Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“Am I Stupid For Dating My Ex-Boyfriend?”

ex

I’m 22, about to graduate college in a couple semesters, and am wondering if I’m stupid for dating my ex-boyfriend. I met him when I was 18 and he was a couple years older. We dated for a few months, then broke it off because I wanted to date around more in college. A couple of silent years later, we decided to date again. It went on for a year, and was pretty great, but we had to end it because at the time, he was going to grad school far away. We had no end date, and our futures didn’t look so similar as I wanted to move across the country after graduation.

About a year and a half passed, life was fun focusing on school and friends and terrible hook-ups, and then we saw each other at a spring football showcase before the season started. We became friends and slowly inched into dating again. And now, a lot of things have changed. He’s transferring out of his grad school and wants to follow me to my internship, and we both have been talking very in-depth about longer-term goals (like marriage, jobs, etc.) for the both of us. We initially thought we were too young (we still think we are) to discuss things seriously like that before. I can say with full confidence that I haven’t been this happy and openly communicative in a relationship ever before!

The problem is, I can’t seem to convince my family and close friends that it’s OK for us to date. (…Is it?). Even Google says not to date an ex. I made the mistake earlier of overindulging them with a lot of the nitty-gritty, petty things of our relationship when I was younger, so I get their bias. My family is very overbearing. They like to tell me what to do and what choices to make, and they get very disappointed and angry if I don’t follow them, to the point where I have felt suicidal for not choosing their path. (But they come from a place of care and concern.) With them like this, I’m not sure my happiness is truly worth it.

My ex and I have discussed why we broke up twice, whether it will happen again, what will we do if it doesn’t work out, and whether we are really willing to try this again despite the risks. And we decided that we are. If it ends up being a mistake, that’s OK; the world won’t end.

But with everyone — including Google — saying dating an ex is an absolute no, I can’t help but feel hesitant. I feel fine around new people who don’t know we’ve dated before, because we just look like a normal couple. But to my family and a couple of friends, it usually comes back to “What are you, stupid?”

So, how stupid am I for dating an ex? For some reason, I feel like I have to have some kind of validation to stand up for myself and my (stupid) choice to re-date my ex. — Ex Effect

You know what, if your family’s opinion weighs so much that the thought of disappointing them has made you suicidal in the past and you’re wondering whether your own happiness is “worth it,” I’d say your problem isn’t your relationship with your boyfriend; it’s your relationship with your family. And considering you’re also concerned about your friends’ opinion, as well as what Google, of all things, says about your personal life, it’s safe to say that your self-esteem is probably pretty rocky, too, and you don’t have much confidence in your own decision-making.

Since you’re 22 years old, in a new relationship with an old boyfriend, with graduation — not to mention the rest of your life — just two short semesters away, I hope you’ll take this opportunity to dive head-first into adulthood and quit worrying so much about being “stupid.” This is the age when you’re allowed to be a little stupid. And it’s certainly an age when you’re allowed to take some relationship and career risks. Because everything at 22 is a risk. When you’re just starting out in life and you don’t have anything figured out and everything is a great big question mark — from what kind of job you’ll land when you’re out of school to when and with whom you’ll settle down — every move feels like a risk. And it’s so important to give yourself permission to make some mistakes. Making mistakes is how you learn — not just what’s “right,” but what’s right for you.

You might learn that your old/new boyfriend is right for you. Maybe he’ll be the guy you’re meant to be with forever. Or maybe you’re just meant to be with him for a little while, but it’s that little while that you’re together that you learn what qualities you love in a partner and what qualities aren’t such a good match. And maybe it will be the lessons you take from this relationship that propel you into the life you’re meant to live, and if you listened to your family and your friends and Google, you’d miss out on this relationship and its lessons and all of its potential.

Above all else, you should really be listening to your gut. If it’s saying this guy is the right person for you right now, then listen to that. And if, deep down, you have a nagging feeling, echoed by your family and friends, that your boyfriend is better left in the past, listen to that. Maybe there’s a real reason all these people are warning you not to get involved with him again. Maybe there’s a real reason you’re turning to Google and to an internet advice columnist to validate a decision you’re having trouble owning. But if the reason is simply because you’ve been conditioned to believe you’re stupid, let that go (get some counseling if you need help letting it go) and give yourself permission to be an adult, even if it means making mistakes sometimes.

***************

You can follow me on Facebook here and sign up for my weekly newsletter here.

If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at [email protected].

98 comments… add one
  • avatar

    Tax Geek July 30, 2013, 9:17 am

    I don’t know about the rest of it, but who gives a fuck what Google says.

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    • avatar

      KCM July 30, 2013, 10:08 am

      And what does Google “say”? It’s a search engine.

      Sigh. I’m old.

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  • avatar

    Bunnycsp July 30, 2013, 9:24 am

    LW, Wendy is dead on. You are just dating this guy. Sure, you are talking about the future, but seriously, you aren’t making any huge life changes. Next time your family says something, just say, “we are happy now and aren’t planning anything drastic so don’t worry. ” Don’t get engaged until you both are out of school, employed, and stable. Also, make sure your birth control is rock solid. Then stop worrying and tell your family to butt out. I think you are stressed because you are looking to the way future. Stop that and just look to the next few months and stop worrying.

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  • theattack

    theattack July 30, 2013, 9:24 am

    Who cares what anyone else says about it? Just do what you want, and if it’s a mistake, so be it. Even older people make dating mistakes, so you certainly shouldn’t expect to be above that at 22.

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    • avatar

      ktfran July 30, 2013, 9:26 am

      This made me smile, because it’s so, so true…

      “Even older people make dating mistakes, so you certainly shouldn’t expect to be above that at 22.”

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  • Lindsay

    Lindsay July 30, 2013, 9:35 am

    I agree with Wendy. What you have to realize is that everyone’s situation is different, and an internet search engine can’t tell you how to live your life. I mean, you and your boyfriend broke up because of timing and distance, right? That’s not really the kind of thing that “don’t date an ex” is referring to. It’s about people going back to partners whom they broke up with for more problematic reasons, like someone cheated or somebody was an asshole or they weren’t compatible. And even then, it’s not Google’s place to make that decision for them.

    Either way, it’s your decision, and yours only. Having an opinion doesn’t automatically make your friends and family wise, it just means they have a big mouth that they can’t shut.

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    • katie

      katie July 30, 2013, 10:19 am

      WLS- “Having an opinion doesn’t automatically make your friends and family wise, it just means they have a big mouth that they can’t shut.” BOOM!

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  • avatar

    Odadrek July 30, 2013, 9:42 am

    WWS. A probably irrelevant personal story (but perhaps it can help contradict all-knowing “google”?). I am married to and have a child with “an ex.” The time apart was important; we are extremely happy. People did not think we should get back together, with time they came around.

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  • avatar

    Liquid Luck July 30, 2013, 9:50 am

    Yes, date your boyfriend and don’t think twice about it. It sounds likes you broke up for logistical reasons, and now that those are all moot, why not try again? You’re clearly aware of all the pros and cons and are willing to try, so don’t let Google or your crappy family talk you out of it.

    But (like Wendy said) your ex isn’t the problem here. Your family dynamic sounds extremely damaging and unhealthy. You should look into therapy (see if it’s offered through your school, most college have at least some kind of counseling free for students) to help you break out of the patterns of control. It’s not healthy or normal for them to make you feel suicidal for disagreeing with them. If you continue to allow them to treat you this way, then it will spill into the rest of your relationships and poison them. You seem like a smart person, so don’t let the love you have for your family blind you to how messed up it is for them to treat you as less than human. You are an adult, and you’re allowed to make your own decisions and live your life as you see fit, whether they agree with those choices of not. If they truly, honestly love you, then they’ll eventually come around and you can work to repair the relationship with them. But right now, they don’t see you as a person, they see you as an object they can control. I know it will be difficult, but this time you can choose to step out of their control and become your own, whole person, or you can continue to make excuses for their behavior and let them make you miserable for not doing what they want. The choice isn’t an easy one, but it’s your choice to make. Don’t let them convince you otherwise.

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    • avatar

      zombeyonce July 30, 2013, 11:32 am

      WLLS. The family relationship is really worrying here and it sounds like her dating this guy isn’t the first huge issue her family has messed with her about. If LW lets them treat her this way and doesn’t fight back and stand up for herself, this won’t be the last one.

      I have a feeling that there’s a huge backstory about a possibly emotionally abusive (or at the least, manipulative) family members that has led the LW to doubt her own decisions enough to believe that a search engine can make a better-informed decision about her life than she can. Get thee to therapy!

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  • avatar

    Guy Friday July 30, 2013, 9:54 am

    That’s not really the kind of thing that “don’t date an ex” is referring to.

    Exactly. There’s a difference between breaking up with your ex because of personality issues and breaking up with an ex because you weren’t in the same place in life.

    To me, I think the test as to whether or not you should date someone is this: given every detail you know about him or her from the past and the present, do you still want to be with him or her? It’s perfectly fine to factor in details you learned about him before, and people can change and grow as years pass and become the person you want to be with when they weren’t before. But unless you’re not telling us something about him that sends up red flags (which, come on, NEVER happens here 🙂 ), it seems like the only reason he’s your “ex” is because of distance, not because of who he is or how he treated you. And if that’s the case, and he’s here now, and you’re ready now, and you have chemistry, why shouldn’t you date him?

    My grandparents met when he was 15 and she was 14. They dated for 2 or 3 years, then broke up when he got drafted to serve in the Korean War. He came back, went to a party, saw her across the room, and knew right then she was his soul mate. And they’ve been married for almost 60 years now. If he had decided not to date her because he was her ex, he’d have missed out on the true love of his life, and that would have been the bigger tragedy. Maybe you’re going to be like my grandparents, and maybe you’re not, but you’ll never know unless you take that first step.

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  • Nookie

    Nookie July 30, 2013, 9:55 am

    You’re 22 years old, now is the time to start thinking about what YOU want. Show me a person who didn’t make a few mistakes in their 20’s and I’ll show you someone who hasn’t lived. Try not to let what your family or friends think matter, if you’re happy and having a great relationship then that’s all that matters. Please don’t worry so much.

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    • avatar

      SpaceySteph July 30, 2013, 2:47 pm

      ” Show me a person who didn’t make a few mistakes in their 20′s and I’ll show you someone who hasn’t lived. ”
      SO TRUE!

      Everyone here can tell you at least one mistake from their 20s. It’s part of the fun of living.

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  • avatar

    GatorGirl July 30, 2013, 9:56 am

    Please let this be a lesson that airing your dirty laundry to family is never a good idea.

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  • avatar

    cdobbs July 30, 2013, 10:03 am

    LW I think this paragraph sums it up perfectly (apart from Wendy’s advice of course): “My ex and I have discussed why we broke up twice, whether it will happen again, what will we do if it doesn’t work out, and whether we are really willing to try this again despite the risks. And we decided that we are. If it ends up being a mistake, that’s OK; the world won’t end”
    You don’t need to justify your relationship to anybody. Lots of people get back with their exes, it could be that the timing or locations were just wrong before. While its true that some people shouldn’t get back with an ex (eg abusive relationship, not happy, etc), you gave no indication that your boyfriend is a bad person and he even makes you happy….don’t give that up….if your family loves you they will respect your choices (you are an adult now!)

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  • avatar

    Lucy July 30, 2013, 10:06 am

    Forget about whether to date your ex or not; start learning how to build healthy boundaries with your overbearing, hypercritical family. It doesn’t matter whether they’re coming from a place of care and concern; their overinvolvement in and denigration of your minor life choices (and yes, despite its seeming momentousness, who you date at 22 is a minor life choice) is unacceptable. If your friends treat you the same way your family does, it’s probably time for some new friends, too.

    Also, stop asking Google for advice, other than driving directions.

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  • avatar

    Essie July 30, 2013, 10:15 am

    When you realize that the only opinion that matters here is yours and your boyfriend’s – not your family, not your friends, not Google(?) – then you’ll be old enough to be discussing marriage and your future.

    You don’t need ‘validation’ from anybody. If it works for you and your boyfriend, it’s a good thing, and you keep seeing each other. That’s all there is to it.

    Google is just a program that finds web sites that match what you type in the little search box. It’s not a fortune teller. It doesn’t ‘say’ anything.

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    • avatar

      GatorGirl July 30, 2013, 10:19 am

      Yeah…the google stuff was really weird.

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  • Miss MJ

    Miss MJ July 30, 2013, 10:31 am

    LW, in this case, your happiness is absolutely worth not doing what your family wants you to do. (Or, I guess, doing what they don’t want you to do.) If your ex makes you happy, at least for now, and you’re not hurting anyone, go for it! And, if your family doesn’t like it, that’s just too bad for them. Their happiness that you live your life how they demand is NOT more important than your happiness in doing whatever it is that makes you happy. And, truthfully, whatever their “disappointment and anger” at you acting like an independent adult, I’m sure they’ll survive it just fine. Until they get over it, if they start in on you, just avoid them. You can’t control them and prevent them from acting overbearing, but you can control whether you listen to them, engage in the conversation and let them run your life. Boundaries, LW. You need to set them. This seems like an excellent place to start.

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  • Kate B.

    Kate B. July 30, 2013, 10:31 am

    This sounds like a healthy relationship to me. What a change from what we ususally get! You broke up for good and valid reasons: your life goals didn’t match. You discussed it and learned from it. And now that things seem to be lining up better, you want to give it another try. I see nothing wrong with this. Google is the source of much wisdom, but I wouldn’t take love advice from it. 🙂 It’s your life. Go with your gut. Whatever happens, you will at least learn something from it and know yourself better and that’s invaluable.

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  • avatar

    Scooze July 30, 2013, 10:33 am

    Spot on, Wendy. But LW, don’t get too engrossed in this relationship and the possibility of marriage. Live, have fun, be casual, and get to know you. Because now is the time, and you really can’t know whether this boyfriend is right for you until you know yourself.

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  • avatar

    SeattleBean July 30, 2013, 10:37 am

    WWS. It sounds like there’s no red flags in your relationship, merely circumstances of life that separated you and your boyfriend before. Part of the whole college experience for me was learning to listen to my gut, and stride forth confidently in my “stupid” decisions. I gained some awesome stories and great life experiences as a result. You don’t want to miss out!

    If your family doesn’t have any legitimate concerns about your boyfriend, then the only opinions that matters here are those who are in the relationship.

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  • katie

    katie July 30, 2013, 10:40 am

    aw, LW, im so sorry you have a shitty family. wendy is right, your family is your issue, not your boyfriend. honestly, it sounds like this third round of your relationship has just as good of a chance as anyone’s relationship does- you are communicating openly and honestly, being realistic, making plans for the future- i think youve got a good shot.

    now, about your family- they have FAILED you. and continue to fail you, actually. your parents, specifically. as a parent, your one and only job is to raise an adult who can thrive in our world. thats it. thats the only job. your parents, and by extension your family, by raising you to question every decision you make, have failed you. your parents, and by extention, your family, continue to fail you by not transitioning from a parent-child relationship to an adult child-parent relationship. which much more looks like a friendship, or a mentor-mentee relationship. if you cannot transition into that last phase of being a parent, you have failed, by the simple fact that you havent finished. so, im sorry, LW, that your family sucks in general and that they failed you as a child and that they continue to fail you as an adult. i really hope that you will be able to become an adult that thrives- but unfortunately you are going to have to do that yourself.

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  • LadyinPurpleNotRed

    LadyinPurpleNotRed July 30, 2013, 10:41 am

    The only red flag here is your family…and how much control they have over you. It’s unhealthy. There needs to be boundaries. They get mad when you as an adult make decisions that they wouldn’t? SO WHAT. They need to get over it and stop being so damn controlling, And you need to stop being so dependent on them…doesn’t bode well for this relationship or future ones if you let yourself be swayed by their bad behavior.

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  • avatar

    painted_lady July 30, 2013, 10:45 am

    So, the problem is either the relationship your family or the relationship with your boyfriend. Which one makes you happy? Which one doesn’t try to control who you see? I guess it could be both, really…but you sound generally very happy in your relationship. You sound very unhappy with regards to your family.

    This is the age you not only get to make some mistakes, but you get to start deciding how you get treated. That’s yours to control anyway, but your an adult in most ways and soon to be an adult in all ways, so you gotta start acting like it!!! When your family starts in on you again, tell them, “You have made your opinion on the matter *very* clear. If I haven’t made mine clear, it’s that I am happy right now and am the only one who gets to decide who I date. This same conversation does nothing to improve our relationship, so please let’s drop it.” Then change the subject. If it refuses to change, leave. Leave the room, insist you have an errand you forgot about and leave the house, refuse to have that conversation again. They can’t have it without you.

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    • avatar

      painted_lady July 30, 2013, 10:47 am

      Ugh. You’re. The worst. UGH.

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  • lemongrass

    Lemongrass July 30, 2013, 10:45 am

    Being confident in your choices, yourself and how you live your life will make hearing criticism from your family easier. It’s hard to hear your family be pushy and critical but you have to let it roll off you. My mom is a similar way. I love her but I end up crying almost every time I visit.

    Don’t let them have power over you, take control of your life. You only have one! You are allowed to make mistakes, to take risks. If the start to criticize then walk away/ hang up. Don’t engage or argue with them. Any attention you give their bad behaviour is going to fuel it.

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  • avatar

    Turtledove July 30, 2013, 11:04 am

    I don’t see any problems with dating your ex. It makes a huge difference why you broke up– if it was over infidelity or violence or any of the million and three ways that human beings just. don’t. fit. Then that’s one thing. But seriously, you broke up over logistical issues. There wasn’t anything huge that someone needed to change or adjust or make over in themselves other than, you know, living someplace reasonably close. I married a man I broke up with due to logistical issues. It wasn’t a bad idea, we’re a good fit when we live in the same city.

    Like everyone has said, your big, glaring issue is that your family is meddlesome and controlling. I get that. I have a controlling mother. It can really screw up your self esteem and your confidence in your own ability to make choices that aren’t their choices. The biggest gift you can give yourself right now in this moment is to get into a therapist’s office to start unravelling that mess. It can be incredibly deep seated and can seep into all the areas of your life. You deserve to not live the life someone else wants for you, but to live a life that truly and authentically makes you happy.

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    • avatar

      Jessibel5 July 30, 2013, 11:25 am

      Timing is everything, right? Sounds like the timing wasn’t right before, but now it is more right.

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  • avatar

    Sunshine Brite July 30, 2013, 11:09 am

    Please build yourself up. There’s so much sadness and insecurity in your words. No matter what you choose with your boyfriend; it sounds like you’ve been thoughtful and discussing amongst yourselves. But also among everyone else which leads to too many cooks in the kitchen (including Google). Learn to trust yourself and your instincts through therapy and self-help methods.

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  • CatsMeow

    CatsMeow July 30, 2013, 11:20 am

    Even if you don’t end up together “forever” doesn’t mean that getting back together was a “failure” or a “mistake.” You’re young, just live and learn. I’ve gotten back together with 2 different exes, and even though we ended up breaking up, I don’t regret it because I was happy while it lasted and I learned important relationship lessons.

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    • avatar

      Liquid Luck July 30, 2013, 11:35 am

      I agree with this completely. My ex and I broke up and got back together, and even though it didn’t end up lasting forever, I never think of it as a mistake. We had broken up for similar reasons (distance, being busy on our own lives, etc.), but when we got back in touch and realized that we no longer had those problems, getting back together seemed like the right move. And it really was for us. I loved that relationship, and I loved my ex. We were really good together at the time, and the relationship certainly added value and gave me experiences I wouldn’t have had if I’d stayed single. I don’t for one second regret those three extra years we had together, and to consider the relationship a “failure” simply because it didn’t last forever would be ridiculous. Phases of our lives that help us grown should never be considered a waste of time, no matter how good or bad they may seem.

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      • buttoned

        buttoned July 30, 2013, 11:49 am

        LL! Not to barge in, but I sent you an email from the thread long ago. And Lindsay too! Just wanted to drop in and say that. Heh.

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      • Lindsay

        Lindsay July 30, 2013, 12:19 pm

        I saw that! And I’m awful at responding to email on time. I’m going to head over and write back now. 🙂

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      • avatar

        Liquid Luck July 30, 2013, 2:13 pm

        I found it (that’s my throwaway email so I had to dig through a bunch of spam)! I’ll include my real email in my reply so it doesn’t take so long next time 🙂

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  • avatar

    Jessibel5 July 30, 2013, 11:24 am

    Exactly WWS! As long as you can see what broke you up the first time and the reasons for it are addressed and mitigated, date him! If you’re happy, you’re happy.

    And your family may be doing it out of a place of love, but being so overbearing you feel suicidal? That’s crossed the line out of love. As much as your family may love you, they have to love you despite or because of your choices as well, because your choices are a part of you. I think therapy to help you feel less marginalized and build back up your self esteem may be a great idea if you’re willing to try it!

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  • avatar

    Leslie July 30, 2013, 11:49 am

    Stop worrying about what your family and friends think, and date your ex and see where it goes. If it doesn’t work out, you’ll be fine. If it does work out, guess what? You’ll be fine! Good luck LW.

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  • Lyra

    Lyra July 30, 2013, 11:54 am

    After a breakup, I tell myself they are an ex for a reason. For whatever reason, that relationship didn’t work. It helps me to get closure and to move on. You and your ex broke up for a reason — what exactly was that reason?

    Wendy is right in the fact that your gut is right 99.9% of the time. Ask yourself if you are truly happy with him. That will help you find the right answer in this situation.

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  • avatar

    ol for a ydie July 30, 2013, 12:05 pm

    No, you definitely are not stupid to be dating your ex. The key is the reason for the prior splits. Abuse of any sort, cheating, a lot of inappropriate-style fighting, awful communication would be good reasons not to consider dating an ex. Issues of time and placing involving two people who generally got along very well together are not valid reasons not to date again after the time and place issues have been resolved. But… the time for such a question was before you started dating the guy again. When there were actually open questions about how well dating again might work. You’re past that point and dating again is working just fine for you, apart from the complaints from your family and friends. If the two of you are happy in the relationship, then it is the responsibility of each of you to tune and the outside negative noise. You’re both old enough and educated enough to make your own decisions.

    After you’ve dated your ex for a while, if things go well, you will reach the point where other, more important, questions arise. Should you live together. Should you marry. Those are questions for another day.

    I can tell you that I dated an ex, with whom I had an amicable breakup, not of my choosing, over issues of where we were in our lives. We hardly saw each other for a year and a half, then decided to give it another go, since we had always basically liked each other and got along very well. We’ve now been very happily married for over 40 years.

    YOur family seems over-bearing. You need to get some mental distance from them. Don’t share so much, don’t dwell on their opinions. Listen to their concerns and, if you disagree that the concerns are valid, then disregard them and refuse to listen to replays of the same old riff. If a concern seems halfway reasonable, file it away in the back of your head for future reference. When you reach future decision points, re-examine it to see if you still find it invalid or if it is something to pursue further with your bf.

    All abusers say they act out of concern. All abusers have a nice side and nice days. All abusers are nice when they are happy, sober, and doing what you want they want you to do. If your families verbal onslaught has driven you to the brink of suicide and caused you to doubt your ability to make your own life decisions, then you have been emotionally abused, not matter how thick a curtain of caring that abuse has hidden behind.

    You are an adult, not a child. You need to establishish your personhood and independence from your family. Get the mental distance. Share less. Rely on your own conclusions. Don’t use your family as a place to vent the problems of your life or relationship. That just encourages interference and allows them to conclude that you are not capable of coping with life on your own. Present a happy face to your friends and family. You are an educated young woman able to fend for herself and happy in her relationship, so smile confidently, discuss your relationship problems with your bf, and see a school counselor for the others. Being the girl who brings all her troubles and uncertainties to friends and family, rather than the confident woman who makes and accepts the consequences of her own decisions, is volunteering to be a dependent child with intrusive parents and friends.

    All parents cling to kids to some extend and have trouble transitioning to thinking of their offspring as full adults, but your parents seem pathological. Don’t let them rule your life. Your happiness really is worth that much. It should be the most important thing to you.

    We all make bad decisions Most bad decisions have some bad consequences. It isn’t the end of the world. Learn to roll with the punches and use the failures to improve your own decision making. That is how every child has to grow into a successful adult. You can’t mature, other than in body, by letting others make your decisions for you. There is no other person more expert than you when it comes to deciding what is best for you. Only you know your own thoughts and needs.

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  • Copa

    Copa July 30, 2013, 12:39 pm

    Don’t listen to Google. Google has told me on many occasions that I have terminal illnesses. 😉 In all seriousness, though, trust your gut. Since you and your boyfriend never broke up because of, say, inherent and insurmountable personality differences or because you argued non-stop, the blanket “don’t date your ex” rule doesn’t really apply. Try to stop assuming you’ve already made a mistake, enjoy the relationship for what it is, and see what happens.

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    • othy

      othy July 30, 2013, 12:48 pm

      I though it was WebMD that told everyone that they have cancer. But, I guess Google does lead you to WebMD.

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      • Lindsay

        Lindsay July 30, 2013, 1:29 pm

        Google also doesn’t give dating advice. 😉 Maybe she should ask Siri?

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle July 30, 2013, 1:51 pm

        Do you guys remember SmarterChild from AIM? The “robot”? I still have a screenshot somewhere, where I IM’d him in sadness & frustration one day saying, “no one loves me”. His response was “But I love you.” It was pretty great.

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  • buttoned

    buttoned July 30, 2013, 11:46 am

    Woah, you sound a lot like me. Are you my long lost sister?! I have the same issues with being torn with pleasing and keeping the peace with my family, and finding peace with my own decisions. (You can find a lot of helpful advice from these wonderful people in my thread in the forum!! Maybe it will help.) I don’t have any constructive advice besides keep your head up and don’t take advice from too many sources. (At least, for me, that’s the case.) like google. Too many opinions can overwhelm and confuse you. Stick to your gut and confidantes, if you have any you trust have your best interest. Good luck!

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    • Fabelle

      Fabelle July 30, 2013, 12:15 pm

      Dude, I have to say I thought this WAS you (leaving out the more identifying details you told us on the forums, & attempting to get an objective response, maybe?)

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      • Lindsay

        Lindsay July 30, 2013, 12:19 pm

        Yeah, me too, haha.

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      • LadyinPurpleNotRed

        LadyinPurpleNotRed July 30, 2013, 12:20 pm

        Me three!

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      • othy

        othy July 30, 2013, 12:40 pm

        Me four?

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        Sunshine Brite July 30, 2013, 12:53 pm

        Me five

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      • Roxy_84

        Roxy_84 July 30, 2013, 7:01 pm

        Me six

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      • Copa

        Copa July 30, 2013, 12:30 pm

        I’m convinced that every DW-er has a parallel universe twin out there. There have been moments where I’m actually shocked at how similar a forum post or letter mirrors something that has happened in my own life.

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      • theattack

        theattack July 30, 2013, 12:35 pm

        Same here

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      • buttoned

        buttoned July 30, 2013, 12:49 pm

        LOL, but yes, eerily similar.. Maybe Copa’s right about parallel universes through DW?!

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  • avatar

    Boosker July 30, 2013, 12:12 pm

    I like Wendy’s point here, which is that dating an ex is not the issue but not trusting your own decision making process is. Saying “you shouldn’t care what your friends/family think” is way different than actually being able to do that. How do you make other choices in your life? For your major, future career, living situation, and friendships? Do you feel confident in making decisions outside of the “who should I date” ones? Maybe your lack of confidence is coming from you making the same decision (choosing your ex) multiple times only to find out later that your choice wasn’t a permanent one. Really think about why you want to “redate” this person. If you have good reasons, do it. And if it doesn’t work out, that’s okay. You can still look back and say you made the right decision for you at that moment in time.

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  • avatar

    ktfran July 30, 2013, 1:21 pm

    Umm, so, my ex-fiance’s mom was anti milk. I was pro-milk. She would talk about all the articles she found on the internet or in magazines what stated milk was bad for you. I, on the other hand, could easily point to a plethora of artivlces and “scientific evidencde” that stated it was good for you.

    In summary, if you go searching a certain topic on the internet, you will find the results that yield the results you expected.

    LW, for every anti dating ex-boyfriend article out there, you’ll find one that says much of what Guy Friday said. Print those. Show them to your family. And say, “take that.”

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    • avatar

      ktfran July 30, 2013, 1:41 pm

      Also, I apologize for my atrocious spelling and grammatical errors.

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest July 30, 2013, 1:54 pm

      I didn’t know people out there were anti-milk. Odd.

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      • Lindsay

        Lindsay July 30, 2013, 2:00 pm

        I’m sort of anti-milk, but only in relation to myself. I don’t go around telling other people not to drink milk. Also, I eat a lot of cheese and yogurt, so I’m not very good at it.

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        lets_be_honest July 30, 2013, 2:02 pm

        Why? If you don’t mind answering…

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      • avatar

        bethany July 30, 2013, 2:29 pm

        I’m anti- Milk because it seems really weird to me. What other animal consumes the milk from a totally different animal and does it after it’s weaned? It just seems unnatural to me.

        I can get my calcium elsewhere, thank you very much!

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      • avatar

        bethany July 30, 2013, 2:39 pm

        Oh, also I’m lactose intolerant, so I have no desire to drink milk anyway.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest July 30, 2013, 2:43 pm

        I don’t know about you, but I give my breast milk to my dog all the time.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest July 30, 2013, 2:45 pm

        To be serious, this is pretty interesting. I’ve never heard of being anti-milk. I hate whole milk, but I do drink skim in my coffee and cereal. Do you not have cereal?

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      • avatar

        bethany July 30, 2013, 2:49 pm

        I haven’t eaten cereal in about 15 years, at least. It seems really gross to me. And I drink my coffee black. Every now and then I use a little when I cook, but that’s it.

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      • Lindsay

        Lindsay July 30, 2013, 2:56 pm

        I use almond milk in place of things that I would normally use cow’s milk in. I’m not a big fan of soy milk because of how it supposedly interacts with hormones in the body. But also because it’s thinner, and I think it’s a better substitute for people who like skim milk, while almond milk is creamier and resembles 2 percent or whole better.

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl July 30, 2013, 3:03 pm

        We don’t eat cereal either. And we use no dairy creamer in our coffee.

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle July 30, 2013, 3:06 pm

        yeah, I’ll usually put almond or soy in my cereal when I do eat it. At work one time I got cereal (the little cup kind) & there was no milk, so I bought a coconut water to put in it instead. It was surprisingly good!

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      • Lindsay

        Lindsay July 30, 2013, 2:45 pm

        I’m concerned by the hormones and antibiotics in milk. I also think that consuming a lot of dairy may not be good for the body. There’s a line of thought that it may be more detrimental to the bones than helpful, and may cause other health problems. Some of the healthiest and longest-living cultures are the ones that don’t consume much dairy. I actually had a doctor once who suggested limiting dairy (and not for weight reasons), which was surprising but appreciated.

        Anyway, I feel like the healthy choice for me is to not consume much dairy, though I think that the benefits of yogurt might be worth it. Of course, actually following through is another thing…

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        rachel July 30, 2013, 2:49 pm

        Don’t the cheese and yogurt have the same hormones in them though? I do think it is probably healthy to limit dairy, though, I don’t see myself ever doing that haha.

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      • Lindsay

        Lindsay July 30, 2013, 2:58 pm

        Haha, yeah, probably. I like yogurt because of the probiotic benefits. I figure that if I don’t drink milk, then that eliminates a large quantity of the dairy I would consume. I hope that one day I will be more disciplined and get rid of the rest (I did for six months a few years ago, but that was for a specific health reason).

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      • Copa

        Copa July 30, 2013, 2:58 pm

        There is also a correlation between the hormones in dairy and meat products and acne. This was a large part of the reason I’ve cut back on both over the past handful of months.

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        lets_be_honest July 30, 2013, 3:29 pm

        There was an acne forum recently. Someone just highly recommended Vichy to me. I’m trying it out.

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl July 30, 2013, 2:09 pm

        Are we talking like cows milk? Am I missing something?

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl July 30, 2013, 2:37 pm

        If we are talking cows milk…yeah we don’t drink or keep milk in our house. I’m not officially “anti-milk” although I am a little leery of all the hormones they pump into animals these days. I don’t eat a tone of meat either…or dairy really other than cheese and ice cream.

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      • avatar

        bethany July 30, 2013, 2:27 pm

        I’m anti milk. Haven’t had it for years.

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      • katie

        katie July 30, 2013, 2:36 pm

        The human body stops making the proper enzymes to fully digest milk after about 2 years old. All mammals do this, because all mammals are weaned off of their mothers milk at some point. That’s the general reason most anti-milk people give for being anti milk. We aren’t technically supposed to be drinking it.

        However, I do remember reading that the yogurt making and cheese making processes will usually break down milk so that we can disgust it easier.

        I also don’t drink milk. I never liked it, even when I was a kid. It’s icky.

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle July 30, 2013, 2:51 pm

        I also think milk is icky, & I agree with all of the above reasons listed that it’s good to avoid— however, I do use it in my cooking (i.e. cream sauce, cake) & coffee, so I’m still consuming a little.

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      • katie

        katie July 30, 2013, 2:54 pm

        Oh yea, I do still consume it too- just not in the “give your kids a glass of milk every night with dinner” kind of way. That’s not a good idea.

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      • katie

        katie July 30, 2013, 2:52 pm

        And I would say I’m anti-dairy, not just anti milk. Our country consumes way way too much dairy. That is what is usually pointed to as a reason why Asia is so much healthier- they don’t consume dairy like we do at all.

        Also I’m anti-“low fat”. If you do drink milk, please drink real milk. You don’t want to know what happens to low fat/no fat milk to make it still look like milk. It’s icky, and leads to obesity I read recently.

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        lets_be_honest July 30, 2013, 2:53 pm

        Haha, I just said above the only milk I drink is no fat.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest July 30, 2013, 2:54 pm

        Please everyone stop milk shaming me. 😉

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      • katie

        katie July 30, 2013, 3:04 pm

        Haha, sorry.

        I apply that to everything I eat though- I don’t eat “low fat” “reduced sugar” “diet” anything. If I want to reduce fat or sugar or whatever, I just don’t eat those things or eat naturally healthier versions of them.

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        lets_be_honest July 30, 2013, 3:10 pm

        That I have heard, about the reduced fat, etc. I try not to buy them or diet products for the home, but I’m far from strict about what I eat.

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      • Copa

        Copa July 30, 2013, 3:54 pm

        I (try) to do the same.

        Also, non-dairy creamer scares me the most.

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      • avatar

        bethany July 30, 2013, 2:59 pm

        I’m also anti-Low fat!!
        I don’t like to eat low fat/reduced calorie stuff. I feel like if you need to have something removed from what you’re eating, you probably just shouldn’t eat it.

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      • Lindsay

        Lindsay July 30, 2013, 3:00 pm

        I agree about low-fat milk. It basically takes out all the good parts of milk and leaves you with the bad.

        I feel like I’ve heard this go back and forth, but I do believe that dairy can be sort of addicting. When I first stopped eating it (back when I stopped for several months), I really wanted it, but then after a while, it just seemed kind of gross-looking to me.

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      • avatar

        oldie July 30, 2013, 3:39 pm

        Not strictly true. This inability to fully digest milk after a few years of age happens to only a fraction of the population.

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      • Lindsay

        Lindsay July 30, 2013, 4:28 pm

        I think that as grown adults, it’s supposed to be well over half of people who can’t digest it properly.

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      • katie

        katie July 30, 2013, 4:29 pm

        Not really. Read this – http://abcnews.go.com/m/story?id=8450036&ref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2F

        The genetic mutation that leads people to have to ability to continue to disgust milk is know known. It’s actually weird to be able to digest it, not the other way around.

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    • avatar

      ktfran July 30, 2013, 3:35 pm

      Wow, I totally didn’t mean to start a milk debate. It was the first example I could think of that easily showed you can find articles for or against anything. As illustrated in this debate.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest July 30, 2013, 3:53 pm

        Lets see what other debates you can start…
        Any of you anti-paper clips? Ginger ale? Anti-anti-milk?

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      • Lindsay

        Lindsay July 30, 2013, 4:29 pm

        Haha, we HAD to debate something. Everyone was agreeing too much on here. 😉

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        bethany July 30, 2013, 4:42 pm

        We weren’t really debating though. Just saying what we think.

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      • Lindsay

        Lindsay July 30, 2013, 4:54 pm

        Yeah, it’s not what I’d consider a debate either, but I just thought it was funny.

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  • avatar

    Sue Jones July 30, 2013, 1:53 pm

    Sometimes I think it is healthy not to commit too soon to a relationship when you are young and in high school. You both had to go through the crucible of high school, going off to college, etc. so it is good that you had your freedom to explore other relationships, etc. If you two still like each other, and get along well and that after a lot of exploration of other relationships, you want to explore your relationship further to see if it can go the distance now that you are a bit older and hopefully more mature, I say go for it!

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  • AKchic_

    AKchic_ July 30, 2013, 1:15 pm

    1) Stop listening to Google. Until Google jumps into the dating pool, Google has no relevance.

    2) Please seek out some therapy to work on why you feel so compelled to please your family and friends, to the point of feeling suicidal if you don’t somehow measure up to what you think they want.

    3) I think that if you want to start dating your ex again, that is YOUR CHOICE. At 22, there is nothing inherently wrong with going back for second, or thirds, of a flame that had no abuse. That’s the key – no abuse. If this guy didn’t abuse you, the two of you are compatible, and your goals line up, why not retry. You never know, you two might make it.

    Just keep repeating: This is my life and my decision. Nobody can live my life for me, therefore I must live it for myself. I may make mistakes, but they are mine to deal with, as they come along. I am strong, I am smart, and I CAN make decisions that are best for me.

    You can make the best decision for yourself.

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  • avatar

    freckles July 30, 2013, 3:22 pm

    I think it’s a bad idea to date your ex if you broke up for reasons that generally won’t change – different values, he’s an asshole, you like to travel and he doesn’t, etc. But if you broke up for something situational – you were young and not ready, you were in different parts of the country, or whatever – then I think it’s totally fine to give it another shot once the situational issues have resolved themselves. Go for it!

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  • avatar

    Iris July 30, 2013, 4:11 pm

    “you’re also concerned about your friends’ opinion, as well as what Google, of all things, says about your personal life, it’s safe to say that your self-esteem is probably pretty rocky, too, and you don’t have much confidence in your own decision-making.”

    This was the advice I sorely needed for myself today…thanks Wendy.

    As for the LW, you need to quiet down every other outside voice and listen to what your intuition is telling you. Don’t let other people bombard you with what they think you need or want – most of them have the best of intentions but they aren’t living YOUR life – YOU are. So take some time out of everything else to listen to what you really want and need, so you have the confidence to make that decision and stick to it.

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