Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“He Still Travels with His Ex!”

I’ve been dating a wonderful guy for a little less than a year. He’s patient, supportive and level-headed and we’ve been coping extremely well with being long-distance for about five months (just a few hours drive). I really couldn’t ask for more.

I imagine us heading for marriage one day, but I’m having trouble getting over one issue. He has several female friends, a few of whom he’s slept with in the past. I admire his ability to be friends with exes (I’ve left on good terms, but haven’t stayed in contact with mine) but I just can’t understand how a male-female friendship can be so close that he would fly across the country to visit a woman (second time in less than year) and travel alone with her. At some point, I feel like friendships must be modified to respect our relationship.

I want to be clear that I have no cause to mistrust him, he’s made his commitment to me clear and makes substantial effort to make our relationship work. I’ve only brought up the issue once and briefly in an argument, but I didn’t go into detail about my feelings.

How do I overcome this? Am I justified or just insecure? — His Significant Other Woman

Your boyfriend travels with a woman he used to have sex with and you’ve never had a conversation about it? He visits her at least twice a year and you’ve never asked him to reassure you that their relationship is strictly platonic? If that’s truly the case, it would seem the main issue here is your lack of communication. After almost a year together, you should be at a place where you can broach subjects that may feel uncomfortable. This is especially important when you’re long distance and everything hinges on the quality of your communication.

I gotta to tell you, if my long distance boyfriend of less than a year were flying across the country to spend one-on-one time with a woman he’s had sexual relations with in the past when he could be traveling to see me instead, you better believe I’d have all kinds of questions, and I find it unfathomable that you haven’t voiced your similar concerns yet. Why haven’t you talked to him about your feelings? Why do you think you may be unjustified in feeling the way you do? I’ll repeat: your long distance boyfriend of less than a year has made multiple trips across the country to spend time with a former sexual partner. And you haven’t talked to him about it? WTF?

Something just doesn’t add up here. I’m not so old-fashioned as to believe straight men and women can’t ever be platonic friends — even ones with sexual history together; relationships are fluid, after all, and I’ve heard of former partners who transition into being “just friends” really well. But those friendships are rare and are almost always trumped by new relationships — especially when those new relationships are still in their first year. There’s just something fishy about a guy who would choose to travel across the country to see a former flame rather than travel to see a current flame. (Seriously, how many guys are going to travel long distance for NO sex, when they can travel a shorter distance and HAVE sex?). Unless there are some extenuating circumstances you haven’t mentioned. Is this woman dying? Has someone she loved died? Did she have a huge, blow-out milestone birthday party to which she invited everyone she’s ever been friends with (and, if so, why didn’t your boyfriend invite you to come along)?

The truth is, I can only think of a handful of reasons your boyfriend would make his ex a priority — and traveling across the country twice in one year is making someone a priority, as far as I’m concerned — and most of those reasons don’t bode well for your relationship. What is most clear is that you need to talk to your boyfriend immediately about how you’re feeling. And he needs to have words that reassure you that you have no need to worry. And the next time he wants to go visit this woman, you should ask to go with him. His reaction to that request will tell you a lot. If you’re both so important to him, he should want you to get to know each other. And if he doesn’t — if he wants her all to himself when he sees her — that would be a major, major red flag and one that, for me, would be enough to make me MOA.

Tread carefully here. There are some holes in this story I don’t want you falling into…

*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at [email protected] and be sure to follow me on Twitter.

92 comments… add one
  • FireStar

    FireStar January 25, 2012, 3:12 pm

    I know some women feel they shouldn’t question certain things in a relationship because they do not want to come off needy or jealous – and I know some men take advantage of this. You are allowed to ask “why” of your partner. Your fear of appearing insecure should not trump your legitimate desire for answers. You want to know why – ask him – you have every right to.

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    • avatar

      Taylor January 25, 2012, 3:55 pm

      And when you ask “why”, be very aware if he picks on you about it – i.e. says your insecure, or that you don’t trust him etc. It is a wonky situation, so don’t let him deflect it back onto you (I say this from past experience with a now-ex).

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  • avatar

    ChemE January 25, 2012, 3:13 pm

    Um, yeah, if while we were long-distance, my husband had been traveling long distance to see another woman – friend or not, I would have been asking all sorts of questions.
    Have you mentioned at all that this is kind of… weird? Has he mentioned anything about the trips other than he’s going to see her? Have you met her? Does she know about you?
    How many times did you two travel to see each other?
    Does he have family in that area? Maybe business? Any other reason to go there besides her?

    Me, I’d drive myself insane thinking about the scenario. I mean the whole situation seems fishy, not that I don’t/wouldn’t trust my husband, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I trust her/him around her particularly if they’ve had relations in the past.

    Talk about this with him. Ask to go along next time. Ask to talk to her sometime, get a vibe for how their relationship is.

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  • Leroy

    Leroy January 25, 2012, 3:14 pm

    Maybe it’s that she’s somewhere that he likes to vacation? – i.e. a free place to stay.

    But otherwise, it is a little suspicious.

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    • avatar

      cporoski January 25, 2012, 4:44 pm

      I took it as he was flying to go travel with her. I think she should 100% ask him, but I think it might be they both want to see the world but were single so they planned these trips so they weren’t going alone. On my last trip, two platonic coworkers were on safari with us.

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  • avatar

    Annette January 25, 2012, 3:15 pm

    Hear hear!! There should be no problem asking your questions as long as you don’t sound accusing when asking. Like Wendy said, let him know, but pay attention to his reaction(s)!

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  • TaraMonster

    TaraMonster January 25, 2012, 3:20 pm

    You know, Wendy, I usually admire your thoroughness, but you’re ignoring the REAL problem here, which is how to come up with another acronym that tells people to COMMUNICATE WITH THEIR SIGNIFICANT OTHER ALREADY! CWYSOA is too long… we must be more concise in our approach here. How about TTYSO??? Talk to Your Significant Other. Alas, my language gifts do not extend to acronyms… I’ll leave it up to you!

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    • avatar

      iseeshiny January 25, 2012, 4:00 pm

      I like SSA – Say Something Already!

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      • avatar

        2_j January 25, 2012, 5:23 pm

        I honestly think this “SSA” is going to catch fast haha. GJ

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      • TaraMonster

        TaraMonster January 25, 2012, 5:49 pm

        YES! Thank you!

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  • Amanda

    Amanda January 25, 2012, 3:23 pm

    Personally, I might be able to rationalize my boyfriend flying across the country twice in a year to see a former girlfriend.

    Okay, probably not. Even just typing that made me tweak out a little. But, let’s say, in theory I could. Maybe.

    However…they travel alone together? Where are they traveling too? Is it just a few hour road trip or is it longer? And, if so, are they staying in a hotel? This to me is worth bringing up. And questioning the hell out of. Who travels alone with an ex?

    There are some HUGE gaping holes here that just don’t add up. And either your willpower is greater than that of a shopaholic at a Nieman Marcus fire sale OR you’re burying your head in the sand and ignoring the red flags.

    Either way, talk to him. Bring this up and voice your concerns. If he doesn’t reassure you that everything is platonic between them – move on.

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    • avatar

      MJ January 25, 2012, 3:32 pm

      Maybe she’s just a friend and he’s visiting her. I have some exes who I’d travel to see or who (I think) would travel to see me, and there’s nothing sexual there anymore. We’re friends who enjoy each other’s company. But we probably wouldn’t do it if we were with people who felt uncomfortable about it.

      But if he doesn’t know it disturbs the LW, there’s no way he can do anything to make her feel better.

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  • AKchic_

    AKchic_ January 25, 2012, 3:25 pm

    *cough* Uh, yeah, why aren’t you asking him some very pertinent questions. Like WHY is he traveling “across country” to visit an ex-girlfriend for the second time in less than a year? It’s a reasonable question. His answer(s) will hopefully enlighten you. Is there a child involved? Did you know about this child sooner? If not, then you really need to re-evaluate your relationship. If you knew about the child, then why didn’t you mention that in the letter (which would have given all of us much needed information).

    My 2nd ex-husband visits once every 12-18 months as his schedule permits. He’d visit more often, but honestly, neither of us can afford it (yeah, I’ve paid the last two years). He lives in NJ. He comes because of the kids. Not to see me. Some women don’t like that because he stays in my house, some don’t like it because “OMG, it’s your ex-wife!”, and very few are cool enough to realize that we’re all adults here and there are kids to think of.

    Ask him what’s up. Then figure out if you can handle this. If nothing else – go with him.

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  • Budj

    Budj January 25, 2012, 3:31 pm

    This reeks of poor decision. Unless money is no object and he can travel whenever he wants on a weekend he is likely not being faithful.

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    • Fabelle

      Fabelle January 25, 2012, 4:19 pm

      Thank you for saying it in plain terms– I was about to respond to this letter below, probably padding my language with a bunch of “kinda shady”s and “I wouldn’t be comfortable with this if I were you” but seriously. The dude is cheating.

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  • TaraMonster

    TaraMonster January 25, 2012, 3:37 pm

    Trust, in my opinion, is built on honest communication (not to be confused with word vomiting your feelings at someone). How can you say you trust him when you can’t even communicate?

    Is the fear of appearing needy rooted in the fact that you believe you are needy? Because if that fear is strong enough to keep you from voicing your VERY LEGITAMITE concerns, then it needs to be tackled like Tom Brady in Superbowl XLII (I can’t help the football references- I’m very excited to watch the Pats lose again to my Gmen.) My boyfriend would have to have a very good explanation for traveling alone with an ex-flame. Though I honestly can’t think there’s an explanation under the sun that would cut it. Get on that, girl. If you can’t help you out, who will?

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    • avatar

      artsygirl January 25, 2012, 3:43 pm

      I applaud your taste in football though I am a fan of the other Manning…of course I have to put up with my most hated enemy coach coming to my city in a few short weeks.

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      • TaraMonster

        TaraMonster January 25, 2012, 6:03 pm

        Why thank you! I love me some Manning boys. Rumor mill has it that you may lose Payton though- to the Jets or the Dolphins. He’s injured, he’s getting older, etc. 🙁

        Make the stink eye at Belichick and Brady for me!!

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      • avatar

        ForeverYoung January 25, 2012, 7:13 pm

        As a huge bronco fan(even before tebowmania) Tom Brady is the devil. And his wife is a snot. So he can suck it. I am giants all the way this year.

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      • avatar

        tbrucemom January 26, 2012, 8:10 am

        As a Steelers fan, I hate the Patriots, especially Brady and Belichick and even though the Broncos beat us in the playoffs, I love me some Tebow…

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      • bagge72

        Bagge72 January 26, 2012, 11:13 am

        It is easy to love Tebow when Big Ben is your QB, talk about polar opposites! Glad he finally finished paying off that women from the first case, lets hope the second one doesn’t get to much from him.

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    • bagge72

      Bagge72 January 26, 2012, 11:09 am

      Wow the football jealousy on this board is awesome, and makes me even happier to be a patriots fan. Let’s hope Brady, and Gronk can put Jersey A in their place! All in good fun though I think it will be a great game, and cant wait for that weekend TWO WEEKS IS TO LONG TO WAIT!

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      • LadyinPurpleNotRed

        LadyinPurpleNotRed January 26, 2012, 11:21 am

        agreed…GO PATS!

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  • avatar

    artsygirl January 25, 2012, 3:41 pm

    Honestly this situation has left me a bit speechless. I feel that I am a well adjusted adult who knows that my partner loves me and would not cheat on me – but I would NOT be ok with him traveling vast distances to see an ex unless there were some extreme extenuating circumstances…actually nope I cannot figure out any circumstance that it would be acceptable for him to fly out to see an ex partner and not invite me. Sit him down and talk to him. Explain what while you trust him you are not comfortable with the situation. Also I would ask him how he would feel if the roles were reversed.

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  • avatar

    HmC January 25, 2012, 3:42 pm

    Isn’t it ironic that some people become so insecure about their own insecurity that they decide to hide it, thus making them come across as more insecure? And this is precisely what happens when we insecurely hide and deny our feelings- they come bubbling up in totally unconstructive, passive aggresive ways like during an argument about something else.

    Good relationships are grounded in open and honest communication. If you don’t even have that, then what are you trying to save? Own your feelings, speak honestly and don’t be aggresive or accusing unless it’s warranted, and the right person for you will respect your feelings and probably be open to a compromise.

    I’m a pretty non jealous type, and I don’t think I’d be as quick as Wendy to assume something shady is going on. But even I would feel justified bringing the subject up and giving the boyfriend a chance to explain.

    Talk to him LW.

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    • avatar

      ReginaRey January 25, 2012, 3:53 pm

      Love your first paragraph. It’s so true! Some people are insecure, recognize that insecurity, don’t want to appear insecure, hide it, then end up appearing MORE insecure because they can’t just be open.

      Also, you’re right about it coming out in a passive-aggressive way. I HATE passive-aggression, and I think it happens a lot when you try to deny your insecurities and needs. There is nothing constructive about passive-aggression, in my opinion. Direct, open, honest, level-headed communication will always prevail!

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    • avatar

      ktfran January 25, 2012, 4:26 pm

      This.

      I’m pretty open, secure and trusting, as I’ve said on here before. But this situation, as described by the LW, gives me pause. It’s slightly odd.

      I can speculate, but in reality, we have no idea what’s going on with this guy. LW, I would talk to you boyfriend and voice your concerns. As others have said, don’t accuse. Ask. Or, use the phrase “I feel this when you do this”. Make it about you and if he’s a keeper, he’ll understand.

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      • avatar

        Flake January 26, 2012, 9:42 am

        Yeah.. It would have looked a lot less insecure had she asked the question when he went to visit his lady friend the first time. Now, it just looks like she has been thinking about this for a year, and that is way too much time to spend on an issue that could have been resolved in a 20 minute conversation.

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  • avatar

    ele4phant January 25, 2012, 3:43 pm

    Hey, you don’t just write off a good travel buddy. Do you know how hard it is to find someone you don’t want to strangle after dealing with lost luggage, delayed trains, and messed up reservations?

    I kid, I kid (well, it is pretty magical when you find someone you actually enjoy traveling with, and they’re not always your SO or best friend).

    It sounds like your dude’s behavior bothers you, but you seem reluctant to bring it up. Why, because you don’t want to seem needy, insecure, or be that girl who freaks out about her boyfriend’s female friends?

    I can’t say why your boyfriend is flying across the country to see this girl, it could be legit, it could be not, but you won’t know unless you ask him. And you don’t have to be the bitchy, uncool girlfriend about it. While such behavior is not unheard of, its not typical, and you’re totally within your rights to ask him about it. You don’t have to accuse him of anything, just tell him how you feel and ask him to clarify what’s going on.

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    • avatar

      cporoski January 25, 2012, 5:16 pm

      I totally agree about the travel buddy thing. I am lucky because my husband and I both love traveling. However, I have single friends and family members that have the means but not the partner. They will go with anyone with a good temperment and the money to do it. Now, obviously, LW, why aren’t you the travel buddy?

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  • avatar

    ReginaRey January 25, 2012, 3:46 pm

    I’m very much with Wendy on this. I’d be VERY uncomfortable if my boyfriend were traveling across the country to visit an ex-girlfriend. Especially if he could be using that time and resources to visit me!

    As some commenters and Wendy have mentioned, we (and you, LW) need to get over the fear of making our needs known. I think a lot of people (it seems more often women, though men too) just want their significant other to understand what they need, without having to say it. In an ideal world, it’d be great for a boyfriend to understand that something makes you feel uncomfortable. But that’s just not how to go about getting what you want and need out of a relationship.

    So LW, it’s time to start speaking up. You need some practice in being direct and open. Spell it all out: “I’m uncomfortable with you visiting a woman you used to have a relationship with. Can we discuss this?” It isn’t needy or clingy to discuss your needs, given that those needs are rational. I think that’s where we tend to fall in a trap – we don’t want to seem clingy or needy to overly demanding, so we stay silent.

    If part of your problem is being unsure whether something you want or need sounds or IS demanding or needy, then bounce it off of a few friends first. I know I can trust some of my best friends to judge things in an unbiased, clear-minded way. Have someone give unbiased insight if you’re struggling with whether or not to broach an issue. Bottom line though, I think most issues are broach-able as long as they’re stated in the right way. Tone, directness, maturity, and the ability to listen are the most critical to having a discussion about needs – second comes what that need actually IS.

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    • Brad

      Brad January 25, 2012, 5:01 pm

      “In an ideal world, it’d be great for a boyfriend to understand that something makes you feel uncomfortable. But that’s just not how to go about getting what you want and need out of a relationship.”

      There’s a lot of truth in this statement and I really agree with it. I feel like many fights or hurt feelings could be avoided if people didn’t make this assumption/expectation. I don’t recall where I heard it, but one effective check on whether or not your opinion is touching “ideal world” is if you’re using the word “should.” Should, and the beliefs like it, are dangerous mental landmines that are best avoided whenever possible as they will only ever lead to suffering.

      I find it best for relationships that if you have a problem/need/concern to not assume your partner knows it unless you have a strong compelling reason(s) to believe otherwise (such as, you’ve had a direct conversation about with your S.O. previously). Trusting your partner to notice or pick up on hints is like rolling the dice. Sure sometimes you will hit the jackpot, but the longer you play the more likly you are to lose (and I don’t know about you, but I hate losing).

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  • avatar

    oldie January 25, 2012, 4:00 pm

    This is one of those 99% likely he’s cheating on LW situations. In that case, he’ll have a plausible sounding explanation ready at hand and is likely amazed that he hasn’t already been asked to produce it. What can he say to change the rather obvious conclusion that he’s cheating? I don’t know. If you love your gf and you are separated by hours of distance, then you don’t voluntarily take out precious time that you could be spending with her. I imagine it must be very easy to string along multiple women in LDR. That knowledge would make the fishy seem even fishier.

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    • avatar

      melanie January 25, 2012, 4:35 pm

      I think a lot of people like the thrill of walking that line. They can keep their conscious clean because they’re not “technically cheating” but it’s still exciting that they have a connection with another person that isn’t their significant other.

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      • Will.i.am

        Will.i.am January 25, 2012, 11:43 pm

        This is true as well. You may be missing something in your current relationship that you are able to gain from a third party. It’s obviously not right but it happens all the time, especially with older married couples.

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  • avatar

    Bossy Italian Wife January 25, 2012, 4:09 pm

    I am also old-fashioned and I believe that his involvement with his ex is inappropriate. I am on good terms with my ex, and he even attended my wedding… but do I go galavanting to see him twice a year? Certainly not. My husband accompanies me on visits.

    This relationship might not be for you.

    Though you say you don’t mistrust him, that really isn’t the issue is it? The issue is he engaging in conduct not befitting a committed man….whether he is cheating or not is besides the point. You need to have a standard. What if the shoe was on the other foot? Would he want you hanging out with your exes?

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  • avatar

    SweetPeaG January 25, 2012, 4:25 pm

    I know some people say that whether or not you trust someone is a CHOICE. You can’t be with someone 24/7, so you have to make a decision to believe they are being honest with you. A big part of life is doing just that.

    But, I’m really not great at completely blind faith. I feel like trust needs to be EARNED. I’m not saying that this guy is cheating on you LW… but I do feel like he is doing a lousy job of earning trust right now. Your relationship is still fairly new and you are long distance on top of it. What makes you trust him? I ask that question sincerely because maybe I need to know your secret! That’s just not the kind of behavior that (most) people in committed relationships display. I would personally lose my mind!

    I do think you are trying too hard to be the “cool” girlfriend. You need to be comfortable enough with your boyfriend to be uncool every now and then. Tell him that this has really been bothering you. You don’t have to accuse him… just let him know it makes you feel uneasy and that it hurts a little. As someone else suggested, ask him to put himself in your shoes for a bit. He might see this whole thing in a new light… maybe he hadn’t even thought of how it all might look.

    But, seriously- be careful. Make sure this guy gives you actual, concrete reasons to trust him…

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  • avatar

    AnotherWendy January 25, 2012, 4:26 pm

    I maintain a very close relationship with my ex due to our co-parenting. When I had my first relationship post divorce I made it clear my ex was still a part of my life and the reason why – our daughter. And to make my SO feel comfortable I made sure they met right away so he could see how platonic our interactions are and that there was nothing to hide. I knew how my relationship with my ex could be perceived by a new love interest so I went out of my way to minimize those concerns before he even voiced them. For the LW’s BF to not reassure her about this, without her having to ask, is suspicious to me at worst and an indication the guy isn’t very empathetic at best. Definitely ask him about this and don’t be afraid to admit it bothers you.

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  • avatar

    kittyk January 25, 2012, 4:30 pm

    While I agree that it’s problem that the LW hasn’t discussed her feelings directly with her BF, I don’t think we can jump to any conclusions or consider this a red flag. The BF has been completely upfront about the fact that a)he’s slept with this friend in the past and b) he goes to visit and travel with her. This to me says more about the situation than anything. Unless he’s some complete skeeze who has no problem blatantly lying to and cheating on his GF, I’d say this isn’t something to worry about. Someone said it jokingly that its hard to find a good travel buddy, but maybe it is something like that- they have a genuine connection or some common interest to the point that she’s important in his life and worth keeping in touch with.

    Personally, theres a difference between people I’ve slept with and exes. She refers to this girl as both, but I think there is a distinction. I know I’ve got several people in my past that, at one point in time while both single, happened to hook up. Maybe it was alcohol fueled or just boredom that led to some casual sex, but there were never feelings and there’s no chance of me hooking up with them now that I’m in a relationship.

    LW- I would just bring up why this makes you feel uneasy and then gauge his reaction- if he gets super defensive or doesn’t want to give any details, or never wants you two to meet- then you should worry. If its no big deal he should be able to discuss it as such.

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    • avatar

      kittyk January 25, 2012, 4:36 pm

      That said, I just re-read your letter and noticed the point about friendships being modified to fit your relationship- if this is the crux of your issue you need to examine why and how to convey that to him. Making someone choose between friends or SOs is never a good idea though, so be respectful of his side of things and really listen to what he has to say. If you truly feel this is innappropriate and he can’t convince you otherwise, you probably do need to reexamine things.

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    • CatsMeow

      CatsMeow January 25, 2012, 5:07 pm

      OK, I was just starting to wonder if I was the *only* person here not extremely suspicious of his motives.

      The LW is not worried about her boyfriend cheating (or at least, wasn’t – I’m sure she WILL be after reading all these comments!); she is worried about how to approach a conversation in which she expresses her discomfort. Like everyone else has said, you need to bring it up in a non-accusatory way if it’s something that concerns you, LW. It’s not out of line, and it doesn’t make you insecure. Bring it up when you’re NOT fighting/arguing. Don’t let it fester! Just address your concerns, ask him any questions you have, and don’t make any demands or ultimatums. I especially like Wendy’s suggestion to ask if you can join them on their next trip.

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    • avatar

      iseeshiny January 25, 2012, 7:20 pm

      Yes! Since it’s an ldr it would probably be really easy for him to hide the fact that he’s going on a trip at all, let alone who with… While it’s possible he’s just got a brass pair who lies with the truth, I wouldn’t immediately jump to the conclusion that he’s cheating.

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  • avatar

    Witchmom3 January 25, 2012, 4:34 pm

    LW he also needs to respect YOU and not just the relationship. But you need to let him know that. Asking questions is not going to make you appear needy or insecure. It’s going to let him know you’re being proactive. I agree with Wendy, next time he wants to go visit his ex, TELL him you’re coming too.

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  • caitie_didnt

    caitie_didnt January 25, 2012, 4:40 pm

    Oh, I’d have some questions about this, all right.

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  • Brad

    Brad January 25, 2012, 4:46 pm

    “(Seriously, how many guys are going to travel long distance for NO sex, when they can travel a shorter distance and HAVE sex?). ”

    Not me…

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  • avatar

    Rei January 25, 2012, 5:02 pm

    Talk to him. You’ve certainly been dating long to enough to ask him, “Hey, what’s up with all this?”

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  • avatar

    Addie Pray January 25, 2012, 5:05 pm

    The LW’s boyfriend reminds me of my ex-boyfriend – my favorite ex – whom we’ll call Mike. Oh I loved Mike. He was so funny and smart and a red head! And really fratty. And liked to play. He liked lots of free time to party with his boys, even during law school. He was so frustrating because .. well, because he didn’t want me to tag along EVERYWHERE with him. (But when we were just friends we were always together, everywhere!) Anyway, he made me feel very clingy. In hindsight, maybe I was just a little, or maybe I just wanted a different kind of relationship with him. But regardless, we broke up and reverted back to best buds very quickly and even worked together later on at the same firm. (Oddly, back as the “best bud,” I was invited everywhere with him again.) Meanwhile, he got a new girlfriend that he kept at an arm’s length like he did all his GFs. I felt so bad for New Girlfriend. But god she was much more patient with Mike than I was. Once after they had been dating a whole year, he took a vacation to Asia with his buddies and an ex-girlfriend of his. I remember thinking GOD THAT WOULD PISS ME OFF. Not only is the ex going, but as lawyers it’s rare to take a big vacation like that; I’d be pissed that he took his one trip that year to spend with friends (and an ex)! New Girlfriend was so, so, so much more “cool” about it than I would have been! And it made me think “wow, I could NEVER put up with that.” Fast forward 5 years and Mike finally settled down with New Girlfriend … Married now, and a baby. I had always looked at their relationship as an example of “what good things can come when you are patient” because they seem to have a really good relationship now. But I know I could have NEVER put up with that for 5 years.

    I’m not sure where I was going with this story…. LW, maybe your BF is like Mike; still a kid at heart and someone who likes to compartamentalize his friends and girlfriends and party with his buddies (which can include ex’s)… and in 5 years maybe he’ll grow out of that. Are you patient enough though?

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    • CatsMeow

      CatsMeow January 25, 2012, 5:09 pm

      Yeah. This is a possibility. Let’s not ALLLL jump on the “he must be cheating” bandwagon.

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray January 25, 2012, 5:17 pm

        But still. He may not be cheating and probably isn’t — I think if he were cheating, he would lie about where he was going — but it’s still a kind of crumby relationship to be in. Like in my ex’s case, I would never want to be New Girlfriend. Sure, Mike is a doting husband now who wouldn’t travel to Asia with an ex-girfriend anymore — partly because his friends have all settled down by now — but New Girlfriend had to lay down some pretty hard and fast rules – like, by year 2 of their dating relationship, the rule was no more traveling to foreign countries with ex-girlfriends. I wouldn’t want to be in a relationship where I had to lay down those kind of rules. I’d want a relationship where the BF wouldn’t WANT to globe trotting without me!

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    • CatsMeow

      CatsMeow January 25, 2012, 5:19 pm

      I think it’s nice when couples don’t have to do *everything* together. My boyfriend likes to bring me along everywhere, which was weird to me at first because I’ve always wanted to have separate friend time and boyfriend time. Also, I know lots of guys that will grow resentful if one of their buddies is ALWAYS bringing the girlfriend along. So I’ll usually send him out without me every now and then (plus, some of his friends get on my nerves, haha).

      I sometimes also get resentful when one of my close guy friends gets a girlfriend and then suddenly drops off the face of the planet. Or when a girl friend suddenly becomes attached at the hip to her new BF. So, yeah.

      THAT said, one of my first arguments with my boo was over a “guy trip” he is taking. If I might vent for a minute – he INITIALLY invited me, and I got really excited… until suddenly I heard him talking among a group of his “buddies” about guytrip-guytrip-guytrip and I realized that somewhere along the way this became guys ONLY trip, and I had been UNinvited, yet uninformed of my uninvited status. BOGUS, right? So that’s why I was mad. Not because he’s taking a guy trip, but because I was uninvited from said guy trip. (But I’m over it). Oh, AND! When we were arguing/discussing this in front of his friends, his friends ALL assumed that I must be obecting out of jealousy. Really? My concern had NOTHING to do with fear of him being unfaithful. End rant? I have no idea where I was going with this.

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      • avatar

        rachel January 25, 2012, 5:57 pm

        Sure, sounds like you’re totally over it :p

        Seriously though, rude.

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      • CatsMeow

        CatsMeow January 25, 2012, 10:17 pm

        haha. I am. We went on our own trip. 🙂

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    • Jess

      Jess of CityGirlsWorld.com January 25, 2012, 5:21 pm

      Thanks Addie for this alternate perspective. I’ve also observed similar “storylines” and we even have a term for this among my friends which we call the “Sabrina* Method” wherein a woman bides her time, makes no demands, plays everything as if casual, and then suddenly swoops in to get the ring. I don’t recommend it and I cannot imagine it for myself but MY it is remarkable to witness! haha

      * name changed to protect the innocent

      I had similar musings about this letter although its hard without having answers to a TON of questions. Some big ones for me would be:

      How long did they date?
      How long have they been friends?
      How long ago did the relationship make the shift from romance to friendship?

      Because there ARE situations where 2 people start out dating and quickly switch to friendship which then lasts ages and ages. I personally have an “ex” who was a friend for 1 year before we dated 3 months (it ended spectacularly) and since then we’ve been friends for another 8 years. So, yeah he’s an ex who I occasionally see (um, for lunch) and my current BF couldn’t care less because, well, the facts speak for themselves I think.

      And yeah, yeah, they shouldn’t matter –those details. But they do. There is a desire to get to the heart of the connection between them.

      That said, I agree with everyone else about the need for communication (the gentle non-confrontational kind) and that there is an issue about time/money to be clarified too (since they are long-distance and time is presumably a commodity, its not cool if an ex is biting into her time… ).

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray January 25, 2012, 5:34 pm

        Ah, the Sabrina Method – it works! And it mystifies me. Those easy-going, breezy girls wait long enough for all the buddies to pop the question to their girlfriends so eventually THEIR boyfriend feels pressured to propose too.

        Barf.

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    • avatar

      *HmC* January 25, 2012, 10:05 pm

      These girls that you describe as “cool”… I know what type you’re referring to, and I honestly think a good portion of them let their significant others get away with murder more because they are door mats than they are genuinely “cool” with everything going on. Of course, some people really are super easy breezy, like hippies. And if that’s your genuine constitution then all power to you, honestly. Personally, I’m neurotic and I notice stuff no matter how great the relationship is, and I know I can’t be happy in a relationship where I’m not allowed to openly voice concerns. I do think that some women (and men too) make no demands of their partner because they lack self worth. And beware anyone who is drawn towards and wants to settle down with a door mat. I mean, if you’re not the door mat type that is…

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      • avatar

        *HmC* January 25, 2012, 10:08 pm

        p.s. And also? These “cool” types tend to be young girls, younger than their boyfriends, who lack relationship experience and don’t seem to know what they’re entitled to in a healthy relationship. Just sayin’.

        And even if the guy ends up with them, maybe because he hit a point where his friends all got married and she hung around long enough and he got bored etc., marriage does not equate to happiness, or even longevity down the road.

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      • avatar

        SweetPea January 26, 2012, 9:46 am

        Exactly.
        Marriage is not the prize… a happy relationship is. I don’t want to “win” a guy by sticking around long enough for him to finally submit to marrying me. Yuck. That’s not what it is about. I want someone who genuinely wants to be with me.

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      • avatar

        *HmC* January 26, 2012, 10:59 am

        Me too! And I want them to be with me in the way that I define a healthy relationship- a friendship where the guy wants me around and respects me as a human being and as his partner. I’d love a happy marriage, but I don’t want a marriage at all costs.

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  • avatar

    Bklyn Grl January 25, 2012, 5:05 pm

    I might be able to handle ONE visit… but probably only if there was some purpose for the visit other than just seeing HER (I had an ex stay with me once, and his gf, now-wife, didn’t mind… but she’d met me before, and he wasn’t coming to town to see me, just crashed on my couch while he was here). Even then, though, I’d want to talk it out first (and I mean a LOT of talking).

    But TWICE. In less than a year? No. Shady. He has some ‘splainin to do.

    Whenever I feel the urge to get upset about something my husband does, I try to turn the tables first and think about whether I would ever behave the same way. If I can picture myself doing what he’s done, then it’s not really fair to criticize him for it. Looking at the LW’s situation… although I’m very friendly with the ex who stayed with me (obviously… he even attended my wedding), I would NEVER have picked spending time with him over spending time with my husband. I’d rather be sitting around on the couch watching TV with my husband, than traveling to exotic locations with my ex. That’s why he’s my EX. It seems like a red flag, LW, that your bf doesn’t feel the same way…

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom January 25, 2012, 5:17 pm

    When my husband and I were long distance I was the only one he spent the money and time to travel and visit. On the other hand, my ex would show up every so often and try to get back together even though he had a girlfriend. The odds are your boyfriend has two long distance relationships.

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  • avatar

    Sue Jones January 25, 2012, 5:21 pm

    There may be more to the story here… years ago when an ex of mine was still living in Seattle I would fly out to go to professional conferences (the conferences all seemed to be in Seattle where I went to grad school) and he would allow me a free place to stay and I saved a lot of money not having to get a hotel room. I was a year or so into my current relationship (whom I later married…15th wedding anniversary coming up). By then it was clear that the ex and I were platonic and both he and I had had other relationships in between. Actually the sex in that relationship which lasted 1.5 years was never very great ( a chemistry issue, but we had a great friendship which we kept) so I thought it was a non-issue. My BF (now husband) asked me briefly, casually, almost jokingly if he had anything to worry about, I said no and that was that. So I do not automatically assume that the LW’s BF is cheating. But that is just me. As someone who in my 20’s had lots of different types of relationships and sexual partners, perhaps I am just a bit more laid back about that stuff. But surely the LW should at least be able to broach the subject without the BF freaking out on her, so if he does, well that would speak volumes… For the record, I have been monogamous with my husband since our first date nearly 17 years ago…

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    • avatar

      Sue Jones January 25, 2012, 5:30 pm

      Or maybe this is an East Coast vs. West Coast thing. There seem to be more “rules” on the East Coast, or at least people seem to be more traditional with many marrying HS and College sweethearts, at least in the town where I grew up… so yeah, back there travelling with an ex would definitely raise a few eyebrows… When I lived on the West coast it seemed to be more casual with the concurrant lack of commitment, etc….and also people seemed more likely to be with multiple people before they settled down so there were lots of opportunities to be friends with exes. Where I live now it is somewhere in between….

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      • call-me-hobo

        call-me-hobo January 25, 2012, 6:24 pm

        I think the thing that is different from your scenario isn’t an East/West thing- you talked with your now husband about the circumstances of staying with your ex, and it apparently the LW hasn’t had much (or maybe any) conversation about the circumstances of the bf’s and ex’s relationship.

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  • landygirl

    landygirl January 25, 2012, 5:28 pm

    I asked the Magic 8 Ball if the LW’s boyfriend was cheating and it said “Out look not so good”. While I can say with any certainty that he is or isn’t cheating on you, I will say that it confuses me that he needs to see this person multiple times in such a short period. Flying across country ain’t cheap and neither are vacations. Talk to your boyfriend and ask him what the story is.

    While it’s great that you want to be open minded, don’t be gullible.

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    • avatar

      Witchmom3 January 25, 2012, 5:55 pm

      I don’t practice Santeria, I ain’t got no crystal ball . . . sorry, your first sentence made me think of Sublime.

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    • JK

      JK January 25, 2012, 8:14 pm

      Ooh, ooh, please do the magic 8 ball with other letters!It could be fun!

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  • call-me-hobo

    call-me-hobo January 25, 2012, 6:21 pm

    Can we just repeat the mantra- “Having needs is not the same as being needy”?

    I absolutely agree that women are pressured to remain quiet lest we be labeled as the crazy, clingy girlfriend.

    Look, LW, I am on good terms with my ex. Sometimes we even would meet up for lunch or coffee…and then he moved to Chicago. Guess what? I DON’T fly to Chicago to go see him.

    What your bf is doing is not normal. Get to talking.

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  • drdre

    drdre January 25, 2012, 8:33 pm

    maybe he thinks he found a person that will let him have his cake and eat it too…in other words, maybe he thinks your a gullible sap. Sorry to say that. What he is doing is messed up, i would have been pissssseeeeeeeeeeddd (just to start).

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  • avatar

    Something More January 25, 2012, 8:41 pm

    I have to say I am really against the automatic “he’s cheating on you” vibe this thread had got going on. Like someone mentioned earlier, if LW wasn’t worried he was cheating, she probably is now. There are some things that we don’t know. Like, how long have her BF and this girl known eachother? I have a guy friend that started out as a relationship, but didn’t work out for various reasons. Since then he’s been one of my best friends for ten years. Yes, they have an LDR. But it’s only three hours so they more than likely see eachother a few weekends a month. Is everyone here so freaked out at the thought of your SO visiting a friend that you wouldn’t be able to give up a couple weekends out of the year for him to go? They haven’t even been dating a year yet. Plus, she says she trusts him. I don’t see jumping to immediate conclusion that he’s cheating.

    LW, you do need to talk to him. Your feelings are just as important as his in this relationship and if this is bothering you, you have every right to speak up. But what you need to think about first is what you need to “overcome” this. What does he need to say or do to make you completely comfortable with this situation? Maybe you need to come along on the next trip. Maybe you just need him to acknowledge how you feel and get some verbal reassurance. Maybe you need him to stop going all together. Only you know what you are willing to put up with regarding this guy. Figure that out before you talk to him. Then when you DO talk to him you can let him know where the line that you are comfortable with is. He can choose to live with it or not. Stand your ground and stand up for your feelings. Good Luck!

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    • avatar

      jaybro January 26, 2012, 1:12 am

      I agree with the whole not-jumping-to-conclusions thing. There are lots of things we don’t know, so he very well could be completely faithful.

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    • avatar

      LW here!!!!!!! January 26, 2012, 3:45 pm

      thanks! I found this really helpful. I have some things to think about. Jealousy rears its head so easily in LDRs, it’s hard knowing I can’t have a lot of his time.

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  • avatar

    WatersEdge January 25, 2012, 9:12 pm

    Maybe I am a total bitch, but if my long-distance boyfriend spent money and time to visit another woman, whether he had banged her before or not, when he could have been visiting me, I would dump him. Or lay down the ultimatum and let him choose. Ultimatums are in poor form unless they are in reference to a genuine dealbreaker! And I’d never stay with a guy who did this.

    I would, however, be happy to be friends with the girl and all visit together. I am not totally unreasonable. Just kind of a bitch. Kind of a total bitch.

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    • avatar

      Eagle Eye January 25, 2012, 9:18 pm

      Ha, love it, don’t worry, I’m a huge bitch too!

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  • avatar

    Francine January 25, 2012, 10:03 pm

    Are you justified or insecure? Does it have to be either?

    You said that you have no reason to distrust your boyfriend and it doesn’t really sound like you suspect him of cheating. You don’t come across as insecure to me. It sounds more like his behavior doesn’t match what you expect of someone in a committed relationship. You’re entitled to your feelings but I don’t think you’re justified in expecting your boyfriend to have the same view of platonic male-female relationships that you do.

    He’s conducting himself as he always has and you don’t think he’s cheating. You’ve only touched on the subject with him briefly so does he really know that his behavior is a problem for you? Simply tell him that you trust him but his closeness with other women makes you uncomfortable. It’s possible that he’s willing to modify these relationships. If not, you either need to modify your view or find someone new who meets your expectations.

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    • avatar

      LW here!!!!!!! January 26, 2012, 2:50 pm

      Francine – you really hit the nail on the head.

      “You said that you have no reason to distrust your boyfriend and it doesn’t really sound like you suspect him of cheating. You don’t come across as insecure to me. It sounds more like his behavior doesn’t match what you expect of someone in a committed relationship. You’re entitled to your feelings but I don’t think you’re justified in expecting your boyfriend to have the same view of platonic male-female relationships that you do.”

      I am going to bring it up just like that – I dont think its appropriate behavior for someone in a committed relationship.

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  • Will.i.am

    Will.i.am January 25, 2012, 11:39 pm

    I missed out on an easy one hear. I am saying he is cheating on you if you are not invited to go with him, and nothing is mentioned about the trip.

    Been out of pocket the last two days with a 102 fever and a bacterial infection that affected my ears and glands in my throat. I’ve never had a fever that high in my life.

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    • katie

      katie January 25, 2012, 11:58 pm

      feel better!

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  • avatar

    Lindsay January 26, 2012, 12:57 am

    I realize that this is kind of shady and is something that needs to be discussed. However, I don’t think we should all jump the gun and assume he’s being unfaithful. I know a lot of guys who have creepily good friendships with their exes. Is it weird and kind of obnoxious? Yes. Are they all cheating on their girlfriends? No.

    I also find Wendy’s argument of “why is he spending money to see someone else instead of me” a little odd. The LW seems to have no problem with how often she sees him and how well they’ve handled their LDR. He’s got a right to spend time with other people and spend money to do so. The issue here is whether it’s appropriate WHOM he’s seeing.

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  • avatar

    jaybro January 26, 2012, 1:09 am

    When you brought up the issue in the argument that one time, what was his response? And how did you bring it up? You say it was in an argument, so I doubt that it was calm and collected. Was it a blatant accusation? Regardless, how did he respond? You make no mention of his reaction. You do mention that you didn’t bring up your feelings, so perhaps that argument was fueled, in part, by your irritation on this issue. And since it was in an argument about something else, he might not have even taken note of you mentioning it. Many questions here.

    And since there are so many questions left unanswered, I’m not going to jump on him and say he’s cheating. He could be, sure, but he also could not be. I think you need to have a calmer talk about it, when you aren’t arguing, so that he understands that this is important to you. Like other comments have mentioned, having needs and being needy are two completely different things. And I don’t think you are unjustified in having an issue here. If he is as “patient, supportive, and level-headed” as you say he is, he will definitely understand and adjust his behavior accordingly or offer up a reasonable explanation. However, like Wendy suggests, I would be very aware of how (not with what) he responds. That may be more telling than the answer itself.

    Don’t feel bad that you are bothered by this. You are definitely justified.

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    • avatar

      LW here!!!!!!! January 26, 2012, 2:49 pm

      Well, our arguments are always calm 😀 He said “why do you have to bring up the past?”.

      I have NO SUSPICIONS of him cheating!

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      • avatar

        Rachel January 27, 2012, 12:53 am

        You should. Get your head out of your ass.

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      • avatar

        Something More January 27, 2012, 8:40 am

        It’s not the past if it’s currently happening. He was trying to avaid the issue.

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  • avatar

    Miss T January 26, 2012, 9:36 am

    Um, I may be in the minority here–lots of people on this thread seem very accepting of this stuff–but I would never be okay with my significant other having any kind of sleepovers with exes, whether they are cross-country or not. Maybe it’s my upbringing or my personal sense of propriety, but I could not be with a guy who thought that this was okay. If this were me, I would have voiced my feeling this was a deal-breaker before he even took the first trip–I completely agree with the LW that these kinds of “friendships” (and I put it in quotes because it sounds suspicious to me) must change to accommodate new relationships. He’s not a single guy anymore. Like others have said, he should be trying to earn and maintain the trust. Part of both partners’ responsibilities in the relationship is not only to avoid cheating and betraying each other, but to avoid situations where temptation and discomfort (for either party) will probably (reasonably) arise. As the girlfriend, the LW’s discomfort with this situation trumps the friendship he has with the ex, especially since, to me, this is such a ridiculous thing to do to begin with. I know a lot of people won’t agree, but I think people in relationships should make a point of ensuring that from all angles, their SO and others know that the SO is first and only. Personally, I would be humiliated–and so would my boyfriend–if my family asked why he wasn’t around last weekend for football Sunday and his response was that he took a trip to visit his ex-girlfriend across the country and stayed at her house. It’s inappropriate and immature to try to continue those “friendships” after a certain point in a relationship, and it’s disrespectful at the minimum because it makes the LW look like she’s being played, even if she’s not (which I doubt).

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  • avatar

    wendyblueeyes January 26, 2012, 9:57 am

    Next time he says he’s going to visit her, express that it’s a place you have always wanted to visit, and you’ll be coming along on this trip. Then pay very very close attention to his reaction. Then listen to that little voice in your head.

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  • avatar

    Lel January 26, 2012, 9:59 am

    I’m in a LDR. I also am close friends with an ex who lives about the same distance from me as my boyfriend. I visited them each about the same number of times last year. Here are some reasons for that that my boyfriend was totally comfortable with:

    -the friend lost his mom this year. He needs a little fussing over while he’s grieving.
    -the friend lives in Las Vegas. I can fly there for significantly less money than to, well, anywhere.
    -I have four other friends I see every time I’m in LV and another dozen or so I occasionally see there.
    -I stay with my ex because his house is huge. Huge! I get my own bedroom, bathroom, and sitting room. His guest suite is bigger than my apartment, so it’s kind of like visiting a posh hotel. I could stay on friends’ couches or in a cheap motel. But, c’mon!

    The point is, visiting an ex–and staying with him/her–isn’t automatically sketchy. I’m wild about the bf and am deeply committed to keeping the ex squarely in the friend zone. But I’m honest about it and forthcoming with details to my bf.

    I think you’re justified for feeling squicked out by the relationship between your bf and his ex. That being said, I’m not sure either of you is “right” or “wrong” here. Why not do some research? Talk to your boyfriend and tell him you love and trust him but that his relationship with the ex is uncomfortable to you. There’s nothing wrong with that. Ask him to tell you more about the friendship. Get to know the girl. Get to know the boundaries in their friendship. If you don’t like what you learn, I think you’re absolutely justified in asking him to redefine the parameters of his friendship or, if it comes to that, moving on over this.

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  • avatar

    stilgar666 January 26, 2012, 12:59 pm

    shady, moa

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  • avatar

    LW here!!!!!!! January 26, 2012, 2:46 pm

    As a longtime reader of DW, I am just now realizing how we as a community read too far into things that we dont know the details of!

    I wanted to clarify a few things. I am sorry, I was unclear because I used the term “ex’ – the truth is that they are friends who had one drunken hookup many years ago (to my knowledge). I have met the girl 3-4 times, she stayed has his apt one weekend last summer while I still lived in town (I was there too!) and seems nice enough. He and I are only a few hours drive apart – so its not as though the time spent in his two visits cuts into the time he spends with me at all. We are together 3 out of 4 weekends in a month. I do mostly think that this is just a free place to stay because he does like to travel a lot. I don’t want to 1) be presumptuous 2) sound completely insecure.

    And yes, as CatsMeow mentioned, all these comments are making me more suspicious than I need to be – but hey, I should communicate my feelings too 😀 Thanks for the advice guys, I suppose what I really need is a way to communicate my discomfort with the situation in a productive way that won’t make it seem like I don’t trust him (I do!), I just think this is inappropriate.

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    • bagge72

      Bagge72 January 26, 2012, 4:08 pm

      Not saying this happened here, but I think the commenters read way to much into things, because 1.) the LW’s leaving things out purposefully so we think the situation is worse than it is 2.) The LW’s sometimes embellish things to make them seem worse than they are (like calling somebody his EX when they never dated) 3.) There usually is something else that is really causing the problem. I think you would have gotten a lot of different answers, if you would have included all of the correct information.

      After reading the rest of the information you provide I still say you should have a talk with him, because I still wouldn’t feel comfortable with my fiance going across country to visit an a single guy that she hooked up with if I weren’t there, and maybe this makes me a jealous douche, but I would probably ask her to not go if I couldn’t make it. I would be thinking all week about her getting drunk with him, and making out then laughing about behind my back. But that is just me hahaha

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  • avatar

    LW here!!!!!!! January 26, 2012, 2:47 pm

    Also – he invited me to come on the upcoming trip! But I couldn’t work it in to my schedule.

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  • avatar

    Rachel January 26, 2012, 9:15 pm

    I’m going to be very clear here.
    He’s cheating on you.
    You are not his only long distance girlfriend.
    Are you really so deluded that you can’t see this?

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    • avatar

      Something More January 27, 2012, 8:47 am

      Wow. Not every guy that hangs out with a girl he had a drunken night with is a douchebag cheater. I don’t know what your story is, but you should really get over it.

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  • avatar

    nick April 4, 2017, 2:56 am

    Hi,
    i broke up with my ex 2 years ago. but within the time we still contct and hang out like nothing happen. last few days my ex went to vacation with me but he said he has gf. after the vacation i asked him if he realy serious in that relationship. he refuse to answer and he dont have the answer, and i dont get it. if he still love me or he just want what from me.

    Reply Link

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