My ex recently told his niece (who happens to be a close friend of mine and my roommate) that he still loves me and wants to see me, but he also claims to love his new girlfriend. I want him to be happy even if that isn’t with me, but I’m confused by his actions. His niece told me last week that, when they were spending time together alone, he talked about me for an hour, crying, and saying how much he missed me, loves me, and that I’m the best girlfriend he has ever had. She also told me about the several times that she’s been around him with his new girlfriend and that he treats her terribly and is very cold and distant, which is very unlike him.
I wouldn’t worry about it and would just try and keep my distance except that my friend (his niece) is pregnant, currently lives with me, and wants both my ex and me to be very active in the baby’s life. He says that he wants to meet up and spend time together. As much as I would love that, I don’t feel that it’s right to disrespect his current girlfriend by doing so even if it is innocent. It’s just so hard because I still love him and I’m confused about his feelings for me and, for that matter, his motives for being with her. If he loves her, why does he treat her so terribly?
Another thing that I find odd is that he makes his relationship with her seem perfect on Facebook, yet several of our mutual friends have told me that it’s far from that. When we were together, it was obvious that we were in a relationship, but neither of us ever bragged about it or felt the need to be super cheesy in such a public way. It just doesn’t make sense to me. What is he trying to do? Is he really happy with her? Lastly and most importantly, how do I move forward? I know eventually we will have to be in the same room together and possibly around her as well. How do I not let my feelings get the best of me while being a good friend/godmother to my friend’s baby? I could really use some advice. — Missing My Ex
You have so many questions and the only person who can answer them for you is your ex. And I don’t think you can truly move forward until you have a stronger sense of closure with him and feel like some of your questions have been addressed. I say meet with him. Think of it as an “exit interview.” Ask the questions you need to ask and see how he replies. When the conversation is over, you’ll have a better idea where you stand with him, what he wants, and how the two of you can co-exist peacefully in his niece’s/your friend and roommate’s life (as well as her baby’s). Meeting with him once to seek clarity about your post-relationship status is not disrespectful to his girlfriend, especially when you still share mutual connections. The key is to keep the conversation on the two of you and to avoid questions about his relationship with his new girlfriend. (It’s ok to ask general questions about his emotional availability if your conversations lead you to believe a chance of reconciliation is possible, but steer clear of pointedly asking about his feelings for her and vice versa as that isn’t your business).
Beyond that, have you thought seriously about what it means to live with someone who has a new baby? Do you know what you’re in store for? Have you talked about how a baby in your home will affect your life and what your expected responsibilities are? Is there a plan for either of you to move out before or immediately after the baby’s birth? It seems like living with your ex’s niece, whom he remains very close to and confides in, isn’t helping you to move on. Moving out (or her moving out) would alleviate at least some of the anxiety you might have in terms of seeing and sharing space with your ex (especially if he remains an ex). You could and should also tell your friend to not talk to you about your ex anymore. And let her know that, as much as you love her and want to support her, you need some emotional, psychic and spacial distance from your ex in order to move on. That means not hearing about him and his new relationship. That means not hearing about how he talks about you in the aftermath of your split. That means avoiding being in his company as much as possible (at least for now). That means hiding his Facebook profile (or de-friending him) and asking friends to not discuss him with you anymore.
Moving on doesn’t have to be as hard as you’ve let it be. It requires boundaries. Closure certainly helps. So, get the closure, and then set the boundaries. And put yourself first. Healing your heart is a bigger priority than being a good Godmother to a baby who isn’t even here yet.
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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at [email protected].
Raccoon eyes August 25, 2014, 10:07 am
Re: the FB stuff- let it go. Don’t read into it. Everyone posts the “good” stuff and wants to appear superhappyawesome and doingcrazycoolfunhthings, and that is because life is rarely those things, an d most definitely not all the time. Defriend him, hide his posts, stop looking at it, whatever. Just stop.
Raccoon eyes August 25, 2014, 12:13 pm
Ugh, please excuse my typos. I was on my phone earlier. 😉
taurons August 25, 2014, 12:13 pm
My first thought as well (re: facebook). It’s like… he has a ‘facebook relationship’ and a relationship, they tend to be two different things no matter how good things are going IRL.
“Defriend him, hide his posts, stop looking at it, whatever. Just stop. ” – YUP.
Laura Hope August 25, 2014, 10:29 am
I think he loves you–not her. I think you hurt him pretty badly and he wants to protect himself—and make you jealous. And I think if you opened your heart to him and admitted that you made a mistake and learned from it, he’d take you back.
Emily July 17, 2017, 11:25 pm
This is absolutely true. I broke my ex’s heart. His response was to find the first woman he could & latch on like crazy. I realized how stupid I had been & set about trying to fix it. Eventually we did. He’s not my ex any more.
Norabb August 25, 2014, 10:30 am
Wait it’s his niece? In the second paragraph LW refers to her as his niece and then “my niece”
“My ex recently told his niece (who happens to be a close friend of mine and my roommate) that he still loves me and wants to see me, […] My niece told me last week that…”
JK August 25, 2014, 10:40 am
Yeah, I found this letter really hard to follow.
Dear Wendy August 25, 2014, 11:13 am
Should read in the second paragraph “his niece.” Fixed now.
Kate B. August 25, 2014, 10:32 am
Frankly. the guy sounds like a mess and I think you should avoid him.
Laura Hope August 25, 2014, 10:44 am
Oh and I have to say that the people I know with the worst relationships are the ones who gush on fb. My friends are going on and on about how lucky they are etc. etc. and I’m thinking, really? Cause all I hear is how much distance there is and how you haven’t spent 5 minutes together in the last 2 years and how it’s all hanging by a thread. Same thing with celebrities. Ever notice that as soon as a celebrity starts bragging about their sex life or renews wedding vows, a breakup is imminent?
coconot August 25, 2014, 10:48 am
Yeah you need to talk to him like Wendy said. You can’t tell anything from his actions so far and you’re trying to read way too much into things. For example, maybe he was “cold” to the gf because he didn’t want to act all lovey-dovey in front of his exes’ bff/roommate (I.e., his niece). Also, as @racoon_eyes says, everyone lies on FB to make their lives look better than they are, so his acting happy there is no revelation.
Vathena August 25, 2014, 11:40 am
You say the reason for your break-up was “something stupid”, but it couldn’t have been that stupid if you ended a live-in relationship over it. It’s important to really consider your motives for breaking up and moving out in the first place. Were you picking a fight and looking for a reason to break up, when the real issue was deeper (lack of trust, communication, consideration? Something you couldn’t define?) Has the problem resolved? Do you even want to get back together? You don’t seem to know what you want here. WWS, but first decide if you want to get back together or if you want to move on. Don’t play games.
Also, I’d be wary of the character of a person who “loves” his girlfriend of 2.5 months, but treats her like crap. Not a mark in his favor.
Diablo August 25, 2014, 12:07 pm
Everything you need to know about him: he treats his new girlfriend badly. So he treats people badly even though they don’t deserve it. He’s close to unfaithful to her by confessing his feelings for you.
Everything he needs to know about you: you broke up with him over something you now see as silly. So either it was for a silly reason or there are deeper issues you are not admitting to yourself or to DW.
Ergo, neither of you should be in a a relationship until you sort your heads out. Be friendly but move on.
Vathena August 25, 2014, 12:15 pm
something random August 25, 2014, 12:22 pm
This is off topic but I’m curious. Has anybody EVER known someone who had a complete break up and then they got back together with their partner and it ultimately worked out? I personally haven’t seen it which is why I’m in the move one camp. But maybe it can and does happen?
JK August 25, 2014, 12:26 pm
My husband and I broke up about 2 months into dating. But it only lasted like a week.
muchachaenlaventana August 25, 2014, 12:42 pm
My boyfriend and I broke up after 4 months of serious dating and were broken up completely with no contact for about two months before reconnecting. We have been back together about a year now and are super happy, not sure about long long term but I think it *can* work for some people. I know another couple who this happened to after years together and actually being engaged for a bit…they were apart for 6 months while she “found herself” and just welcomed a baby girl and are happier than ever.
ktfran August 25, 2014, 12:47 pm
I broke up with someone for two days. Then we communicated appropriately, got back together, dated for another year plus, got engaged, I called it off.
IDK, I think it can work, but I also think it depends on the reason you broke up in the first place. Communication and timing are two of the best examples I can think of. Timing being the number one. Like mucha’s example. She wasn’t ready, i.e., finding herself, but when she was ready, he was also available and so it worked.
JK August 25, 2014, 12:50 pm
Yeah, in my case my then BF felt like he was going through the motions, being with me. So I broke up ith him, he realized he was miserable without me. And that was that.
Dear Wendy August 25, 2014, 12:24 pm
I’ve seen it happen! I am thinking of one couple in particular who broke up at least once for a few months, got back together and eventually married and had two kids. They remain very happy!
Marcie August 25, 2014, 1:38 pm
My husband and I broke up while we were dating and didn’t talk for 11 months! We’ve been married for 8 years and are doing really well.
mylaray August 25, 2014, 2:24 pm
My husband and I also broke up. We broke up several times actually and then once for good because of timing and communication. It took awhile before we even started talking again but once we resolved those issues with ourselves and each other, it was like night and day. I’ve actually heard that many married couples have had a breakup before really committing to each other.
Portia August 25, 2014, 2:41 pm
It’s not something I talk about much, but me and Bassanio broke up just after the 3-year mark for about 3 months. Totally cut off contact, each dated other people, the whole nine yards. We just celebrated 9 years (I guess it’s been about 5 and a half years since the breakup) and are very happy. I’ve been getting the feeling in recent years that there was a time back when my parents were dating and living in different states when they broke up, but getting details like that is like pulling teeth in my family. They’ve been married over 30 years. And now that I’ve started thinking about it, I know a ton of couples who have broken up for months or years while they were dating only to go on and have long, successful marriages (for sure 2 friend’s parents I can think of off the top of my head).
Anyway, I have seen it happen and I’ve gone through it myself. I think on the whole people don’t necessarily talk about it a lot, especially if it happened years and years ago.
something random August 25, 2014, 10:47 pm
Wow, who knew? Thanks for all of the replies. It just goes to show how easy it is to oversimplify and prejudge situations. I’ve known three instances where couples have gotten back together and it didn’t work out. But I think in all three relationships the fundamental conflicts were never resolved and getting together was more about backsliding than insight. But its good hear about stories that challenge the idea that relationships are black/white, good/bad, healthy/toxic, right/wrong. People are more complicated than that and its good to remember relationships are, too. Congrats to all you real, colorful, fluid couples.
Marcie August 26, 2014, 11:17 am
I know quite a few other couples who have broken up and gotten back together and are happily married.
bittergaymark August 25, 2014, 12:23 pm
Happy to hear about yet another baby growing up in such a sane environment! Yay! Beyond that — eh, not worthy of comment.
ktfran August 25, 2014, 12:37 pm
Meh. I’m in the MOA camp. This all sounds like too much drama.
Moneypenny August 25, 2014, 1:05 pm
The most telling thing to me in this is that he doesn’t treat the women in his life well. He’s being cold and distant to his girlfriend of 2 months, when that should really be the honeymoon period where everything is rosy and awesome all the time. Plus, he’s confessing feelings for you, while he’s dating this other woman, which is confusing for you and clearly making your life complicated. Not a good sign, or a sign of good character in a guy. I’d try hard to distance myself from him as much as possible.
Lucy August 25, 2014, 1:14 pm
Why would you even want this guy back? He sounds like a manipulative, passive aggressive jerk.