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Why do I have a strong gut feeling that there's something going on between my boyfriend and his ex?

Tagged as: Cheating, Dating, The ex-factor, Three is a crowd, Trust issues<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (6 July 2018) 15 Answers - (Newest, 10 July 2018)
A female United States age 30-35, anonymous writes:

During the first 2 years of being with my BF, he was still in touch with his ex stringing her along, not telling her that he was in a relationship with me. When I found out how he lied about not being in contact with her, I was very upset. Since then, he said he has deleted and blocked her.

I've tried trusting him... but once in a while I have this strong gut feeling that they are still in contact...

I have that gut feeling now and feel that he is lying to me that he is doing something but in reality is talking to her or hanging out with her.

What do I do? How do I address this?

View related questions: his ex

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A female reader, aunt honesty Ireland +, writes (10 July 2018):

aunt honesty agony auntIt is simple really you don't trust him! Reading your responses and giving his past I totally get why you wouldn't trust him! He cannot say no to his ex which says a lot more about him than it does her. He knows how this is effecting you but he is not putting you first. You making photos public is just petty and well spiteful. If he is not being honest with her then it is not her fault if he is feeding her a pack of lies. Honestly I don't see how this relationship can work without trust. It sounds like he is telling you what you want to hear, but he is not being truthful to you which is never a good foundation for a relationship. He strung her along for two years while he was with you, so it wasn't a case that he texted her once or twice and realized his mistake! It is clear to see he still has some sort of feelings for her.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (10 July 2018):

I read back your replies, a mutual friend confirmed she did not know about you, he nows contacts you more often and you did a 'shay thing' of purposely putting on pictures of you and him so regardless staged.

You clearly see her as a threat still in everything you have put. I will say again, don't play games, don't blame her, you might not like her, like how you feel she goes about him staying in touch with her but that was HIS choice. You might make excuses for him but all that aside as a grown man WITH a girlfriend HE strung her along not the other way round.

Now as has been said YOU and only YOU can work out whether he was cheating on you, whether this woman really poses a threat, whether he has now blocked her for certain this time. Okay so he has given you access to his phone etc, as has also been said men can become more secretive if they have been found out so i am not sure this will put your mind at ease and you can trust him based on that, do you??

You have to trust your gut feeling and you posted on here and stated you think he might still be in contact with her. We can give you our opinions until the cows come home but we can't prove or disprove that. You have to look at your own evidence, look at the facts, answer truthfully if his messages were just a response to this 'Needy' behavior you feel she displays. Only you can make that judgement, like me everyone else has tried to help you as best we can but when i have you have come back with defense and reasons why it is her fault and all is really okay with you both, is it really???

I will leave it there, i have added no more and no less than what i originally did. You have to work out if you can trust him now or not and broken record that means no games, no snooping and trusting him if you feel that you can now....

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (9 July 2018):

Dear Anonymous Female Reader,

OP here once again. Thanks for your reply!

The reason why I said she doesn't know about me and then back tracked was because, as I mentioned, we have mutual friends. His and I have spoken before as he introduced us. So she does know who I am. What she didn't know, or didn't confirm was the fact that after they broke up, I became the new girlfriend of her ex. And please do not say I stole him because I didn't. All our mutual friends knew they were not compatible and him and I didn't start to really talk until months after they broke up.

Why do you think I twisted my boyfriend's arm to get his password? LOL.. He voluntarily told me.. which I have forgotten many times and when he's asked me to reply to a text message for him, I'd reach over, grab his thumb and placed it on the phone's home button to unlock it lol.. He seems to think it's funny and always chuckles at that. As for myself, I don't lock my phone and he has access to it whenever he wants.

I also don't fake pose for photos to put on Facebook LOL.. 80% of the time, the selfies are intiated and requested by my boyfriend, I just post some of them online.

My boyfriend and I do have a pretty good relationship.. I just have a problem putting this issue with his ex to rest.. that is why I'm asking for advice here. I WANT to trust and put it behind us!

Thanks much for all your help!

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (9 July 2018):

You are not getting it, if she didn't know it is up to her that she kept in contact in whatever form that took, it was up to HIM to state his relationship with you and to keep her at arms length.

You did say she didn't know about you then you changed your tune and said she did, so why the backtrack?

So you have now told her know in no uncertain terms and now it is up to your boyfriend to not be in contact with her and to be respectful to your feelings. I fond it sad that he to give you his password etc so you can if you want to check on him, again the trust needs to be worked on because it sounds to me like you are torturing yourself over this.

I can completely understand why, but you either move on from it or it just won't work. Don't play games with her because whether you like it or not you said she didn't know about you so she was innocent in that. The fact she may or may not be good in bed is irrelevant, i take it you are not an ice box in bed and there is more about you for your boyfriend to stick around, STOP COMPARING because it solves nothing.

The trust has been broken and you need to work out if it can be fixed, but again you are going about it the wrong way, taking planned posing pictures, asking him to call you more often and having all passwords is not solving the problem you clearly feel is still there.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (9 July 2018):

OP here..

No, I don't need to snoop on his phone, if I want to see it, I ask for it and he will give it to me, he has also given me his password to his phone. He doesn't have Facebook, but does have WeChat where he'd ocassionally post about us to share with his friends.

I'm more annoyed than I am jealous. She was constantly calling and texting and crying and to hear all her pity stories and ways she tried to get my boyfriend to go out for drinks with her was upsetting. Even his friends adviced him to see through her motives and stay away from her. He seriously need me to demand that he stop contact with her. I'm angry and hurt by his lack of spine in just telling her upfront that he's with someone else and to stop her tactics.

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A male reader, WiseOwlE United States + , writes (8 July 2018):


"Suspicion isn't enough to convict."

Post script:

For future reference. If you know a guy has been keeping in-touch with his ex, and lies about it. You're supposed to dump him! Not compete with his ex; or make accusations until he dumps you! You're either a rebound or a place-holder while he tries to get her back. If he's messing with her head; you're being used to make her jealous. I guess it's backfiring.

Let me guess your next move. You're going to snoop on his phone, or spy on social media? Maybe you already have. He's wise enough to know you will, and he'll delete the messages.

He will continue to deny it, even if you have proof.

You build a relationship based on trust. Jealousy and suspicion is just the opposite.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (8 July 2018):

You are now making excuses for your own behavior. You stated she didn't know and now you're backtracking AND putting it on her. FACT if he loved you she would be no threat.and he wouldn't have strung her along, her exes choice to sleep with her, not your business. Admit it you are jealous and threatened by her so you put the blame on her, I guess it would just be her fault if he did sleep with her, what she forced him to make the choices he did? You asked for advice and it's been given

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A male reader, WiseOwlE United States + , writes (8 July 2018):

You should have dumped him when you first found-out he was in-contact with his ex. How can you stick with a guy you've never trusted? Don't say you've tried; because since you first discovered he was contacting her, you haven't.

Suspicion isn't enough convict. You need evidence. You had evidence when you first caught-on; but stayed with a guy. On top of that, he plays games with his ex; or so he says. That should have been a giant red-flag in itself.

This is how it feels to be with someone you don't trust. You don't commit to liars who are in-contact with their exes. That's a warning-sign he's a dick. Be consumed by your suspicion; or dump his ass. You caught him in a lie, so you'll never trust him. He doesn't even feel like he's your boyfriend, does he? He feels like her leftovers.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (8 July 2018):

Dear anonymous female reader,

In the beginning, when we first dated, I was fine with them being friends. Friends, meaning they both understand the relationship is over and the act cordially and can be/ should be honest with each other when they begin dating again. That is a healthy friendship. He knew she was making advances, creating scenarios for him to pity her, and even used the death of a family member to try to get him to go drinking with her. I know she knew about me through mutual friends. She was probably in denial and it is his mistake that he did not tell her upfront that he is with someone else. If he is so worried about protecting HER feelings, what about mine? Of course there are other examples of him hiding their conversations and him lying about being in contact with her.

No, I don't have proof that they met up or slept together. She knows how to party and he's told me that she is good in bed because she knows how to act/react in certain ways. He's also told me that she has a habit of hooking up with her exes too.. that was one of the major reasons why they broke up.

She's too forthcoming and he cares too much about her feelings.. those are my worries. If she stopped throwing herself at him, I'd have nothing to worry about because I know he's the type that will not reach out to her. But if she keeps contacts and using her manipulative tactics, he doesn't know how to say no. He will go to the extent of lying to me to keep in contact with her just to not hurt her feelings.

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A female reader, Youcannotbeserious United Kingdom + , writes (8 July 2018):

Youcannotbeserious agony auntWhat I find saddest about your post is that a woman in her 30s has sunk to such a level as to secretly make photographs of herself and her boyfriend public on social media so that his ex can see them. Proving "ownership" in this way smacks of desperation and is something I would expect from someone in their teens, not a supposedly adult woman.

I have to wonder how sinking to that level made you feel about YOURSELF? It doesn't sound like you are proud of yourself for doing this so obviously you do not like the person you have become when around this man.

From your second post, it doesn't sound like he was actually cheating. At best, it sounds like he was weak and spineless. At worst, he was hedging his bets and keeping his ex on the back burner in case the relationship with you didn't work out and he could just pretend to her they had been on a break and could resume the relationship.

You CHOSE to stay with him. You now have to CHOOSE whether you can get past his deception and learn to trust him, or whether you are going to live in this insecure hell of your own making for the foreseeable future.

For what it is worth, I truly believe we have gut instincts for good reason. You should never ignore gut feelings. It is a very primitive skill we all possess to keep us safe. Ignore them at your peril.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (8 July 2018):

But you are not 'doing good' you are setting up a false representation on your relationship to show her, you are setting yourself up to fail in doing this.

You are playing games and in having these pictures you are feeding into your own insecurity. Look if he didn't sleep with her and did not message her sexually was this not possibly that he knew how much she would hurt knowing he had met someone else and he was sparing her her feelings? If he never met up with her and just tried to be friends with her was it not that he was putting his head in the sand and hope she would just move on? Do you know for sure what the actual messages entailed, were they just friendly, did he maybe feel he wanted to protect her at least to not hurt her feelings, because if he wanted to have been with her in those two years surely he would have done??

At the end of the day the other woman has not done anything wrong if she did not know about you, that is on YOUR boyfriend, so why punish her, does that honestly sit with you okay?

I think you will drive him away if you don't think differently. Stop posting on social media, stop playing games, look at the whole situation and ask yourself was this just his attempt to just not hurt her or was their feelings on his side?

Constantly having him call you and reassure you will grind him down, YOU HAVE to ask yourself are you going to wipe the slate clean and move forward in this relationship because no amount of him calling you every two minutes and happy pictures on Facebook is going to stop you not trusting and being insecure. Talk it through if you can with an impartial ear, make sense of how you feel. If needs be sit and talk to your boyfriend again, see how you can both move forward. But your social media proves nothing because the truth is she will know why you are doing it and the happiest relationships are not played out on social media.

At the end of the day this is NOT her fault and you know that, you need to work on your relationship and rebuilding that trust, if you both love each other you will work on it, but be honest with yourself now, is this man right for you?

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (7 July 2018):

You have not said how long in total you have been together?? You think something is amiss because you don't trust him and maybe your gut is telling you for good reason still.

Do you think he was actually seeing her for those two years or was it texting? I am not sure how you can prove it because no doubt he will be extra careful but if you are going by previous behavior when he was hiding something then it is possible you are right.

You don't trust him though and i can't see how that can change if the feeling persists and sorry but for good reason because you know what he did. If he did that for two years i fail to see that he is suddenly going to be guilt ridden and not do it again...

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (7 July 2018):

Thank you for your response and advice, Honeypie!

I initially found out about him stringing his ex along was when she kept calling him during major holidays - Christmas, New Years Eve, and Valentine's Day. She called non stop and left voice messages we both listened to. She was drunk and crying to him. It was then that I asked him if she knew we were dating and he said he never told her. She thought he was single all along and thought it was one of their 'long' breaks, that eventually they will get back together. I also asked a mutual friend of ours and she confirmed his ex didn't know he was with me and she had been trying to get him back. At that point I demanded that he tell her and then block and delete her.

I've addressed my insecurities with him. I told him yesterday that I'm having these bad feelings that he is back in contact with his ex and I'm having a hard time getting rid of the feelings. He said he understands and will try his best to show me that he is not in contact with her or doing anything he shouldn't be doing. He texts me and calls me more often to let me know what he's doing when we're apart.

Hopefully these feelings will go away. I've also done a really shady thing by making photos of my boyfriend and I public so that when our mutual friends 'like' our photos, his ex can see it and know that we're doing good.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (7 July 2018):

This sounds like torture.

He has PROVED to you that he is NOT trustworthy. How can you TRY to trust him when he has shown you that you CAN'T?

Why is he suddenly going to become a person who does the right thing, when for the last two years he has absolutely been doing the wrong thing and probably enjoying it?

Knowing that he has two women that he can keep entertained?

If he IS still in touch and even if he has stopped contact finally, this is who this man is. He cares about HIS life, HIS wants and needs and nobody else's.

Do you want to be happy? Or spend your time like this? Wondering what he's doing the whole time? I don't know how you would address this, because asking him doesn't get you anywhere. He can say whatever, obviously. Does he take his phone everywhere? Secretive? Unless you catch him in the act I don't think you will know.

I've been there BTW. And what a relief it was when I woke up and realised that however much I enjoyed my boyfriend's company, however much I felt so close to him, how much I loved sex with him, however much I felt excited to see him and be pleased to be with him, that I wasn't happy when he wasn't with me. Not because I wanted us to live in each other's pockets, but because I didn't trust him. He was popular with the ladies and had a string of female friends. Because he was great company etc. Hat off to him, but I was right. He wasn't faithful.

Yes it's hard, but I'm SO much happier without him and that tortuous string of thought that never leaves you alone.

Good luck with whatever you decide.

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (7 July 2018):

Honeypie agony auntWell, I don't think you can make any presumptions or accusations without any proof. It makes you seem like an insecure nut.

EVEN if you have HISTORY with him being shady in the past.

The thing is YOU chose to stay with a guy who for 2 (TWO!!!) years strung his ex along while dating you. Why?

There is no trust here because HIS actions made YOU lose trust in him and with good right, but... again, you CHOSE to stay with him and sweep TWO!! years of him stringing his ex along, under the rug.

How did you find out that he was 1. still in contact with her and 2 stringing her along?

I'm curious to know.

Did you snoop on his found and found "incriminating evidence"?

If so, why haven't you tried that again?

NOT that I would encourage ANYONE to snoop, I'm just really curious.

You can't BUILD a healthy relationship without trust. You really can't. And you have very little trust in him after what he did.

My advice? Decide if you are OK without the trust or if you think him saying "I've deleted and blocked her" means he is TRYING to help rebuild the trust that HE broke.

And I also think you need to admit that you are NOT over what he did FOR TWO YEARS! You haven't forgiven him. and THAT IS OK.

But you can't MOVE forward with him or without him until you DECIDE if this is a guy for you.

- Can you really see a future with a guy who DID this to another woman for 2 years?

- Can you really BE with a man you feel you can't trust?

But before you ASK yourself those questions... ask yourself this... WHAT would he have to do to PROVE to you that you CAN in fact trust him?

I have to say Yoda comes to mind.. "do or do not, there is no try" when it comes to trust. You don't "try" and trust someone - you either trust them or your don't.

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