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He is too close to his ex' and it bothers me

Tagged as: Dating, Three is a crowd<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (16 May 2017) 5 Answers - (Newest, 16 May 2017)
A female United Kingdom age 26-29, anonymous writes:

I have recently started dating someone at work (discreetly) and it has been going really well. I was very wary of him at first because he has an ex' in the same workplace who he is still close to. He also led me to believe that he liked me before (a good while ago) and couldn't follow through. Having said that, it has now been about a month and he has been clear about his feelings and actually seems pretty serious about the whole thing. We get along really well and have similar interests/outlooks on life.

However, I can feel myself being really insecure and sometimes jealous and it is really starting to get to me. I don't want to ruin this relationship and push him away by needing too much reassurance, but I am constantly worried that he would really rather be with his ex' and that I am second best. I have tried to be mature and brought the issue up in a neutral way once in the hopes that talking about it would alleviate the worry, which it did at the time, but I can't help reading into things like them talking on Whatsapp frequently or if I do t hear from him for a while I wonder whether it's because he's talking to her. I don't want to be that person and I want to give him the benefit of the doubt but I just don't know how to forget about my concerns!

I feel like it's starting to affect how I behave with him. I feel like it's only a matter of time before he starts to distance himself and that's the very thing I was worrying about in the first place! What can I do!

View related questions: at work, his ex, insecure, jealous, workplace

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A male reader, WiseOwlE United States + , writes (16 May 2017):

You can address this issue with your new love-interest as a matter of fact. Now is the time to compromise and come to an understanding. Not to dictate your terms. You've got options and choices. So does he.

Meaning, don't make it seem as if you're totally unraveled and jealous knowing he communicates with her regularly. That is insecurity that probably won't be suppressed; no matter what he does, short of dumping her as a friend completely. It might come across the wrong way, if you don't think this out carefully.

You're a new addition into his life; so adjustments have to be made on both your parts. He might not like your male or gay-friends; if you have any. To site some examples.

Be on point. Tell him that you feel uncomfortable with the frequency of their communication. Ask if he will help you to adjust and alleviate your concerns about their friendship. You need to be assured that your budding-relationship will be able to progress on different levels; and you really would like time with him without outside interference, to see how far everything will go. You need to focus on each other, and become well-acquainted. You can't be disturbed during intimate time together.

What many people fail to realize is going into relationships with people having active friendships with their exes, is a choice. Many see such arrangements as a competition from the start. Sizing-up the competition and full of jealousy. Spoiling for a fight. This is all wrong and quite immature.

Some exes will intentionally disturb the procession of the love-connection and the bonding-process; fearing loss of their place among his closest allies and confidants. While others are over-protective, and feel they have a right to intervene and evaluate his new love-interests. As if they have some right to give their approval. Yeah, right!!!

Once they know a new romance is on the rise, communication might pickup to a fever-pitch; because they too feel insecure. Fearing that some new girlfriend or boyfriend won't approve of continued friendships with exes. I'm not crazy about them myself. I think exes should move on. But then, once I learn the ex is competitive or too close; I back-out completely. I don't have time nor a tolerance for drama. I don't do love-triangles, or threesomes.

Unless you actually see this particular type of paranoid behavior; you really should relax, and see her as any other friend. They are used to being close, the dynamic of their connection has changed. He wouldn't have sought another relationship had he felt she would cause any problems or become a wedge. If she's still single, that might cause pause. That sometimes means she's holding-out or waiting.

She'll always be on his side, and quickly step-in as his comforter when you disagree. That should never occur under any circumstance. My friends and family love me; but they are only allowed to offer support, not pick sides. It's none of their business.

If you know what happened to anyone who dated him after he broke-up with her; then that might put you at ease. If she was too much involved, and you have too many failed-predecessors? Red-flag!!!

You could emphasize the fact she is an ex-girlfriend; making things somewhat different (if not complicated) from someone who has always had a completely platonic-connection. So just until your relationship is well-established, maybe he would be considerate of your discomfort; and let your romance take priority for now. That would require there being less active communication with her; which would dominate or interrupt your quality-time together as a couple. You will be sure to establish the same understanding and boundaries with all your male-friends and exes. That's your leverage, sweetie!

Let him know you are seeking this as a mutual-agreement; but at the same-time, consider it a test.

If he willingly agrees and follows through; you should be comfortable with his friendship with his ex. If he acts with hesitation or resistance, bail-out now! Aside from family, I place my relationship at the top of my list of priorities. My friends know their place, and do not dare interfere with my relationships; nor do I mess around with theirs. We all stay on neutral-ground. That's all based on true love and respect. Not insecurity.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (16 May 2017):

I understand your concerns and you are totally right to feel the way you do.

I am in the same boat in that my boyfriend of 4 years works with all women. And has to deal with women day in and day out. Women co-workers. Women clients. Some of whom are attractive and he must text or keep in touch with because of work.

It drives me up the wall.

I guess I don't trust him fully and think that eventually cause he's a guy, he will replace me once he is bored with me. Especially because he has all of these pickings right at his feet!

So I am constantly worried and living on egg shells. Also worry that whenever he does not reply fast enough, he is texting some other woman he knows. Or is on Snapchat with her. The thoughts are pure torture and they just don't seem to go away.

I have talked to him about it over and over again. And over and over again, he continues to reassure me. He has never done anything to make me uncomfortable. I have never felt that he was outwardly flirting or crossing lines with any of them. Just the fact they are there and there could be opportunities is reason enough. And he's quite a charming guy. So, I hate the fact other women could also find him attractive! It literally eats me up inside. I have had anxiety attacks about his whereabouts and who he is with where I cannot breathe. And it keeps happening. I am not sure how to stop it without losing my sanity.

I guess it's cause I love him and I can't imagine my life without him in it. He has been so patient and understanding of my demons. I cannot believe that after 4 years, he has not already left me due to my insecurity.

I feel stuck too.

But I guess at the end of the day, your boyfriend has to be willing to make you feel safe. It is difficult to be in a relationship when you have your guard up and you are always worried about the other person betraying you or not loving you enough. You are like a yo yo. You have good moments and when you feel you are getting too close, you get scared and pull away. You tend to get scared whenever he is around her and you imagine him doing things with her behind your back all the time. But seeing them together with your own eyes is reason enough. Your own thoughts are driving you crazy. However, he does share the blame. His actions and close relationship with his ex are making you feel uneasy. He should not be making you feel uneasy. He should be making you feel loved, safe and secure.

So, the only way to solve this one way or the other is to tell him to back off his relationship with his ex or you cannot continue seeing him and doing this to yourself. I know it's an ultimatum and I am not the biggest fan of ultimatums, but in this case I will make an exception. He cannot have his cake and eat it.

His choice.

This way you will see where his heart really is.

Before you waste so much more precious time pining away for a man who is still attached to ex and will not let her go.

Your relationship is still new. It will be easier to get over him now, than years from now.

Wish you well.

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A male reader, Billy Bathgate United States + , writes (16 May 2017):

You need to grow up. You're just dating this guy and not even openly. You have no right to tell him who he can and can't be friends with. Keep in mind if he wanted to be with her he would be with her. If you can't be an adult and accept that then you need to split with him and find someone who has no past.

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A male reader, N91 United Kingdom + , writes (16 May 2017):

N91 agony auntI agree with denizen.

I don't think many people would be comfortable with their other half being close to their ex, someone they used to have a sexual relationship with and obviously share a good chemistry with.

To be fair, you sound like you're going to be on edge for the duration of this relationship because I feel even if you ask him to stop speaking to her as much, which I don't feel is an unreasonable request, I don't think he will do. He would also probably end up telling her you don't like it and she could then try to throw a spanner in the works.

In a nutshell, I think you are going to struggle maintaining a relationship with this man. I also think it's an extremely bad idea to get involved in work place romances, if you guys break up you're going to see each other everyday.

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A male reader, Denizen United Kingdom + , writes (16 May 2017):

Denizen agony auntI would tell him that this contact with his ex' bugs you and he needs to dial it back. You don't contact your ex' and you expect the same. It's a question of loyalty.

It's lovely they are still friends particularly in the work place but you have to explain you need to see more exclusivity from him towards you.

How do you explain this? I think you need to be clear. Tell him it's pissing you off. He will no doubt try to tell you that you are being too demanding or something like that. Stick to your guns. Make it plain it upsets you. He has to be either on the bus or off the bus.

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