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Typical Ex-fling situation


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This is my first time posting on the message boards, and it's honestly very out of my nature. however, I am currently in a mental blur concerning an issue with my current boyfriend of a little over a year, and his ex-fling.


I guess, what I'm trying to do here, to understand where fair and proper boundaries are in this situation. I am asking for advice concerning, and want to post as fair and honestly as possible about both of our situations.


First off, right before we first started dating, my current boyfriend was attempting to date a girl that he has had a sort of on again off again romantic sort of friendship/relationship with for about 9 years. It was turbulent, and often times very unhealthy, from what I hear, and I know that in the past she has attempted to pursue him sexually while she was in a relationship, and I do know she has tried to meet up with him while he's been in past relationships. I know that she doesn't understand boundaries, and will text him using the classic 'we language' that women who seduce peoples boyfriends use.


Now, when we started dating, after about a month ... he realized that I was good stuff, and stopped talking to her. Probably for about eight months of the relationship they talked/texted/or e-mailed maybe two or three times. She is apparently also in a relationship with a guy, but the past shows that really doesn't have much baring. Recently he has begun contacting her again (she did start it), sending little texts and e-mails every so often. Once when I was over at 12 am she texted, claiming she couldn't sleep and needed someone to talk to. He doesn't call her often, or respond to her often ... but they probably have had little interactions like this every other day for the past few weeks.


I trust him, to not have sex wit her. I really trust that he wouldn't do anything sexual with this woman; but I instinctually feel that he continues to engage her in the way that he does because he likes the ego stroke that she provides. She makes little comments, about belly dancing at his future dream morocan bar that brilliantly walk the line between innocent and inappropriate.


I mentioned the situation to a friend, who told me that the real problem is when he wants to meet her in person. I asked him if he ever plans to, and he said Yes. For lunch sometime, only; a few hours in the afternoon. I asked if I could come along then, and he initially reacted with silence. He told me he didn't feel comfortable with my lack of trust in him, but eventually came around and told me that if meeting with her would make me feel better than it would be ok. I told him I was trying to do whatever I could to feel comfortable with the situation.


I just want HER to physically SEE the boundary. I want her to see me there with him, US together. Told him this as well, and he sounded very understanding


He tells me frequently that I am his future, that he loves me, not her. We make future plans about weddings, kids. We talk about everything, including this issue ... we talk, and talk and talk. We have a very open, communication driven relationship. We have more fun than I thought was possible together. We have something so amazing it shocks me. ... if he were to lose me over this one girl it would be the dumbest thing he could ever do. He would be throwing away the chance at a relationship that has the potential to grow into something amazing.


I know all these things, and he reassures me often ... but I can't shake the instinctive feeling that something isn't right with this girl. He basically told me that he would not talk to her for the relationship, but that it would hurt him intensely. That he doesn't want to lose a friend ... and he says something that makes sense to me:


... "if we have the sort of problems that cause me to cheat on you with my ex, they aren't going to be healed by not seeing her ..."


But what I see, is the temptation that naturally lurks in these situations ... and why would he put himself in such a risky situation. I asked him that, and he seems to truly believe that there is no risk and that he wouldn't keep talking to her if he thought that there was. I think he's naive, honestly.


I asked him, if he has those romantic feelings for her anymore, and he said no. Somehow, it's hard for me to believe. Last time I talked to him about this, he said the following:


"Isn't there a part of you that feels like 'man, he's lucky to be with me so if he screws this up in such a dumb way he's not the person I thought he was, and fck him.' " and "I am really lucky to be with you, do you understand that? I feel lucky everyday, why would I screw that up?"


Everything else about this man, and the relationship is stunning. He really is a great guy, the bring me flowers and soup when I'm sick type. The 'hey, lets re-inact our first date tonight,' ... tells me he loves me and I'm beautiful, even in the middle of an argument, or when he's upset with me. Yet, he's smart honest and sincere. I really love this person, and I want to do whats right for the relationship ...


But, I don't know what that is. I don't know what sort of boundaries are appropriate to set, or even if I could ever really be comfortable with their friendship. I don't know if this is all warranted, or if I'm being crazy.


Needless to say, the whole thing has put a strain on the relationship ... and now I feel as if he thinks of me as jealous, and crazish ... though I haven't been unreasonable. I haven't yelled, thrown things ... i have gotten emotionally upset (tear trickled down the cheek upset, not sobbing, etc.) but I've never gone crazy or tried to totally restrict his contact with her, stalked him ... all of that kind of stuff. I really don't want to be that kind of girlfriend, I really want to trust him so much that I don't care if he goes out with this girl; but that just seems saintly to me. I don't really know if I can do that, and I don't know if it's reasonable that I be asked to.


I guess then, my question here is ... what sort of boundaries are fair in this situation? It has been almost a decade of friendship between those two people ... I don't want to have to ask him to cut anyone out, but how can I handle these feelings of suspicion, etc. How does the situation seem to you, and what would you do if you were in it?


... how can I alliveate the strain it's already put on the relationship?


Why is this stuff so complex?

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Your real problem is he doesn't want to shut that door to her.


If they are genuinely 'just friends' there is no reason he wouldn't be perfectly happy to keep the contact to rare 'how are you' emails, or when he does see her, see her with you. And why not invite her and her boyfriend over to dinner with you as a couple? Why must he see her alone, unless he is trying to maintain that open door to potentially seeing her again.


I suggest that you tell him you think that you and him and her and her boyfriend should all go out together for dinner as couples if he wants to see her. He can maintain the relationship with her that way, and find out everything he needs to know about how she's doing within the couples context, and just doesn't need to see her alone.


If he says no to this and insists he will only see her privately, then i think you do have something to worry about, and he may not be as committed to you as you think. Perhaps she is the one who is refusing to commit to him, and if she changes her mind and agrees to that, he might dump you. there is something going on there if he is resistent to the idea of you meeting her and being her friend too.

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If this had always been a platonic friendship where they viewed each other like brother/sister then I would say there is no problem. However, given the nature of their relationship in the past and her history of trying to pursue him when she herself was in a relationship, I think you have cause for concern that he would see her on any kind of regular basis without you around. Even doing a couples thing is not a good idea because if she has no qualms about cheating on her partner then she can quite easily make moves on your guy even when the four of you are out together. Many couples have been friends and then find out that there has been cheating going on. I am not saying this guy is going to cheat..but given the situation I think he should be more considerate of your feelings and how uncomfortable this would make you feel.


Are you a scientist? (your screen name suggests that you might be in the biological sciences!).

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I agree with CAD that if he has a sexual history with her and they tend to repeatedly have hookups, even a 'couples' thing isn't good.


But i suggest she suggest it and see his reaction. If he refuses to let her get friendly with his ex, then that is usually a sign he is hiding something and is trying to keep them apart becuase he doesn't want them comparing notes.


So suggesting it and seeing his response may be a way to find out if there is more going on here than she suspects. For all we know, they may have had a FWB thing going on forever and plan to continue, where they hook up now and again because they enjoy it, behind their current partner's back.


I know one couple who still do this... they've been divorced for 20 years, but still hook up now and again 'for fun'.... of course their partners wouldn't view it as harmless.

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That's a tough one...but I wouldn't let it go. If he continues to insist on seeing her, I would maybe suggest the couples thing. Just to let her see him with you and happy. But that could backfire on you as well. With their history, she probably doesn't care and wouldn't recognize the new boundary as anything she should worry about.


I recently had a similar situation, and fortunately my SO knew that I had an ongoing FWB. If you have one, I would ask him if it would be okay if you were to see him for lunch for a few hours...that worked for me.


He needs to realize that he can't have his cake and eat it too. If this bothers you, that should be enough for him to minimize or cut off contact with her. He needs to see this from the perspective that your (reasonable) jealousy and insecurity is cute and endearing. Would he really be willing to walk away from you to maintain a friendship with her? I would hope not.

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He should be more realistic and more open to where you're coming from. How would he feel about you going out alone to meet with a nearly decade-long off and on FWB who pursued you while you were in a relationship? He might trust you but he'd also be questioning why on earth you'd be putting yourself in that position, or giving those signals to the other guy.


If he really doesn't see this as a problem, then you have a problem.

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richpart, I agree with a lot of the things you've said.


For the record, I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt. I really hate ultimatums, I don't think they work ... in fact I think they tend to drive people away. Instead, I've decided to stop making it such a big deal, while keeping my eye on it. I told him that I trust him to not put this relationship at risk (because it is really something wonderful) and that I would really appreciate it if he took me along the first time he meets with her, to exactly as you said richpart, let her physically see the new boundary. He agreed, and told me that it's a very reasonable request. At the same time, I'm going to continue to be the best girlfriend ever, and do my best to full fill his needs on my end so he doesn't feel a need to cheat on me. Personally, I'm going to back away from the relationship a little, work on myself, go the gym more, dress up more (I just think it's important that I feel desirable right now), focus on school and let him figure this whole thing out. I think it has to be his choice to cut down contact, and after such a long and odd friendship I don't expect it to happen over night. For what it's worth, I had just cut contact with a similar type of person in my life when we started dating. It was long, grueling and painful; so I kind of understand where he's coming from.


If he decides to cheat on me, or walk away from me for this girl ... better to know now then when I have a ring on my finger and a couple of kids. Honestly, I can't see how what he had with said girl could possibly be better than what we have. She has caused him pain, she's selfish, she's not as attractive as me ... she's put him through the ringer multiple times, and will more than likely to it again. If he loses me over this girl, he's the biggest idiot in the world.


for what it's worth, I told him the day after I wrote this post that I trust him, etc. We talked really honestly and openly about everything; and already he's cut things down with said girl.


we'll see though.


Thank you everyone for taking the time to respond, I really appreciate the support.


Also, yes, I am a scientist. I thought the process of cellular suicide felt pretty akin to how I was feeling at the moment.

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>>do my best to full fill his needs on my end so he doesn't feel a need to cheat on me.


Don't fall into the trap where you think his cheating is a function of your behavior. This is not a competition between you and the other girl.


Many people are very surprised to discover that the person their SO is cheating with someone who is less attractive than them, or 'less' in many ways. People cheat because they are bored and want something different (i.e., you are the perfect tall thin blonde, but he cheats with a short curvy brunette) or because they are bored or because they have no character or because they decide you're not right for them for any number of reasons.


So don't fall into trying to 'control' his cheating. He will cheat because he's a cheater and that's what he wants to do. If he loves you and is of good character, he won't do it. But if he's the type to cheat, you could be perfect and he'll still cheat.

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Thanks for the reply. I know exactly what you are talking about, but i didn't mean that I would do anything different from what I would normally do.


I guess essentially I was more saying that I'm a really awesome girlfriend, and I will continue to be one.


I'm not going to go out of my way though in some miserable fight for his affection, not worth that. I guess essentially what I'm saying in the whole post is that I will continue to be a great girlfriend, which I normally am; so if he does cheat on me I still get to feel good about what I gave to the relationship.


Anyway, thanks for looking out for me, though.

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i think you have a positive attitude which is good!


People are devastated by cheating, but it can sometimes actually have a positive effect. My ex-husband cheated on me, and it was very freeing in many ways because I knew i'd been a great wife and put up with a lot of his negative stuff for years, and when he cheated, it was like the sun dawning because i realized that i didn't need to waste all that good stuff on someone who was so ungrateful and STUPID enough to risk cheating and a good thing.


He was so surprised when i dumped him flat out and didn't look back. He assumed I would just continue being a good wife after he did something that selfish and ungrateful, but he was wrong!


So it's best to just be who you are and give people the benefit of the doubt until they do something like cheat, but if they do, and you know you've been a good partner, just dump them flat and don't look back because they don't deserve you. so i think talking to an ex now and again isn't the same thing as cheating so i'd let it go (but not encourage it), but if he does cross the line into any actual cheating behavior like meeting up with her secretly or sexy emails or excess flirting, dump him and don't look back!

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