Boyfriend's ex back on the scene - wrong to make this a dealbreaker? Watch

Anonymous #1
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I met my current beau at Uni when he was mad about his best female friend. It was clear that he was crazy about her, but also clear that she was always a bit cooler towards him. Anyway, 9 months ago they started sleeping together before she broke it off 2 weeks later - he was pretty heartbroken but emerged a month later and we went out for a drink. He said he now realised what a negative impact she had always been on his life and that he has actually felt better without her. A month later we started dating properly and have been together since.

Problem is: while mad about this girl he agreed to work on a uni project with her. I was also a member of the team and we went out about raising money to do everything in our power to make it happen. But all came to a halt when my boyfriend and his ex fell out. Recently I tried to get things back on track - by trying to involve the whole team to finish the last few tasks - but instead of joining in with the team effort my boyfriend lapsed into old times by phoning up his ex and making up a plan with her. Just a few weeks earlier he told me she was a "crazy person" he wanted nothing to do with - last week I couldn't contact him one night because he was on the phone to her (all on professional terms of course) - he "doesn't hold grudges" apparently. I should also mention that his ex started texting him recently asking him to meet her - he said no as it wouldn't be respectful to his relationship with me - a couple of weeks later she asked him AGAIN and blamed me for "not allowing him to see her".

Originally, my boyfriend told me there was such little needing done to finish the project that only a few emails would need to pass between himself and this ex. Now, he's called her and she has also suggested at least a few meet ups. I'm very uncomfortable with this but he is justifying it by saying it will be in a group setting (other team members will be there). A month or so ago he said "There's no way we need to meet up, it's only X, Y and Z that need to be done.' Now he's saying "Well it might be helpful for me to meet her a couple of times...". I love this guy and I know/think he loves me - but I'm really disappointed with this and don't know if I can go forward whilst this goes on. Am I being too harsh or justified?
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theorangebox
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Personally, I think you're being too harsh.
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by theorangebox)
Personally, I think you're being too harsh.
Can you explain why, a bit more? Helps me to hear different perspectives...
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theorangebox
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(Original post by Anonymous)
Can you explain why, a bit more? Helps me to hear different perspectives...
Well, like, first of all I'd say your feelings are totally normal and fair. So don't think I'm saying it's wrong of you to be jealous or anything. I know what it can be like seeing your boyfriend spend time with their ex. I first got together with my bf two months after he was out of a long-term relationship, and I was convinced for ages that I was just a rebound. Especially when they started rebuilding their friendship, I was convinced they were going to get together again and I'd be thrown away. It's difficult, I know.

But at the same time, think of what this girl means to your boyfriend. To you, she's just an ex and isn't relevant anymore. To him, she was a major part of his life. Especially since you say they were already best friends beforehand. That's true whether you like it or not. I think you have to let your boyfriend deal with her the way he wants. Even if they aren't just talking about this project, I still don't think that's anywhere near cause to make it a 'dealbreaker.' There are all kinds of reasons he might want to keep talking to her, and not many of them have anything to do with still fancying her. There's probably been a lot been left unsaid between them. Maybe he just doesn't want to bear a grudge forever? Maybe he just wants to let bygones be bygones and talk it out? Maybe he wants to recover the friendship they once had? I feel like these are all perfectly good reasons to talk to an ex, and, ideally, you should have support from your new partner in pursuing them. At the end of the day, as long as he isn't cheating, I feel like how he deals with his ex is up to him, not you.

I mean back to my above story about my bf and his ex, as much as it killed me to leave together them for 'catch-ups,' I still did it. And I feel much better now I did, because he told me everything they talked about after and has been a lot more open about their relationship since. I feel like if I'd tried to stop him going, he would have closed up, resentment would have built between us and it wouldn't have helped my paranoia at all. Sometimes you just have to put your feelings to the side and let your partner do things their way. Because you love them and you trust them.
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Anonymous #1
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Love and trust is fine but put it this way - I was friends with an ex for seven years after our break up. I had convinced myself we truly were friends and that it was quite a mature place we had reached. Then, after a lot of drinks one night this friend/ex made a move on me despite being with another girl for three years. My current boyfriend knows about this and told me he would be very uncomfortable with us meeting again in the future. I said okay out of respect to him - I'm expecting him to do the same. Previously I thought two mature exes could maintain a friendship. Now, I realise two exes could try their hardest to do that but that past embers are almost always open to being rekindled.

The problem is that I asked my boyfriend what his intentions were before about his ex - back before there was anything romantic going on between us he said he could never seeing himself wanting to be friends with her again. He said she treated him like cr*p. Two weeks ago the two of them were fighting and calling eachother names over text. Now he "doesn't want to hold a grudge". I'm more concerned that he's not being honest about his feelings although he says he doesn't feel "that way" about her anymore.

If he did make the decision to befriend her again, I wouldn't be able to continue with the relationship. I understand not everyone would feel this way but I wouldn't be comfortable with it so soon - she is not civil to me - she is openly snide towards me.
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Anonymous #1
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I also don't think any person in a relationship should have to put "feelings to the side" for the purpose of an ex - its surely the people in the mutual relationship whose feelings are most important?
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lizlaz350
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If I were you, I think I'd be uncomfortable too and I'd definitely tell him that. It's perfectly reasonable especially if he's said that he'd feel the same if you were meeting up with your ex.
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theorangebox
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(Original post by Anonymous)
Love and trust is fine but put it this way - I was friends with an ex for seven years after our break up. I had convinced myself we truly were friends and that it was quite a mature place we had reached. Then, after a lot of drinks one night this friend/ex made a move on me despite being with another girl for three years. My current boyfriend knows about this and told me he would be very uncomfortable with us meeting again in the future. I said okay out of respect to him - I'm expecting him to do the same. Previously I thought two mature exes could maintain a friendship. Now, I realise two exes could try their hardest to do that but that past embers are almost always open to being rekindled.
I'm sorry that happened, but I mean, to be fair, that's one instance. I don't think you can extrapolate that every situation will be like that.

(Original post by Anonymous)
The problem is that I asked my boyfriend what his intentions were before about his ex - back before there was anything romantic going on between us he said he could never seeing himself wanting to be friends with her again. He said she treated him like cr*p. Two weeks ago the two of them were fighting and calling eachother names over text. Now he "doesn't want to hold a grudge". I'm more concerned that he's not being honest about his feelings although he says he doesn't feel "that way" about her anymore.
Well, again, I don't think that means too much. It kinda just adds to my point that clearly there are a lot of unresolved issues between them. Just because he's changed his mind about talking to her again doesn't mean he wants to get back together with her. I can think of an ex of mine I would certainly love to talk to again, purely because I don't think we ever resolved our differences. I would like closure on that, and if he ever offered to talk I would leap at the chance. I still wouldn't get back together with him in a million years.

(Original post by Anonymous)
I also don't think any person in a relationship should have to put "feelings to the side" for the purpose of an ex - its surely the people in the mutual relationship whose feelings are most important?
Yes and no. For one thing, I don't think 'putting your partner first' ever means that you can use it to justify being a **** to other people. For example, if an ex was in trouble and desperately needed you help, I don't think it's a decent thing to do to just ignore them because your partner wouldn't be comfortable with it. Secondly, even if we establish its the people in the relationship that matter most - that's still you and your boyfriend's feelings. Not just yours. Like I say, she's clearly been important to him at some stage in his life. To a certain extent, you could be just pushing his feelings to the side on this, when it's actually quite a personal issue to him that he feels he needs to resolve.

(Original post by Anonymous)
If he did make the decision to befriend her again, I wouldn't be able to continue with the relationship. I understand not everyone would feel this way but I wouldn't be comfortable with it so soon - she is not civil to me - she is openly snide towards me.
This is a better reason than what you've posted before, tbh. If your boyfriend is actively engaging with someone who directly targets you, then that is just ground for him (by proxy) not treating you right. If she's that bad I think your mistreatment is definitely something you can make an issue out of.
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by lizlaz350)
If I were you, I think I'd be uncomfortable too and I'd definitely tell him that. It's perfectly reasonable especially if he's said that he'd feel the same if you were meeting up with your ex.
He said he thinks it's okay because it's in a "group setting". I have told him it makes me uncomfortable but not to much avail. What am I supposed to do?
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by theorangebox)
I'm sorry that happened, but I mean, to be fair, that's one instance. I don't think you can extrapolate that every situation will be like that.



Well, again, I don't think that means too much. It kinda just adds to my point that clearly there are a lot of unresolved issues between them. Just because he's changed his mind about talking to her again doesn't mean he wants to get back together with her. I can think of an ex of mine I would certainly love to talk to again, purely because I don't think we ever resolved our differences. I would like closure on that, and if he ever offered to talk I would leap at the chance. I still wouldn't get back together with him in a million years.



Yes and no. For one thing, I don't think 'putting your partner first' ever means that you can use it to justify being a **** to other people. For example, if an ex was in trouble and desperately needed you help, I don't think it's a decent thing to do to just ignore them because your partner wouldn't be comfortable with it. Secondly, even if we establish its the people in the relationship that matter most - that's still you and your boyfriend's feelings. Not just yours. Like I say, she's clearly been important to him at some stage in his life. To a certain extent, you could be just pushing his feelings to the side on this, when it's actually quite a personal issue to him that he feels he needs to resolve.



This is a better reason than what you've posted before, tbh. If your boyfriend is actively engaging with someone who directly targets you, then that is just ground for him (by proxy) not treating you right. If she's that bad I think your mistreatment is definitely something you can make an issue out of.
Isn't "leaping" at the chance a bit immature if you are in a relationship with another person?

As for not thinking it would be acceptable to "just ignore them because your partner wouldn't be comfortable with it" - how do you think this would work for a married couple? Do you think a wife would have to be okay with her husband running in to save an ex like a knight in shining armour? Highly unlikely in most cases...

Now: it might not sound like it here, but I gently broached the subject when we first got together. I have said it is natural to have some leftover feelings for someone you have been with - I even asked if he missed her sometimes - I opened up the space for him to talk about what happened. But he didn't - he acted as if he hated her. How can I be expected to be okay when he is b*tching about her one minute and expecting me to be okay with meet ups the next? It's confusing.
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theorangebox
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(Original post by Anonymous)
Isn't "leaping" at the chance a bit immature if you are in a relationship with another person?
No. :confused: Why would it be?

(Original post by Anonymous)
As for not thinking it would be acceptable to "just ignore them because your partner wouldn't be comfortable with it" - how do you think this would work for a married couple? Do you think a wife would have to be okay with her husband running in to save an ex like a knight in shining armour? Highly unlikely in most cases...
Really? I wouldn't have thought so. I would be kinda disappointed if he didn't to be honest. I clearly haven't married a compassionate man then, have I? Maybe other wives would feel differently, sure, but I don't really care about how other people's relationships work. This is my personal approach and it's led to very happy relationships on my part, so of course it's what I'm going to preach. If you find something else works for the both of you, fine, go for it. But from what you've said, it certainly doesn't seem to be working and you did ask for my perspective.

(Original post by Anonymous)
Now: it might not sound like it here, but I gently broached the subject when we first got together. I have said it is natural to have some leftover feelings for someone you have been with - I even asked if he missed her sometimes - I opened up the space for him to talk about what happened. But he didn't - he acted as if he hated her. How can I be expected to be okay when he is b*tching about her one minute and expecting me to be okay with meet ups the next? It's confusing.
Have you never changed your opinion about someone though? I mean my relationship with my mum oscillates spectacularly from "can't stand to be in the same room" to "one of the most wonderful and supportive people in my life." I mean when someone's affected you that badly, it's not uncommon to be overly angry at them one moment, because they hurt you so badly, then calm down and realize they weren't actually as bad as you wanted to believe they were.

I mean, if you can't deal with that, fair enough. But I don't think anything your boyfriend's done so far has been particularly terrible or unsurprising. It's a pretty standard development of emotions to experience when coming out of a long-term relationship. I'm surprised you actually expected him to anticipate everything he would feel so early on tbh,
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lizlaz350
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(Original post by Anonymous)
He said he thinks it's okay because it's in a "group setting". I have told him it makes me uncomfortable but not to much avail. What am I supposed to do?
It sounds like he was making plans to see her just the two of them though or did I misunderstand that?

If he can't understand how much he's upsetting you then he's being really unreasonable. Be upfront and firm about it and point out that he'd said the same about your ex and he's doing more than just working with her in a group setting if he's on the phone to her for hours and wanting to meet up without the rest of the group and it's not on. Cause a fuss.

If he refuses to do anything about it or listen to you then it's up to you, you can either let it go and live with them doing stuff together (but maybe keep an eye out to see if it develops further beyond the project?) or you can threaten to dump him/actually dump him.
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Orthonym
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He does seem to be a bit hung up on her. However since they have disagreements so often I don't think it would work between them. In your situation I would be annoyed that she is obviously getting so much of his attention, I think he's being quite immature and that is disappointing.

You're not in control of his feelings for her, so interfering won't change the situation. I'd try not to mention it too much, and just enjoy being with him. Let him figure out his feelings himself unless he talks to you about it. If he *****es to you about her, don't even add to the *****ing, it is just showing how much his attention is on her and it doesn't even matter what you say. He will most likely just calm down after a while when he realises he doesn't want to give her his attention anymore. If anything romantic happens between them though, it's just indicative of his immaturity, how he is placing his desires or ego above the logic of the situation. In reality it won't work between them, and he might be taking you for granted a bit. I hope it will pass and he will come to his senses.
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by lizlaz350)
It sounds like he was making plans to see her just the two of them though or did I misunderstand that?

If he can't understand how much he's upsetting you then he's being really unreasonable. Be upfront and firm about it and point out that he'd said the same about your ex and he's doing more than just working with her in a group setting if he's on the phone to her for hours and wanting to meet up without the rest of the group and it's not on. Cause a fuss.

If he refuses to do anything about it or listen to you then it's up to you, you can either let it go and live with them doing stuff together (but maybe keep an eye out to see if it develops further beyond the project?) or you can threaten to dump him/actually dump him.
She has been pushing for one-on-one meetings but he said this meet up there is going to be the two of them + a couple of others. I do trust him, but I've lost faith.

Initially he said I never want to speak to her again. Next it was "well, maybe a few emails". Then he's calling her. It upset me because he said he was going to call me that night and when he didn't I tried to call him and couldn't get through because he was speaking to her. Now they're meeting up. I'm worried about what's next because nothing he says about the situation ever seems to be true. I think what will realistically happen is that I explain to him my discomfort again - and see how it plays out during/after the project. If it develops I'm out of there, but I want to be able to trust him until then...
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by Orthonym)
He does seem to be a bit hung up on her. However since they have disagreements so often I don't think it would work between them. In your situation I would be annoyed that she is obviously getting so much of his attention, I think he's being quite immature and that is disappointing.

You're not in control of his feelings for her, so interfering won't change the situation. I'd try not to mention it too much, and just enjoy being with him. Let him figure out his feelings himself unless he talks to you about it. If he *****es to you about her, don't even add to the *****ing, it is just showing how much his attention is on her and it doesn't even matter what you say. He will most likely just calm down after a while when he realises he doesn't want to give her his attention anymore. If anything romantic happens between them though, it's just indicative of his immaturity, how he is placing his desires or ego above the logic of the situation. In reality it won't work between them, and he might be taking you for granted a bit. I hope it will pass and he will come to his senses.
I think what worries is me they were having disagreements but are now fine and having phone calls. Maybe I'm being ridiculous, but now I'm worried about the progression!

So would your advice be to do the opposite? Ie. pretend things are okay/try to have nice times with him (and not seem annoyed)? I'd like to be able to do this but I think I'd find it hard - in my gut I'm not okay with this but also aware that I'm stubborn. Perhaps I should ask him if he is hung up on her? Whatever the answer...
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Lotus_Eater
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(Original post by Anonymous)
She has been pushing for one-on-one meetings but he said this meet up there is going to be the two of them + a couple of others. I do trust him, but I've lost faith.

Initially he said I never want to speak to her again. Next it was "well, maybe a few emails". Then he's calling her. It upset me because he said he was going to call me that night and when he didn't I tried to call him and couldn't get through because he was speaking to her. Now they're meeting up. I'm worried about what's next because nothing he says about the situation ever seems to be true. I think what will realistically happen is that I explain to him my discomfort again - and see how it plays out during/after the project. If it develops I'm out of there, but I want to be able to trust him until then...
But, let's be honest, you don't trust him. You want to, but at best you find his behaviour fickle and question-begging. Which is understandable but you could end up damaging this relationship over a potentially minor blip. Key question: how much longer does the project go on for? If it's by the end of term then you only have a few more weeks to deal with this. If he wants to resume a friendship with her afterwards that's another matter.

Even if the suspicion is reasonable, making a fuss that implies jealousy and a lack of trust is a sure-fire way of alienating him. If his ex has designs on him, this could be all it takes for her to turn his head. If you want this relationship to endure, you will have to trust him. If you're super-friendly and a supportive girlfriend, it won't occur to him to cheat. If you don't trust him, you can pretend that you do: fake it till you make it and all that! But if such a temporary facade is impossible for you, then tell him how you feel but do remember this isn't without its risks.

Good luck.
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Orthonym
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(Original post by Anonymous)
I think what worries is me they were having disagreements but are now fine and having phone calls. Maybe I'm being ridiculous, but now I'm worried about the progression!

So would your advice be to do the opposite? Ie. pretend things are okay/try to have nice times with him (and not seem annoyed)? I'd like to be able to do this but I think I'd find it hard - in my gut I'm not okay with this but also aware that I'm stubborn. Perhaps I should ask him if he is hung up on her? Whatever the answer...
I don't know if he would admit that he is hung up on her. He might not think he is hung up on her. They might not be arguing right now, but they seem like they might probably start arguing again in a couple of weeks or something. They were going out, then they're not, then they're arguing, then they're not, only normal that they'll start arguing again and then not, until they realise they don't actually care about each other any more because they broke up for a reason. Do you get what I mean? Some combinations of people are just like that.

I just don't think that you mentioning it will help the situation. He probably doesn't even think that he is hung up on her, he's not going to see things from your perspective right now. So I'd just focus on other things, not bring her up in conversation. If he keeps bringing her up you can just say "oh do we have to talk about her all the time, because me and her don't really get on you know? she doesn't like me at all." and then change the topic onto something about you and him.

If you said to him "are you hung up on her? I know it's bad but I feel quite jealous. I feel this that and this and that ect" he will think "of course I'm not hung up on her! you're overreacting, everything is fine". But if you do what I mentioned in the previous paragraph, maybe he will think "hmm, do I talk about her too much?" and then when you change the subject he will hopefully just start thinking about other things. The main idea is for him to not make an association in his head between you and jealousy and this other girl. He will think you are overreacting, and it will make him feel awkward towards you. Then when he starts getting along with his ex, feeling comfortable around her and not awkward, he will just get confused because he is feeling comfortable around her and awkward with you. So I'd just stay off the topic of her.
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Midlander
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(Original post by Anonymous)
I think what worries is me they were having disagreements but are now fine and having phone calls. Maybe I'm being ridiculous, but now I'm worried about the progression!

So would your advice be to do the opposite? Ie. pretend things are okay/try to have nice times with him (and not seem annoyed)? I'd like to be able to do this but I think I'd find it hard - in my gut I'm not okay with this but also aware that I'm stubborn. Perhaps I should ask him if he is hung up on her? Whatever the answer...
I think you've got to bear in mind that it's extremely difficult for someone to see a person they were once seriously involved with as a total stranger, even if a long time has passed since they broke up. On the one hand you remember what it was like to break up with them, which is strongly negative, but you also remember the better times, which is why people get caught in this odd kind of limbo that, overall, feels odd.

Whilst your concerns are entirely justified and understandable, it doesn't seem like your boyfriend actually wants to get back with his ex. He's more likely just finding it hard to process how he feels about being thrown back in the mix with her.
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by Lotus_Eater)
But, let's be honest, you don't trust him. You want to, but at best you find his behaviour fickle and question-begging. Which is understandable but you could end up damaging this relationship over a potentially minor blip. Key question: how much longer does the project go on for? If it's by the end of term then you only have a few more weeks to deal with this. If he wants to resume a friendship with her afterwards that's another matter.

Even if the suspicion is reasonable, making a fuss that implies jealousy and a lack of trust is a sure-fire way of alienating him. If his ex has designs on him, this could be all it takes for her to turn his head. If you want this relationship to endure, you will have to trust him. If you're super-friendly and a supportive girlfriend, it won't occur to him to cheat. If you don't trust him, you can pretend that you do: fake it till you make it and all that! But if such a temporary facade is impossible for you, then tell him how you feel but do remember this isn't without its risks.

Good luck.
Given me food for thought. Thanks everyone, will see how things go. Keeping my fingers crossed, I do care about him a lot...
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beckaroo7
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maybe the things he thought would be simple ended up being much more difficult than he'd thought. I'd be uncomfortable about it though
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