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Why would a guy go back to an ex when he's in love w someone else?


PearlHarbor

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My boyfriend (now ex) and I had a very intense deep happy comfortable , yet short relationship. He was thinking future for us (tho never talked about it) and was the first to say "I'm in love with you".

 

I was very confident and comfortable in this relationship and had no problem with him going to meet an ex (the one if three other women he's ever loved. FYI, he's 47 and this ex is 37). I had no problem with them seeing each other and connecting after minimal contact for a year.

 

Well, this woman, seeing he's now in a happy relationship, and that his living situation has changed told him she wants him back. After a year. And after telling him he didn't make her happy (mainly due to the living situation and his relationship w his ex-wife and that he wasn't giving her enough time between his work, the kids, and finalizing living sitarion).

 

He said he was surprised how these feelings for her came back so strong and that he needed to explore them. They were together about 8-10 months and most of them were good (she's also divorced and was cheated on by her husband so has some trust issues).

 

There was nothing I could do to change his mind (nor did I want to or else he would harbor resentment). He said this decision was extremely difficult but if we stayed together it would hurt us more. He wanted to stay friends (that's not going to happen). I told him to figure his stuff out and if my window is still open, we can talk (only if its that he realizes I'm the I've, not because she leaves again).

 

While I did throw some justifiable anger and wrath towards him, I'm doing my best to withhold hate and anger now as it will help no one.

 

Who does this woman think she is? And why would he return to this and throw away something so amazing with lots of potential?

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Your now Ex sounds really indecisive. If his ex-wife was a factor in the break up with the woman he just reconciled with, you can bet he will be back at some point trying to "reconnect" with you!

 

He sounds like the kind of person who is never really "done" with past relationships. Of course he wants to be "friends". It's keep his options open, though he won't admit that to himself or you.. Bottom line, he doesn't know what he wants. This woman made a big play for him, and since he never cut the cord with her he decided to explore his stronger feelings for her in this moment. That can change with the wind, as the freshness of reconciliation wears off and he wonders if the grass was greener with you.

 

You're better off without him. There is no reason for him to stay connected to/catch up with/grab coffee with an Ex unless they share kids. He does not with this lady. He wasn't married to her.

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Oh I'm sorry, PearlHarbour.

 

I'm sorry that you are hurting now. I agree with the others who are saying that it's good you found this out now. In my opinion, a man who would do this - isn't ready for anything serious with anyone. To me, it's a sign of someone who can't commit deeply. And I don't mean the outside stuff, I mean on a heart level and in ways that are a little less easy to see.

 

So it's better to know this now rather than when he's got an engagement ring on your finger or you are married and he starts playing out his doubts in whatever ways come.

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I agree with Iggles. Flush this one from your life. He's not good LIFEmate material because he himself doesn't even know what he wants.

 

In future, Don't be so "Okay" with you boyfriend hanging one on one with doing date like activities with an ex, particularily if you get together with him when he's not stored away that romantic baggage yet. Find a guy that has no need to remain friends with his ex's. They're far better to be with then wishy-washy men who can't let go. Same thing for men... consider it a red flag if the girl your with still needs to be hanging out and texting constantly with other men.

 

I know it doesn't feel like it now, Pearl but you dodged a bullet. Don't let him hoover you back when he gets bored with her or she finds once again he's not living up to her expectations and kicks him to the curb once again. As I said, he's not good relationship material in general.

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And why would he return to this and throw away something so amazing with lots of potential?

 

Unfortunately he didn't think it was as amazing as you did otherwise he wouldn't throw it away. I know it sucks but there isn't anything you can do to change things. You've done well to hold your composure so far. I agree that this will likely crash and burn but this guy is too fickle and one day you will realise this was a blessing in disguise.

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She dumped him and now wants him back. And that is stoking his ego big time.

However....this is destined to crash and burn again...when the "oh boy" stage subsided and what drove them apart before rears its head...

 

Yes, I pointed out that she was stroking his ego. Doesn't matter how loud you say it, it has no meaning to him until it does crash and burn. i'm praying i'm long gone when the "oh boy" stage is gone and it ends again.

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In future, Don't be so "Okay" with you boyfriend hanging one on one with doing date like activities with an ex, particularily if you get together with him when he's not stored away that romantic baggage yet.

Yes, I'm slowly learning this the hard way. It's sad because I'm trusting (maybe too much so) with people who have past relationships. I am friends with all my ex and woulnd't even think of going back to them today.

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Why are you 'friends' with all your ex's? What is the good in that. You're only going to get men that are okay with you being ex's because they too want to keep old baggage handy. What is the point in keeping people in your life in the demoted state of "just friend" from lover when doing so more times then not, just causes problems in any new romantic potential.

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Again. Why do you need these men to remain in your life? I don't understand (no matter how long or how short ago the breakup was. It speaks volumes about being unable to let go IMO and would be a red flag to me about anyone i was dating.

 

you are projecting your own issues about this situation onto the OP. people are different and you have to respect that. some people like to stay in contact with people that they once were close to and loved, especially if it ended respectfully. it is no more a red flag then doing the opposite and refusing to ever talk to an ex again. time passes and heals, people change and it can be quite possible for two ex's to have a respectful friendship. having a friendship with an ex is never a real problem. the real problem comes when boundaries are crossed, or things are hidden. in those cases, that aspect of the persons personality will come out no matter whether there's an ex involved or not.

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you are projecting your own issues about this situation onto the OP. people are different and you have to respect that.
I don't have to respect something that I don't believe is good for anyone. I'm not disrespecting her by having a different opinion then you and she so don't take it personally.

 

The very fact that her boyfriend kept an ex in his life and has gone back to her proves what I'm saying to have some truth to it. I'm asking her why SHE needs to keep ex boyfriends in HER life.

 

There is nothing IMO in being friendly with an ex but if you need to see them one on one and do date like activities with them, then that IMO is a red flag. I've read far too many stories just like the op's that keeping ex's in one's life often causes problems in new relationships so that my opinion has merit.

 

People are human, they often cross boundaries so one of the boundaries that is a good one is to not have people in your life that one can easily fall into crossing with.

 

This thread shows what can happen when you don't have a boundary in place that stipulates that you'll not hang out one on one doing date like activities with members of the opposite sex. When you are in a relationship, the dynamics of your opposite sex friendship, at the very least, and out of respect for you new partner should be changed up so that one-on-one date like actiivites cease. If the only significance to being a Significant Other is sex then you're hardly "significant" in my not so humble opinion.

 

I'd still like to hear why op keeps old boyfriends around? Why she is okay with being demoted or demoting from lover to "just friend?" Its a fair question when considering what's just happened to her.

 

some people like to stay in contact with people that they once were close to and loved, especially if it ended respectfully.
"Staying in contact" is not hanging out one on one doing date like activities. Staying in contact is being friendly when/if they get in touch and it often keeps unresolved feelings at the surface if you aren't the one that did the breaking up (as op has discovered). Staying in contact is being friendly rather then being friends.
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Totally agree. I think people often get confused between the meaning of "being friends". Often from the dumpers POV it means remaining on civil terms but from a dumpees POV they see it as regular contact and maybe meeting up to "catch up". That because ultimately they want an excuse to stay in touch with their ex to get their ex back.

 

And, like you say, time and time again we see on ENA relationships that have ended because of an ex's involvement.

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i'm not taking it personally at all. its just that it seems you think this is black or white- no ex's as friends- as opposed to it being all shades of grey. perhaps you've never seen scenarios where it worked. i have and therefore i know different. i've also seen examples where it didn't work but like i said that is not because of 'being friends' but because of that persons character.

 

my ex was very close with his ex. many years had passed and he had salvaged a friendship with her. he introduced me to her and i quickly saw that the dynamic of their friendship was entirely genuine. it helped that he never hid anything, would call her in front of me, and likewise she very respectful of our relationship. they would do what any normal friends did and yes that included going to the movies sometimes or for a bite to eat. her and i grew very close as time went by. in fact now, years after my ex and i have broken up (not related to her or any other woman), I am still friends with her!! he is too and nothing has ever happened between them.

 

i just think that sometimes what works for one person does not work for another... and that's ok to say it doesn't work for you...... but i don't think it should be thrown around that it's ''not good for anyone''. rather that its not good for everyone.

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Well I also agree that it can work in some situations but I would still choose to see it as a red flag because I am not sure I would want to take the risk … but that is my choice. ENA has made me somewhat cynical on the matter. More often than not when there is an ex in the background it is usually because one is hanging on to the other with ulterior motives. Not always, I know but a good percentage of the time.

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^^^ Agree with the above two posters

 

@ *Charity* Like I said, if she's going to keep ex's as friends then she's going to end up with guys that do the same thing because most men (or women) that dont' do that kind of thing, will not understand that need. In this instance, she hooked herself up with someone where it DIDN'T work out in her favour.

 

N.B. When you have boundaries in place then it IS black and white. That is why they are in place because they elliminate the "grey" altogether.

 

I can turn this around and say just because it worked for you, it doesn't mean that it will work for everyone.

 

I'll end with agreeing to disagree and that its okay for me to point out different dating strategies then to continue on in the one dynamic that didn't turn out well for her.

 

Cheers.

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i just think that sometimes what works for one person does not work for another... and that's ok to say it doesn't work for you...... but i don't think it should be thrown around that it's ''not good for anyone''. rather that its not good for everyone.

 

Thank you Charity. Yes, I agree with you. All of my exes - i don't even think of them as exes, really! We are genuinely friends. One of them it was tough and I had NC for nearly 3 years with him and now we've established a relationship as truly good friends. I want nothing from him physically and he doesn't either - he's actually quite good at being black and white and knowing that crossing any lines would be very bad at this stage. That relationship is a whole other painful story, but alas, 3 years later, it's all good).

 

I trusted this last man. We both trusted each other. Although at this stage as i'm going through the painful stages of loss, I'm angry and not sure what the truth is. But I feel that forbidding someone not to see a friend who they had a past with is unfair. I know this new woman he's with has the same feelings as you, ThatWasThen and so we'll see how she fairs if he ever decides to reach out to me. She has issues with the relationship this man has with his ex-wife and mother of his kids who is also a lesbian. I thought it was a very healthy relationship and felt no threat whatsoever. I even liked her new partner a lot.

 

I don't know what more I need to defend. I just know that I can and have been friends with my exes - yes, after time with some of them as they were as painful as this, but time does heal all wounds. I just wish time would hurry up and heal this one so I can move on quickly.

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But I feel that forbidding someone not to see a friend who they had a past with is unfair.
Why would you have to "forbid" anyone from crossing a relationship boundary? Just to clarify because your post indicates that you haven't understood what it is I've been saying. Sadly I haven't been clear.

 

The point is that when you are in a relationship, the dynamics of your opposite sex friendship should change out of respect for the union and one another. To continue to hang out one on one and do date like activities without your partner present is what is disrespectful ... not the friendship itself.

Its the hanging out one-on-one without you being included and becoming a mututal friend is what I'm advocating as being disrespectful and what often ends up like what ended up with you.

 

Your choice if you want to repeat without even considering requesting that your partner not meet one-on-one. His choice if he listens to you or not, you can't control him.. but if he doesn't take what you've voiced into consideration then that is a red flag (not taking your feelings) into consideration no matter what your stance on opposite sex frienships and keeping ex lovers as friends happens to be.

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I'll add that if you're going to continue on keeping ex's as friends and not asking that he stop doing date like one on one activities with his females friends that it would be in Your best interests to ask how long ago they have been 'ex's' so that you make sure you're not with a rebounder that is still very much wooing or being wooed (hoovered) back by that ex during their one-on-one date like activities.

 

Its one thing when it's completely over to have this ex as a friend, it's quite another to have one that hasn't been out of the relationship long and the chance of reconcilliation is still very strong.

 

Good luck in your future romantic life. Learn the lesson and you'll be that much more prepared for success.

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