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Is my boyfriend not over his ex?

Tagged as: Dating, The ex-factor, Troubled relationships<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (13 May 2010) 6 Answers - (Newest, 26 May 2010)
A female United States age 26-29, anonymous writes:

I know there have been a million questions asked about this, but I really need somebody's help. It is driving me crazy constantly thinking about it. I've been dating this really lovely guy for about 5 months now. We're happy together, and he tells me he loves me everyday. There's just one thing, I don't think he's over his ex. She was his first serious girlfriend. She broke up with him and according to him, she hurt him many times. They went out for a year, and then he told me there was a rebound girl immediately after her, a couple months later he met me and he told me he took it really slow. My paranoia started when he called me her name early in the relationship, probably after a month and a half of dating. I didn't think too much of it and I let it go pretty quickly. But there have been so many little instances where she has come up in random conversation. One time when we first began dating we were at the mall and we were walking across a jewelry store and he said "I was just here last year" and I asked who he was buying jewelry for, and he said "for my ex". I didn't think this was too weird at the time either. He also told me the story of how he lost his virginity to her, with a bit too much enthusiasm in his voice. After that she would come up occasionally, and he would just tell me things she did that bothered him, like being extremely clingy, and possessive, and jealous, and accusing him of things.

One day we came back from a trip and he was telling me about how he used to make a lot of money at his old job, and how everyone in his family got a nice christmas gift that year, and how he bought his best friend an expensive gift and how he would spoil his ex girlfriend all the time. That's when everything he said about her really hit me. I'm not being shallow, but I realized that he doesn't spoil me, in fact he can be really stingy with me, but I don't feel like getting into that. I realized that he has only gotten me 1 gift and that was a $15 bag of tea for christmas. It's not the absence of the gift that bothers me, its the lack of thought. I realized that he doesn't really take me out, or get me little small gifts like I do for him sometimes. After he said that it made me feel like he values me less and it made me feel unimportant, like he could never love me as much as he loves her. I've seen receipts of things he's bought her and he spent around $200 on her christmas gift alone, not counting the jewelry he bought her.

There's more. He still has a few pictures of her on his computer. They bother me so much, I've joked around with him about them and hinted a little that they bother me, but that was a while ago and they're still there. He apparently still has things that she gave him because a long time ago he asked me "what should I do with all the stuff she gave me". I've confronted him about how I feel numerous times, but I've never been able to say what I truly feel because I have a lot of trouble speaking up. I asked him if he still had feelings for her and he said "no, I want nothing to do with her". I hate bringing it up again because I know it bothers him, I hate to cause trouble. He's asked me to not bring up his ex again, and not bring up old things he said. I feel like it's kind of selfish to ask him to take down those pictures. I don't know what to do.

View related questions: best friend, broke up, christmas, ex girlfriend, his ex, jealous, money, my ex

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (26 May 2010):

Yeah, i feel you. My now-hubby was like that when we first started dating. He'd talk and talk about his ex and he did romantic things with her and i did get jealous at the fact that he never did any things for me. He had some of her things she gave him and went thru it in front of me to see what she gave him before he threw it out and of course he'd stay in contact with her and he said that he'd go and help her out if she was in trouble. But i kept telling him, SHE'S GOT HER BF TO BE THERE FOR HER NOT YOU. but he says he's over her, well he said that ever since we started dating but i knew he wasn't by the way he kept talking about her, so i confronted him a month into our "relationship" and he cOnfessed. And yeah he did go out of his and our way for her when she called him. So one day i called her up just to talk and i told hi. Many timesto tell her to *uck off but t was too hard for him so i told him if he doesn't then i'm done. You need to be strong in your relationship girl. If he really loves you, then he'd stay with you if you ask him IT's you OR HER. we've been together for 3 yrs now and it still hurts cus of the fact that he lied and that e said he loves me at the same time. Yeah, people say he comes hime to you, so why are you worried? Well, let me add, yeah he does come home after *ucking another girl but yet, he still comes home to me.. Haha, which i find funny when people are telling you to calm down and says that. So basically, your bf can go do anything in the world, as long as he still comes home to you huh.. Lmafo.. But girl, stay strong and if it really bothers you, i know you love him, but it's better in the long run. Leave him. If he really does love you, he'd want you back. MaYbe he does need time to get over her. Idk about you, but i'm the type of person where i'll love someone a lot, but if i have to le them go, i can leave them like nothing, cus like people say, its just a memory right? There are plenty of fish in the sea. Theres no perfect one and yeah, it takes a couple of wrong ones til you get the "right" one. I've been thru it with this hubby of mine and it's still a strong hurtful impact on me when someone tells you they love you but l about some *hit like this. Made me feel used. I mean i have left him like 10+ times cus i'm stubborn and say what i have to, but he still comes and rescues me.. I'll always remember what he did and alltge *hit he's said cus i hold long grudges and i'm not going to make our lives miserable, but i'll be more cautious. Stay strong! And good luck!

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A female reader, Jen1689 United States +, writes (15 May 2010):

Jen1689 agony auntI'm exactly in the same place you are, the only difference is: my boyfriend has NOTHING of his ex to remind me of her. Unfortunately, he brought her up in random, meaningless situations when we first started dating, and now, she's all I can think about. I view her MySpace and Facebook pages daily. Whenever we have a conversation, it's her face that jumps into my mind no matter what the topic. He could be talking about fishing, and I would think about him fishing back on the island where he grew up, and where she still lives today. He hasn't spoken to her since they broke up, and she's only contacted him once since we've been together. Her current "fiance" had just split with her for some reason around Christmas time last year, and so she decided to send my boyfriend a MySpace message that contained three words: I hate you. That was it. My boyfriend told me about it, and then proceeded to delete the message without replying, and he blocked her. End of story. However, I cannot let it go. I think of all the times he's ever mentioned her (granted, they were all terrible things he had to say), and it all eats me alive. I've extremely insecure, and I suffer from depression (I believe, in part, due to this issue...). I see a therapist, and I'm on medication, but she still won't go away. They had a terrible relationship from start to finish, and she was very immature, irrational, and manipulative of everything in their relationship. He sad that sex was like a chore, and that she was very demanding and he felt pity for her. She was big into drinking and drugs, and cheated on him several times. She also tried to commit suicide whenever he tried to break up with her. They were on-and-off for two years. She began dating her current boyfriend not even a month after finishing for good with mine, and she became pregnant only two months after that. I remained a virgin until I met my boyfriend, and couldn't have imagined anything more perfect. We never fight, we have the most fun together, and aside from my irrational thoughts, I'd say we're a damn-near perfect couple. You see? I have NOTHING to compare myself to her about, but I still do. We all do. We like to think that our boyfriends never had a life before us, but they did. We like to think that they never had sex with anyone before us, but they did. We like to think that our boyfriends never dreamed of living a life without us before we came into it, but that's silly, they didn't know us. I've talked to my boyfriend about my feelings, and he tries to understand, but it's difficult for him. He hasn't brought her up anymore, unless of course I do first.

Your boyfriend loves you. Trust him when he says it. I know that my boyfriend would go to the ends of the earth for me and back, but I still feel this way. Logic and emotions don't mesh well... The only reason you're feeling this way is because you're insecure with either yourself or your relationship. Believe me, I'm here with you. You just need to find what it is that makes you so insecure and conquer it. If you need to talk, feel free to message me. Take care, and I hope you can get past this.

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A female reader, hendrix United States +, writes (14 May 2010):

girls, girls, girls, loosen up, stop running your selves crazy over "is he still thinking about his ex girlfriend"

yes, he is and he'll always think...about...her, why? you ask" because he has a memory in his brain o.k. ladies, but his not going to buy her the planet venus, she just a memory, he doesn't love her any more, who is he with? you, do you even know what the meaning of the word love is? of course you do, it, he loves you, he would not be their with you, period. men use these tactics to get you girls jealouse, it works every time too, girls go straight out to lunch, its an age old clincer, guys use, their not stupid, they know what their doing, stop falling for everthing guys say, you girls do the same thing to guys, you know you do, i'll say this "who does he come home too" their your answer,, stop burning your brains out for nothing, he!

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (14 May 2010):

girls, i will aswer your question if your boyfriend still thinks about his ex, yes he does no escaping around it, now loosen up girls, he still cares about her in his memory banks of his mind,and theirs nothing you can do about it,now what you can do for your self is stop going crazy, you see he is with you now! he loves you, and no one else, men always say things to get a reaction from their girlfriends, their not stupid, just to see you get jealouse, it works every time, and you girls worry your selves to death, its called "intrapment" don't fall for that day old stuff, his not about to buy her the planet venus, forget it, just forget, do you really know what the word "i love you" really means, just that! he their with you now,isn't he? well then stop acting silly,, period!

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A reader, anonymous, writes (14 May 2010):

Hey prion,

I'm still with him because I love him, and he is perfect for me in every other way. Also, because I am honestly unsure what to think. On the one hand, there are all these things with the ex that make me uncomfortable. On the other, he assures me that he doesn't love her and that the only reason he still does things like DIY for her is that she is very emotionally volatile, and liable to have a total tantrum if he says no. Finally, she is away at the moment and he says he doesn't want to deal with the situation over email. which I understand. I therefore have to wait until she gets back to see if he does actually deal with it.

In the meantime, I exist in this horrible, anxious limbo not really knowing where I stand and feeling constantly sick about the situation. I get sudden reminders of it all the time- for instance, the other day I was looking for bath crystals in a messy cupboard, and while I was rummaging, out fell a photo of them together.

Also, like the girl who asked the question, I feel like I am being jealous and childish to be worried about this. Part of me is ashamed of how I feel. Part of me wonders, like the question asker, whether I'm being paranoid. I honestly don't know if I'm just overreacting or being impatient to be upset. I know that exes can be just friends, and I also know that this woman is really quite emotional so I can see why he would approach any confrontation with trepidation. I try to be sympathetic and understanding instead of judgemental towards others but in this case it is very painful to do that.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (13 May 2010):

I'm afraid I don't have advice for you, because I have spectacularly failed to cope with a similar situation. I just wanted to contact you and let you know that you are not alone.

My boyfriend and I have lived together for 13 months. He broke up with his ex in 2006. He has stacks of pictures of her on his computer. I keep finding photos of her around the house, and valentine's cards stuffed in boxes he hasn't looked in for a while. They still have a joint bank account. His new house, which she has never inhabited, is painted in the same colours as the one he used to share with her. He has a lot of the same furniture, including a godawful piece of African art which I know she chose! I know she chose the art on the walls. When we go away, he takes me to the same places he has been with her. We even had to meet up with her when we were on holiday on the other side of the world!! She lives about 5 minutes from where he works, and he is always going over to do little pieces of DIY for her.

So yeah, I know exactly the pain that you are in, and I share the same insecurities that you have. It's agony, and it's unremitting. Every single day I feel like I'm living in her shadow. I can feel my sense of self-worth and self-belief slipping away from me the longer it continues. I have talked to my partner about it and made it clear how I feel, and he has promised to deal with it when he next sees her (which will be a few months as she is currently away). He obviously can't see why it bothers me. In the meantime, I feel like I can't even bring the subject up any more.

I don't like the insecure person I'm becoming, and I don't like the way I'm starting to ask questions: why would he do this to me? What does it tell me about how much he values our relationship? I find myself doing things like telling him when a guy asks me out, so he realizes that there are other guys who think I'm pretty and attractive. I'm even getting ill over it. It's pathetic, I know.

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