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Difficulty with old and new loyalties

Tagged as: The ex-factor, Troubled relationships<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (11 November 2017) 4 Answers - (Newest, 14 November 2017)
A male United Kingdom age 51-59, *harliebean57 writes:

Hi. I will try to make this brief but there is a lot going on in my life at the moment. I have been separated 6 years now coming to the end of a divorce although we are amicable my spouse wants still to be friends.

We both have new partners although my spouse 's has broken down. Mainly due to lack of affection from her male partner which has caused her to try to commit suicide on a number of occasions as she is also suffering with depression. My soon to be ex sees me as a guardian and comes to me when has troubles in her life.

The problem is my partner sees my ex' as a threat cos if she sees my ex' getting close to me she gets worried she might lose me. I tell my partner not to worry as I am only helping ex spouse through difficulties but my partner sees it as 'playing games' ie trying to make my spouse's ex boyfriend jealous.

I don't know what to do for the best. My partner wants me to have less contact or no contact with my ex. I am concerned for my ex's wellbeing but I don't love her. I don't want to cause stress to either myself ex' spouse or my new partner.

View related questions: divorce, jealous, my ex

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A female reader, aunt honesty Ireland + , writes (14 November 2017):

aunt honesty agony auntYou sound like a good guy who just wants to keep everyone happy, but I have to agree with your partner here. Nobody wants an ex spouse hanging around. How would you feel if the tables where turned and your partner was good friends with their ex spouse? Am sure it would be hurtful from time to time. You really need to make a decision to what and who is most important. I understand you don't want to see anything bad happen to your ex, but you also need to put your partner first and see that this is making her unhappy.

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A female reader, Youcannotbeserious United Kingdom + , writes (13 November 2017):

Youcannotbeserious agony auntYou cannot fix your ex. If she has depression, she should be getting professional help.

You are a lovely guy for still wanting to support her but put yourself in your girlfriend's shoes. How would YOU feel if she was doing the same with HER ex?

You and your wife obviously have good reasons for splitting up and divorcing. Just because you have done so on amicable terms does not mean she should have a hold over the rest of your life.

You need to sit her down and tell her that the time has come when you need to put yourself and your new relationship first. Help her set up any support systems she may need but make it plain you cannot be there for her any longer as it is affecting your current relationship. If she is not happy with her partner, she needs to draw a line under the relationship and move on. She is not your responsibility.

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A female reader, femmenoir Australia + , writes (13 November 2017):

femmenoir agony auntYou and your ex wife, despite everything you've stated, are getting divorced for a reason and no matter what your ex wife wants or expects from you, you cannot continually be there for her.

You are no longer "her husband" and she must not treat you as her husband.

She is an adult, she's made her own choices to find somebody new and sadly, if that union isn't working or didn't work, then that's actually her problem to deal with, not yours.

Your ex wife's having tried to commit suicide and her having depression, these are 2 serious matters that require professional care, not your care, which btw, is way too much baggage for you to have to contend with at this stage of your life.

It's good that the two of you have decided to remain amicable, but it sounds as though your ex wife wanted this moreso than you did.

If so, she's obviously planned that well, because she knows she can reach out to you anytime, all the time.

It sounds as though your ex wife is "using you to her own advantage" to be brutally honest with you.

Have you told your ex wife that you've a new gf?

If so,

your ex wife is quite ignorant of the fact, that you're in a new relationship and this new relationship demands your time and attention.

How selfish of her, truly!

I would cut the cord right now and tell her that you are building your relationship with your new gf and you cannot have her, nor her issues always hanging over your head.

Obviously you wouldn't say it like that, but you get the picture.

If you don't tell her that you require your space, she will always be there, hanging around in the background, calling for your help and creating some sort of drama, whether it be intentional or unintentional and i doubt you really want that do you?

Also and most importantly, if you respect, care for and love your new gf, then you should also be thinking of her needs too.

She may not feel overly comfortable with you and your ex wife making regular contact, especially that your ex wife is depressed and has tried taking her own life.

This is way too personal, even for an ex husband to be getting involved with and contending with.

If it's what you really want to do or feel that you must do, then you need to be upfront with your current gf, but do remember, she won't like it and you could well be risking losing her.

Good luck and all the best!

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (12 November 2017):

Honeypie agony auntI get that you still feel a sense of responsibility and friendship towards you ex-wife but your new GF feels your priorities are skewered in your ex-wife favor, not hers.

I think it's TIME you cut the apron strings. Your ex-wife is a grown woman and RESPONSIBLE for her own actions. You can not FIX everything for her constantly. Nor should you.

You might not want to admit it but you DO ENJOY being the "knight in shiny armor" for your ex-wife. It makes you feel good that she comes to YOU, not her partner for "help". The things is this co-dependent relationship is ruining BOTH relationships - HERS (your ex-wife's) and YOURS.

Your own partner might see things differently than you because she is NOT emotionally invested in your ex-wife. So I wouldn't DISMISS what she is saying. That your ex-wife is using YOU to make her partner jealous and to GET the affection/attention she isn't getting from her partner.

If you want to do something GOOD for your ex-wife then USE your friendship to GET her to seek help. For her depression and with herself. Someone who is trying to commit suicide is either WANTING to die or NEEDING attention and help.

But you REALLY have to decide what is more important to you. Having a HEALTHY relationship with your CURRENT partner or playing rescuer of your ex-wife. In the long run, you can't do both. YOU have to choose.

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