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Does he have ex issues?

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This topic contains 6 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Valora 1 month, 2 weeks ago.

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  • #326831

    Sarah
    Participant

    Hi everyone, I would really appreciate any advice or other perspectives as I’m not sure what to do. I am in the initial stages of getting together with a friend who I have known for a year. The issue is I’m not sure if he is over his ex, so I don’t know whether to keep pursuing it. For context, we’ve admitted that we both liked each other since we first met, but didn’t think the other was interested, and we are colleagues, so didn’t pursue it. He then started going out with his most recent girlfriend. During this time, we’d speak (as friends) about relationships and he admitted to me that he still “thought about” his *other* ex, despite going out with his most recent gf. He went out with his previous ex for several years and they split up three years ago. However, they lived together and she had a daughter, so he was essentially a step-father- and I know he misses the daughter. He also told me he bought a ring and wanted to have another baby with his ex, despite them being pretty young. They had a messy break-up, and he has had therapy for the last few years to get over it- and I know they no longer speak.

    Anyway, fast forward to the present- he broke up with his more recent ex and has confessed his feelings for me. However, the issue is that he often brings up his various different emotions exes. Like, several times whenever I see him- just as in “she used to like x”, “she used to say x” or “I went there with x”. I know he is a pretty open person generally, and I have asked too many questions because I’m curious/jealous, but because I now know so much about his history, I’m getting paranoid. He is basically a serial monogamist and has been in relationships most of his life, and I get that relationships are an important part of our lives. However, it makes me feel like just another name on a long list of exes. I have said this to him, and he was insistent that it’s not like that, and told me to ask his best friend to reassure how he feels because “he knows”. The thing is I haven’t really had significant long term relationships, so I feel like it’s imbalanced. I really want to throw myself into this because I’ve liked him for so long and now it’s finally happening, but I’m also very wary of getting into something if he still has feelings for or thinks about his ex, as I’m already in pretty deep emotionally. What should I do?

    • This topic was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by  tinybuddha.
    • This topic was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by  tinybuddha.
    #326895

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Sarah:

    First thing in this: you can ask him to no longer share with you about the ex he lived with. Maybe he doesn’t know that it bothers you that he says things like: “she used to like x”, or “I went there with x”. He should stop simply because it bothers you (and would bother almost any new girlfriend, if not every single one). Let’s say you ask him and he ignores your request- that would mean that he disregards your feelings, and that is a bigger problem than him not being adequately over his ex.

    Another thing: he knows what his ex liked, but does he know what you like? If he doesn’t, it is a problem. He should know what you like if you are to be his girlfriend, and he should want to offer you what you like from time to time, so to please you. Pay attention and observe: does he remember and does he offer you what you like, so to please you, to see you content?

    And one last thing, for now: when two people are in an emotionally intimate relationship, memories remain, but not only dry memories replay once in a while, but emotional memories. Sometimes he will feel affection, or longing for her, at least for a long time to come. But this is not unusual. Men and women feel affection and longing while in an exclusive relationship for co-workers, people in the community, and even movie stars, all while being loyal to their partner.

    No one owns another’s thoughts and feelings, no one’s brain has only thoughts and feelings for just this one person forevermore. Not even yours!

    Do let me know what you think of my reply to you, if you want to.

    anita

    #326993

    Valora
    Participant

    Do you happen to know how long he tends to wait before getting into a new relationship after breaking up with a previous girlfriend?

    It’s definitely possible that he’s not over them if he keeps talking about them, and I think sometimes people can think they’re over their exes but they’re actually not… but it’s also possible that he’s simply talking about his past, which they are a part of, so he mentions them because he was doing whatever past thing and they were there, too. If he’s not giving himself very much time between relationships, though, he’s not giving himself any time to heal and is just jumping from one distraction to another.

    I like Anita’s advice to make sure that he’s also treating you well, and I, too, think you should mention that it’s starting to bother you when he talks about them and ask him to be mindful of that. I definitely would see red flags if I had a boyfriend who was talking about his exes a lot. I think just about anyone would.

    #327029

    Inky
    Participant

    Hi Sarah,

    Well, my DH is sixteen years older than me. So he had quite a few girlfriends and one on-and-off-again relationship which lasted eight years. But guess what? It’s as if the women never existed! He is a gentleman and never brings them up. Sure, he’s talked about them, but only when I have asked. It’s just basic politeness.

    Your guy needs to stop his Mention-itis of all these exes. It’s not petty or small of you to ask this.

    And guess what? If it doesn’t work out, your ears will be ringing as he will Mention YOU a lot, to the next girl!

    Best,

    Inky

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by  Inky.
    #327097

    Sarah
    Participant

    Thank you all so much for your replies.

    Anita- this is very wise. I will ask him not to mention them next time he does. And I will watch out for whether he makes the effort to please me, too. So easy to forget that bit. You are also so right about still having fond memories for people even if we know we should not be with them though- I guess it’s just hard to accept as another partner, but is a fact of life.

    Valora- I know he waited 1.5 years before getting together with his most recent ex, so I’d hope that would be enough time to process his other relationship (it has been substantially less time since he broke up with his ex and now maybe getting together with me.. but they weren’t as serious). I think you’re both right- I just have to ask him not to, and then if he keeps doing it, accept the red flag.

    Inky- thank you for your perceptive. That’s what seems normal/healthy to me, too. I suppose it’s slightly different for us as we spoke about past relationships whilst being friends first, since it seemed an important way to get to know each other. But now we are becoming more than friends, I don’t want to speak about them any more! I will bear in mind that it is very possible to have had long relationships and not to mention them 🙂

    #327103

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Sarah:

    You are welcome. It is not a red flag at this point, that he’s been talking about his ex to you because like you wrote in your original post, you are only “in the initial stages of getting together with a friend who I have known for a year”, and like you wrote in your recent post, “it’s slightly different for us as we spoke about past relationships whilst being friends first, since it seemed an important way to get to know each other”-

    – the two of you are in the process of changing your relationship from friendship (where talking about past relationships is appropriate and useful so to get to know each other) to a romantic relationship (where talking about same spoils the romance!)-

    I hope the transition proceeds well and is successful. It is possible that he or you will need to talk about a past relationship experience for a useful purpose, such as: I learned this from that experience, this is why I want to do something different now, and you can talk about it.

    But to reminisce: I used to do this with her, or I was here with her, there is nothing useful about that kind of talk and it is hurtful to hear that, in the context of a romantic relationship.

    I hope you post again and share about what happens next in your relationship, and/ or any other topic.

    anita

     

    #327125

    Valora
    Participant

    Valora- I know he waited 1.5 years before getting together with his most recent ex, so I’d hope that would be enough time to process his other relationship (it has been substantially less time since he broke up with his ex and now maybe getting together with me.. but they weren’t as serious). I think you’re both right- I just have to ask him not to, and then if he keeps doing it, accept the red flag.

    Oh yes, that’s a good amount of time to wait in between relationships, although still possible he didn’t get over her in that time. I’m sure the breakup itself was processed enough though that he wasn’t just looking for a distraction. I think when I read “serial monogamist,” it sounded to me like he jumped from relationship to relationship, but staying single for some time in between like he did is much healthier.

    I think you guys just have to develop a new dynamic. He’s used to talking to you about his exes so he may not think anything about continuing to do that, but hopefully if you tell him that it bothers you now that you’re working on being more than friends, he will stop doing it.

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