Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“He Didn’t Tell His Ex He Has a New Girlfriend”

Heart shaped rope on white

My boyfriend, whom I’m very happy with, has told me about his big ex, a girl he literally chased for two years. They were together for two years before she cheated on him. That was five years ago. The other day I was texting him and suddenly he stopped replying for over an hour. It was kinda weird because we text each other all day long. When he finally replied, he told me he was at the dog park. I thought it was weird that he didn’t text me, but I figured that he was busy with the dogs. That night he told me that he had run into his ex at the park and they had talked for over an hour. While he was ignoring my texts.

He learned all about her divorce and everything she’s done since they last spoke. I asked if he talked about me and he said no. During an entire hour-long conversation the fact that he’s taken, in love, and LIVING WITH his girlfriend never came up? He never volunteered that information? Hmm. So I asked him if they exchanged numbers and they did. This is a woman he actually cheated on another girlfriend with a few years ago!

Anyway, the very next day she texts him “heeeyyyyyy” and he responds with “sup dawg,” and I nearly lost it. I told him I was not okay with him having any kind of contact with her whatsoever. EVER. He said that was fine and he wouldn’t talk to her. To his credit, he hasn’t returned her texts. He’s just ignoring her, which gets the job done, but I really wish he would TELL her why he isn’t talking to her. He says ignoring her is good enough. I cannot figure out why telling this woman he has a girlfriend and can’t talk to her is such a problem for him. He also doesn’t think there was any betrayal in his actions. No, he didn’t cheat on me, but the situation and his actions feel shady and I can’t get that out of my head. Am I crazy? Am I taking this too seriously? — Betrayed at the Dog Park

This is more than your boyfriend not telling his “big ex” that you exist. This is also your freaking out because your boyfriend stops responding to your texts for an hour. This is about your apparent reading of all his texts. This is about your boyfriend having a history of cheating (and cheating specifically with this person). This is about your not trusting your boyfriend. Your boyfriend agreeing not to speak to his ex isn’t going to fix that. Even his telling her he’s with you isn’t going to fix it. You don’t trust him. You didn’t trust him BEFORE he ran into his ex at the dog park (hence, thinking it’s weird not hearing from him for an hour), and then you freaked out when you found out whom he ran into and what he neglected to tell her in their long, personal conversation that included lots of relationship updates from her.

Not only do you not trust your boyfriend, but you probably aren’t feeling terribly important to him either. He didn’t even mention he was in love? Isn’t that kind of a big deal? If you’re going to have a big catch-up with someone you haven’t seen in a long time, isn’t that something you mention? … Except for when there’s a conflict of interest, right? Isn’t that what you’re thinking? That he didn’t tell his ex about you because you are a conflict of interest? The other interest, of course, being HER. She’s divorced now, after all.

I don’t think you’re crazy, but I do think you’re probably in the wrong relationship. And I think you probably know that. But I also know there’s probably not much I or anyone else can say to persuade you to get out, so I’ll simply say this: If there weren’t a conflict of interest, your boyfriend would have mentioned you to his ex. There’s a reason he didn’t. Stay with him and your fears over what that reason is will surely be confirmed. And if they aren’t confirmed, you’ll drive yourself crazy looking for signs of confirmation. Because you don’t trust your boyfriend. And regardless of any big ex in the picture, that’s reason alone to MOA.

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

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

37 comments… add one
  • avatar

    Sara September 22, 2015, 8:15 am

    This. This for every person who writes in thinking their S.O. is cheating:

    1) Stay with him and your fears over what that reason (for suspicion) is will surely be confirmed.
    2)And if they aren’t confirmed, you’ll drive yourself crazy looking for signs of confirmation

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    • avatar

      anonymousse September 22, 2015, 9:00 am

      Absolutely. LW, you deserve a relationship where you can trust your partner. If you don’t, it’s not worth your heartache and paranoia.

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  • avatar

    Rachel September 22, 2015, 9:04 am

    Wendy is right. I was scared to leave the wrong relationship for a long time, worried that I wasn’t enough for him (I wasn’t) and that he was going to cheat on me (he may have, and he definitely crossed lines.) Now I’m with someone who I trust, who tells me all the time how wonderful I am and how I’m all he wants. If that’s what you want, don’t waste more time with this guy. A better match is out there, though I know it’s hard to see that when you’re in the wrong relationship for so long.

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  • avatar

    Moe P September 22, 2015, 9:15 am

    I agree with Wendy, but I also feel that it is important to get to a place where you see how unhealthy it is to text all day with someone and feel mistrusting if you haven’t heard from him in an hour. I am not saying that you SHOULD trust him, but that going forward, in a healthy relationship, a healthy level of space can be maintained with out a feeling of mistrust brewing.

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  • avatar

    PumpkinSpice September 22, 2015, 9:44 am

    Moe P. your comment is perfect. You don’t need to talk all day constantly with someone. That gets old and annoying real fast. What do you have to talk about when you get home? But, that is beside the point. This is not the relationship for you. MOA, and find someone deserving of your love and affection. If there is no trust, there is no relationship, PERIOD.

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  • avatar

    Essie September 22, 2015, 9:46 am

    There’s really only one reason that he wouldn’t mention you. He wanted her to think he was available. Think about it – if you met up with an old friend you hadn’t seen since he came into your life, wouldn’t you be happily babbling away about your great boyfriend?

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    • avatar

      dinoceros September 22, 2015, 9:50 am

      Especially since she talked about her divorce. One, he knows she’s available too. Two, talking about relationships is clearly not off limits for them.

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  • avatar

    dinoceros September 22, 2015, 9:49 am

    I cringed at the line about not texting for an hour because that in itself shouldn’t be an issue. But aside from that, yeah, he seems shady. If you have to tell your boyfriend he can’t do something, I feel like you’ve already lost the battle. Because he may very likely, especially someone who is a cheater, just lie to you. If you’re concerned enough that talking will lead to something else, then the problem is going to be there regardless of what rules you set up. I’d just move on. I personally couldn’t trust a former cheater regardless of who was in the picture now.

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  • TaraMonster

    TaraMonster September 22, 2015, 9:49 am

    Yeah I agree with Wendy. Ordinarily, I’d think freaking out over an hour of radio silence is kind of nutty- but you are not freaking out in a vacuum and this is not a case of unsubstantiated jealousy. I think a lot of people can relate to this feeling- and it isn’t only infidelity that causes it. It’s caused by that person not actually being committed to you. It’ll make you mental, especially when you’re head over heels for that person. But it is NOT worth it. When you finally make the decision to leave him and look back on the situation, you will see with crystal clear clarity all the ways he’s not a good match for you. It SUCKS. I understand, but living in a constant state of anxiety over your status in his life sucks even more. It’s no way to live.

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    • Raccoon eyes

      Raccoon eyes September 22, 2015, 10:27 am

      Yeah, I think it goes without saying that the LW thinks that her bf is still hung up on this “big ex.” (Ladies, Note to Self: if a dude has a “big ex” or somesuch nonsense, it is time to run immediately in the other direction.) Is he? Who knows, but I think it is very possible. This isnt healthy, no matter what. LW, do you really want the specter of her always looming over your relationship? (Either in your head or the possibility that it is in his head?) Then Im with the majority here in that it sounds like your relationship has run its course. In the future, remember that it is better to find a guy you that you dont have to “mommy,” either through constant interaction or by reading his texts.

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  • avatar

    Ale September 22, 2015, 10:19 am

    She doesn’t say that she freaked out over the one hour silence on texts. She states that she found it weird because they text all the time, and he just stopped texting her for one hour without saying anything before.
    I can understand that because my BF and I are in touch all the time and everytime he is going to stop texting me he announces it, so a one-hour silence could be weird for me too.
    Later on, she found out the reason for the silence over texts. And I think she is totally right to not trust the guy. He stopped texting her for one hour because taking out his phone to answer would have been a topic of conversation for her, like “So, who are you texting?”. He is obviously making himself available to her. There is no way, with her talking about her divorce and her love life, that the question “so, are you seeing anyone?” didn’t come up.
    But, hey! At least he is telling you the truth about his encounter and what they talked about. That way you can make an informed decision.

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    • avatar

      K September 22, 2015, 10:42 am

      “There is no way, with her talking about her divorce and her love life, that the question “so, are you seeing anyone?” didn’t come up.” – this. I ran into an ex in the grocery store a few months ago and one of the first things he asked me is if I was seeing anyone, and then after I told him about my boyfriend, I asked him the same. It’s a natural thing to ask and definitely a red flag that he would hide his relationship.

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  • avatar

    RedRoverRedRover September 22, 2015, 10:49 am

    I have an ex who lives overseas (he lived local when we were dating). In the couple of years after we broke up due to his move back home, we would meet up whenever one of us was crossing the ocean, and usually we’d hook up. The last time we made plans to meet up, he didn’t tell me that he had a girlfriend. And the plan was for me to stay at his place, too! He didn’t tell me till it was clear that I was interested in hooking up again. I guess it was awkward because I hadn’t talked to him for about 8 months before that, and it seemed presumptuous to him to just be like “I have a girlfriend” when he didn’t know what my interest was.
    .
    Anyway, my point is that I think it’s possible that he just didn’t mention it because he felt awkward, or maybe because if she’s upset about her divorce it seems odd to be like, “well MY relationship’s going great”. Especially if she’s the one who did most of the talking and he was listening/commiserating, it’s hard to butt in with “by the way I have a girlfriend who I love and I live with her”.
    .
    Be that as it may, the lack of trust is still the big issue here. If the LW doesn’t trust him, well, that’s the death knell of the relationship. You can’t continue on without trust.

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    • avatar

      girltuesday September 22, 2015, 10:59 am

      I totally agree with this. Sometimes it’s just awkward to bring up, but LW doesn’t trust him and he doesn’t seem totally willing to work on this problem with her. I’m trying to think of what I would do. If I had a big ex and I saw him – and my boyfriend wasn’t stoked about him and I was totally in love with my SO, I would be like, “SO, I hear you. I won’t talk to him anymore and the next time he talks to me I’ll be sure to tell him why I’m choosing not to meet up/chat/whatever.”

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  • avatar

    marynn September 22, 2015, 11:00 am

    I don’t know. Maaaaaaybe he didn’t want to rub his relationship in her face, after she told him she had gotten a divorce? Anyway, that’s the only part where I would give him the benefit of the doubt. I keep thinking about whether I would talk about this with my ex and I don’t think I would.

    The “didn’t text for an hour” is a bit extreme on the LW part, because if he had run into anyone else, this could have happened as well. She makes it sound like some kind of big deal when it’s really not unless you are already suspect. BUT I can totally relate. The last months with my now ex-boyfriend I used to text him like crazy. Kind of, like I already knew the relationship was deteriorating and somehow made it worse so it would explode? I don’t know. Since then, the fewer the texts the better.

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    • avatar

      Kaluu September 22, 2015, 12:41 pm

      The sup dawg and the history with this person (and with cheating!) are the biggest red flags for me.

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      • Monkeysmommy

        Monkeys mommy September 22, 2015, 8:37 pm

        It was the heeeyyyyy for me- multiple repeat letters spell trouble lol

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  • juliecatharine

    juliecatharine September 22, 2015, 11:31 am

    The LW’s gut is telling her everything she needs to know. If she felt secure in her guy’s allegiance to her the run in with the ex and the hour long interruption to texting wouldn’t be more than a blip on the radar. If you’re living with someone you should feel secure, she doesn’t. What else does she need to know?

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  • avatar

    LisforLeslie September 22, 2015, 11:57 am

    I think the LW merely provided a note, not a freakout, of the hour gap in texting. It was a change in a pattern that was odd until explained and then led to concerns. I’m sure that it was normal to not text during movies, naps, work etc. In this case, he put her in his pocket (literally) and took her out again when he finished catching up with the ex. Had he acknowledged the texts during his covnersation he would have had to admit to a serious relationship. He didn’t have to greet the ex with “Hi nice to see you I have a girlfriend now!” but I’m sure in an hours discussion, something would have come up that could have led to him mentioning a serious relationship. I say shady.

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  • FireStar

    FireStar September 22, 2015, 12:16 pm

    Catch up sessions usually involve – I dunno – catching up on what is going on in the other person’s life. So if he didn’t mention you during the “what’s new with you?” portion of events…he didn’t want to. There is no awkwardness in mentioning you if there is no expectation of something more from her…contact/interest/jump starting again – whatever. A girl friend and a secure relationship could have slammed the door on that phone number he got, especially given their back and forth-ish history. I don’t understand your insistence on him telling her he has a girlfriend. That didn’t stop them last time. Ignoring her seems the better option – if nothing else it will make her irritated with him as opposed to him saying I can’t talk to you anymore because my girlfriend doesn’t want me to…which puts the reason for ending communication on an insecure girlfriend as opposed to something he wants to do. But anyway, your bigger fish to fry is why he wanted to leave a window of opportunity open with her.

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  • avatar

    anonymousse September 22, 2015, 12:44 pm

    I think just the fact that they had time and non-awkwardness enough to exchange phone numbers, pretty much negates any awkwardness there could have been with telling her he was in a relationship. He purposefully didn’t tell her, and he purposefully told you that. To me, he’s not being subtle at the implications. How do you know he’s ignoring her?
    I spent a long time with a man who cheated with numerous people on me. I knew, in my gut, but I always believed him… And I drove myself nuts with paranoia, snooping, whatever horrible behavior you can imagine. Yes, I was young and naive…And I didn’t want to believe it. It’s not worth it. Even if he is being honest, you will never be able to 100% trust him. You can’t even trust him to mention you to old girlfriends.

    MOA. If you do have issues with trust, don’t date guys who admit to having had numerous affairs. You’ll always wonder.

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  • avatar

    Texas T September 22, 2015, 1:10 pm

    I am so sorry sweetie. My heart hurts for you.
    MOA like Wendy said. She is right. You deserve better. =(

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  • Moneypenny

    Moneypenny September 22, 2015, 1:20 pm

    I have to completely agree with Wendy. This big freakout is really coming from a place of mistrust. And your gut telling you something isn’t right. I have TOTALLY been there. And it sucks a TON. There’s a deeper issue here. And if you can’t trust your boyfriend, then the relationship doesn’t have much to stand on, unfortunately.

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  • avatar

    McLovin September 22, 2015, 2:03 pm

    I find it hard to believe that in the hour they spent at the park that the ex didn’t once ask “so, are you seeing anyone?” Obviously, they talked about relationships since she told him that she’s now divorced. He consciously decided not to mention that he’s living with someone, which is pretty shitty.

    The reality is that he’s probably weighing his options now, and started the minute he found out that she’s single again. Time to cut this one loose and save yourself a lot of drama and bullshit. Make the decision for him and end things on your terms if he doesn’t seem to respect your relationship.

    Do people really text each other all day long? Sounds like a lot of work.

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  • norabb

    norabb September 22, 2015, 4:53 pm

    WWS. I’m surprised she didn’t go in on her more about freaking out about him not texting for an hour. I was taken aback at how much LW thinks its healthy to be THAT obsessed with her boyfriend’s whereabouts that she can’t even handle him not texting her for a minute. And she’s so mad about “sup dawg”??? So what??? That is the most innocuous text message ever. It is so so so so unhealthy to be so controlling.

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  • bittergaymark

    bittergaymark September 22, 2015, 6:12 pm

    Eh, that so many women now want up to the minute updates of where their men are and what they are doing is probably the biggest reason men fucking dump them — or at the very least entertain thoughts of returning to an ex.
    .
    This LW is just drama, drama, drama.
    I have a headache after just reading this…
    .
    Also, if somebody is telling me about their divorce, I don’t necessarily launch into how fabulous MY love life is. But then… I am not a woman… 😉

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    • mrmidtwenties

      mrmidtwenties September 23, 2015, 7:28 am

      I”m with you BGM, if my girlfriend acted like this crazy person, well she wouldn’t be my girlfriend. Also if I ran into my exes, I would put it at a 50/50 chance that whether I had a girlfriend or not would come up. I don’t know about everyone else, but I have enough going on in my life to catch up about that depending on where the conversation steered, my current girlfriend might not be mentioned.

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      • avatar

        Anonymous September 23, 2015, 5:37 pm

        And what stopped him from texting/saying later on ‘Just hanging with my gf’ when the ex asked what he was doing ?

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  • avatar

    jr September 23, 2015, 5:56 am

    who the heck says “sup dawg” anymore?

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    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom September 23, 2015, 7:40 am

      Besides no one saying it anymore, it doesn’t sound like an I’d love to get back together with you greeting. Unless I’m missing something, which I certainly could be, it sounds more like the way he’d talk to a male friend, unless that was what he actually used to call her.

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom September 23, 2015, 7:21 am

    I have run into people who give a data dump. Sometimes because their need to talk to someone, anyone, is so high and sometimes I think it is because the person is self-absorbed. They give a monologue on their life and don’t ask anything about yours. If he was in that situation there may have been little room to talk about his own relationship. He may have found trading numbers the easiest way to get out of there. Whatever the situation, you clearly don’t trust him and that is the basis for the entire problem. Trust is at the foundation of every relationship. Without trust there is no solid, happy relationship. Without trust there is only stress and unhappiness.

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    • avatar

      RedRoverRedRover September 23, 2015, 8:10 am

      This is exactly what I was thinking. Some people don’t let you get a word in edgewise, especially if you yourself are not a huge talker. If my husband came home with this story I’d think nothing of it. The fact that she freaks out over it shows that the relationship is in trouble, due to lack of trust.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom September 23, 2015, 8:33 am

        It is also incredibly telling about this relationship that she jumped to the conclusion that he would now cheat on her because the ex girlfriend is available. She didn’t show any concern for her boyfriend. She didn’t ask how it felt to run into the person who cheated on him and hurt him and left him for the other guy. She didn’t ask if he was okay. She didn’t ask how he felt when he learned she was divorced. I’m assuming he probably felt like he got a bit of revenge, or karma, not of his own making, but it could be quite pleasant to find out that the relationship you were cheated on and left for didn’t work. Even if he had a ha ha moment it doesn’t mean he wants to get back together with her. The LW showed no concern for her boyfriend and what it was like for him at that time. She just jumped to he is setting things up to cheat on me so unless there is more to the story it seems like she is somewhat self-absorbed herself. She could have wrapped her arms around him and asked if he was ok.
        .
        LW Are the two of you part of a group of friends who tend to cheat on their partners? It seems like you expect cheating and so you see cheating or the potential for cheating. This says as much about your history and your surroundings as it does about your current relationship. This incident definitely shows that you don’t trust your boyfriend.

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      • avatar

        RedRoverRedRover September 23, 2015, 8:56 am

        Totally agree with this.

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      • avatar

        dinoceros September 23, 2015, 5:29 pm

        So, the way I read the letter, he cheated on a previous girlfriend with the ex he ran into at the dog park. I didn’t catch anywhere where he was cheated on, just that he was the cheater — specifically with that particular woman.

        Sure, people change, and you can’t base your opinion on someone solely on what they did in the past. But if you cheat, then I think that you have to deal with the fact that people might not trust you. I can see why the LW might be paranoid about this since she knows he’s capable of it.

        Personally, I wouldn’t feel like I owed my boyfriend comfort and concern in this situation. Unless I had experienced abuse or something, I wouldn’t expect my boyfriend to express empathy just because I saw an ex.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom September 23, 2015, 7:51 pm

        “They were together for two years before she cheated on him.”

        She says that the ex cheated on the current boyfriend. If he hadn’t been cheated on by her then it would all make more sense to be concerned and the fact that he himself has cheated on past girlfriends would also be concerning but she chose to date him in spite of his history. In essence she is saying that she believes that if he could have any girlfriend he wants he would choose the ex. Through her actions and words she is showing that she believes he is only currently with her because the woman he actually wanted to be with was unavailable. She is worried because now that woman is available and she seems to be assuming that her boyfriend is making himself available. If he is doing that then she should move on because the relationship isn’t there and if he isn’t doing that she has nothing to worry about.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom September 23, 2015, 7:59 pm

        This comes down to not trusting him because she chose to date a guy who cheated on another girlfriend in the past. She didn’t let that stop her from dating him but now she doesn’t trust him when the same woman he cheated with becomes available. I wouldn’t assume that he would run back to her because she did cheat on him and then married the guy she cheated with. That must hurt and I would hope it would change his opinion of her, permanently. If he is willing to go back to her the LW may as well know it now because their relationship was one that would never last and she should move on. If he is through with the ex then the LW has nothing to worry about. Her thought process when she found out about the encounter pretty much sums up the state of their relationship. She doesn’t trust him.

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