“Should I Let My Ex Keep Calling Me?”

My long-distance ex-boyfriend and I broke up in August. He was my first true love and my first everything, so the break up hit me hard. I have been focusing on myself and trying to do the best for me, but I’m still in love with him.

After we broke up, he would occasionally call me to tell me that he loves me and misses me, so I would get my hopes up that he might want to get back together. But then one morning he called and was talking about a girl (never dropped a name, but the whole time I thought it was me). He then said he thought about asking her out and wondered how I would feel about it. He said that he doesn’t want to ruin our friendship and that he has respect for me. I told him if he wants to be with someone else, that’s fine and that it’s time for me to move on. He also mentioned that the reason he is with someone else is because he’s lonely and I am not where he is. If I were with him, I know we would be together. He even told me that I am a better person than the girl he’s interested in right now. To me, he is my best friend – he is someone I can tell anything to. I love talking to him and I keep in contact with him because I have hope that he will decide he wants me.

This all seems a little messed up though. Is it messed up that I am allowing him to call me? I allow it because I love him and miss him and I want to help him because he seems so unhappy. I believe he knows that I am still in love with him. He was happy when I mentioned I might pass through where he lives – it was the most excited I have heard him in a while – but I don’t want to keep bringing up my feelings because I don’t want to lose a friendship over it. At the same time, the more I talk with him without our being together, the sadder I feel. — Missing My Ex

He isn’t your best friend. He is someone you are in love with. You can’t be friends with someone you’re in love with who is dating other people. Either tell him you love him and want to try to have a relationship or cut contact with him so you can move on and open your heart to someone who IS available to you. This current situation you have with him isn’t healthy.

My birthday is 3-1/2 weeks away, and I’m turning 24. I’ve been with my boyfriend for 5-1/2 years. We’ve lived together for four years, and have gone through so much, including a miscarriage, his parents getting divorced, and getting our two pups together who are now two years old. By 24 I thought I’d at least be engaged, but it seems like saving money is such an issue for him. He’s always telling me he wants to get me a ring I deserve (with $7,000) but how can that happen if he never saves money? He does tell me he wants a future with me – an engagement, marriage, house, kids, etc., but I feel he’ll never propose because the goal amount for the engagement ring is ridiculously high. I’m Mexican, too, so I’m bilingual and I want to raise my future children speaking both English and Spanish, but he says English first and then they can learn Spanish later so they don’t lag behind in school. In 5-1/2 years, he’s never attempted to speak Spanish (he’s American) while all my family speaks Spanish (my mother only speaks Spanish and doesn’t speak English at all). What are you thoughts? — Ready to Be Engaged

So, this guy doesn’t save money/isn’t financially responsible, has no interest in learning a language you and your family speak, is resistant to the idea of your future children learning the language, and has set a seemingly unattainable goal price for an an engagement ring that he’s shown no initiative or motivation to ever buy. And you are eager to marry him? Do you want to marry him because he’s what you’ve always known and he’s comfortable and you’re ready to get on with the next phase of your life, or do you want to marry him because you actually think he’s a good match for you and good husband and father material? Also, 24 is still so young. What’s with the rush to get married? Have you and your boyfriend ever sat down and discussed your goals and timeline? Do you even really want the same things? And if you do, do you want them in the same timeframe? It sounds like there’s a lot of soul-searching you need to do and some big conversations you need to have with your boyfriend. And if you are expecting a surprise proposal for your birthday, I wouldn’t count on that. For better or for worse.

My boyfriend and I have been in a steady relationship for four years now. We have no doubts that we would like to get married and have a family together in the future. We met in the UK where I was born and bred. After a year or so together we both moved to Asia, where he’s from and where his family is. My plans were that this was going to be a temporary move and that we will return back to the UK after a couple years.

It has been just over two years since moving here to Asia, and during this time my partner has found his dream job with great prospects. Because of this he wishes to stay here until at least the time he has to retire. However, during these two years I have come to realize that I do not like living here at all. Living here has caused quite a bit of frustration and I am constantly homesick. His job is very demanding of him and so he has very little time to spend with me even though we live together, and during the times that he has to work I become very lonely. Because of this realization, the two of us have been discussing our future options. I am insistent that I want to move back and cannot possibly stay here until he retires. He is insistent that he wants to stay with his dream job and does not want to give it up in order to move back.

The last thing I’d want is for him to give up his dream job because of me, but I really cannot settle here. I even tried to meet him halfway by suggesting that I will stay until we have a family and our kids are ready to move back to the UK (we have agreed before that education is better in the UK). However, he has dismissed that idea by saying that he will be too old to start a career all over again at that age. We still love each other very much, but our relationship has started to deteriorate since we can no longer agree on our future together. Please can you give me any advice on how to approach this dilemma? — I Can’t Stay and He Won’t Go

You guys are at a crossroads, both unwilling to make the huge sacrifice of living where the other wants (or anywhere other than where you’d like to live). I don’t see any other option but to break up, move home, and move on. I know it’s incredibly hard, but the longer you put off the inevitable, the harder it will be. You can love someone deeply and not be perfectly matched — or matched well enough to spend your life together. Not wanting to live in the same place is a pretty big difference to overcome. I just don’t see how it CAN be overcome, without one of you feeling resentful and miserable.

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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.


  1. Anonymousse says:

    You are so great at giving the best advice in a fair and balanced way, Wendy. You all should listen to Wendy.

  2. 1) Move on.
    2) Move on.
    3) Move on.

    As usual, Wendy nailed it. Sometimes I think people know the answer and just write to get confirmation from an official expert.

  3. The language comment on #2 is really bugging me. Bilingual children do not lag behind in school. That is a made up and harmful statement. If anything it is preferable to start young (though nothing is stopping the bf from learning now) and will give them advantages in life.

    1. That bothered me, too. Starting out in life bilingual doesn’t slow down learning, and it’s MUCH easier to learn a second language from the start than to try to learn it when you are older.

  4. LW1 – I don’t think it’s “messed up,” but I think you’re doing yourself a disservice. You get that hit of dopamine when he calls, so you keep answering, but it’s keeping you from moving on even though your ex is sending you mixed signals by telling you in one breath that he loves you and that he’s seeing other women in the next. The high is followed by a crash, an then you’re sad. I know it can be hard to cut ties with someone who was a big/important/impactful part of your life, but it’s for the best!

    LW2 – I’m Mexican on my mom’s side, raised mostly in the US in a dual language household. My sister and I learned both languages at the same time and preferred Spanish until we started going to school. Studies actually show that children who learn two languages have certain cognitive advantages over those who don’t. My dad used to spend time studying his Spanish before trips to Mexico to visit my mom’s family. My boyfriend learned some Spanish in school and while he has not met most of my mom’s side of the family, he tries in Spanish around those he has been around. I think your boyfriend sounds like a moron.

  5. LW1 — what you are going through is so, so common. I’ve done it a couple times myself. And I can tell you from my own experience and that of everyone I know, you cannot be friends with an ex you are still in love with. Staying in contact right now is putting you on an eternal roller coaster of hope and disappointment. Getting off that roller coaster (by cutting off contact) feels impossible because it means giving up that hope “high” and just feeling the hurt, but you have to go through it if you are going to heal and move on. Otherwise you will stay in limbo forever, clinging to any hint of a possibility that you might be able to get back together, then being disappointed again because you ARE broken up and he IS moving on with his life.

    The only option is to cut off contact. Tell him (once) that you need to get distance from him so you can heal, you wish him well but you will not be in contact with him anymore, and then stop. Don’t call or text or respond to his calls or texts. Block him on social media. At first it will hurt like hell and then there will come a day when you realize you didn’t think about him at all. That you had a happy, fulfilling day and he wasn’t a part of it, even in your thoughts. And you will know you have finally moved on.

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