Your Turn: “He Talks About Me to His Ex”

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In a feature I call “Your Turn,” in which you, the readers, get to answer the question, I’m presenting the following letter without commentary from me:

My boyfriend and I have been together for about six months, and apart from a few difficulties here and there he is a wonderful person. He’s beautiful and full of light and love.

However, recently he started talking to his ex. And the only thing he mentioned to her about me was that “she’s young and it shows sometimes.” I have to admit that really hurt me because he is constantly telling me how amazing and wonderful I am and that he loves me, but the only thing he tells his ex is something negative about me.

It doesn’t feel right. I feel like we are getting distant, and the other night for the first time he couldn’t maintain an erection during sex. This is also the first time we have been intimate since he starting talking to this woman again.

I feel petty and insecure, and it could possibly be my hangups that are causing the problems, but I don’t know if my feelings are rational or irrationally based off of jealousy. He won’t talk about his exes at all with me. All I know about her is that they lived together and she broke up with him. Safe to say, I’m confused. — Young But Trying


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  1. spark_plug says:

    This is why I don’t date guys who talk to their ex’s on a regular basis. Unless they have some special relationship that requires friendship (like they were childhood neighbors and bffs while growing up and want to keep the friendship going) or are casual friends that hang out sometimes (AND I’m included in these hang outs). But if a guy is talking to his ex.. just to talk.. not cool.

    1. Tell me this… Ive been with my guy for 10 years. he talks to his exes all the time. Well ive been there for him for some really really bad and hard times . Recently he used one of my old phones so when i went to use it i saw where he had left his messenger up . The messages he sent to his ex was that i was never much help to him after i was there thru a very difficult time (seriously bad time)where i was about the only one standing by him, and the other was where after he had a heartattack and i took care of him he went and met up with his ex. How am i suppose to deal with that?

  2. Sunshine Brite says:

    I wish you would’ve included some ages as you mentioned young but also that he’s old enough to at least be in his early 20s… and maybe a bit more context because I find the letter overall confusing.

    He doesn’t sound like the right person for you. If it doesn’t feel right, it doesn’t feel right. You’re only 6 months in to someone who doesn’t want to share his past with you. It seems like he may be compartmentalizing parts of his life, but if you’re asking for specific information like how long did you date your ex, how long did you live together, etc. it’s less understandable he’s not providing what you’re looking for.

    It almost sounds like you’re trying to force this relationship.

  3. artsygirl says:

    Umm why is your BF talking to his ex? Also, how do you know what he said about you to her? Did he tell you? No matter what, I get shady vibes from this situation. You need to sit your BF down and explain that you are not comfortable with him talking to an ex, especially about you.

    1. llclarityll says:

      Agreed. Why does she know nothing about his exes either?


  4. If someone wants to maintain a friendship with an ex, I think significant others should be respectful of that. Sometimes people want to remain friends or friendly for whatever reason, and as long as a boyfriend is up front about it, it shouldn’t be a problem. HOWEVER, it isn’t normal for your boyfriend to talk to his ex all the time (not sure if that’s what is happening) and say negative things about you. He owes you respect that he isn’t giving you. You are his girlfriend, which means YOUR needs and feelings should come before his exes. This whole situation sounds off. Some people get irrationally jealous about exes, but you don’t sound like one of them based on your letter. I say MOA, but if you feel you absolutely NEED to give this guy a chance to prove himself, tell him how uncomfortable this makes you and see how he reacts. If he doesn’t change his behavior or dismisses your concerns (both of which I think are very likely, sad to say), MOA.

    1. I don’t think I would say MOA at this point but I do agree with being friendly with exes (if you want to be that is). It’s one thing to meet up for the occasional lunch etc. (like spaced apart) but it’s not ok to meet up on a regular basis or of anything deeper than coffee or lunch. I would talk to your bf about your concerns of him saying negative things about you to his ex and if he’s seeing her regularly well that’s inappropriate.

      I sometimes grab coffee with my most recent ex. That being said we are going to be working in the same field from now on so I feel a little more obliged to be friendly, not friends, but friendly.

      1. The friendliness with an ex didn’t concern me. But, I’m also not really the jealous type, so I don’t tend to think much of friendly exes. The detail about her boyfriend saying negative things about her to his ex concerned me. Either she has some sort of proof that he said it OR she’s convinced that he did. The former is a sign to MOA, the latter is something that, in my experience, jealous people typically have a hard time overcoming so I think she may be better off finding a guy who doesn’t believe in maintaining friendships with exes. Just my opinion, though, and likely projecting after an experience with an insanely jealous ex who did NOT know how to stop letting his mind go straight to the “worst case scenario” no matter what I did to ease his mind.

      2. I think it’s a MOA situation… if after just 6 months your SO feels more comfortable sharing negative feelings about you with others (i.e. gossiping – which is shitty communication at any age) than bringing it to your attention to deal with as a couple CUT AND RUN. It only gets harder, and if in the beginning there are problems the best way to solve them is to recognize that’s why you are merely dating and MOVE ON 🙂

  5. How did you find out he told his ex that?

    1. The likely answer is that she snoops through his email.

  6. Can I just ask, how do you know what he said to your ex?

    1. HIS ex obviously!

      But I see muffy already asked that question soooo….

    2. Young But Trying says:

      He left the MSN convo up on his laptop. I asked to use it to print something off and it was there. To be clear, I am not the snooping type. But aftet I saw what he said about me, I read the rest. I don’t really feel ashamed over that either. By the way. I am 21 he is 28.

  7. Agree with the others. Why is he talking to his ex and how do you know what he said to her? That’s weird.

    I’m one of the commenters on here that is usually more liberal with men and women, including exes, being friends because there is honestly no room in my life to worry about that kind of stuff. It takes too much negative energy.

    But your brief letter, without more detail, set off warning bells. You need to have a conversation and if he doesn’t ease your mind, I would honestly MOA. Life is too short to spend time wondering and worrying and dissecting and analying every little thing. The reason you do that is because you know something is off, but you still hope that it’s not the case.

  8. I have more questions than answers for this letter 🙁

    In order that I thought them:

    -Well, how old ARE you?

    -How do you know what your boyfriend said to his ex about you? Did he tell you, or did you find out through some–uh–other means? (Snooping? Look, it happens, but I wish LWs would actually cop to it instead of being all vague)

    -When did this man & his ex break up? Immediately before you started dating? Or did they each have a few months (at least) to process the end of what seems to have been a pretty serious relationship?

    Now I’ll try to address some of the concerns you mentioned, “Young But Trying”. I’m guessing your man & his ex still have a friendly relationship, & if his conversations aren’t full of longing– or veering into inappropriate topics– then I (personally!) don’t think that their talking is such a big deal (I’m sure others might disagree). “She’s young and it shows sometimes” also isn’t THAT insulting. Is he a few years older? MUCH older? Then realistically, the age difference WILL show.

    I’m 25 & when I’m interacting with, say, a 20-year-old, there are tiny little moments when I go, “Oh, right. This person is…twenty.” It just means that most of the time, I forget that they’re so young. I’m pretty sure the comment your boyfriend made is just a way to illustrate that “ah, I forgot– this girl is a bit younger than me.”

    Now, is it problematic that he’s saying this to his ex? Possibly, but there’s not really enough details in your letter to discern that.

    Your other worry– his inability to maintain an erection one time while you were having sex. Please know that this is VERY common and normal. It happens to every guy sometimes. I’ve had many partners & the ones that I slept with regularly have ALL had this issue at least once. Hell, my current boyfriend lost his erection the first time we ever had sex because he was so freaked out (like, in a nervous way.) In order to get past this, don’t act like it’s a big deal. Because it isn’t.

    The fact that you attribute his one-time rigidity problem to some kind of distance in your relationship & then bring up his ex as a potential factor, was actually the point in your letter where *I* had a moment of “Oh. This LW must be pretty young.” So I can see why your boyfriend may feel the way he does– sometimes. And I don’t think that’s necessarily a negative thing! It’s just a fact. (Although, again, I AM curious as to how old you actually are).

    The good thing is that you seem aware & willing to work on whatever hangups or insecurities you have regarding your new relationship. I just hope your boyfriend isn’t totally shutting out your concerns–if you’re even voicing them. So try voicing some of the things you’re worried about, and see where it goes from there.

    1. WFS.

      Especially about maintaining an erection. There can be any number of reasons for that and making it into a big deal is *not* the best way to address this. And I agree that a comment about being young is not necessarily negative.

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        Its not exactly positive either. I’d be insulted if someone said that about me, not very, but still.

  9. Avatar photo the_optimist says:

    I’m guessing you’re not as upset with your boyfriend over his talking to his ex as you are the nature of their relationship now. It isn’t cool for him to be speaking negatively about you at all to a former lover, but I suspect that you didn’t come about this information in the most honest of ways. Right? I mean, it’s not like you’re going to be like “What did you say to her about me?” and he’s going to be all “That you’re young and it shows.” So, how’d you come to find all of this out?

    I’m not trying to blame you. But, if you did come about this info by snooping, why’d you snoop? Is it because you suspect something anyway? If you did and do, listen to your gut. And, most importantly of all, TALK TO HIM. Sure, this means admitting what you know, but what’s the alternative? Breaking things off without saying anything? Quietly stewing until something else happens? This is obviously making you uncomfortable, to say the least, and the only solution– and this is often the only solution– is serious communication.

  10. There are ways to have a relationship with an ex, and honey this ain’t one of them! That was hurtful what he shared with his ex–it made you feel like the two of them were gossiping about you. You know how you tell the difference between gossip and constructive conversation? Gossip hurts.

    I maintain a relationship with one of my exes–who is married (and so am I)–but we socialize WITH our spouses together. Sure, we speak on the phone sometimes, but I always tell my spouse about it, and I don’t say hurtful things about my spouse and then report them back to him. That would be cruel.

    Look, if you are having insecurities about him talking to his ex (which, honestly sound well-founded), I would talk to him about it seriously. Tell him it’s not appropriate to be speaking with his ex, especially if he is saying negative things about you. If he feels differently about it, then perhaps that should be a deal-breaker for you. I worry that if you bring your hurt feelings to him, he’ll try and make you feel as though YOU are the one with the problem, not him. If that is the case, be prepared and tell him that in a mutually respectful relationship there have to be boundaries that work for both parties, not just one or the other.

    Bottom line? If this guy wants to maintain a relationship with his ex over you, it may be time to MOA.

  11. I’m so curious about so many things after reading this. How long were your bf and ex together? (I’m guess more than the time you guys have been together since they lived together) How do you know what he said to her? Is there an age gap between you two?

    I feel like I’ll probably be the minority voice here but I don’t understand why it always has to be such a big red flag for someone to maintain contact with an ex. Especially if two people were together for a long time and the breakup wasn’t horrible, I def. understand being at least casual friends afterwards.

    I get the feeling that your initial reaction to him talking to his ex might have been very negative so I sort of understand why he wouldn’t want to talk about that subject with you. Maybe try to broach the subject again a little more calmly, let him know that you trust him completely but just want to get to know more about him and his past and you’re feeling left out.

    1. You’re not in the minority. I live by the following:

      Exes can be friends. Don’t worry about it because if exes wanted to be together, they would. So stop being insecure.

      Men and women can be friends. If they wanted to be together, they would. So stop being insecure.

      Of course, there are exceptions to the rule. And I don’t think all exes should be friends. If you were dating and had mutual respect but something was off, sure, why not be friends? You liked that person for a reason. Also, if your gut is telling you something is off, something might be. But also know that when you start freaking out and analyzing every move and questioning everything, your boyfriend or girlfriend will pick up on it and start to pull away.

    2. You don’t think it is a red flag that he is friends with an ex that he LIVED WITH? Honestly, I might understand if they were friends first or in a big group of friends and don’t want to break up the group. But they LIVED together. That isn’t passing emotions. Honestly, I have enough friends. I don’t need anyone I slept with to hang around and make my SO uncomfortable.

      1. Especially since she broke up with him. I don’t think guys that were in love with, and living with somebody want to be friends with that person after they break up with them. They talk to them, because they have hopes of getting back together.

      2. Actually, I’m on friendly terms with my ex-fiance. We ended things amicably and were able to move past that. He’s engaged now. And no, I don’t think he harbored feelings for me after and I certainly don’t harbor feelings for him.

        First serious boyfriend. Same thing. Friends.

      3. You maybe friends now, but if you broke up with your ex-fiance there pretty much is no way he didn’t harbor feelings for you after, or he would have been the one to call it off. Those feelings don’t go away the instant two people break up, and if he had a girlfriend right after do you think she would be comfortable with him talking bad about her to his ex-fiance?

      4. This is all hypothetical though, because you guys broke up amicably. I know I was un-easy at first when my wife was still talking to her ex after she broke up with him until he got a girlfriend, but I never said anything, because 1. they worked together for a bit, and 2. she told me about their conversations. He actually stopped talking to her for a while when he found out how serious we were, and actually only started again when he got this new girlfriend.

      5. You’re right. It depends on the break up. If it was amicable and you both decided you were better off friends than romantic partners, I see no reason not to remain friends. That’s really where I’m coming from. Sometimes, you date a person and you really do love them, but it’s not the right fit. I’ve honestly never had a bad break up with someone I was seriously dating. I guess I’m lucky in that respect. We’re all a product of our experiences.

      6. I think there is a difference between being polite when in the same social situation and texting just to say hi. (I am assumeing that the LW saw his texts.).

      7. We aren’t even in the sames cities anymore, but I will still text to say happy birthday and vice versa.

        But we’ll have to agree to disagree because I simply think it ok for exes and for males and females to be friends. Neither of us will probably change the others mind.

      8. Eve Harrison says:

        It seems like at this point its more about individual preference. Personally, I don’t know if I could continue a friendship with someone who has seen me physical [and more importantly emotional] nakedness. But it doesn’t mean ktfran is wrong or something.

        I’m working to become a mediator someday. I hope those conflict resolution skills are showing. ;P

      9. Right! this is one on one conversations. So I remember when I was in my 20s, there was a guy that I casually dated and it faded away. We were in the same group of friends so I would run into him from time to time but we didn’t talk to chat or anything. If we spoke, it was purely logistical in nature.

      10. Even though you feel you have enough friends you likely wouldn’t say their replaceable with new friends?
        Similar to @ktfran I am friends with an ex in a different city so I don’t feel the occasional text/conversation should be enough to make anyone’s SO feel uncomfortable. You usually have to like someone as a person before falling in love/sleeping together/living with someone (whatever is the threshold that makes someone uncomfortable) but liking the person doesn’t just go away after a breakup.

        We can agree to disagree on the issue but I think it’s really unfair to make statements like “but if you broke up with your ex-fiance there pretty much is no way he didn’t harbor feelings for you after” without knowing the people involved. It perpetuates the assumption that the only possible reason someone is hanging out with you is to get back together and I believe a lot of people feel insecure because that assumption feels so common.

      11. In this situation, He lived with her. and there was a sexual attraction there otherwise they wouldn’t have been together in the first place. And I my belief is that in most relationships, it wasn’t the bad sex that made them end. It was something more hurtful and emotional and closer to the heart. So why keep that person around? I think an ex as a friend is a saftey net.

      12. Or two people who loved and respected one another but decided that for whatever reason, it wasn’t going to work long-term.

        I do understand that some exes can’t be friends. But I think it’s very close minded to say that it can’t work and that it will end badly.

        Actually, from what the LW desccribes, I wouldn’t be ok with this situation. And I said that in a post above.

      13. Sorry CSP. I didn’t mean to single you out. For whatever reason, this topic gets me going. I apologize for being rude. Everyone is entitled to their opinions, and if I could delete my last post, I would.

  12. In such short letters, I fear I may weigh each sentence over much but the sexual reference seemed odd. Does LW believe he has less sexual interest now? That he had been cheating with his ex? The first may be fixable, but the second probably is not!

    Also, it really bothered me that he talks to an ex about her, but not about his ex’s to HER? I might understand if he was simply one of those who shares too much in all directions. In that case, one lays down the law and subsequent violations are a deal-breaker.

    Based on LW’s letter and the other things she must have left out, my guess is that the guy is no longer investing in their relationship and trying to build it. Instead, he seems to be disconnecting from their relationship and himself preparing to MOA.

    It may be for the better. After all, once LW is another ex, maybe he will talk to her!

    1. my guess is the LW is young and hasn’t come across performance issues before. So it means more to her.

      1. my guess is that she is in her early 20s and he is in his mid 30s. I want the LW to weigh in and see if I am right.

  13. this is pretty much unrelated, but yesterday when i was at walgreens buying more kleenex, there were these two teenage girls who were SO ANNOYING. and i was like, wow. im officially old. this moment in time is the official moment when i turned old. and i mean, it could have been because i feel like death and my head might explode in the near future, but seriously, these girls were annoying… they were young, and it showed. and now, im old. and it shows. lol

    1. I went to a midnight movie premiere back in April and as I stood in line at the concession stand, my friend turned to me and asked, “Can I eat Junior Mints this late?” That was our “we’re just got old” moment.

      1. Hilarious!

    2. Whenever I feel old I just go around calling everyone around me “young whippersnappers”. Makes me feel better about it.

      1. We live in an apartment complex and our building is U-shaped with a courtyard where the neighbor kids play. Their screaming and laughing and picking up broken chunks of sidewalk to throw back down at the ground drives my husband up the wall, especially when he was working third shift for a while and trying to sleep during the day (some of the kids are homeschooled so it’s not just after-school hours). While he hasn’t yelled at them directly, we’ve often shaken our fist in the general direction and mock-yelled “Get off my lawn!” and laughed at how old we felt.

    3. Ginger Laine says:

      Ugh. A couple of years back, I was in a history class with MUCH younger students. When we discussed riot culture, someone piped up & said, “I kinda vaguely remember hearing something about the L.A. riots…”

      I might as well have rolled over in my old ass grave. I dared not make a joke about how it was about comin’ up and stayin’ on top…

    4. quixoticbeatnik says:

      When I worked in a bookstore cafe (from senior year of high school until last year – like five years) I would constantly hate the teenagers that would come in, and take up ALL of the tables to study. But they wouldn’t really study. They would just talk and laugh loudly. They were fucking annoying, and it’s funny because they weren’t that much younger than me. I was old like two years ago, lol.

      Then again, everybody hated these teenagers. Not only were they annoying but they were kind of spoiled brats. Ah, the joys of living close to a rich area of town.

  14. You’re only six months in. If it’s already this much work, move on. To me, it sounds like he’s not over his ex and wants to get back with her, but it doesn’t really even matter. You’re not feeling it, so why waste more time?

    1. llclarityll says:

      THIS. Exactly — you’re young, and if it’s that’s much work this early on, it is soo not worth it.

  15. I think we just don’t h abe enough information. Just that one sentence that he supposedly said doesnt mean anything without context. I’d make sure he really said it and ask what he meant. If his words and actions are otherwise loving, I’d let it go.

  16. With the little information we have here, I would say that he is still in love with his ex, and she is either playing him, because she likes the attention, or she wants to get back together with him. The only think you can do is talk to him about it, and if he doesn’t give you answers leave him, and if you don’t want to talk to him about it, just leave him because you don’t trust him (snopping to find out what he is saying about you?) and you aren’t comfortable with what’s going on.

  17. landygirl says:

    6 months? Dump him and cut your losses.

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      I agreed with this at first, and sorta still do, but if everyone gave up over minor-ish issues because its only been a few months, there’d be very few relationships, don’t you think?
      I guess this isn’t that minor though, depending on your stance.

      1. Minor is he burned a shirt while trying to iron… or forgot your birthday. Sharing his personal feelings about his relationship and his current partner with his ex, while purposely keeping his communications with exes away from his partner, is shady at best.

        I think if everyone would just accept the red flags and move on at 6 months we wouldn’t get the letters from people who are tortured 3 years into a relationship that has never worked… if there are things to fix or things that bother you so early just move on… don’t give yourself a project that only leaves your self-esteem and confidence lacking!

      2. landygirl says:

        Amen. It takes two people to make a good relationship. I am friends with one of my exs but I never see him unless I’m with my husband. Even the ex has said he wouldn’t see me unless my husband was there because of the implications.

        This guy has a serious lapse in judgement.

      3. lets_be_honest says:

        Different strokes for different folks though. Not everyone thinks being friends with exes only possible when the new bf/husband is around. Under the right circumstances, its fine. My current SO actually babysits for me to go see one of my exes who is now a good friend. And I talk to him about my SO the same way I talk about my SO to my girlfriends. I’ll complain about minor things, but also while respecting my SO.

      4. landygirl says:

        I think your situation and the LWs are not the same in any way.

      5. lets_be_honest says:

        I’m not saying they are the same. No two couples are, obviously.
        I’m saying that under the right circumstances, its fine to remain friendly with exes as well as vent here and there about your SO.

      6. landygirl says:

        You can remain friendly with exs if your current SO is amenable to it. The LW doesn’t appear to be all that enthusiastic about her SO hanging with the ex and talking about her. If both people in a relationship agree on something then that’s great but when one person does something at the expense of the other, there is a problem.

      7. lets_be_honest says:

        But has this LW told her boyfriend she doesn’t want him talking to the ex? Is she expecting him to be a mindreader?

      8. landygirl says:

        Are you being condescending or am I imagining it?

      9. lets_be_honest says:

        I think sometimes people decide to read things with a certain tone that just isn’t there. I’m rereading my comments and can’t see anywhere that I could’ve been condescending. But maybe I’m just reading them for what they say, no added tone.

      10. lets_be_honest says:

        Actually, rereading my comment, you have no way of telling if my situation and the LWs are different really. Her bf talks to his ex and once complained about something minor to her. I do the same. The only difference that is obvious from what I wrote is my SO doesn’t write into DW about it. He thinks its fine.

      11. landygirl says:

        I’ve read other comments of yours, not just todays.

      12. lets_be_honest says:

        I didn’t think that was coming into play here. And I assume the LW hasn’t read past comments of mine, so I think the generality of my comment on this thread is ok.

      13. I actually think the situations are different, because this seems to be his recent ex who she broke up with him, and I don’t think enough time has probably passed for him to be friends with her.

      14. lets_be_honest says:

        I didn’t know it was a recent ex, but I don’t know it makes a huge difference. I think the easiest solution here is the LW just saying ‘hey I’m not comfortable with this, what can we do about it’ and take it from there.
        I get people aren’t comfortable w friendly exes. In some (inapprpriate) situations, I wouldn’t be either. I think it’s fair to have the discussion though before jumping to any rash decisions, however, it’s possible the LW doesn’t want to for whatever reason and she’s certainly free to jump ship if she wants.

      15. Exactly. I know in my experience that if I gave up after the first hints of shadiness or inconsideration from guys I was dating, I would have cut short quite a few relationships, but in all cases, it would have been a good thing.

      16. How is he keeping communications with his ex away from her? For all we know he told her what he said to the ex. So, ostensibly, she knows they are talking and what is being said. Or do you mean because he won’t talk about his exes in detail? I dunno that that is shady. I never talk about exes with current partners. Maybe a general comment if something is relevant or triggers a memory or funny story – but no post-mortem – I save that for my best friend right after the break-up. So that part doesn’t seem odd to me. I don’t think this is a red flag so much as it about boundaries. From what little she wrote anyway.

      17. I agree that not talking about his exes with her is not a red flag in and of itself. It depends on what information she is asking for, and how she’s asking.

      18. the LW says so – she clearly states in the last paragraph that he won’t talk about them at all… so all she knows is that when he does talk to them he talks about her negatively.

      19. See I took “he doesn’t talk about his exes at all” to mean he doesn’t talk about the relationship he had with them or why they broke up etc. Because if he tells her he is talking to the ex again, and they used to live together, and the ex ended it and he told the LW he told the ex the LW was sometimes young – then he IS talking about the ex – but maybe not in a way some people have a “talk” about exes or in a way the LW wants to talk about the exes. Which, to me at least, isn’t shady since I don’t talk about mine either…not out of shadiness or secrecy but out of “it has nothing to do with us – you are a different man and this is a different relationship”.

      20. lets_be_honest says:

        Haha, all very good points.
        But let’s assume he and the ex just are good friends, people talk to friends about their relationships all the time. If he saw it like that, and just said she acts young, and then told his gf about their convo, its really not all that awful. Neither is not getting hard once.
        I agree though if this is causing major self esteem issues, and the gf has already mentioned she doesn’t like him talking to the ex and certainly not about her, then different story.

      21. Do you think that he is airing issues or is he being descriptive? I am assuming ALOT when I say this. But lets say he is 35 and she is 21. His ex says, “So, you’re a cradle robber now. I hope the sex is worth it” and he says, “She’s young and it shows sometimes.” He would be led into that comment.

      22. True. Devil’s advocate, though. The other way of looking at it is that if people MOAed when it became obvious it wasn’t working instead of holding on and trying to fix something that isn’t worth fixing, Wendy would have many less trainwrecky letters (not that I think this one is in train wreck territory) and there would be fewer unhappy people out there. It’s perfectly acceptable to break up with someone if it just isn’t working out for you, no matter how big a deal whatever it is that isn’t working out is to anyone else. Dating is a test run, not a life long commitment. If it is bad enough at 6 months in that you’re writing in to an advice columnist, it’s most likely not going to be better in 6 years. Go find someone who doesn’t make you unhappy and insecure. (And if everyone makes you unhappy and insecure, it’s you, not them. Go see a therapist.)

      23. lets_be_honest says:

        I really do agree, just to extent I guess. I’m just thinking that if you liked this person enough to date them for a few months, maybe they deserve a chance to be told and change (presuming its not anything horrible). If you don’t want to give that, that’s certainly fine too.

  18. Where is the distance coming from that you are feeling? Is it just the sex thing? Because Fabelle is right – it happens and is not necessarily indicative of anything. Is it distance You may be putting between you because he said something not very nice about you to the ex girlfriend? To be honest – I might take a step back too to try and get a clear picture on things if my partner wasn’t speaking well of me. Or is it other things he is doing as well? If there actually is a pattern of little ways he is putting distance between the two of you then address it with him. Maybe he does have unresolved feelings for the ex and it is too soon for them to talking again – who knows? And if it only has been that one statement he made causing the distance – and I’m assuming he told you about it – then tell him it hurt your feelings that of all the things he could have said he picked something unflattering. So ask him why he did that. And then listen. The answer may be about you – or the answer may be about him. The only way for you to figure out the lay of the land is to talk to him.
    In general, all relationships need boundaries and for those boundaries to be negotiated from time to time. So if you are to be together going forward, tell him the boundaries you feel comfortable with and see if the two of you can agree. If not, then he isn’t the guy for you. Lots of girls are fine with boyfriends speaking to exes – but lots of girls aren’t. Lots are fine with their boyfriends speaking of the the current girlfriend to an ex – lots aren’t. Figure out your comfort level – make sure it aligns with how YOU would treat YOUR ex – and then communicate that. There is a lot of middle ground between having your boyfriend on lock down and trying so hard to be the cool and understanding girlfriend that you put your own needs aside.

  19. I’m really not trying to be snarky or mean, but…..LW, your reaction to this situation immediately made me think “she’s young, and it shows.”

    Chill. Take a deep breath 🙂 Lots of people maintain contact with exes. In and of itself, it’s not a reason to panic. Just talking to an ex doesn’t mean that he still loves her, or he wants to sleep with her, or he’s going to leave you for her. My BF talks to his ex, even took her to outpatient surgery when she was unable to drive after an accident. They’ve been divorced for 20 years, we’ve been together for over a decade, I have not the slightest fear that he’s going to leave me for her. I was pleased that he drove her. He did it because he’s a good guy, with a kind and generous heart.

    I completely understand that what he said to her hurt you; I’d be hurt, too. I do wonder how you know what he said to the ex. Did you overhear a phone call? See something when he was logged into FB? Did some mutual ‘friend’ come running to tell you about it? Is he open with you about the fact that he’s still in contact with the ex, or is he hiding it, and you found out some other way?

    I’m thinking that it doesn’t ‘feel right’ because you’re a little freaked out by all this, and are self-conscious about what he said. He’s likely picking up on that, and doesn’t have any idea what’s wrong. The adult way to handle it is to have a calm conversation with him. Tell him what you heard, and ask him to tell you what he meant. Don’t be defensive or teary or angry, that kind of (young) behavior makes him less likely to be open with you. You want him to be comfortable telling you what’s going on in his life, and in his heart.

    1. Oh, and it wouldn’t surprise me if BF has griped about me to his ex. in fact, I would assume he has. I’ve vented to my friends about him, too. Relationships aren’t perfect, people aren’t perfect, venting is needed every now and then.

      1. Oh my, THIS.

  20. LW it is not cool that he said that to his ex and its not cool that he told you he said that to her (I’m guessing thats how you knew?). If I was in your shoes it would have hurt me as well…I would confront him on it and explain that what he did was wrong…if he did it again after that I know I would not tolerate it and probably MOA…life is too short to waste on someone who won’t treat you with respect….hope it all works out for you!

  21. If you’re six months in and already having ex problems, sex issues and you’re feeling unhappy and insecure, MOA. Relationships are hard, but six months in, they should still be fun and enjoyable. You don’t mention what the “difficulties here and there” are aside from the ex and sex issues, but it sounds like this relationship is one that looks better in your head than in reality. You’re obviously young, LW, which is great. There are many more men out there, you have plenty of time to find the right one, and I think you would be happiest in the long run if you explored those options instead of continued to try to force a relationship that is fraught with “difficulties” to work. Dating is for seeing if you’re compatible. There’s no shame in admitting you really aren’t, no matter how great the person you are with is.

  22. I would wish that a man who was lucky enough to capture the interest of a lovely, amazing, and innocent young lady would treasure and protect her instead of throwing her under the bus to the ex who broke up with him… You are not too young to expect loyalty and respect from your partner and he should be ashamed of himself. If he’s not, or if he tries to put it back on you, and if he doesn’t cut off contact with the ex because you asked him to, then his sorry ass will have to go back to the curb where he belongs.

      1. It seems I can’t respond to a letter without a getting judging comment from you about it, FireStar… please cut it out.

      2. I actually don’t respond to particular people on this site deliberately – I respond to comments, whoever is the author. It seems we disagree…perhaps frequently.

        Your comment had a certain vehemence I thought was un-called for so I posted a response I thought indicated that. Feel free to ignore me or respond… but I’m afraid I won’t be monitoring my responses to make sure I don’t ever respond to a post from you. So essentially I see your “cut it out” and I’m raising you a “deal with it, my dear”

  23. Definitely could use more information, like the others said, about how the LW found out what he say and in what form he’s talking to his ex. I think there are some red flags, though. Telling an ex negative things about your girlfriend is wrong, and it would make me wonder if he was trying to put feelers out and letting her know that he’s not completely happy. It’d be one thing if they were close friends for a long time, but it’s a little weirder for an ex that he just started talking to. I don’t know that I’d put a lot of stock into his sexual performance. There are a lot of factors that can go into that. But if you’re at the point where you’re noticing all those little things and tying them back to the ex, it’s time to talk to him about it.

    I know a lot of people are taking issue with some of the comments because they think it implies a general condemnation of being friends with exes. I try to not care so much, but I think a lot of people have had situations where your SO is friends with an ex, and then it turns into more. The first guy I dated who was close friends with an ex ended up cheating on me with her (he actually never told her I existed, it turns out) and then marrying her two years later. Being friends with an ex is innocuous in itself, but there’s no guarantee that their motivation is pure or that it’s not going to lead to more.

  24. I don’t know…I think if a relationship with an ex has morphed into friendship, it makes sense that he might tell them some things, venting or just mild complaining, that everyone does in regards to their relationship. For example:

    Ex: Oh, hey, how are things going with Jane?
    Him: Good. She’s really fun, although she seems kind of young sometimes.
    Ex: Yeah?
    Him: *Tells her about some small complaint*

    My ex tells me little negative things about his gf all the time, and we are no way ever in hell getting back together. It’s just a coping mechanism for him. (Although I think they should break up, since he’s so full of negativity.)

    But it kind of depends on the context. How often is he doing this? Is it in person? Have you met the ex? Honestly, if he’s complaining regularly, he should probably just end things, since he’s unhappy. But just based on what you’ve said here, it doesn’t sound like a huge deal.

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      I’m so glad you wrote this. This is how I was thinking too.

  25. I’m not upset about him speaking to his ex. (I’m on good terms with some of mine.) What upsets me is that one of them repeated something negative about her to the LW. To me, it doesn’t matter which one. if the ex repeated it, she’s a bitch and if he repeated it, he’s a dick. If there’s a third party involved, then that party is also wrong. The only reason to repeat something negative to the person it’s about is to hurt them. Why would you want to associate with either of these people? I think the bf may still have some unresolved feelings towards this ex, especially since she’s the one who called it off. My advice to the LW is to MOA. There’s no need to have this kind of drama six months in.

    1. This! It’s why the red flags were set off for me. Friends with an ex is fine. So are small gripes. But everything else that happened is not and would trouble me too. From what is written, this doesn’t sound like the ok kind of friendship between exes.

  26. ele4phant says:

    Sorry, I just don’t what the huge deal is.

    So he’s talking to his ex…and? I mean, is he sneaking around with her, spending an inordinate amount of time with her, being flirtatious with her, or opening comparing you to her? If so, then maybe I see your point. But having some sort of friendship or acquaintanceship with an ex isn’t a big deal.

    And yes, calling you immature (which essentially “She’s young and it shows” means) isn’t really a positive endorsement of you, it’s not the worst thing that could be said. And sometimes, when we are away from our partners, we need to vent. It doesn’t really mean anything, but nobody is perfect and its guaranteed that no matter how much he loves you, you’ll have some quirks that occasionally bother him (and vice versa). And while six months is still a young relationship, I think it is also old enough that people start to notice some of their partner’s irritating quirks. Its to be expected.

    And how do you know about his confession? Did he tell you, did SHE tell you, or did you snoop? Do you know if there was more to the conversation? Did he compliment in thirty different ways, and then say “Well, she’s not *perfect* there is this one minor thing”? Abstracted with no context, the comment doesn’t really say much one way or the other.

    As far as his performance issues – it’s going to happen. People will be tired, stressed, drunk, or just not into it at the moment, and sometimes things just won’t work. Doesn’t mean anything significant, unless it becomes a pattern.

    I guess what I’m saying, based on what you’ve told us, I don’t really see the problem. None of it, on its own, is a big deal.

    That being said, if something just feels “off” to you, whether or not you can find evidence to support that feeling, maybe your intuition is telling you this relationship isn’t right for you. And that’s okay. Six months is a long enough period of time together for you to evaluate whether you and he are right for the long term. You don’t need to find a smoking gun to release you from this relationship if it doesn’t feel right to you. If he’s not it, if this relationship doesn’t feel right, then feel free to call it and move on.

  27. We have a lot of open minded women in her in regards to speaking to their ex’s and I wish I was like them but I’m not. It would piss me off if I found out my boyfriend of 2 months, 6 months, 5 years started talking to his Ex. I would never do it unless I still had feelings for that person and wanted to get back with them. I think it’s disrespectful and I would not approve of it! Even though I’m in my mid 30’s I’m old fashion when in comes to relationships I don’t’ have guy friends that I talk to all the time nor my husband has girlfriends. We don’t go out out at night without each other, we aren’t lame or boring we go to happy hour, dinner, dancing and that’s the way it’s been since we started going out. With that said LW a lot of comments here also say not to worry about your boyfriend not being able to keep an erection when I got to that part of your letter it raised a big gigantic flag!! Yes you should be worried it is a big deal especially if it hadn’t happened. Come on I’m assuming he never had a problem before he started talking to his ex, he talks to her about you and you know very little about they type of relationship they had. I was in a similar situation before I met my husband, I was 18 and my ex was 27 things started changing after a year. Things didn’t feel right anymore, I was always feeling worried like I couldn’t breath I just had a gut feeling he was cheating on me. He couldn’t hold an erection started blaming me for it, I started to feel insecure, I felt like less of a women and my self esteem went down the drain. One day at the hotel we would always go to someone started knocking at the door, guess who?? Yup it was another girl, the idiot would take both of us to the same hotel!! haha Now I understood why he couldn’t hold his erection. Go with your gut feeling LW. Move on, once you are out of that relationship you will see that he really isn’t full of light and love. I know it hurts like hell but we all need to feel loved and respected. I guess you can always talk to him and let him know how you feel, don’t worry about how he is going to feel you need to watch out for yourself because if you don’t, who will? Good luck LW!

    1. it has taken a lot of work for me to be as open-minded as I am. I am prone to jealousy, and there are definitely some rules that would have to be followed for me to feel comfortable: 1. I have to know about it, no surprises; 2. I would like to be included in the interaction or at the very least, be introduced to her. If that’s not possible, see rule 1; 3. no overnight visits. (There are some exceptions to this, but no sleeping in the same bed.) I decided to do the work because I am a dancer and the dance community in this area is very small. You run into the same people over and over again. It’s just easier if you’re all on good terms. It’s not a perfact system, but it works for me.

  28. Ooookay, I was gonna just post my one comment & then leave this letter alone, but WHOA. A lot of the commenters are jumping to conclusions without even questioning it. Like, just casually assuming he’s HANGING out with the ex/that the LW already spoke with him about the ex/that she was TOLD by somebody what the boyfriend said.

    But…we don’t know any of that! I get the inclination to speculate on a letter that’s so brief & vague, but I don’t understand the leap from what was written to “Dude is totally going behind your back!” I mean, I am trying to fill in the blanks too, but there is really nothing in this letter that indicates the guy is actively HIDING his communications or whatever else a lot of people seem to be thinking.

    1. I guess I just interpreted “He won’t talk about his exes at all with me” as she has asked and he has shut it down… maybe I was wrong and she was communicating via osmosis, but somehow the only thing she knows about his relationship with one ex is she’s a topic of negative conversation… if he would expand upon that to put her mind at ease or invite her to meet the ex and have coffee, it would seem so much more appropriate to me… but I took this to mean that he is keeping a wall up and why put up a fight to tear down a wall so early in the relationship when there are plenty of fish in the sea!?!

      1. I do understand your larger point (relatively new relationship + already so many issues= move on) but I guess I’m reading the whole thing differently. She doesn’t really say that they even had a discussion– just that he doesn’t talk about his ex at all. I have a feeling she’s not really asking–maybe she feels that she can’t–& in her silence, she’s probably built up the ex’s qualities in her head. It’s not like the “I found a thong!” letter where it was obvious the husband was shutting down the convo. Here, there are no examples of anything the boyfriend said, except that one comment about her to his ex (which really, I don’t think is that bad.)

        Here’s a Hairpin link I’m gonna stick in this comment, just because what I was writing right now reminded me of it: It’s literally about someone who got together with their exes’ ex-girlfriends & spoke with them. I think it’s interestingly illustrates the way people tend to create a story about their S/O’s past relationships.

        (Sorry to go off on a tangent!)

    2. I think, with the information given, the only advice I can give her is to talk to him about it. The comments here are evidence that different people have different comfort levels when it comes to dealing with exes. If they haven’t already, they should figure out a way to make them both comfortable with the situation and set some boundaries.

      1. Exactly.

  29. Newsflash — if your women’s intuition is telling you there is something wrong, ….. guess what? There is.

    1. Or you are paranoid? We women are not always right…
      Sorry, I hate the whole women’s intuition thing.

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        Well, you’re wrong, which disproves both your theory and Suzanne’s about women always being right. So there. 😉

      2. You win!

      3. lets_be_honest says:

        Haha, I couldn’t help myself. To be serious, I agree with you about intuition mostly. If I always followed my gut, I’d be in trouble.

      4. Me too! Its just such a ‘women are emotional creature while men are factual’ thing that it skeeves me out. If somethings wrong, women probably look at the facts and make a decision from there! (even if its a bad decision)
        Anyway, enough tangent.
        LW if he hurt you by saying the young thing, tell him. His reaction will help you sort your feelings. Overly defensive people not only usually have something they feel guilty about, but they make shitty long-term partners too.

  30. Sue Jones says:

    Sometimes people say things about their current to their ex so as not to make the ex feel bad… perhaps she asks him” Is she hotter than me? Huh? Huh? You broke up with me because I am fat and UGLY, right? Right?” and he says… “No it wasn’t like that…” even if it was! How did you even find out what he said about you? In this situation I would just watch and wait… and if the distance and problems persist, then MOA.

    Though I always think it is a good sign when a guy can stay platonic friends with his exes. As long as it is indeed platonic. And you can usually tell.

    1. landygirl says:

      The ex broke up with him.

  31. Older and (hopefully) wiser says:

    I don’t know but I’m getting a hit that he’s still into his ex. She’s the one who broke up with him, after all. It sounds like he’s down-playing his relationship with you in the hopes that she might consider getting back together with him. I’d be wary. You may end up with a broken heart and a damaged ego.

  32. Vicious Delicious says:

    I’m sorry, but the decreased sexual appetite, 6 months in, at a relatively young age after reconnecting with the ex who broke up with him is a huge red flag leaving welt marks from slapping me so hard… You deserve better!

  33. Avatar photo bittergaymark says:

    You obviously ARE young and it OBVIOUSLY does show. Look, your letter is so vague its impossible for me to even have any other opinion than that…

  34. This is incredibly vague, as stated above. While I understand being friends with an ex, I’d be pissed if my bf was spilling details about our relationship or complaining about me to their ex. I think there is usually a fine line to walk when being friends with an ex, and one of the few things you usually would not discuss with an ex that you might with another friend are the troubles in a serious relationship. How do you even know if your bf said this to his ex? If the ex told you, she might be lying. Or, she might be telling you the truth and both she and your ex are assholes.

    What’s suspicious to me is that you and your bf stopped being intimate for a while after he got back in touch with his ex. Was this a week? Two weeks? It does matter. I would be very, very suspicious if my bf suddenly became friends with his ex (especially one he lived with) and then suddenly did not want to be intimate for a period of time.

  35. Not a princess says:

    Oh honey, you are young and it does show. Point one: Boy makes comment about current to prior and it’s as horrible as “she’s young and it shows sometimes”. We’re all young at some point in our lives and as ‘young’ people we are different than ‘mature’ or ‘weathered’ people. Point two: do you really *need* to be told how wonderful you are? All the time? Point three: even through the anonimity of the internet, you just told all the world that your boy can’t keep it up. That’s the most embarrasing thing a guy can face; trust me, he’d be devastated if he saw this.
    Finally; should you MOA? Not exactly. Yes, break it off, but don’t kid yourself that you’re doing it because he’s chatty-cosy. MOA in a different way: MOA and Take A Break (TAB). Get confident in yourself, let time round of some of the sharp corners of youth, and start dating again when you DON’T hyperventilate at the first wisp of gossip.

  36. Young But Trying says:

    So as an update I first want to say… Thank you to everyone who responded, gave advice or even asked questions. I appreciate it. Basically, I talked to him. And pretty much as soon as I sent the letter to Wendy. A letter that was born out of a few hours of obsessive thoughts. Anyways, I realised that I was seeing monsters where there weren’t any. The erection frustration was ridiculous of me. Seriously, I have had other boyfriends who haven’t been able to keep it at one time or another. Just silliness on my part. I basically told him I saw the conversation and it hurt me. I told him that I dont mind of he talks to his ex, I would just prefer if he has an issue with me, to tell me, and not her. And asked him what he meant by his comment. He said he had been a little annoyed with me that day. Not something he had even thought about until I brought it up. He told me he understands why that would upset me, apologized and told me if he had any real concrete issues about age or anything else he would let me know first before anyone else. Then he said he was glad I talked to him about it. Then we had a nice long conversation about his exes. He refused to tell me before because the last girlfriend he gave the details to, Started to over analyze everything and kept comparing herself to his exes.
    I am 21, he is 28 for everyone wondering. And while its not without arguments we are getting to know eaxh other better, and we will see where it goes from here.

  37. Young But Trying says:

    Also, this was my first time sensing a letter. And I sent it almost three weeks back. So this issue has been resolved for a while. Reading over the comments, he left the conversation on his laptop. I saw it first then snooped. I didn’t actively seek it out. He still talks to his ex. It doesnt bother me as much anymore. Sure I get twitches of jealousy here and there. But nothing that makes me want to freak. I just remind myself that we are together. If he wanted to be with her, he would make it happen. I’m more inclined to believe the workds that he says to me now, since we are making a point to be more open with each other. I asked him about his exes in the beginning if he had been very serious with anyone. That’s how I found out that they lived together and that she broke up with him.

  38. Hi I’ve been with my partner for four years, he has a child with his ex of whom we have stay with us four days a week, what has upset me is that, he has spoken to his ex about me, things like my job, losing my family in house fire recently of which he’s not been supporting off, I feel he talks more to her than he does me, I understand they have to talk for there son, but don’t understand why I have to be spoken of between them… I’m finding it very disrespectful as I’m a very private person…

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