They have been apart for ten years, but he still invites her on his family vacations and they planned a family vacation to the Bahamas this May. My boyfriend’s whole family is going — it is a 25-year anniversary party for his sister and brother-in-law. He did invite me to go, but I’m not able to. I have never met the ex. She calls constantly (not about the child), she posts messages and pictures on his Facebook, and she texts sometimes at 2-3 AM. My boyfriend does not see a problem with any of this. He tells me that he is not attracted to her and they are just friends.
They were planning on sharing a cabin together on the ship with their son and I said, no, he needed to get his own room.
I don’t think she should be going on family vacations with him and his family. She spends holidays with his family and travels to see my boyfriend’s sisters and brothers that are out of state.
I told my boyfriend that if he doesn’t tell her that she is uninvited on the cruise to the Bahamas, we are over. I think this is a deal-breaker. And I told him that he needs to set boundaries with her. He says he wants to talk to a counselor first before he makes any decisions on this. He also thinks that she may become vindictive and try to take him back to court for more child support. It sounds like he is scared of her.
We fight about this daily and need some advice. Please let me know what your thoughts are. Am I being totally ridiculous? I am also jealous she spends time with his family and I don’t. I think the family needs to set boundaries, top, when we get married…if we get married. — A Few Things to Work Out
Why on earth are you discussing marriage with a man you’ve been dating a handful of months and with whom you argue on a daily basis?! This is not anywhere close to the point you should be at in a relationship for marriage to be an appropriate next step… or even an appropriate topic of conversation. When people say they have a “few things to work on” before getting married, they might mean figuring out what kind of wedding they want or whether both parties agree on what house to live in; they don’t usually mean that “there’s another woman in the picture who calls all hours of the day and night, shares rooms with my boyfriend when they go on vacation together, and spends holidays with my future in-laws.”
Obviously, this goes well beyond having a few things to figure out. This is more like: Your guy really isn’t available to you in the way you want him to be. He’s still involved with another woman, whether he’s attracted to her or not. His life is very much intertwined with hers and you… well, maybe you’re the woman he has sex with, but you aren’t the woman he’s made, or is interested in making, a life with. You have A LOT to figure out before you even contemplate being serious with him, let alone marry him. And the truth is, the unorthodox arrangement your boyfriend has with his ex may simply work for them and they aren’t interested in changing it. I think your boyfriend’s hesitation to “set boundaries,” as you say, is a pretty strong indication of that and that you were right to set a deal-breaker for yourself. Now you need to be strong and hold to it and actually MOA if/when your deal is broken.
About three weeks ago, he told me that he couldn’t be in a relationship because he had “a lot of personal things to figure out before he could love someone.” It was hard on me because it came out of left field. However, we decided to remain friends (as we had only been together a short while), and we still talked almost every day. When we did communicate, he was usually the one reaching out first. Recently, he has been reaching out more, and we just spent an entire day together jumping from one activity to the next (batting cages to drinks to dinner to driving around admiring beautiful homes). He made several comments about “doing this again,” and the entire day I felt like there was still something there between us. He’s also not the type of guy to play games or string me along. It didn’t seem like things were any different than when we were dating. I’m not sure if I can be misreading things. I have never stayed friends with an ex before; therefore, I don’t know if he’s just being friendly, versus pursuing me.
I just don’t know if I should say something to him or just see what happens? — Polar Opposites
The “personal things [he needs] to figure out before he [can] love someone” signify whether he’s ready to rule out sleeping with and dating multiple women. He realized you were getting close to being, or already at a point that you might like to be, exclusive and committed and he was not. Rather than “string you along,” he told you a half-truth — that he has things he has to figure out before he can be in a relationship. The rest of the truth is that now that he knows you aren’t expecting a commitment from him, he’s happy to keep dating you and maybe even being intimate if you’ll go there with him, but he’s also doing that with other women, too. If you’re cool with that, carry on. If you’re not, 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].