of opportunities before we started dating.  We passed on those opportunities then … for a reason.


      Carol said:

      “‘Psychology Today’ reports many reasons why ‘remaining friends’ is not conducive to a healthy future for anyone involved and why it is often best to just move on.”

      When I cite to a Psychology Today article, I provide a link to the actual article.  That way people can rely on the actual article, not just my version of what the article said.


      That aside, I agree with that recommendation in certain circumstances.

      In the case of a particularly painful breakup, the people will need space in order to heal.  Trying to remain friends (while everything is still raw) slows the healing process.  After both people have healed up, then they can resume being friends.

      In addition, some couples try to remain friends in order to prove how mature they are.  That’s a poor reason to stay friends with someone.


      Carol said:

      “Any energy put into a relationship with a former lover is energy drained from what they can put into a new relationship.”

      That’s also true of any time and energy I put into my friendship with my best friends.

      That’s also true of any time and energy I put into my relationship with my family.

      That’s also true of any time and energy I put into my friendships with my coworkers.


      If you want to monopolize every last bit of time and energy your boyfriend puts into relationships, that’s your business (and his).

      But if he asks my opinion, I’m going recommend that he run for it.

      1. 253.1.1

        Easy there Karl R.  Looks like I hit a nerve. LOL.

        Try really reading a post before you comment on it chief.

        For one thing, you keep referring to a NEW relationship when in the second paragraph I clearly refer to a SERIOUS relationship.

        You like to compare apples to oranges.  You ask about how I would feel if my partner didn’t approve of my same sex platonic friend.  My comments are all about former lovers, not same sex buddies.  Two totally different animals. : )

        When did I say that you have to stop your social activities in order to avoid exes?  Great, knock yourself out, say hi the exes.  However, to continue seeing them one on one is not healthy for a serious relationship with someone else.

        Again comparing apples to oranges when now comparing former lovers to pets.  Maybe your ex was a dog but that’s your problem.  Just kidding…LOL

        Again repeated examples of references to a new relationship when I clearly referred to a serious love relationship.   Read it over chief.

        You agree that women should put up and shut up when it comes to former lovers.  Honey, we women with an ounce of self respect don’t put up with men who are too weak to cut the umbilical of former flames and move on emotionally and respectfully to someone else.  We walk right past and over you to men who deserve us, while we give them the same respect by not having ex boyfriends licking around our heels.

        Don’t complain to me about fakers wasting your time since your demands brings those types out of the woodwork.  : )

        How nice for you that you and wifey keep exes in your lives and enjoy it.  You are one of a very very small group of putter uppers.  Besides, I left my home town for greener pastures decades ago.  When I go out, I don’t run into exes here and there and everywhere,  because I moved on…the key phrase being “moved on”.

        By the way, do you realize that it is common for couples that hit a rough patch in their relationship, for one of them to go back to an old flame to lick their wounds?  Here’s hoping you always have a perfect marriage!

        Re Psychology Today, it isn’t my job to spoon feed you articles.  If you’re that interested go look for yourself.  I don’t feel the need to prove myself, but you seem to.

        …and in the end, again comparing apples to oranges when comparing former lovers to real  friends.

        Perhaps you don’t like spending a great deal of time with the wifey, but my man loves to be with me as much as he can and if that is called monopolizing his time,  he will gladly line up for more any day anytime and vice versa. He has for years, without the noise of exes from either side in the background.  We respect each other too much to drag along former lovers into our serious loving relationship.

        But boy, did I ever hit a soft spot with you or what!   ; )


        1. Karl R

          Carol said:

          “For one thing, you keep referring to a NEW relationship when in the second paragraph I clearly refer to a SERIOUS relationship.”

          Have you ever had a serious relationship that didn’t start as a new relationship?

          That’s kind of like comparing ripe apples to unripe apples (rather than oranges).

          If I had ever ended up in a new relationship with a woman who shared your insecurity/jealousy, it would never make it to a serious relationship.  It’s easier for me to find a different new relationship than put up with a jealous partner.


          Carol said:

          “You agree that women should put up and shut up when it comes to former lovers.”

          Where did I agree to that?

          We’ve had one of my wife’s ex-boyfriends over for dinner more than once.  We’ve gone out to eat with another.  There’s the guy in the band that I mentioned.  There’s one that she introduced me to at a party.

          I strongly suspect she’s Facebook friends with all of them, and probably a few more.  (I’m not on Facebook, so I’m not in a position to confirm that.)


          She broke up with all of them for a reason.  If she wanted them back, she had years to do so before we even met.  Therefore, I don’t care if she goes out to lunch with them one on one.

          But you’re either too insecure or jealous to date someone who does the same.


          Carol said:

          “My comments are all about former lovers, not same sex buddies.”

          My comments are about friends.  Some of my friends are of the same sex.  Some are platonic friends of the opposite sex.  Some are women that I used to be in a relationship with.

          Maybe you’re not accustomed to being friends with your lovers.  Maybe you don’t have much use for the opposite sex unless you’re fucking them.  You certainly seem to find your ex-lovers to be completely disposable.


          Most of my serious girlfriends match the following description: amazing woman, great friend, not right for me.

          Either you date men who never meet that description, or you will ditch a great (male) friend just because you’re no longer lovers.

          Neither is an admirable trait.


          If the breakup is painful, I certainly understand making some space from your ex in order to heal.  But after both people have healed, no reason not to be friends.


          Carol said:

          “Honey, we women with an ounce of self respect don’t put up with men who are too weak to cut the umbilical of former flames”

          You form emotional “umbilical cords” to your flames?  That sounds very  … codependent.


           Carol said:

          “We walk right past and over you to men who deserve us,”

          I agree that men and women like you (insecure and jealous) end up with the kind of partners you deserve.

          And the rest of us will gladly let you walk by us.  We’ll even help you on your way.


          Carol said:

          “Re Psychology Today, it isn’t my job to spoon feed you articles.”

          So, in other words, you looked it up, reread it, and it didn’t support your earlier statement.

          Got it.


        2. Karmic Equation

          Karl can defend himself.

          But I’m going to chime in anyway.

          What you’re doing is called “splitting hairs” — As if making the distinction between a “new” and “serious” relationship makes a difference in Karl’s argument. It doesn’t. What he says applies to both “new” and “serious” relationships.

          Moreover, While he may have used “new”, there’s no dating rule book that I’m aware of that says new relationships cannot be serious ones. I was engaged after 6 weeks of dating (but I didn’t marry him until 2 years later) — My current boyfriend and I traded house keys after 6 weeks of dating. In 20 days, we’ll celebrate our one-year anniversary.

          It’s great that your guy is so p*ssy-whipped that he won’t dare have any or tell you about his friendships with exes.

          I want a guy with a backbone. Most men want secure women. It’s great that your guy will pander to your insecurity.

          That’s called “spin”. So, you can spin Karl’s post however you want to make yourself sound better, but long-time readers of this blog know who in this thread makes more sense. It’s not you.

    2. 253.2
      Karmic Equation

      I completely disagree with you.

      You have an entitlement complex.

      Just because a man is your boyfriend/husband doesn’t give you the right to dictate his friendships.

      If the friendships are HARMFUL to HIM, e.g., his best buddy is a drug dealer, then YES, you have every right to tell him he’s being a fool.

      However, if the relationship is NOT harmful to him, but makes YOU uncomfortable or “hurts” you, then that is on YOU not him to fix. And as you say, you can put up and shut up or leave.

      Works both ways. If doesn’t like your friendships with exes or other men, it is up to HIM to deal with that, not up to you to mollify him.

      Our boyfriends/husbands are our partners not our property. Respect his individuality. Respect his friendships. Trust in his integrity.

      When you have true respect and trust in your partner, you appreciate his ability to maintain friendships with everyone, regardless of whether they are male or female or ex-lovers.

  14. 254

    Hello Karmic Equation!

    An entitlement complex?  Yes perhaps.  I am entitled to having a relationship with someone who isn’t still hanging out with former lovers and I give the same respect by not doing the same.  I have stepped over men who feel the need to keep umbilical cords attached to former flames.  Funny thing is they usually also have a mommy complex.  I prefer men who move on from the past and put their energy into a serious love relationship rather than skipping around skirts of ex lovers and I would never disrespect my man by hanging out with a former lover either.

    So no, I don’t put up and shut up, I’m worth more than that…I have left a couple of men in the past who have this need to be a “hangeronner”.  Thank God I did because I met a real man who is fulfilled by being with his present real relationship, not by having lunch with  an ex.

    You’re right…respect is the name of the game and that is why my man and I don’t need or care to have dead romances floating about.


    1. 254.1

      Hello all. I can’t believe this thread is still going. I commented here nearly 2 years ago.

      Firstly let me say that everyone has valid arguments, to a point.

      In a perfect world there would be no jealousy, everyone would be completely normal and we would all be secure and trust everyone else implicitly.  Unfortunately we do not live in that Utopia.

      Reality is that in today’s society the norm is that we all have issues of one sort or another and they creep into our relationships and can create problems.

      The fact is that we will inevitably, at some point in our dating lives, have contact with or bump into ex girlfriends/boyfriends.  How we deal with that is up to the individual.

      I tend to agree with Carol though.  My experience with 2 marriages, and many years of dating have shown me that the only reason an ex is still in the picture is because there is still some sort of feeling stemming form one side or the other, which is not healthy for a potentially new relationship.  Yes I am old and wise lol

      Men and women are very different, and through the necessity of evolution women have always been networkers and men are hunter/gatherers.  As much as we would like to change the basic nature of each we can not.  I could spend hours discussing the psychological differences, but I won’t.

      Personally I do not believe that we are meant to be with the same person for life! I am sure that comment will create a rather heated debate!  We have been conditioned to believe that is the case and for a few it works but it is not the natural order of things! We go through many stages in our life like all other creatures on this planet and considering how complex our lives are and how selfish we have become that idea is an unrealistic dream for many.

      Let me finish by saying that men, in general, will keep their options open, especially if they have any sort of issues/insecurities, hence the need to keep in touch with an ex.  Karl has dated many women in areas he probably should not have and believe me I am sure he has had more problems with that than he is letting on!

      Anyway kiddies, enjoy your lives and I hope your relationships work out! The key is communication and trust. If you don’t feel like you can communicate with or trust someone then move on….simple!

      1. 254.1.1
        Karl R

        Jim said:

        “Anyway kiddies, enjoy your lives and I hope your relationships work out! The key is communication and trust. If you don’t feel like you can communicate with or trust someone then move on….simple!”

        I agree that communication and trust are key elements to a relationship.  If I couldn’t trust a girlfriend, or if it seemed like she had difficulty trusting me, then it was time to move on.

        As you pointed out, this is not utopia.  There are insecure people who do not trust their partners.  But I see no reason to cater to or date insecure women, or those with trust issues.  And having heard my wife’s stories from when she dated a jealous man (and her stories about my brother-in-law’s extremely insecure and jealous ex-wife), I think my life was enriched by never dating someone like that.


        Jim said:

        “Reality is that in today’s society the norm is that we all have issues of one sort or another and they creep into our relationships and can create problems.”

        Certainly.  But we don’t all have the same issues as every other member of the population.  And we can also choose to avoid having a serious relationship people with certain issues.

        So if you have some tendency toward insecurity, jealousy, or trust issues, and if you believe friendly contact with exes invariably leads to trouble, then you should probably seek a relationship with someone who has similar issues.  That way you can place mutually restrictive limits on each others’ actions, and hopefully end up with a happy, trusting relationship that way.

        Carol sounds a bit more extreme, since she believes that my wife should take the place of all of my female friends.  Hopefully she believes the same restrictions apply equally to women.  Therefore, she can (hopefully) manage her higher level of insecurity or jealously by entering into a more restrictive relationship than you require.


        We all have our limitations.  I’m too jealous to deal with an open or poly-amorous relationship.  I recognized that limitation in myself, so I never bothered trying to get involved in those kind of relationships.

        But to illustrate the difference between Carol and me, I don’t feel the need to vilify the people who engage in open or poly relationships.  I don’t need to do that to justify my own choices.  Their relationships don’t work for me, due to my jealousy.  That’s all the justification I need.


        Carol would rather vilify everyone who feels differently, rather than acknowledge her own limitations.  So she tries to portray herself as strong, she tries to portray less insecure people as emotionally weak, and then wonders why the more secure people aren’t lining up to agree with her.


        Jim said:

        “It is a fallacy to think that we should all be able to continue to talk to exes as it is our prerogative to, regardless of what anyone thinks especially new partners.  This is a selfish attitude and again not conducive to forming a long lasting serious relationship.”

        It would be even more selfish to believe that I should have the right to dictate who my wife can continue to talk to, regardless of what my wife thinks about that.  It’s a selfish and controlling attitude that’s not conducive to forming a long-term relationship.


        Jim said:

        “The very definition of an ex is someone you once had a relationship with that is no longer viable.”

        I agree completely.


        Jim said:

        “Lets be honest here, men in general, only keep in touch with exes to keep their options open in case the current relationship goes pear shaped.”

        Those would have to be extremely illogical men.

        If a woman is an ex, I already established that a more serious relationship with her was not viable.  If my marriage somehow goes pear-shaped, then those exes are still non-viable partners.

        If I figured out why a relationship with a woman wouldn’t work in 2002, why would I magically expect a relationship with that same woman to suddenly work now?


        Jim said:

        “You seem to think we live in a perfect world. Sorry to inform you, but we do not and many men are players!”

        I’m not getting your point.

        If my wife has lunch with an ex-boyfriend, it doesn’t bother me because I trust my wife.  If the ex-boyfriend is a player, I still trust my wife.  If I was only okay with it because we lived in a perfect world, or because I had some guarantee that the man was not a player, that wouldn’t be trust.


        Jim said:

        “Karl has dated many women in areas he probably should not have and believe me I am sure he has had more problems with that than he is letting on!”

        Which areas shouldn’t I have dated women in?

        I’ve had far fewer difficulties than you would imagine.  I’ve avoided dating jealous or insecure women.  I’ve largely managed to avoid dating high-maintenance women.  I’ve avoided women who love drama.

        I sought out women who were easy to get along with.  That really kept the problems to a minimum.


        To the best of my knowledge, one girlfriend has cheated on me.  Based on the specific circumstances, I can’t see how trying to limit who she spoke with or interacted with would have changed that outcome.

        After that, I was no longer able to trust her.  But trusting every subsequent girlfriend has turned out rather well for me.

        1. hmmmm

          Seriously people — we can all have differing opinions on this topic and the sun will still come up tomorrow.

          I’m sure there are some people who can’t be trusted/can’t trust themselves and therefore should not be friends with any ex.

          I’m sure there are lots of people who can be trusted and trust themselves and being friends with an ex is no issue.

          I’m sure there are exes that bring drama and scandal and should be avoided at all cost.

          This is an individual decision that people with some modicum of intelligence need to make in their own lives and be ready to accept the consequences. Stop trying to make strangers decisions for them!!!!!

          The black and white reasoning of the comments here is just mind boggling. Just. Wow.

        2. Jim

          Karl, you sound like a rather nice and intelligent person.

          There are many reasons why people do what they do. Most of the time you will never know. For the sake of creating a new relationship with someone else it is probably better, in many ways, to avoid contact with exes.  Sure there are many different scenarios relating to 2 people that are exes and if it works for you then more power to you.

          Human nature is a funny beast and even though people say they are okay with something, it can hide and fester until it is no longer okay and it is unleashed.

          What I meant about you dating in areas you shouldn’t have is that it is not a good idea to date people in your immediate groups. i.e. your choir.  Again you may think everything is fine with the women you have dated but that is only your view.

          At the end of the day Karl, just use some common sense in the way you deal with women and exes and you will be fine.

          I am glad your marriage is working well.  I would have to question why your wife needs to have lunch with an ex though.

          It is another fallacy that it is okay because you trust your wife. It was never my wife I did not trust….it was the ex!  Think about that for a minute and what the possible ramifications could be.

          Everyone seems to be missing a very important point here. Exes are so because we no longer get along with them for whatever reason. You have been intimate with this person and now no longer want to be in that type of relationship….why? In the majority of cases, relationships do not end well.  There are very few people who can amicably agree to break up. So why are you wanting to remain friends?

          Again there are exceptions to any rule, just be careful!

          Have a good one Karl.

        3. Karl R

          Jim said:

          “It is another fallacy that it is okay because you trust your wife. It was never my wife I did not trust….it was the ex! Think about that for a minute and what the possible ramifications could be.”

          I have thought about it, and I’m still missing your point.

          Did you think the ex was a rapist, who was going to force your wife to have sex against her will?

          If your only concern was consensual sex, then only one party has to refuse.  I trust my wife to be that one party.  It sounds like you don’t (or can’t, or won’t) trust your wife to do the same.


          I trust my wife.  Therefore, I don’t have to trust the ex-boyfriends.


          Jim said:

          “There are very few people who can amicably agree to break up.”

          All of my breakups have been amicable.  Even in the more serious (and therefore, more painful) breakups, there wasn’t anger or animosity.  But as I previously stated, if someone is hurting afterward, it makes sense for the people to maintain some space … that allows the healing process to progress faster.


          It’s entirely possible that you’ve never had an amicable breakup, while I’ve always had amicable breakups.  You and I are very different people.  In all likelihood we dated very dated women.

          All it takes is one partner to react to the breakup with anger or antagonism, and the other partner to respond in kind, and you no longer have an amicable breakup.  By being the person who doesn’t act in anger, and who doesn’t respond to anger with anger, I could avoid almost all of the potential antagonism.  By dating laid-back women, I’ve avoided the rest.


          Jim said:

          “For the sake of creating a new relationship with someone else it is probably better, in many ways, to avoid contact with exes.”

          I’ve had former dates / ex-girlfriends tell my brand-new dates what a wonderful guy I am.

          I can’t claim that this had any major influence on how any of those new girlfriends felt about me, but it certainly didn’t hurt.


          Jim said:

          “What I meant about you dating in areas you shouldn’t have is that it is not a good idea to date people in your immediate groups. i.e. your choir.”

          The fellow choir member was one of the ex-girlfriends who told new girlfriends what a great guy I was.  If she wasn’t fine with the way things ended, then she certainly had an odd way of showing it.

          I met my wife at the dance studio.  We were introduced by a different mutual friend (whom I also dated).

          If I avoided dating women in my immediate groups, I wouldn’t be married to my wife.  That’s why I have to laugh when you keep giving dire warnings about how badly it can turn out.


          If someone has a long history of high-drama relationships, antagonistic breakups, trash-talking exes, etc. … they probably shouldn’t date in their immediate circles.  But I also recommend against being that kind of person, or dating that kind of person.  If someone has already ignored those pieces of advice, they’re probably in for a rough ride regardless of which groups they date in.


           Jim said:

          “Everyone seems to be missing a very important point here. Exes are so because we no longer get along with them for whatever reason.”

          Did you actually read my post  (#254.1.1) before responding to it?  I explicitly addressed this point.


          Jim said:

          “Human nature is a funny beast and even though people say they are okay with something, it can hide and fester until it is no longer okay and it is unleashed.”

          Didn’t you just say (in #254.1) that the key to a good relationship is good communication?

          Now you’re assuming that one partner is saying they’re okay with something, when they’re really not okay with it.

          That’s poor communication.  That couple is going to have problems even if they have no exes.  They will find something else to not talk about, and let that fester, until it explodes into a major problem.


          You seem to be advising that people take all sorts of precautions to avoid wrecking a relationship with someone who fails to communicates their needs, lets things fester, and then explodes later.  Why?

          Let that relationship fail.  You’re dodging a bullet when that relationship ends early.


    2. 254.2
      curious observer

      Well this is entertaining! 🙂

      FWIW Carol I see where you’re coming from, but let me ask this — does the no contact with exes rule include when they share children? I may be a little older than you but at my age, dating someone with children under 18 is almost a given. I’m actually quite turned off by men who either treat their ex like crap or never deal with them at all, like my friends ex husband who uses the babysitter to communicate with her. It shows a lack of maturity and commitment to do what’s best for the kids and makes me wonder how he would handle it if we were in a similar situation.


      1. 254.2.1

        Wow this was certainly interesting to read!

        FWIW I don’t think the no contact with exes rule should apply when those exes have children together.  I remember one of my favorite lines from the father in “Clueless”–“you divorce wives, not kids!” You may not be the ex’s partner any longer, but you never stop being a parent and should do what’s best for the kids.  To me, that includes being civil to the ex, so you can make arrangements that are good for the kids.  I don’t see how people can do that without communicating with the ex.

    3. 254.3
      Karmic Equation


      You’re making strawman arguments.

      How did “being friends with an ex” turn into “hangeronners”? We weren’t talking about hangeronners.

      Do your friendships with your girlfriends makes you a “hangeronner”? No they don’t.

      So no, you’re not entitled to dictate your bf/husband’s normal friendships with their exes. Trust him or don’t. Dump him or don’t. Those are your prerogatives.

      However, quality men tend to choose quality women for relationships. So if your experience with men is that they have “hangeronner”-type friendships with their exes, then you’re not choosing quality men. That would explain why you don’t want or can’t have or don’t understand friendships with exes.

      Good men and women can break up, even divorce, with amicability. Sometimes, even when the breakup was painful due to incompatible values or goals (as opposed to abuse or cheating), if both are quality people and the relationship was based on a true friendship, then after the water has passed under the bridge, the friendship can be resurrected without the romantic part.

      Quality men and quality women know how to maintain the boundaries of relationships with their exes. The ones who don’t know how or don’t understand how that can be done? Some self-reflection on why that is the case may be in order.

  15. 255

    Well, Karl and Karmic, it appears you like to beat a dead horse and use name calling and incorrect analogies from quotes that have nothing to do with the points you are trying to make…and this is therefore getting rather boring.

    I suggest for a change of pace you turn to our new audience member…Jim.  He has the same feelings I do.  Why don’t you two see if you can change his point of view since you failed miserably with me.

    Good night and have some good fun while your at it.

    By the way boys, I know it’s hard, but try to be good sports about it and above all,  enjoy yourselves!

    Night night!

    1. 255.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      For what it’s worth, I agree with Karl and Karmic about 99% of the time, so if you’re picking a fight with them, you’re probably on the losing side of a battle with logic, based purely on an overemotional interpretation of “how men should be if they did exactly what you wanted them to.”

      Night night!

      1. 255.1.1

        Dear Mr Katz,

        I thought your response to Carol was rather condescending and as I tended to agree with her you are insinuating that I would also lose a battle of logic with Karl or Karmic.

        I am more than happy to pick a fight with you or anyone else based on logic. Logic dictates that any continued contact with an ex is not conducive to any potential new or existing relationship.

        The very definition of an ex is someone you once had a relationship with that is no longer viable. Because of the intimate nature of relationships it is completely understandable that neither partner, in a new relationship, would understand the need to continue to communicate with someone that the other was intimate with. The need may arise if there are kids involved but otherwise it is just asking for trouble.

        It is a fallacy to think that we should all be able to continue to talk to exes as it is our prerogative to, regardless of what anyone thinks especially new partners.  This is a selfish attitude and again not conducive to forming a long lasting serious relationship.

        You seem to think we live in a perfect world. Sorry to inform you, but we do not and many men are players!

        Lets be honest here, men in general, only keep in touch with exes to keep their options open in case the current relationship goes pear shaped.

        I am a man with lots of experience in this area and one immutable fact I have learnt is that women are emotional creatures and if you want to form a relationship with them you will not argue about keeping in touch with an ex!

        What are your qualifications to run this site and coach women on relationships?

        1. Evan Marc Katz

          13 years experience of coaching. 13 years experience in dating. 4 books. 9M blog readers. Millions in revenue. Happy marriage. Ability to see both sides of an argument instead of turning things into simplistic binary choices (“you should never be friends with your ex”). You may speak for yourself. I speak for a broader set of trustworthy men to whom it’s no big deal to be in contact with exes.

        2. Bianca

          Brilliantly expressed! Big thumbs up:)

  16. 256

    What formal qualifications do you have?  Your coaching experience is whatever you say it is. Your dating experience is just like anyone else’s.  Any person with a semblance of intelligence can write a book.  The 2 main instincts in life are survival and the need to form a relationship (to procreate) so it is not hard to imagine that any one in the field of relationships will do well. As a businessman I applaud the fact that you have taken advantage of that.

    You are rather arrogant to assume that you speak for a “broader set of trustworthy men” when the question here is should men be allowed to talk to exes. There is a big difference between men keeping in touch with exes and women keeping in touch with exes, and I think you know that!

    1. 256.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Not sure why I bother, but…

      Since you seem to consider yourself a bright guy, were you aware that people do jobs all the time that they don’t have “formal qualifications” for? What qualified Mark Zuckerberg to start Facebook. Did he get a Social Networking degree from Harvard which lent him credibility? Or did he just go out and build a fucking social network that took over the world?

      My qualifications are that I’m just about the first person on the planet to call himself a dating coach. If you want to read my history, you can find it here.

      Somehow, some way, despite my public policy degree from Duke, my failure to graduate UCLA film school, my 3rd place finish in Project Greenlight, my spotty dating history as an avowed online dating slut, I made up a job in 2003 and have been more successful at it that just about anyone. I’m not a fighter pilot or a heart surgeon who needs to graduate from a great academy. I’m a writer whose vast experience – and the ability to make sense of it to other people – has left me in the position I’m in today – a respected thought leader in my industry. If you fail to be swayed by this, then, by all means, go find a blogger with a PhD and take up the fight with her. I’m really not offended. My readers and clients value my advice on its own; regardless of a non existent “Dating coach degree”.

      Finally, can men and women keep in touch with exes? The answer is simple: if you or your partner are secure, the answer is yes. If you or your partner is insecure, the answer is no. Those saying it can’t be done are speaking from your own personal insecurities. Secure couples like me and my wife or Karl and his wife don’t think twice about it. So, like he said, feel free to restrict yourself who those who feel the same as you. My advice remains for people to be secure and to choose secure partners who wouldn’t think twice about the ex.

    2. 256.2
      Karl R

      Jim said:

      “There is a big difference between men keeping in touch with exes and women keeping in touch with exes, and I think you know that!”

      I didn’t know that.

      But that’s probably because I’m not sexist.

  17. 257

    I am probably very outdated here, but I just have to weigh in.   My husband-of-12-years  is friends with both his ex-girl friends, and while I did feel a little jealous in the initial years of marriage, I knew that reflected on my own insecurity, and so accepted them as my friends too.  In fact, the second ex-gf and I got on pretty well.   And the dude continued to be in touch with her, which I was ok with.

    And then, a few months back, he and she met in their hometown and spent a day together.  Just talking.  I knew they were going to spend the day together, and it didn’t even cross my mind to worry.  But they told each other that they still loved each other during the day-long romantic time (no sex, I know).  And my husband, being the honest wonderful person that he is, promptly came and told me that he told her that he loved her, but that does not in any way mean that he does not love me or not want to be with me.   I was not ok with it, and said that the “I love you” phrase can only be used with one person at one time.  He got mad, and yelled that I was being petty about the whole thing, and that I was treating him unfairly, despite his being honest with me.  My retort was that you can commit murder, and honestly admit to it, but that still does not make murder right.

    We patched it up over months, and he promised not to be too much in touch with her again.  I cut off all my contacts with her (I thought she was my friend too, but a friend would not tell her friend’s husband that she loved him).  We are back to our marital normalcy, but somehow, I don’t feel emotionally as close to my husband any more as I did before the fated September.

    1. 257.1

      Hi L I have the same problem though we be not married. I consider us to be in an exceedingly serious relationship. He calls me his fiance to his closest friends. However, his actions with his ex girlfriend/long time friend of 6 years have maintained a brief friendship here and there. However, when she had found out her husband cheated on her she contacted my boyfriend. I had a feeling of discomfort about it and warned him about her possible intentions and he stated that wasn’t the case. He went on to speak with her again every day and would start to delete messages I had felt something was wrong with that immensely. I did actually come upon him messaging her again he had lent me his phone to look up somithing on Google while mine was charging and there it was black and white he had told her that he messed up with her in the past and regrets getting back with his other ex gf and wishes he hadn’t gotten back with the other ex and had just stayed with her (confusing I know) he then went on to say that if he had settled with me and that he wishes they were both in different scenarios. In that same message he had told her if he had the means he would bring her out here and wife her and be loyal to her and be nothing but kind to her. Now that stung it really stung and broke my heart. Not to mention he talked about past instances with her (sexual ones) even complimented her butt and called her sweetheart and beautiful… I  disagree with this behavior i honestly thought I was enough for him. I waited some time to collect my thoughts before confronting him and then i couldn’t be silent any longer I read her message saying she loved him (she’s claiming its a love for a friend I confronted her via text) as he is too. I couldn’t take it I blew it off the handle he stated I was insecure. Crazy and had no business in knowing about what they talk about or how they talk with one another. I agree its their friendship and its private but when I asked him to not speak to her in that manner it was a fight till he agreed and said he wouldn’t but he just goes right back to it texting her good morning how he values her in his life and she’s a wonderful person and he’s thankful to have her in his life and that he hopes she slept well, has a nice day and that he loves her. So now they’re right back at it saying they love one another and talking about a sexual encounter with one another over the phone. I’m at a loss he’s become such a major part in my children’s life, we just moved into a place together and given I’m the only one working my schedule doesn’t permit me to be able to have them be at a babysitters during my usual work hours. I feel unappreciated, used, betrayed and broken…I don’t know what to do anymore other than to just keep quiet and continue with the acceptance that he will do as he pleases when he pleases and I just feel its inevitable that he leaves me for her and I just continue to focus on my children and work until that time comes. After all I did say that I would drop it and so I shall continue to leave it be and stay true to my word. I no longer read the messages or ask to see his phone I wouldn’t be able to sneak it even if I had tried he put a finger print scanner lock on his phone now  so I can’t be a nosey mf as he had stated to her.

      1. 257.1.1


        Please gather the courage to leave him.  There are other men out there who will be faithful to you.

      2. 257.1.2

        Please do yourself a favor and don’t wait for him to leave you for her…you leave him.  This is a no-brainer to me.  If someone is amicable with their ex that’s one thing, but these messages are beyond the pale.


  18. 258

    Evan can have the viewpoint he does because he has accountability to his blog readers. He will not cheat on his wife yet be friends with exes because his blog keeps him accountable. Every other male is not in this position of accountability that Evan is in.

    In other words, his wife is able to act and trust him in a different way than everyone else because he cannot afford to cheat or go back to an ex after making such a big deal about being loyal to a wife who trusts him so. If he did break up to go back to Ann ex his advice and career as a dating coach would crumble. Therefore, in my opinion his advice based on his own life circumstances makes his advice undependable and illadvised for others.

    It is best to avoid those who hide information that affect your heart and your future. Truthfulness allows you to make choices that are best for you. It does not mean you are insecure. It means you value honesty and protecting yourself from being with someone who is either untrustworthy or not over his previous relationship which is information that shows you that he is not fully committed.

  19. 259

    i was in relationship with my partner for a month and half. He has been talking about his ex (exes) often, added their experiences into our conversations. He still sees his last ex who he was with 4 years, regularly. He sees her daughter who is 17 like his own daughter. He visits them, when he is not with me, and eats the food his ex cooks. I have been having inner battle about this. Spiritually I know nothing matters, all is well…but when I listen to my mind I feel pain.

    I feel like our relationship won’t get any deeper, because he still meet up with her…and quite recently told me they will go to Nepal together. A trip that was booked before he met me. It’s a trekking trip he is going to with her and other 8 grownups to help children who raised money for charity.

    I listen to my feelings and to me it does not feel right. (he knows from the beginning that I feel uncomfortable when he keeps seeing his ex…when I was away and returned, I found a soft toy from her, in his room…he said it was a funny memory he has with her, I asked him to put it away when I’m there, and he did).

    We had an argument over the text messages…and he asked if I want him to choose…he said he can’t choose. They are in his life, and if I can’t handle it, I have to choose.

    It has not been a week yet, but we have not seen each other since then. He sends me text messages, he even says I’m gorgeous. he suggested to stay friends, he said he will always be my friend. I feel like he perhaps hopes that I will be one of his exes to keep in touch with.

    But I don’t think that would work for me.

    I believe, the doors to past relationships should be closed….so the new relationship has space to develop and get deeper.

    Love to Emily. Listen to your inner guidance…don’t be afraid.

    Thank you Tom, for your humanistic approach.


  20. 260

    Don’t look at your other halfs phone. He should be open about meeting his ex but he probably would have been. You can’t forbid someone seeing an ex you have to trust them.

  21. 261
    Typical Girl

    Evan, first, i quite amaze with some of your reply and advice. What you reply here is exactly i look at my bf reply to others. I totally agree with the trust that you mean but it can’t be double standard as girl should trust guy that way but guy didn’t.

    Why i said so? Look, you always mentioned and requested girl should and need to fully trust the guy that we choose, but why you never ask the guys should and must assume the girl who they choose and date is a reasonable girl? From how you answer, always that way guy trying to hide is bcz of his jealousy gf, but whythe guy should assume his girl as someone jealousy before he honest to her everything?? You seem like create excuse for guy for doing that and blame girl not trusted enough for their bf. I agree that snooping bf’s phone is bad, but why not we step back and ask, why the guy didnt talk honest with his gf at first? And ya you give the answer this is because guy trying to avoid their jealousy gf to get angry. So now i ask you, is it the guy don’t trust his gf at the first place? Trust his gf can be accepted what he did. Trust is both way. it’s not fair if only request on girl side.

    Im not sure why i feel pity for your wife. im not sure is she really can accepted what you did or she just too love you more than you love her. I found this from your reply, you said you dunno about your wife’s ex husband and she not really contact with him. But your wife is friendly with your EX As you so expert, don’t you realize there are unfair there? you actually want a wife who can accept what you did, and your wife know this is what you want so she had to choose to accepted it as she want to stay with you. But who know are she really happy with what you did?? Now your side, you not even know her ex husband, why? caused you don’t feel it’s needed right? or you wanna said cause you trust her? Ha! Second, don’t you realize you actually mentioned your wife less contact with her EX? why she did that? Can I set this as women’s natural? We loyalty, we know what should do to avoid our partner get jealous, we try to avoid making our partner sad. We know what our partner did will make us sad, so we avoid it. If can’t , we reduce it.

    In your marriage, we can’t judge. Maybe your wife really don”t care about what you did. but maybe she did and hurt inside the heart but without noticed you just to make sure she can stay with you. And you? just to make sure you can get a better and happy life, you never thought is this what your wife want, you only thought, what you want!

    -Two way thinking

  22. 262

    My ex bf helped his ex gf for a year ( theraphy at hospital). I was ok with that. they were still chat every day – I was ok too but my ex bf delivered her mail billing for 3 years and hide it from me! I asked him, pls stop and why she doesn’t call bank etc to change the address?! His gf cheated on him and he still good with her. Since that, I never trust him anymore. Since that too, he hides all msg from his female friend. Neither he is a good person, naïf or stupid. For me he had better focus on our new goals such learning language, extra job etc. He is my ex now, I don’t want any contact with him. His new gf also not happy with me.

  23. 263

    I used to read your comments Evan. but this one blows my mind and is a typical man response. I wont be following you any longer….

  24. 264

    It is becoming more and more obvious as I get older the myopic algorithm of torturing of women is so incredibly apart of social norms. Women deserve for men to evolve their emotional intelligence and think about their partner’s state of mind. When did society take a left turn and return to the 1950’s? Sorry boys we paid our dues. We picked up your shoes, your children and broke through the molds in every industry and market. Women can throw down on every level. I think insecure men resort to their ex for companionship because it’s in their DNA to create jealousy over having a meaningful relationship. It’s an easy way for men to have other women manage/organize their emotions for them because it’s too much. Boys if we can play on every level why can’t you evolve past myopic gaming? I can publish patents, play ball in the boardroom, give life….but men don’t need to evolve emotionally? There is more to life….

    Wish you nothing but love and happiness!

  25. 265

    Dear Emily,

    Trust your instincts. Don’t settle for less. If you’re unhappy with your boyfriends behaviour let him go and allow yourself to open up and attract the love you are..the most amazing man will come to you. Love yourself. You want your man to crave you just as you would want to be their centre..their object of affection. The man who wants you doesn’t have a wondering eye cause he wouldn’t want to lose you. Be with the one who treats you with the respect you deserve and honors you for the woman you are.

    All the best x

  26. 266

    Seriously Evan?! You’re making this girl feel like shit. I find your comments primitive. Educate yourself in emotional intelligence or psychology before giving advice.

  27. 267

    I understand this is an old thread but the topic is kind of timeless, isn’t it? Evan your advice on this one was rather simplistic.


    Good men and women stay in touch with their exes because their exes are kind people with whom they share a lot of history.

    is simply a justification men (and women also!) use to keep people who no longer have any real role in their lives within reach – and rarely for a good purpose.

    Call me crazy, but once I am done with someone, I am done with them. I delete their number and since i am not on any social networks I never see or hear from them ever again. Are they “kind people with whom I share history”? Sure. But that does not earn them the place in my social circle. Not every kind person needs to be my friend. An ex is an ex-lover, not the same a friend who’s always been a platonic friend.

    And a man or a woman does in fact keep the harem of their ex-es in their phones and facebook, the question is how available are they really for a real/new relationship? Are they keeping these ex-es around for potential fringe benefits of having a relationship (a shoulder to cry on when lonely and to hook up when horny) while not actually being in one? Otherwise known as having your cake and eating it too? What is keeping these ex-es in their lives really doing for these people, what is it’s real purpose? A score of ex-es in a guy’s phone screams “emotionally unavailable”, sorry. That is the real question the OP should have gotten to the bottom of, not proceeded with unconditionally trusting a man who she’d only known for 4 months.




  28. 268

    This whole thread is inane: What purpose does it serve to remain”friends” with any former lover? Rehash the past? Possibly hook up again? Yes I think men generally view it as refried dinner, heck it’s an easier conquest than ….a stranger.  Pointless. And the double standard is reflected in the question: How would your BF feel if you were going to have lunch with your ex? Let sleeping dogs lie.

  29. 269

    This is an old thread but a timeless one, since everyone will deal with exes at one time or another (unless you’re one of the few people who manages to marry your childhood sweetheart).  I think to some degree, it’s normal to feel some insecurity about someone your partner was once intimate with.

    However, I have found that forbidding your partner from being friends with an ex isn’t all that productive. If your partner is still in love with the ex, I say save yourselves the trouble of fighting over that and just break up with him.  He won’t be able to really commit to you under those circumstances anyway.  Otherwise, if it is just a true friendship, it’s not a threat to you, so there’s no real point in fighting over that either.

    I’m actually glad that I never issued such an ultimatum to mine.  I really don’t care about his friendships with other exes.  But there was one ex in particular I had issues with–primarily because I felt concerned she was taking advantage of his generosity in asking him to do certain favors for her.

    But, I just sat back and observed.  I decided that if he showed he was still hung up on her, and not fully committed to me, I would break up with him.

    As it turns out, letting him stay in contact with that ex actually helped solidify our relationship, in a strange way.  All her pickiness and nagging reminded him of all the reasons why he wasn’t with her romantically any longer!  When he experienced that with her, that led him to draw his own conclusion that she wasn’t bringing any value to his life even as a friend–and to his own decision to cut off contact with her.

    If I had forbidden him to contact her, I think he would have done it.  But then, I actually think it might have caused him to put the rose colored glasses on about her.  After a while, now that he was no longer dealing with her worst habits etc. on a daily basis–he could have forgotten about those.  Being in contact with her actually gave him a fresh reminder of her worst qualities.

    I also think that it was more effective for him to make his own decision about her.  As Evan says, men like to buy, not be “sold”.  The same is true of exes.  When I saw that he freely chose me over her, without me needing to “push” for it…it actually made me feel more secure about his commitment to me.

    I say, sit back and observe the interaction with the ex, to come to a well-informed conclusion about what the nature of his friendship really is.  Then, make a decision whether you can live with it or not.

    1. 269.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      After all these years with me, Christine, you’re starting to sound like a dating coach!

      1. 269.1.1

        Wow, thanks Evan!  And goodness knows I went through my ups and downs with dating.  I look back and sometimes don’t even know who that insecure person was, a few years ago (and am glad my guy didn’t meet that version of me back then.  We agree that we met each other at the right time)

    2. 269.2

      Hi Christine,

      I actually had a “worst case scenario” happen where a boyfriend broke up with me to go back to an ex he sometimes met for lunch or dinner or talked on the phone with.  With him, before him, and after him, I have never asked, told, or forbidden a man from seeing and ex-gf or other women friends.  If I had told my BF not to see his ex, it wouldn’t have prevented him from leaving me for her because it’s not the time together with the woman in question that caused him to leave, it was that I wasn’t what he was looking for or needed at that time.

      Also, I really reject the mentality that a boyfriend or husband is to be managed/directed like they’re your child.  I have kids.  I tell them what to do, filter their social life, and decide who they hang out with.  They are 6 and 7.  I don’t want a mom-type relationship with a man.  I want an relationship with an adult.

      BTW:  Shortly after my ex rekindled the relationship with his ex, she got pregnant and they got married.  She was a recovering addict (the drug issues ended their relationship the first time) who started using again at some point after their 2nd child was born.  When I look back on it now, he did have a savior-thing going on.  He has custody of his kids and is now remarried, and he seems content.

      1. 269.2.1

        You did the right thing in letting him go. I wouldn’t want to be with someone who is with me physically, but mentally and emotionally with someone else.  Even if you had forbidden him from seeing her, he still wouldn’t have given you his full commitment when he was obviously still hung up on her. Then the relationship would have ended anyhow.

        And sorry but that sounds really screwed up, in needing to “save” someone.  It’s messed up that he feels so responsible for another adult.  That’s not the type of relationship I would ever aspire to, where I can’t be my best self because he has a need to “save” me (and I imagine that’s not what you would really want either).

        In the case of my guy, the contact with his ex actually gave him confirmation that moving on from her was the right thing to do.  I knew her pettiness would eventually wear out even his enormous patience!

        But then, even if he had gone back to her, I would have let him make that choice.  When I thought about it, why would I want to hang on to someone stupid enough to prefer fights and drama with her over smiles and laughter with me?  Even if a guy makes an irrational choice to go back to his ex…then good riddance, let him make it so you’re free to find someone else in his right mind!



      2. 269.2.2

        You can not “forbid” a grown man anything. However, you can and should set boundaries. I would be very upfront about seeing him hanging out with ex-es as disrespectful to me. If he can’t chose me over some woman who he presumably didn’t want to be with in the first place, than how serious is he really? I did have some bitter experience with a guy who loved-loved-loved staying in touch with his ex-es. I broke up with him after realizing that those hang-outs looked an awful lot like dates – though he swore that they were “just friends”. Before I left i deleted my number from his phone – was not about to become one of his “ex-friends”.

        1. GoWiththeFlow


          “I would be very upfront about seeing him hanging out with ex-es as disrespectful to me.”

          I don’t see it that way.  I have ex-es that I am friends with.  About a year ago one ex sent me a lead on a job.  When I went to interview, I met and had dinner with him.  It was harmless catching up. He almost exclusively talked about his family–he’s very proud of his wife and kids.  I also have male friends, some married some single, that I work with and do lunch with on a regular basis.  When son’s father comes to town to visit, I invite the whole gang over to my place or out to dinner.  We have grandchildren together for chrissakes.

          If a boyfriend, especially if the relationship is new, told me it was disrespectful of me to have male friends or talk with ex-es I would dump him.  What he is really saying is he doesn’t trust me.

        2. Stacy2


          I think when you have children/grandchildren together it is different (and so is having platonic friends (as long as they’ve always been platonic). Obviously your children are the glue that holds you together and I would never imagine putting it in the same category as an ex-gf who was in the picture for 4 months 3 years ago who for some reason wants to “hang out”. These are completely different things. Basically, what I am saying, is that if a guy wants to be with me, all the skanks he went through before have to go and never enter the picture. I don’t tolerate emotional clutter in my life and  i don’t want to be with a person who substitutes real friendships with women he used to screw who should mean nothing to him. They are not “friends” and I am not buying it. It’s me, or it’s those “friends”… YMMV.

  30. 270

    What a useless response.

    Your response is based on what she should do rationally, but guess what – only psychopaths are 100% rational. You can’t tell somebody to just stop being insecure and jealous. There’s usually a reason for it. Not a logical reason always, but you know, a relationship is also based on feelings, hopefully.

    If your spouse hides her phone everytime she texts her exes and goes outside everytime she’s talking with him on the phone, I’m sure you’d feel insecure as well. Every normal human being would think “why do you need to hide this from me? “

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