Help! My Boyfriend is Friends with His Ex

I’ve never been the jealous type. I always figure if a guy is going to cheat on me, religiously reading his email, checking his call log or preventing him from seeing friends of the opposite sex isn’t going to stop him. So when my boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend moved back to town, I didn’t think too much of it…after all, there was a reason she was his past and I was his present (and future, I hope!). But as they began to spend more time with one another, I realized she wasn’t going to stay in the past after all….

At first they only saw each other at large group gatherings, and I was always there. They behaved platonically, but somehow their relationship would undoubtedly be referenced (“oh remember that bar we used to go to?”), an annoying reminder that this woman and my boyfriend used to be in love. Now their friendship has progressed to seeing one another alone for a drink or dinner to catch up (note: he always tells me when he is seeing her, where they are going and what they talked about). She also invades our conversation way too frequently, somehow always being his go-to reference when I ask him a question (ex: “I know she used dry shampoo and it looked really good…”). And I hate it—even though I trust him completely, even though she has always been friendly to me—I’ll never understand their relationship.

Before she arrived, my boyfriend had told me all about their past—I knew why he had loved her, why he stopped loving her, all the horrible things they did to each other and all the reasons he would never want to be with her again…so why, I wonder, are they still “friends”? What do they get out of it? Is it just a sense of nostalgia, a need to have a connection to a point in their lives that no longer exists? Or have they truly been able to erase any emotional connection to each other, and they hang out simply because they enjoy one another’s company? Is there a way for me to tell him that I can’t stand hearing about her without sounding like a crazy girlfriend, or do you think it’s possible to be just friends with someone you once loved?

-Anonymous Staffer

GIRL TALK TIME: What do you think of this Staffer’s situation? What would you do? Has this ever happened to you? Are you friends with any of your exes? Why do you remain friends?

34 Comments

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  • Stephanie:

    I have been dating this guy for while now. Before he dated me the first time ge had just broken up with hid girlfriend he dated for a little over a year. He ended up breaking up with me because he still had feelings for her, then he slept with her whenever he was talking about getting back together with me and we had been hanging out for about a month at this point. Then he comes to my house, brings me a promise ring, and tells me how he promises to stay faithful to me and to always work things out with me. So I accepted it and said okay. Well a month and a half later, he’s at her cousins house to help move furniture! No, she was not there but it’s still her family! He did not even ask me how I felt about it or took my feelings into consideration at all! On top of that, he is always getting on to me for being upset, and he never sees things from my point of view. What should I do? Do I have a legitimate reason to be upset or did I overreact?

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  • Renee':

    My boyfriend and I have been together for 2+ years. Over the first year I noticed nothing, because he lived out of town for about the first year of our relationship – we were a weekend couple!
    When he moved back, I started noticing that he kept in communication with his ex. I don’t read his texts or get in his business, but I did happen to see her name on his phone when he opened it, etc.
    They text frequently (at least once every week or two) and I believe they have talked on the phone before a few times. I had always been uneasy about her (once I knew they were in contact) and approached him about it. I mean, really, he still talks to his ex? Why? They don’t have children? I don’t get it. He said nothing was going on and that I had nothing to worry about – basically that their relationship ended badly about 7 years ago, they weren’t friends for a long time, and then they got over it and each other, reconnected, and became friends again. He says they talk, catch up, grab a drink, and reminisce. I’ve spoken to him a few times and have been emotionally upset about it all — like I wake up from bad dreams, my heart races, I have bad/worried thoughts, etc. Everyone always says to trust your instincts, because if you THINK something is wrong or something is going on, that it very well might be.
    After months of my emotion towards the situation and stating how I feel, he basically told me that I was not allowed to make him choose between me and a friend, because he won’t be in a relationship with someone like that. Let me also state—I think that I am a “cool” girlfriend who lets him basically do what he wants and I’m not the jealous or snoopy type. After about another month of them texting I had enough. He got wasted one night and I went through his phone. Yep, most conversation was innocent but I saw a few texts from a few days after Valentine ’s Day where he basically said he would hook up with her if she would… and a message following (his exact words) said “you wouldn’t tell my girlfriend on me, would you?”
    I held that in without telling him for about 9 months. I knew the whole time, but how could I tell him that I broke his trust and read his phone? I didn’t know what was worse—the fact that I went snooping or the fact that I FOUND something… ugh.
    I always got upset and had to talk to him about it when I saw her name on his phone or ipad–he would always just go “ugh… nothing is going on, we are just friends, I really don’t want to be with her, I am with you, were just friends…” He would get upset. He hates having to think about my feelings, especially when it was with my “insecurities” about him talking with his ex. It was annoying to him. His point of view was that if I was with him, I should trust him and know that he wouldn’t cheat on me. Either he’s going to cheat or he isn’t—there is nothing that I can do about that—and that worrying about it won’t make our relationship stronger or last. I had to trust him. I do, but really? I don’t understand why he won’t just let her go.
    Two months ago (about 7 months after I read the text) we ended up on a week “break” – this was our first break since we got together, over 2 years ago. At the end of the week break and after hours and hours of talking throughout the week, we decided to air it all out and tell each other how we felt and decide together whether or not we wanted to be together. Our relationship is basically perfect (we both agreed) other than the fact that I’m over emotional (but he never knew why…) so I told him I read his texts. He was floored and couldn’t believe that I did that. We talked about it, and he said “oh well, it was probably one day that I was drunk and text her…” I explained how it was no excuse. Getting drunk is no pass to sext your ex. It was not ok, and I am not OK with it. I said that I wanted to be put first. I wasnt going to tell him that he COULDNT be friends with her, but that I would need to know about it, and that I didn’t want to feel this way anymore. We agreed, worked things out, and everything seemed good.
    Two days ago we got to go out of town on a whim to an event – before we left the house he was showing me a photo on his phone and I saw that she text him. About 20 minutes later I got up the nerve (again) to tell him that I don’t understand why they have to have a relationship. He said they only talk once every week or two, and it’s just friend talk to catch up. I said that I wanted to meet her (and her new fiancée) before they hung out again. He asked “are you sure you want to?” and I said “HECK YES I DO I am sick of feeling this way, and I need to see that her fiancé is ok with you two texting and hanging out, and I want to see how you two act together… friends or more.” He agreed and then followed by “I know you might not want to hear this, but we were supposed to hang out this weekend and catch up, but the good thing is I chose to go out of town with you instead.”
    WOW. The nerve. Not only was he going to tell me (LAST MINUTE, or even not tell me? I don’t know, and probably wouldn’t know if I hadn’t brought it up or if we hadn’t made last-minute plans to go out of town????) that he was going to hang out with her, but that basically I should be thankful that he decided to go out with me rather than hang out, alone, with her. I THINK NOT. I let it go after his “I don’t want to be with her. I am with you. We are just friends. I can’t deal with your emotional state about her. Trust me, were just friends…” ugh.
    I don’t understand WHY he wants to be friends with her so badly. Why can’t he just get the fact that I am uncomfortable with them talking and texting and hanging out – especially alone- and ESPECIALLY after I found that text message between them about a year ago. Does he not care? I’m not like him. I can’t just “turn off” the way that I feel and just trust him. I do trust him, but we all know when put into a sketchy situation people can choose to do sketchy things. He won’t choose her over me, and he won’t stop talking to her. He would rather leave me than allow me to ask them not to hang out. I need to meet her and her fiancé. How is HE okay with letting his future wife frequently text her ex and go have a beer and hangout with him? Does he even know? …I can’t imagine that he is ok with it. Wow.
    I love him very much, but I can’t seem to shake this uneasy and horrid feeling that he still wants her or that he doesn’t want to care about my feelings or second guess himself because, after all, they ARE just friends… =( HELP!

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  • sophie:

    my bf does pree much the same thing with the whole ” she does this thing” too. hes constantly reminding me of is ex gf, and he tlks about her all the time. one time he even compared me to her AFTER WE HAD SEX! its annoying as hell

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  • sophie:

    my boyfriend does the same thing! idk if hes goin to hangout with her, but hes like up-to-date on her life. like he knows how he parents are and who shes dating. it really bothers me! plus shes a freaking prostitute!!!!!!!!!!!! idk it makes me super sad!

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  • kimberly:

    My boyfriend of a year & a half came over and spent the whole day with me.. & when i took him home… his ex was at his house….
    He cheated on me once before with my best friend’s sister…
    And then RIGHT AFTER that… he left me for his ex, the one that was at his house.
    not to mention she was pregnant, not with his child.
    then he left her for me..
    and now she was at his house?!
    i didn’t even know it was her until like three days later.. because that day.. he said he didn’t know who it was.. & he ‘Fell asleep’ as a reason not texting me..
    when really.. it was his ex.. and they were hanging out until like 10 at night.
    And he lied and said it was his cousin when i already knew the truth.. then he admitted it.. How do i deal with all this?!
    We’re still together..he gets mad when i bring it up..
    i asked him if he still had feelings for her.. and he said he didn’t know!
    when we talk now.. it seems like there’s always something wrong!

    I don’t know what to do…

    I’m loosing him..
    and i can’t..

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  • mayy:

    My boyfriend went to his ex’s house the other day to work on a “group” project with 5 people; but i found out it was just him and her. he tells me nothing went on but why weren’t the other people there? another ex girlfriend hangs on him every time i walk away. why is he blind to see they are both in love with him still? he broke up with them and yet they have tried to get back with him. 3 girls hes been “talking” with and im not sure i like it but every time i bring it up he blows it off and says its not a problem. hes been making up things to get out of coming over and he lied to me about smoking(which i cant stand him doing) i cant talk to him about this . whats going on? what do i do?

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  • Stephenie:

    I’m going through the same thing, my boyfriend’s first ever girlfriend that he lost his virginity too, came back into his life recently, and I know they broke up on bad terms and that he still loved her ever since, but he says he loves me and is still with me, his relationship with her was long distance, she lives in Oregon and we’re in CT but recently she requested to come visit him, now we don’t live together yet so I know I can’t be around them constantly…I don’t think I can trust them together since they still both have feelings for each other, to be honest I trust him being friends with his other ex then with this one, and I told him I didn’t want him in contact with her anymore, and only her.

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  • pixie:

    I Hate His/Her Ex by Alex Cooper is a book for anyone having difficulty coming to terms with their partner’s past relationships – brilliant read!

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  • April:

    Hi, I am going through this with my current boyfriend. He mentioned to me that he had slept with a lot of women in his past. He’s been married twice and left one of them for a younger (15 years) girl. The past is the past, but not when it seems to be coming around again. His ex girlfriend, from a year ago, and he share time at each others homes. He claims they had sex twice and decided they weren’t a good couple. I told him I didn’t like the fact they were hanging out at each others homes and he said “‘I’m not going to stop seeing my friends for anyone”, “that isn’t what I want”. Last night we got in a big arguement about it and it’s at the point where I haven’t met this girl, he doesn’t seem to respect my feelings about it. Should I be bothered by them hanging out or am I being silly? I’m 42, he’s 39.

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  • Tennessee:

    My boyfriend stays friends with all his ex’es I dint like the face that I have to be in a room with people he slept with to me it makes me feel so sock to my stomach I love him more than anything and recently he’s been asking me why I do t like his exes or ppl he messed around with and when I give him my answer he gets mad yells and throws the biggest fit and I don’t even get mad he does and then he says I’m not mature because o can’t accept that there just friends, there’s s few I can handle but not some and I don’t think I’m the one that’s immature I mean I was honest and told him it’s disrespectful and he acts the way he does when I was at work one day he went to one of his exes house to play games and never told me about it when I got on his phone his ex had texted him and said I’m not wanting a booty call just wanting to hang so he went and hung out :( someone please help me I try to explain why I don’t like him being friends with his exes but he keeps getting mad and going off even if he asked me the question, I’m not friends with any of my exes

    {Reply}
    1. Shecky's:

      Hi Tennessee, that sounds like a major problem for you and your boyfriend. Aside from him spending time with his exes, you both don’t seem to be communicating well with one another and he’s not respecting your discomfort. Sit your man down and calmly explain to him why it bothers you, and that if he cares for you he’ll try to respect that. Conversely, hear him out and try to understand why he chooses to still be friends with these women. If you both can’t reach a common ground, then perhaps it may be time to say “good bye.” Hope that helps!

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  • marry:

    my boyfriend have connecting with his ex girlfriends ( which is 4-5).
    since nine months we are with together, at our first relation I told him I know everyone has something on the past, so, if you have connection with your ex, I am not comfortable please inform them that you have a new relationship, and he says fine I will tel them. But never he told them about me, and when one of them calling him I should be quit, and when I have objection, he will make it a big issue and fight with me and telling me you dont have logic and some bad words,,,,,,,,,
    I feel that I have been abused, But from another hand he love to have sex with me, but never said I love you unless in the bed, He makes me sad,
    TEL ME WHAT TO DO?

    {Reply}
    1. Shecky's:

      Hi Marry, we’re so sorry you’re in such a difficult situation! It can be extremely hard to break up with someone you care about, even if they are treating you badly (which is definitely the case here). Everyone deserves a partner who will be considerate and treat them with love and respect. This relationship doesn’t sound healthy, and we hope you find the strength to leave him.

      What does everyone else think about Mary’s situation? What do you think she should do?

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  • Susan:

    I’m sorry, but think about it this way; even if it’s completely “harmless,” if there is attraction, then there is the sexual tension which is fun to revisit, and if there is no attraction at all, then there’s no tension or threat to your significant other. Obviously, there was attraction with an ex at some point if he/she is going out for drinks alone together, and if he/she had given you the “ick” in the relationship, you would definitely not want to hang out with him/her now. I personally try forget about the flings, dating, even relationships, that grossed me out later! Careful friend, you’re not the “crazy jealous girlfriend,” you are smart. If I were you, I would leave so that he can miss you instead of the ex.

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  • naomikeziah:

    Go with your gut. You feel that way for a reason, you’re not crazy. I never went back to being friends with any man I’ve dated because we weren’t friends in the first place, there was always attraction and intention. So how can you go back to something you never really were.

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  • avatar
    kalamazu:

    i’m good friends with my ex. we talk and get together all the time because we offer insight from a unique perspective into each other’s current relationships. he constantly wants to know what he’s doing wrong, and i can easily tell him from experience.
    i love him, and i value the time we spent together, but i also know that that ship has sailed and we have both moved on. because of that, he’s a great friend.

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  • Princess Diva:

    Look honey i hate to tell you but, there is something going on. Why doe she need to “catch up on old times” with his ex. If me boyriend/husband ever told me he needed to have a drink or dinner with his ex to “catch up” he would be taking all of his belongings with him to that meeting. Tell him to put the shoe on the other foot. If it was you and your ex lover would he be so open to letting you hang out with him alone to “catch up”? I think not! You are not a crazy girlfriend you are communicating your feelings about this situation in a calm but stern voice so, he gets the picture. If he wants to continue to hang out with her maybe you need to reevaluate your relationship with him. Protect yourself!

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  • stacey1485:

    I think going out one on one with this woman (or any woman really, besides mom, etc) is a total disrespect to the relationship…in a group setting is fine..but to meet for drinks? no that just looks bad and is asking for trouble..

    Also, for him to allow her to interrupt you while yous are speaking is not a good sign..- he should def be saying somethiing like “excuse me I was speaking with my girlfriend”

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  • JENNY ARCE:

    Sticky situation!! you always have to be extremely careful and have every right to feel weird about it. I would say that 70% of the time there is sneakiness going on

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  • marcy777:

    Well, I’m the friend of the Ex… and I get along very well with him. I love him and even have told myself that I may still be in love with him, and I think he still feels the same way. Becareful in everything he says he might be reconsidering her!

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  • A:

    Well, what if the Ex is in another happy relationship of his/her own. Does that help reduce the threat level? I am friends with many of my ex’s, and I think it is more of a nostalgia issue. I had some different friends back then that are mutual with my ex whom my now fiancee never met or doesn’t know as well, and it is fun to be able to reminisce and catch up. Also, while we figured out that we might not make the best life partners, we still have a special connection that we shared.

    I’ve always found that the best relationships are built on a foundation of a solid friendship. I’ve never understood why that friendship can’t remain even if there isn’t the sexual component. Of course, it depends on the people involved and how confident they are in themselves and in their current relationship.

    Also, my current relationship has met all of the ex’s I’m still in contact with. It helps to build trust and to take a nebulous “ex” and turn him/her into a regular person.

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  • Ms. Mandy:

    I’m not finished yet!!!
    I say mention how uncomfortable it makes you feel to him, in a very calm way when the two of you are out having cocktails of your own. In my opinion he should be taking YOU out for drinks not his EX. If he can’t see where you are coming from either leave his ass or even out the playing field by getting all dolled up and going out for drinks with you OWN ex & keeping in contact with him….who hopefully is way hotter than you current beau. Even if you just have your man thinking another man is sniffing around his turf should do the trick! Otherwise…SCREW HIM…cause it sounds like they still may want to screw each other.

    Good luck with that one, I hope you don’t have to whoop some ass some where down the line!

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