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“My Ex Has a New Girlfriend, So Why Does He Keep Calling Me?”

In March, my boyfriend of almost three years and I both realized that we want different things in life and decided mutually to break things off for good (after a brief breakup this past fall). In May, almost two months after we broke up, he began a new relationship.

Recently, he started calling me. The first call was a question he knew only I could help him with. The second call was just to catch up. The third, fourth, fifth, and many other calls since have been to discuss how things have been, how I’ve been doing, what he’s been up to, etc. etc., and he has mentioned his new relationship many times. He has even gone so far as to tell me that he dreams about me and can’t fall back asleep, that he wishes he could still protect me, and that he is sorry for everything he did to hurt me in our relationship. But then he quickly follows up with “…but I have a girlfriend.”

I asked him if his girlfriend knew we were talking like this. He said yes. Well, a few nights ago I ran into him at a bar and we were just talking for few minutes, and his girlfriend glared at me the entire time. Afterwards, she dragged him out into the parking lot and demanded it was time to leave.

This leads me to believe she does not know he has been contacting me. I am ready to rip my hair out. Should I tell her? Should I confront him? Should I just stop answering the phone altogether? I want to be friends with this man as he has been a huge part of my life, but I want to respect their relationship.

Looking forward to your response. — Seeking an EXplanation

I’m not sure why watching your ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend drag him away from you led you to believe she doesn’t know he calls you constantly. If anything, it seems she probably does have some idea of the continued — and, frankly, inappropriate — relationship between you two or else why would she be so quick to pull him away? At any rate, your question isn’t really about her or even her relationship with your ex-boyfriend; it’s about you and whether you can have a friendship with your ex. And the answer is: not with the current state of things.

Your ex needs to want a friendship with you for the two of you to successfully navigate a post-relationship camaraderie, and it’s pretty clear that that’s not what he wants from you. If it were, he would be treating you with a lot more respect than he is. Because while you’re concerned about showing respect to the relationship he has with his new girlfriend, you seem to be missing the complete and utter lack of respect he’s showing to you. After a three-year relationship that was tumultuous enough to include at least one breakup, he’s going to not only move on to a new girlfriend less than two months after you end things, but continually rub your face in that fact (i.e. “… but I have a girlfriend…), while simultaneously making innuendos that challenge you to move on seamlessly. He sounds like kind of a jerk.

My question for you, then, is: why do you want to be friends with him? What do you get out of your interactions together? Is there any part of you that hopes for a reconciliation? Is there a part of you — and I’m assuming there must be — that is finding it difficult to leave the past in the past with such constant reminders from such an immediate and significant person from it? I say that the next time your ex calls you, you calmly and rationally tell him that while you wish him well, you are no longer interested in hearing updates from him or catching up with him on such a regular basis, especially given his girlfriend’s reaction when she saw you out. Tell him that he can keep your number and try you again in a few months after you’ve had time to properly process your breakup, but in the meantime you don’t want to hear from him.

*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com and be sure to follow me on Twitter and ‘like’ me on Facebook.

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{ 100 comments… add one }

  • avatar artsygirl July 17, 2012, 9:27 am

    To me it sounds like he wants to have his cake and eat it too. I think he wants to maintain contact with you in case this new relationship doesn’t work out, i.e. you are left waiting in the wings because he is not letting you move on. It is also possible that he is suffering from some buyer’s remorse. After all, you two were in a relationship for 3 years and then he immediately rebounded with a new girl. I imagine in his mind he is still trying to rectify not being with you and the comfort associated with long term monogamous relationships.

    • Will.i.am Will.i.am July 17, 2012, 11:09 am

      Been here before. You are right about the Buyer’s Remorse. He like the security of the new girlfriend, because lets be honest, relationships, good or bad do bring a sense of security. He also still misses you in some sense, which is why he’s “checking on you” and wants to “protect you.”

      I’m sure there’s a good guy in there somewhere, but it’s hidden behind a decision he has made without thinking rationally about it. Many of us keep the communication window open with I’d say 70% of our ex’s after a breakup. When you move on, yet still communicate with your ex, you are making things difficult on you, your ex, and the new bf or gf. When you break up, it’s not the best idea to fall right back into another relationship. I tended to do it, because I was too lazy to fix the problems in the prior relationship, so moved on to get a clean slate, but didn’t really want the ex to move on. I wanted all the power and that is a poison pill that I ended up swallowing.

      Going forward, the LW is right and to scale back communication with her ex is best. If he gets mad or upset, it’s not her problem. She’s just protecting herself and in the end, that’s all that matters.

  • avatar Joanna July 17, 2012, 9:29 am

    I would say he’s not totally dedicated to this new relationship and he keeps calling you wanting and waiting to hear the news that you want him back. In which case he would dump the new girl ASAP. But you need to be firm with him and tell him he can’t call you anymore. Or just not answer the phone anymore.

  • katie katie July 17, 2012, 9:31 am

    it sounds to me like he is not over your breakup and you are… or atleast, you are over it enough to understand that he should be respecting his relationship more then he is.

    i think you should tell him what wendy said- and maybe add something like, i dont want to come in between the two of you because i do respect you, and once you respect her and me enough, maybe we can try to be friends again. and honestly, if i were you, i would talk to his girlfriend if you can. i dont know if i would go out of my way to do it, but if i saw them again, i would try to pull her aside and tell her that you are not trying to have as much contact.. that he is the one who is responsible, and that you are in no way interested in him like that anymore- you totally respect her new relationship with him and wouldnt jepordize that. im just the kind of person that i wouldnt want her to think badly of me because of his stupidity, and i would be willing to set the record straight on that matter.

    in general, i think that people need space after a breakup, always. no matter who you are. but, some people are quicker to rebound then others, and that is ok. it is ok if you are “ready” to be friends but he is not. but you need to be able to see that, and you need to be the rational one if he wont be.. so, if he wont take you out of his equation, take yourself out of it. it’ll get rid of unwanted drama for sure.

    • avatar Nadine July 17, 2012, 9:36 am

      I think talking to the girlfriend is a mistake. The LW needs space and the boyfriend needs to learn to navigate his own life without input from her. Even if the new GF accepted the little chat and there was no animosity between the two of them (although I doubt that would be the case) it sort of negates what really needs to happen for this breakup to hold, ie for two separate people to begin living separate lives.
      It doesn’t really matter what the new GF thinks of the LW, and she will find out eventually what kind of a man BF is.

      • katie katie July 17, 2012, 9:42 am

        i agree with you… i dunno. its hard. i just know personally i couldnt just let the girl glare at me for no reason… like, sorry lady, be mad at him. i have done nothing to you.. but thats just the person i am.

        like i said, i wouldnt go out of my way to try to talk to her, but if she sets the record straight with the girlfriend, hopefully she will turn her focus from the LW being an issue to the guy being the issue, which is what is going on.

        • katie katie July 17, 2012, 9:50 am

          and also, what do you wanna bet that he is feeding his new girlfriend the whole “crazy ex” routine to explain why they talk all the time? and was running into each other really just a coincidence?

          messed up.

        • avatar Nadine July 17, 2012, 9:52 am

          I can see why you would feel that way, it isnt nice to not be liked, but I read the letter as being about the LW relationship with ex-BF, not the ex-BF current relationship. Thats just a complicator. The LW can only control her own actions, and ignore the ex-BF calling and being annoying. His relationship with new GF is none of her business, and frankly, the two girls do not need to be friends at all. It would just be one more link to the guy for the LW, who is trying to cut emotional ties.

          • katie katie July 17, 2012, 9:54 am

            thats a good point for sure!

            • avatar Nadine July 17, 2012, 10:01 am

              Oh and god, I hate the crazy ex routine – I used to be friends with this group of guys who used to have such lady-issues, and all the girls they dated would go crazy on them after a couple of weeks and I’d get really surprised, cos they seemed so normal to me?
              Then I realised it wasn’t the girls, its the guys. And the girls were all just normal people who, you know, wanted to know if they had a boyfriend or not…….

              • katie katie July 17, 2012, 10:04 am

                yea.. its like, once that happens enough times- what is the common denominator? YOU ARE!!

                i do feel bad for this new GF. she deserves to have a guy’s full attention. and she deserves a guy who isnt hung up on his ex, calling her and telling her that he still dreams about her and stuff. thats messed up! and she probably hates the LW because the guy is telling her a bunch of crap about her.. its just all wrong. all of it.

                • avatar Nadine July 17, 2012, 10:09 am

                  I feel bad for her too, but she needs to look out for herself. Its hard being the first girlfriend after a long relationship, but thats why most people go into them with their eyes wide open.
                  Oh and the guy has to stop dropping “But I have a girlllllllfriend!” into conversation. I keep imagining him doing it the way the crossdresser does it in Little Britain, have you seen that? “Oh, but I’m a layyyyydeee!”

                  • bagge72 bagge72 July 17, 2012, 10:25 am

                    Yeah that “but I have a girlfriend” line is such crap, the LW knows that he has a GF, he is just looking for a reaction everytime he says it. He wants the LW to be like “well I don’t care if you have a GF, I will still blow you” or “Dump that skank, and come back to me”

                    • katie katie July 17, 2012, 10:27 am

                      yea, its like when i was in high school and me and my boyfriend would break up every other week, and he would “accidently” text me or something just so we would fight and get back together.

                      ugh.

                    • avatar lets_be_honest July 17, 2012, 2:45 pm

                      @katie, hahaha “just so we would fight and get back together”

              • avatar kerrycontrary July 17, 2012, 10:05 am

                I’ve said here a lot, but if the guy whips out the word “crazy” I run the other way. I know so many men who use that word to cover up for their dickish behavior.

                • Will.i.am Will.i.am July 17, 2012, 11:56 am

                  I don’t know why people would call someone crazy in the first place. I just say we didn’t see eye to eye long-term and leave it at that. The fact that you put a “crazy” label on it, makes me think you may be the one that likes to stir the muck.

                  • Will.i.am Will.i.am July 17, 2012, 11:57 am

                    Also, if you are willing to call someone crazy, wouldn’t that mean you could be kinda crazy as well?

                • rilooyah rilooyah July 17, 2012, 4:44 pm

                  So true! Once the “crazy” comes out, Im running the other way. I think it was said above- when you attract the crazy, the common denominator is always YOU, buddy.

        • bagge72 bagge72 July 17, 2012, 10:21 am

          The thing is, that it is partially the LW’s fault, she knows that he is in this relationship, and she’s knows that if this happened to her she probably would be upset about it too, but yet she continues to answer this guys calls even though he keeps saying that he is dreaming about her, and all of that bull shit.

          • avatar lets_be_honest July 17, 2012, 10:26 am

            Yep! I totally agree. LW, just stop answering. Don’t talk to this girl because your just going to cause drama. You have to just realize he’s not your boyfriend and even though you still like his attention, the fact that you know he has a girlfriend is making you a bad guy in this too.

            • katie katie July 17, 2012, 10:35 am

              that is a great point, you guys. i didnt think of it like that..

              so LW, if you really do respect their relationship and wish them happyness, leave them alone!! like eljay (i love you, eljay) said, someone has to be the adult in this situation. if he is not willing to be, you have to do it.

    • avatar painted_lady July 17, 2012, 2:17 pm

      Amen bestie – I agree with you about talking to the girlfriend. Who knows what this guy has said about the LW to justify their talking so often, but while the relationship is none of their business, the fact that the LW and the new girlfriend have met now I think allows the LW some leeway. If I had been in a situation where a friend brought someone around that I had heard about and wanted to get along with (I’m going to assume that the LW wants that?) and it went horribly, I might reach out and go, hey, I’m so sorry that went badly. She doesn’t necessarily have to say, “Hey, so your boyfriend has been saying _____ to me and he’s the one calling, and he told me you were okay with this,” just “Hey, I’m so sorry that went badly, I was under the impression you were okay with our being friends, but I just realized I’m not okay with our being friends either, so it’s not an issue anymore.”

  • avatar kerrycontrary July 17, 2012, 9:37 am

    I wouldn’t talk to the girlfriend about this. If I were dating someone for two months the last thing I would want is their ex of 3 years reaching out to me. And just to tell you that you respect her relationship? I would think you were bullshitting me and playing head games. Take Wendy’s advice and tell your ex you don’t want to hear from him for a while, and then leave them alone. Honestly they probably won’t work out because you are still in the picture (which doesn’t do great things for a new relationship), but let them work that out themselves.

    • avatar kerrycontrary July 17, 2012, 9:39 am

      Oh in addition, if I were the new girlfriend and my bf and I ran into his ex at a bar I would also demand that we leave immediately. It’s so uncomfortable. Everyone pretends they can be “mature” and remain friends with exes and be totally ok when your SO’s ex shows up, but why? You don’t have to be OK with being around your boyfriends ex-girlfriend of 3 years.

      • bagge72 bagge72 July 17, 2012, 10:28 am

        Yeah especially when he spends most of the time talking to his Ex instead of his current GF. In times like that you say hi, and move on to a seperate part of the bar.

  • Eljay Eljay July 17, 2012, 9:42 am

    WWS and WKS!
    I agree with Wendy and Katie completely. One of you has to be the grownup in this situation, and obviously he can’t/won’t, so you need to take the reigns and do it for him. If anything you’re protecting yourself, and allowing yourself to move on and have a life outside him. Give yourself time to process this breakup, move on and someday find a fulfilling relationship of your own. You won’t be able to do that with him lurking in the shadows and undermining that process any way he can.

    Good luck!

    • katie katie July 17, 2012, 9:43 am

      ohhh my first WKS!!! i am so happy. and i get to go home after lunch today. yep, today is AWESOME!

  • avatar ReginaRey July 17, 2012, 9:42 am

    Yeah, your ex isn’t over you. That could mean a host of things. He could genuinely still be in love with you. He could be just missing the connection and comfort that your long-term relationship gave him. He could be trying to get back at you for (seemingly, anyway) moving on without much issue, when he’s obviously struggling. No matter the true reason (and it’s probably a combination of a bunch of things), he’s not over you. He’s rebounded with this new girl, and he’s obviously not happy. Continuing to communicate with him is only going to extend the “not getting over you” problem, and it’s going to prevent YOU from fully moving on, too.

    So tell him you’re done communicating. Wish him the best, and move on. Remind yourself as often as possible that you broke up for a reason. I fear you may start to feel a bit lonely or nostalgic, which may make it more difficult to ignore his attempts at communication. But again, you broke up for a reason, and frankly (like Wendy said), your ex is currently behaving like an immature, selfish jerk…not the kind of person you likely want to get involved with for a third time.

    It’s too early to be friends with this guy, for him definitely and likely for you too. I think two months is generally too short a time for anyone to be friends with an ex (especially after a relationship that lasted for multiple years). Let him live his life, and you live yours. The funny thing is, once both of you are completely over this relationship…neither of you are likely going to feel very strongly about being friends. The desire to be “friends” is often driven by one (or both) people still having feelings for the other. Once you’re truly over it, you often feel so neutral that it just doesn’t matter. I’d advise letting him, and you, get to that point.

    • katie katie July 17, 2012, 9:47 am

      you have such a great point about once you actually get over someone you dont really want to be friends anymore… i think that is SO true. there are… maybe one, maybe, because when i saw him again he was pretty hands-y with me, ex that i would honestly want to be friends with because he was a cool guy. any of the other ones, i just dont see the draw… lol

    • avatar ktfran July 17, 2012, 10:22 am

      This. “The desire to be “friends” is often driven by one (or both) people still having feelings for the other. Once you’re truly over it, you often feel so neutral that it just doesn’t matter. I’d advise letting him, and you, get to that point.”

      I wish someone would have said that to me years ago. Seriously. I remained friends with my three serious exes. Not because I wanted them back or because I had feelings for them, but because I thought, why not? I broke up with all of them on good terms. We just realized we weren’t right for each other. Plus, I wasn’t conacting them. They would get a hold of me once in a while. Well, now they all have relationships and I’ve been cut out. I didn’t get it until I read RR’s statement. Now I get it.

    • bagge72 bagge72 July 17, 2012, 10:33 am

      I wonder if she knows all of this, and is actually still talking to him so he doesn’t actually move on? Like if she stops talking to him, then he has a chance to go off and be happy with this girl, or somebody else, and that sucks, because it is so soon, and she isn’t even close to being ready for something like that.

      Also she is could still in the phase, that since it was a mutal break up she was holding onto a chance that they could still get back together.

      • avatar Lindsay July 17, 2012, 6:00 pm

        Yeah. I think anyone (well, maybe not ANYONE) who has a big breakup like this probably likes the idea that their ex isn’t over them, despite being with someone new. She also emphasized the fact that he found someone after two months, so I assume that feeling like he’s not into his new girlfriend is comforting to the LW.

    • avatar MMcG July 17, 2012, 11:19 am

      WRRS!! This is just so true, especially when talking about long-term relationships (not the 2 dates didn’t work out and we are back to being buddies variety): “The funny thing is, once both of you are completely over this relationship…neither of you are likely going to feel very strongly about being friends.”

      I love it when I have thoughts, and then I read the comments and someone has already taken the time to write them out… so convenient:)) Thanks RR!

    • avatar Lindsay July 17, 2012, 5:59 pm

      So true about the desire to be friends. I generally am not friends with any of my exes. Most of them are people I’d chat with briefly if I ran into them. Usually it comes down to me thinking they are a dick or, if the breakup was my doing, I obviously didn’t enjoy their company anymore anyway.

  • avatar Nadine July 17, 2012, 9:47 am

    Leave the new GF out of it, as their relationship is not your business. You dont have to be supportive or respectful or anything. Just don’t answer his calls for a few months, and let yourself be sad. It seems you are getting caught up in being sensible and wanting to be friends that you arent letting yourself be sad. Your relationship with this man is over. Whatever he says to you, however flattering it is, you are not each others problem any more. It is not up to you to make his life flow smoothly, and it is not up to him to dictate how the two of you interact. Cut him loose properly, get a feeling for how your life will be without him in it, then maybe let him back in if it fits with your new lifestyle.
    I believe ex’s can most certainly be friends, but you cant run his relationships for him, so as to make it “safe” for yourself. He is his own problem, not yours, and not some other girl’s.

    • avatar lets_be_honest July 17, 2012, 10:20 am

      I was thinking fade out too. Just don’t answer his calls. Its as simple as that.

  • avatar jlyfsh July 17, 2012, 9:49 am

    I would do WWS and take a step back from him. If he continues to call you after you’ve asked him for a break, don’t answer. And don’t talk to the girlfriend. More than likely even a friendly well meaning chat with you is going to come off wrong.

    • rilooyah rilooyah July 17, 2012, 9:56 am

      I wholeheartedly agree. No good is going to come from speaking to new GF. I understand wanting her to see you in a good light or whatever, but judging from her response to seeing you out, she will NOT respond positively to you whatsoever. Is she being a bit jealous and insecure? Sure. But you are the ex of 3 years and she is the new GF of like 2 months. No matter how you phrase anything trying to smooth things over with her, she is not going to leave the conversation thinking more highly of you than before you opened your mouth.

      Also, he dreams about you and then cant sleep but he “has a GF?” Who the f*ck says that and doesnt realize how immature and stupid the statement is? I mean, if this were HS or something, sure, but CMON! He is totally digging for some reaction from you. And I think he’d totally drop new GF for you, LW, if you gave him any inkling of wanting you back.

      Bottom line- WWS- back off from him. You dont even need to give him an explanation as to why.

      • rilooyah rilooyah July 17, 2012, 10:12 am

        *if you gave him any inkling of wanting HIM back* Arrrgh

  • bagge72 bagge72 July 17, 2012, 10:08 am

    I’m not sure why you have to say anything to her, you two aren’t ready to be friends, and you are probably too close to each other to be friends, especially if either of you has a significant other, so I would just tell him that you need your space from your friendship, and if he wants it to work with his girlfriend he needs to stop contacting you as well.

  • Budj Budj July 17, 2012, 10:25 am

    He isn’t over you and is back burnering you. She seems to be a rebound… I would say do what Wendy says. It hasn’t been long enough for a friendship…. Their relationship might work out but you are definitely straining it… He is absolutely to blame for a lot of that though.

    • Budj Budj July 17, 2012, 10:28 am

      Back burnering is soooo disrespectful btw.

      • rilooyah rilooyah July 17, 2012, 10:45 am

        Totally. I think this breakup was a lot less “mutual” than LW seems to think it was.

  • avatar Anna July 17, 2012, 10:29 am

    It sounds like he’s not over you and is desperately trying to keep you waiting for him because he doesn’t see this new relationship working out. If he was really into his new girlfriend like he should be early in a relationship, he wouldn’t have cared about talking to his ex when they were out together. He had to be dragged away from you by his girlfriend. To me, that says that he’s only keeping this new girl around so he doesn’t have to be alone while he waits for you to say you want him back. If you said that, he would dump her in a second.

    Unless you want to get back together with him, you should stop answering his calls so much. It seems like friendship is not his goal.

  • avatar spark_plug July 17, 2012, 11:17 am

    All of the three characters in this situation have issues:

    The LW for trying to be (or maybe even thinking she be) the ‘cool’ girl that’s okay with her ex banging another girl after 2 months and rubbing it in her face..

    The ex for jumping into a rebound rather than grieving and processing the relationship…

    And the new girl who’s dating a guy two months after a three year year relationship that still talks to his ex on a regular basis.

    It’s like a game of ‘which is worse’…

    LW, WWS – move on with your life. I honestly believe that relationships are friendships with a physical component. If the relationship didn’t work out, most likely it fundamentally failed on the friendship level.

    • avatar MMcG July 17, 2012, 11:24 am

      “The LW for trying to be (or maybe even thinking she be) the ‘cool’ girl that’s okay with her ex banging another girl after 2 months and rubbing it in her face..”

      Yeah, the more I think about it, the more that this guy seems douchy and immature. I get the sense the LW is completely over it so she doesn’t see how completely shitty it is, but imagine if she wasn’t — this is mindgame central. Like someone wrote above, who calls someone to tell them they dreamed about them and then couldn’t get back to sleep with their current SO!?! I’ll take immature jerk trying to have some new cake and keep his old dessert around just in case for $1000 Alex:)

      • rilooyah rilooyah July 17, 2012, 4:37 pm

        Aaaand it’s a Daily Double!!

    • avatar lets_be_honest July 17, 2012, 2:47 pm

      The LW for trying to be (or maybe even thinking she be) the ‘cool’ girl that’s okay with her ex banging another girl after 2 months and rubbing it in her face..

      I see MMcG (formerly hello kitty?) quoted this already, but it needed to be done again. Glad you said it, cuz I was thinking it but after I wrote in, I’ve tried being kinder to the LWs.

  • avatar CattyGoLightly July 17, 2012, 11:23 am

    Ohhh I had something like this with my ex too! He started texting/calling me on a fairly regular basis about a year after we broke up (he had texted/called a few times before that randomly), even though he had moved in with his new girlfriend (and I have a new boyfriend as well)! Gross.

    Here’s what I think it is: I think that while they have a new girlfriend, they want to know that they still have some sway over you. They want to know that, while he may have “moved on” to someone new, you haven’t. Or at least know that you still care enough about him to pick up the phone and talk. He might also want to rub how much he’s allegedly moved on in your face. He sounds like a jerk. He doesn’t care about how these talks are affecting you, and he doesn’t care how they’re affecting his new girlfriend. He just like the nice ego boost he gets.

    I think having a nice civil talk about his actions, then not talking again for a long time would be the best. If he keeps calling you after that, ignore him. That stopped my ex from contacting me pretty quickly.

    • avatar SweetPeaG July 17, 2012, 11:29 am

      Preach it.

      • katie katie July 17, 2012, 11:36 am

        seriously- best day ever. i get a WKS…. AND someone used my catchphrase. i love it.

        haha

        • avatar lets_be_honest July 17, 2012, 2:48 pm

          Can I get your autograph?

          AP, someone’s taking over your role!

        • Eljay Eljay July 17, 2012, 4:06 pm

          Only people who have little ones in their lives will get this – but now I have SpongeBob Squarepants’ song “It’s The Best Day Ever” in my head!! Haaa!

    • Moneypenny Moneypenny July 17, 2012, 12:34 pm

      Yes! This.
      I’ve been in a similar situation, where my ex would randomly call me to chat, even a year after we broke up and had moved away. I genuinely was ok talking to him, no hard feelings, but it would also really strike me as odd.

      • Lili Lili July 17, 2012, 12:55 pm

        Same! My ex and I left off ‘as friends’ and honestly down the line (like after I get this amazingly hot bf) I have no issues getting coffee to catch up. Especially since the world really is small and I’d rather not be antagonistic, never know when it’ll come back to me. However, one thing that strikes me as odd is he hasn’t unfriended my sister on Facebook. I wish he would. Its just weird to me that he can still see her updates and know where she’s going to college and all that. But I guess its not like he contacts her or anything, so its not too weird.
        .

  • avatar SweetPeaG July 17, 2012, 11:26 am

    You can’t do anything about your ex-boyfriend being at best, an indecisive mess, and at worst, a disrespectful jerk. But, you can stop being receptive to him.

    Clearly, what you have with him is not a healthy friendship. I think you know that. It isn’t good for you. It isn’t good for him, either… but if I am being honest, I am not really in the mood to care about him. He sounds like he sucks. There are two women he is disrespecting in this situation. Stop helping him. Tell him to screw off. Maybe someday down the road he will have grown up enough to have a mature friendship where he isn’t leading you on or putting his current girlfriend through undue stress. That time is not now!

    • avatar Chelly October 24, 2013, 5:12 pm

      I have been in a situation like that. I was in a three year relationship with a guy whom later on I found out through his family member’s that i had been lead on. The last year of our relationship I found out that he had started a relationship with another person. The two of us met by accident, by then he had already labeled me ” Crazy”. Two days after that he tried contacting me and till this day he still have the girlfriend and blows my phone up regularly.
      He leaves messages stating ” I know you don’t want to talk to me or even like me but I have to check on you from time to time”. I know they are only lies because of the many he told before. I take thoses in consideration and it helps me to move on and focus on positive things and other trustworthy people. I can’t be friends with a lier.

  • Kristina Kristina July 17, 2012, 11:31 am

    Not only is your ex clearly not over you, but it doesn’t seem like you are either. Which is fine. But wanting to tell the new girlfriend about your phone calls is just sabotage. Why would you want to do that? For your own benefit? Plus, it’s likely she knows more than she wants to already. She’s a rebound for him, while he’s keeping you on the back burner, and you’re trying to let a friendship happen too soon. You may think you’re over it and ready for a friendship (based on the things you said, I don’t think you are), but your ex is clearly not.

    It’s kind of funny you think solving this problem of talking to your ex a lot would be to talk to the new girlfriend–because I don’t think you see how manipulative and immature your ex is being in trying to make you jealous and give you lots of attention. When you’re trying to get over a long relationship, people often do the stupidest things without thinking. People love to pretend they’re okay, they’re ready for a relationship, it’s okay to be friends, but really all of those things typically happen with much more time. You obviously don’t hate it that your ex keeps calling you, but I think it’s too soon for you to decide that this is a healthy and normal interaction between you and your ex. Both of you are trying too hard to be “just friends”. And true friendships with exes happen naturally, not forcefully–and they don’t happen often either.

    • avatar *HmC* July 17, 2012, 11:35 am

      I actually think he is over her… there’s a lot of immature reasons to keep contacting an ex other than still wanting to be with them, like attention, to make your current gf jealous, etc. I’m of the mindset that the person that people are with, is the person they want to be with.

  • avatar *HmC* July 17, 2012, 11:32 am

    He sounds manipulative and immature, you guys broke up for a reason, and he’s actively choosing every day to be with her instead of you, so why do you need to have him as a friend? LW it sounds like you still have feelings and that is why you are carefully analyzing everything he says to you. But that’s exactly why you shouldn’t talk. If he wanted to be with you, he would be. Telling you repeatedly that he has a girlfriend sounds like it’s to alleviate any guilt he feels in contacting you. But that girlfriend is not something that is happening TO him, it’s a situation he is choosing. Over you.

    I say wash your hands clean of the whole mess (and if you think it’s messy now, keep talking to him and see how things blow up in your face). You guys shouldn’t talk right now, at least for a while, because it’s clearly too complicated.

    • avatar *HmC* July 17, 2012, 11:36 am

      Oh and for fuck’s sake LW, don’t have a chat with the new girlfriend. Their relationship is so none of your business. Worst idea ever.

      • avatar SweetPeaG July 17, 2012, 12:01 pm

        Yea, absolutely. Her telling the current girlfriend would be purely selfish and totally awkward.

        What she can do to help new girlfriend is stop allowing herself to be part of the mess. Let new girlfriend figure out the rest herself. It sounds like she already knows her boyfriend is still fixated on his past.

      • FireStar FireStar July 17, 2012, 12:32 pm

        Amen.

  • avatar MMcG July 17, 2012, 11:33 am

    Here’s how I see the next conversation in my head:

    DB ex-boyfriend “I think about you, dream about you, blah blah blah… BUT I have a girlfriend”
    LW “Yes you do, and when I was your girlfriend I thought you were capable of respect of emotional honesty – so WTF are you doing?”
    DB ex “whine… blah Blah Blah”
    LW “Well, I’ve really lost a lot of respect for you – I think you are treating me like crap, not to mention how you are treating your girlfriend, and I need you to lose my number”

    • avatar MMcG July 17, 2012, 11:38 am

      *respect AND emotional honesty”

      ugh… it’s not even noon yet.

  • avatar bethany July 17, 2012, 11:38 am

    He’s not ready to be friends yet… It’s that simple. When he calls, don’t pick up. If he leaves a message that’s about something legit, that you can help him with (something like, ‘what was the name of the restaurant where we took my mom for her 60th Bday? I want to take her there again.”), then yeah, call him back and tell him, but keep it short and sweet.

  • kare kare July 17, 2012, 12:07 pm

    My ex drunk dialed me one night. I asked his friend to delete my phone number, text message thread, and call history so he can’t contact me. Maybe that’s crossing a line, but we dated for almost 4 years and he never bothered to memorize my number, so that’s not my problem.

  • FireStar FireStar July 17, 2012, 12:46 pm

    Who cares about his motivations? Are you comfortable being the type of girl that gets phone calls from men in committed relationships telling you that they dream about you? Are you okay having someone keeping steady contact with you for no valid reason even though it is inappropriate and disrespectful on a whole set of levels? Are you getting something out of this? Something appropriate? No? Then end it. I get it is hard to move on from a long-term boyfriend – he was a big part of your life for a long time – but he isn’t your friend. He is your ex boyfriend and some other girl’s new boyfriend. Now is the time to demand a little respect and put a stop to his slackness.

    • avatar lets_be_honest July 17, 2012, 2:35 pm

      These kinda comments are why I love you Firestar.

      • FireStar FireStar July 17, 2012, 3:28 pm

        Awww… and they say Internet love is a special kind of love!

        • Lili Lili July 17, 2012, 3:34 pm

          ‘Are you comfortable being the type of girl that gets phone calls from men in committed relationships telling you that they dream about you? Are you okay having someone keeping steady contact with you for no valid reason even though it is inappropriate and disrespectful on a whole set of levels? Are you getting something out of this? Something appropriate? No? Then end it.’

          THIS x1000! I wish you could come tell a friend of mine this…

          • FireStar FireStar July 17, 2012, 3:47 pm

            I think a lot of us have men say wildly inappropriate things to us that they know they shouldn’t. And they either rely on our manners or good nature or aversion of confrontation to say whatever they want to us with impunity. And while it may on occasion be flattering – it is still slackness. And slackness deserves a lash – verbal or otherwise. Your friend needs to shut it down because it will eventually it will wear away at her self-respect. And no flattery is worth that.

            • avatar lets_be_honest July 17, 2012, 3:59 pm

              YES. Call them out on it. Don’t giggle and think how cool you are that a dude is paying attention to you. Its no better than being flattered by construction workers cat calling.

              • FireStar FireStar July 17, 2012, 4:18 pm

                I’ll take the constructions workers over an ex or “friend” saying inappropriate things any day! One of my best friend’s husband’s hit on me when I was visiting them (out of country) and she was out of town for the first two days on unexpected business. Normally it would be no big deal but because he acted the ass my first night there it was the worst two days ever. You are in this horrible position because a husband getting handsy isn’t enough of a reason to end a marriage on (that has kids) – but it is enough of a reason to fade out the friend. So I couldn’t make a scene but I still had to stop it. And then I was left trying to figure out what/how much to tell my friend. It was just ridiculous. I’m still mad at the husband for that BS and avoid being around just him on pain of death.

                • avatar lets_be_honest July 17, 2012, 4:30 pm

                  True. I had dealt with something similar once. He actually had a hard on. It was awful. They’re divorced now.

                  • FireStar FireStar July 17, 2012, 4:48 pm

                    Are you still friends with the girl?

                    • avatar lets_be_honest July 17, 2012, 4:51 pm

                      No, I was for a long time though after that. She was the one that basically kidnapped him to get married. Remember that story? She unfortunately turned out to be a toxic friend and I moa’d.

                • Lili Lili July 17, 2012, 4:52 pm

                  Yeah, I’ve faded that guy out. But the comment you made about self respect resonates with me. It IS a matter of not wanting to be around unscrupulous people because I deserve to be treated with respect, and I have no qualms in cutting people out. Like I avoid the married guy my friend had an affair with, even though I often times feel like I’m not invited out to things because the group-including her!-haven’t cut him out…I wonder if she’ll continue to hang with him when she gets-if she gets-a BF and if he’ll sabotage it somehow. God, I feel like I’m describing a soap opera.

                • theattack theattack July 17, 2012, 4:53 pm

                  I would absolutely consider ending a marriage over a husband getting handsy with another woman. But either way, that seems like a really tough situation to be in… :(

                • bittergaymark bittergaymark July 17, 2012, 5:58 pm

                  Ugh, yeah. I’ve had this happen myself. And yes, they were a “straight” couple, too. I actually knew them both equally well via work. So it could have been a real nightmare. Especially since the guy was, well… SO DAMN SMOKING HOT!! But yeah, it was so very strange. See, I felt it coming for months and months, but kept talking myself out of it. I mean, yeah, it all seemed VERY wishful thinking on my part. But then, no. One drunken night at the office party he made a move on me and I let him kiss me for far, far too long a time.

                  Yeah, that was a weak moment, I admit.

                  But I was buzzing on mojitos and he would have made 1990s Jude Law feel insecure about his own good looks. We never went any further. I wish I could say I was the moral one — that I bravely took the painfully high road. But after a moment, Andy abruptly pulled away and was all: “WTF? What am I doing? Mark, Mark! I am so, so sorry. I’ve never done that before… I am so, so sorry…”

                  He was always very pleasant to me after that. Actually, yeah, I don’t think our relationship changed at all as a result. And as a writer, that interested me. Greatly. I mean, there was no pulling away. Or being overly polite. It just was what it was, I guess. I think they are still together. This was like over a decade ago and we lost touch as industry jobs come and go… I think I last ran into them at Farmer’s Market on Fairfax in 2007.

                  I often do wonder if he ever thinks about our drunken indiscretion? I know I do.

            • rilooyah rilooyah July 17, 2012, 4:41 pm

              Firestar, you are pretty awesome :o)

              • FireStar FireStar July 17, 2012, 5:25 pm

                Aww. I tell my husband that all the time …but he just looks at me funny

  • Moneypenny Moneypenny July 17, 2012, 12:47 pm

    I totally agree with the above comments, and don’t really have much to add…
    She should definitely just back away, not take his calls and keep any contact short and as minimal as possible. I sounds like he’s maybe making up reasons to talk to her, by asking questions only she’d know, and calling to chat. The big question is why- it sounds to me like it’s a boost to his ego (he’s got both his current gf -and- his ex involved in his life in some capacity), and may even like the fact that his current girlfriend has a problem with him talking to the LW. It seems like manipulation and ego stroking to me. The LW should just back away, and have as little communication with him as she can.

  • avatar Sasa July 17, 2012, 1:05 pm

    Why does he keep calling you? I don’t know. Stop thinking about HIS motives for a bit and ask yourself about yours instead: Do you care that he calls? In what way? After you talk to him, how do you feel about it? Does staying in contact with him make you happier overall, or unhappier?

    Break-ups are usually painful because they represent a major relationship readjustment. Breaking up is deciding to change relationship status. Usually what you feel for a person won’t change immediately with the status change, you need to get used to it. That’s why many people enforce a no-significant-contact rule after a break up. That makes it obvious to all involved that things have indeed changed. If you stay in touch, you might more or less consciously slip back into your relationship with your ex. Which is supposedly something you don’t want, since you’ve ended that relationship. Think about it this way: You need to manage your relationships. Don’t just let them happen. If something has turned out not to “work” in some sense, and you’ve come to end it, think hard about what else could work with this person – if anything – and tread carefully.

    I’m not friends with my one important ex. We handled the breakup poorly, and that led to a lot of awkwardness. But also, once the romance had gone, we turned out to not have enough in common for a deep friendship. But I do believe friendships with exes are possible, once you’ve fully accepted that you now have a different type of relationship. Even if you still love each other in some way you can still be friends, as long as you’ve made peace with your new relationship status, i.e. being friends. But this takes time, you need to allow your feelings to catch up with the new arrangement. You may even need to train yourself into it. If there’s no need to see your ex – you don’t have kids together, you don’t work together, or something like that – it really is easiest to just stay away from each other for a few months. By then, it will be so much easier to judge what you really want with him.

    You can also choose to stay in touch, but then you have to constantly tell yourself that now your relationship status is different. Which means, stay away from his new relationship. Be civil, be friendly, but if you catch yourself worrying about his new relationship – stop. Tell yourself, firmly, that it is none of your business. If you can’t manage that, then make it easier for yourself and keep a distance to your ex.

    Lastly, it’s completely normal to still be hung up on an ex. You’re human. So don’t judge yourself. But do your best to act in your own best interest.

  • avatar Lindsay July 17, 2012, 1:58 pm

    Totally agree with Wendy. Personally, I’d say she does know that you two have been talking. Otherwise, I don’t know why she’d care so much about a short conversation at a bar.

    Anyway, was he this much of a jerk when you two were dating? Because he’s being really disrespectful toward his own relationship. I’m not sure why you’re so intent on being his friend. Sure, maybe he misses you or is unhappy in his relationship, or genuinely wants to be friends. But he’s going about it in totally the wrong way. I suspect he jumped into this relationship way too soon.

    None of that really matters though. It’s not your fault, but it sounds like your pseudo-friendship with him is a major intrustion on his relationship with his girlfriend. And I’m not sure how helpful to you it is to hear your ex talk about how much he misses you, especially when he’s with someone.

    So, tell him you guys need some space before you can be friends, and possibly revisit the idea in the far, far future.

  • avatar Lindsay July 17, 2012, 2:01 pm

    Also, don’t talk to his girlfriend. Their relationship is none of your business. It would be rude and presumptuous of you.

  • bittergaymark bittergaymark July 17, 2012, 2:31 pm

    Yeah, I totally agree with Wendy about how the new girlfriend totally DOES know all about his ongoing need to talk with you… Hence her extremely hostile reaction to seeing him with you at the bar. Hey, I’m all for being friends with exes — but clearly, it’s NOT working here. Why? Well, for starters, you are clearly so NOT over him! (Which violates bittergaymark’s very first rule about healthily being friends with exes.) What’s worse, is you’re so NOT being honest with us or even with yourself. Your desire to tell this new girl “the truth” about how much he calls you isn’t all about “respecting” their relationship… It’s about destroying it! Walk away, LW. Walk away.

  • avatar painted_lady July 17, 2012, 3:31 pm

    First rule I have in breakups: delete them from your phone. All contact info. And ignore all calls. If you’re really worried about absolutely needing to get ahold of them, give the number to a friend and have them hold onto it for safekeeping till you’re past wanting to “be friends” for all the myriad reasons we want to be friends with exes we’ve tricked ourselves into thinking we’re over.

    I had an ex in college I tried to be friends with. I’m pretty sure I was over being attracted to him, but I wasn’t over the damage he inflicted (emotionally abusive), because if I had been over it, I’d have never wanted to be near him. As it was I had this weird need to “prove” I could be around him without giving him power. We started talking pretty frequently, about his new girlfriend (who asked him out THE DAY AFTER I dumped his ass, HOW CRAZY), and he would share really intimate details of their sex life, which was way crazier and more adventurous as I had been 19 and a virgin and pressured into sex by him, and I was incredibly uncomfortable, not out of jealousy but out of feeling inadequate and also because I didn’t have that level of comfort with him. But I continued letting him make me uncomfortable, because I was terrified that he would think I was jealous. And then I started dating someone, and he continued to do things he had done in our relationship – making me doubt how much people liked me, making me wonder if I was making good decisions in my recreational activities (I drank 3-4 drinks at parties, almost none at all any other time, didn’t have sex again for another three years), making me feel self-centered and silly – and I finally realized: I had broken up with him. He was making me miserable, and so I didn’t have to talk to him! I wasn’t proving anything by continuing a friendship with him other than that I could still let him have control over me.

    My point in sharing all of this is, you’re not proving anything by staying friends with this guy. You’re not more mature, you’re not any more over him, and you’re definitely not any happier. My guess is, liked RR said, you may not actually want to be friends with him once you get over the idea that you should be friends with him. And, if my experience say anything, probably what’s wrong with this friendship is probably pretty reflective of what was wrong with the relationship.

    So give over his contact info. If you have it memorized, then plug it into your phone in a new name like, “That Jerk Who’s Trying to Make Me Jealous.” Actually, no, just do that, because he’s the one doing the calling. It’ll remind you not to answer, and having to hit “call” with that name pulled up will probably make you feel like enough of an idiot that you’ll stop. You don’t need to explain if you don’t want to – he doesn’t need it. I didn’t give my ex one when I quit talking to him. He eventually got the point, and when he left me weird, weepy voicemails and emails? That just proved my point. Just quit answering. Quit engaging. Maybe send the girlfriend one email explaining that you’re sorry you made her uncomfortable but DON’T tattle on your ex. Only if you want, only if it will make you feel better, but then let them live their lives. She’ll figure it out eventually, or he’ll realize how dependent he was on you, or it won’t even matter because you’ll be too busy living your own life. We don’t owe exes anything – they’re exes for a reason.

    • FireStar FireStar July 17, 2012, 3:39 pm

      She doesn’t owe the new girlfriend anything either – I say an unequivocal NO to any type of contact with the new girlfriend. The LW didn’t do anything to apologise for at all and the last thing she needs is to be embroiled in relationship drama when she isn’t even a party in the relationship. There is just no good that could come from engaging the new girlfriend.

      • avatar painted_lady July 17, 2012, 3:43 pm

        Yeah, that’s definitely true. I know for me if I’m in an awkward situation, even if I didn’t do anything to cause it, I tend to go over and over it in my head and do kind of need to apologize even if it’s not my fault. Which, honestly, is my own weird issue and probably not helpful at all to anyone but me.

      • avatar lets_be_honest July 17, 2012, 3:56 pm

        But wait. Don’t only good things come from talking to your ex’s new girl/guy?!?

        • FireStar FireStar July 17, 2012, 4:06 pm

          I actually had an ex – with whom I had no contact for years – contact me because his current girlfriend wanted to ask me some questions. I felt no good was coming out of THAT!

          • avatar lets_be_honest July 17, 2012, 4:08 pm

            What’d she ask?

            • FireStar FireStar July 17, 2012, 4:20 pm

              How would I know? I told him hell no! No amount of curiosity was worth that level of awkwardness.

    • MandaNoA MandaNoA July 17, 2012, 4:42 pm

      I want to like this comment several times over.

      I’ve been in similar situations before. Where you try and force a friendship with your ex right away because you feel like you should be friends with them. Looking back I’m not sure why I ever wanted to be friends with these people. They were my ex for a reason. Since then, any time I break up with someone I make a clean break. I remove them from my phone, email and facebook because honestly I have nothing to say to them anymore. Cutting them out of my life completely helps both of us heal and move on in a healthy, non codependent way.

  • avatar Tracey July 17, 2012, 4:19 pm

    Umm…why do you keep taking the calls?

  • theattack theattack July 17, 2012, 6:34 pm

    He keeps calling because you keep answering.

  • avatar jess31 April 14, 2014, 6:24 am

    I know this post but it’s relevant to me at the moment.. It’s not so easy to let go if someone you’ve invested time and emotion into to. I was involved with Scott for four years, for some if that time unknown to me he had gone back to his ex who he known first. They now have a 6 month old baby. He contacted me a year ago after they had just got back together, he wanted to FaceTime me, ( we live 40miles apart) so we did every morning and night on the fourth day he told me she was pregnant, I was devastated! He also told me they were going to be moving in together and yet he stayed in touch all year until the baby was born even meeting me through the year to say hi, it wasn’t easy just being friends. I couldn’t take any more and told her. (Not my proudest moment, this was the 2nd time I had told her) they have stayed together. For 6 months I made no effort to contact him, I really needed to move on, but he had other ideas, he contacted me ironically on April 1st this easter holiday exactly 6 months after the baby was born. He wants to be friends and says I make him happy, he says his life is ok, not perfect, we have exchanged over 200 messages and he has video Skyped me. I am in turmoil because I need to end contact with him but feel unable to lose his friendship again. He has less time than ever and there is no future for us. I will end it, I have to, he is like a drug. Nadine his gf has no idea and I think it’s such a mess. Don’t let an ex drag you back in unless he’s free to do so. I think he’s selfish and whatever he feels is not enough to start afresh with me sadly.

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