Is he living in the past? Should she leave? Discuss.
Q: Hi. I have been dating my bf for about a year now, and things have been great. We really get along, laugh a lot, talk a lot -- and the sex is great.
Anyhow, he told me how he and his ex -- his first serious gf -- are still good friends. I totally understand that as I am friends with some of my exes as well, and I have no issues with any of his friends who are girls. However, when I first met the ex, we all went out to the bars. She was in town with her new bf and his friends, and I felt like a third wheel.
He was hanging all over everything she was saying, and if he didn't catch it he would ask her "What?" repeatedly as if it was the most important thing. I felt like I was standing next to a broken record at times. I don't want to say he was totally ignoring me, but I definitely was not involved. Granted, I could have asked more questions, too, but she was with her friends and did not seem interesting in getting to know me at all really.
When I mentioned it to him he brushed it off as if it were nothing. Then, about a couple of months after that, she was coming to town w/ her new bf again and asked to stay at my bf's place. He asked me if I was OK with it, and I said I didn't like it, but it was his place and his choice. We actually did argue about it a bit, but in the end he let them stay over and went out with them that evening.
He and I have talked about this and he says he has no feelings for her other than friendship and that he loves me. He did say he still finds her very attractive but he is not interested in dating her anymore. The thing is, I tend to feel that sometimes actions speak louder than words, and I feel like perhaps he still has lingering feelings.
What do you think? Should I just be listening to what he is saying to me and trust in that, or "listen" to what he is telling me through his actions, and if it is that he has lingering feelings do I just walk away and find someone else? Or am I just being insecure about this whole thing and making something out of nothing?
-- Just Wondering, Boston
A: JW, you’re making something out of something that used to be.
They’re over. They’ve made that clear. The fact that this woman visits with a boyfriend makes me less inclined to believe she’s trying to get her old boyfriend back. If there are still feelings, it’s one-sided. It’s your boyfriend who’s still a bit smitten.
If he still likes her "more than friends," it's not the end of the world. It’s possible to care for an ex -- especially a first serious girlfriend -- and be in love with someone else. It’s possible to be nostalgic and sad and loving with an ex, even after you’ve moved on to a new relationship.
That said, you have every right to be irritated that his actions speak louder than his words (his actions are yelling, aren’t they?). Perhaps you can calmly explain to your boyfriend that you understand how he feels, but that if he truly cares about you, he’ll avoid putting you in awkward social situations and respect that you don’t want her staying in his house. It’s cool that they’re friends – but it’d be cooler for you if they were respectful acquaintances. I think that’s a fair compromise.
If he can’t respect your feelings, maybe it’s time to rethink this relationship – not because of her, but because of him.