Ex-Factor- Should I give up??

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-21-2004
Ex-Factor- Should I give up??
7
Mon, 01-07-2013 - 11:09am

Hi All,

Haven't been back in a while but alas another relationship ending?  I have been with the man who for the first time I thought could be the love of my life.  We click in every way and enjoy each others company.  There is only 1 problem- his ex-fiancee.  The were together 7 years but never married.  Just when I think I can relax and just be happy with someone, she somehow manages to ruin it.  And I say her, but the true reality is she did not know about us until October.  He always made an excuse that she was too fragile to hear it.  She tend to call him only when something difficult happens in her life. 

Jus to give the backstory, I have been insecure about his ex since the begininng.  He had so many things of her in his house when I first stayed there that it was almost as if she still lived there- photos, cards, some other more personal items.  I finally blew up at him one day and said he had to get rid of it and that it was disrespectful to me.  He did (not everything) so I finally just threw it out myself.  He says he just doesn't get rid of stuff which i do find to be true.  He even called me by her name a few times (as recently as 1 week ago at a very poor time).  They had a really complicated relationship to the outside (never even lived together in 7 years) but he would never really talk about it so I always feel like she was the once that got away for him.  This all became a non-issue eventually and I got to a place where I was comfortable.  We were long distance up until August.  When I was interviewing for a job in his hometown to be closer to him, his ex texted him and he hid it from me.  Turns out one of her friends got cancer and she called him to cry.  I was there interviewing to move 1500 miles aways and she was causing us issues.  I got over it.  He didn't tell her about us at this time because he said she was very fragile (This is the second time he avoided it).

I think we are doing well after this occurs, and it is about 1.5 years into our relationship. I move to be with him,  and the the next set of texts occurs… but this time on says "I hope you are doing well.  I am so very sorry and it still makes me cry and difficult to talk. Love, ??".  He hides this one from me as well but he gave away the fact that he received a text from her with his facial expressions.  It has happened infrequently enough that it is easy to see.  This text to me says that she might want to get back together with him.  He said, no, thats not what it means, it's just a salvation, etc. making all the excuses for her.  After this, I finally put my foot down, and said, you tell her about us or Im done.  So he tells me he told her.  Of course, I have no proof but what can I do.  A couple days later she texts him that she has to have some medical test run and that she is scared is sorry to text him.  I know he called her and spent at least an hour on the phone.  I know he cares about her because they were together so long but 1.5 years into our relationship, he should not be her support system and she should not be able to manipulate him like this.  She cheated on him and ended there 7+ year relationship even though he would've taken her back.  I have been hurt in the past andI don't want to set myself up for failure when its right in front of me.  I cried for days and fought with him  a lot after these messages.  He defended her and himself saying she is not in my life, just happens that she text me once every 6 months and that she doesn't have anyone else. I would like to believe him but it took him over a year to tell the ex about us.  He also refuses to delete her texts / contact info out of his phone because he says it documents his life and why should he have to do that.  FYI, It also took him 6 months to delete pics off his phone of her.

She has not come into the picture again since end of October, but I can't escape the feeling that something will or is happening.  I have talked about this with my bf and he assures me I am the one he wants and he treats me wonderful.  I just can't escape the pain he has caused me by hiding his relationship.  I actually am at the point where I think ending it may be the only option even if nothing else happens just because of my feelings.  The only other solution I have come up with is to talk to his ex and get her side of the story.  I don't know why but I think finding out if he actually told her about us and if he has been truthful I will feel some sense of relief.  Ive almost call and e-mailed her a few times, and then stopped myself.  Is that crazy?

~Confused

Community Leader
Registered: 05-14-2001
Thu, 01-10-2013 - 12:53am

Leyla, can I gently say you've made some bad decisions and ignored some very big red flags along with your inner voice and gut.  You've always felt insecure about his ex, yet you make life changes for the relationship (seek a job near him)?  You were aware that they were texting and knew you were not comfortable with it before you moved, yet you still sought out a job and moved your life to be closer?  You knew from your first visit to his home that this wasn't the right thing for you.  You've known all along this wasn't right, the sirens have been going off in your head, the red flags waving.  Your head and your gut have been at odds with the situation, yet you ignored it all and tried to force this to be different than it actually is. 

In your initial post you said SHE ruins your happiness and that SHE is responsible for your misery.  You're wrong.  SHE can't ruin your happiness, your security or the strength of your relationship.  Your happiness is ruined by your boyfriend's reaction to her and his choices.  Truthfully, your boyfriend's preferences.  What you are witnessing, the texting, the contact, the pictures and other momentos all these are choices he makes and they clearly show you HIS choices.  She could try all she wanted, but if he's not willing to maintain contact, she can't get in.  His choices are not at all what you can stand behind, feel comfortable with or accept.  That being the case, it's clear this guy is not the right guy for you.  You need a guy who's standards and choices are compatible with yours.  When you have that you won't need to ignore any red flags or your head/gut screaming at you.  You'll feel secure and happy because things fit and feel right to you.  Leyla, you can't take a guy and then try to make him what you want him to be.  You observe a guy's actions, choices, behavior, etc. and determine from what you observe whether he's right for you or not.  Compaitibilty can't be manufactured, it has to just be there.  In this case, there are too many things that are clearly wrong for this relationship to be workable for you.

You've been here before....can I suggest making some time with a therapist to take a look at why you choose and move forward in relationships that you really know aren't right?  I also recommend the book "Are You The One For Me?" by Barbara DeAngelis.  It's a great book that's very informative and helpful.  It won't take the place of therapy, but it will help you.


~ cl-2nd_life

cl-2nd_
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-21-2004
Wed, 01-09-2013 - 1:18pm

Ughh, you guys are all right.  To top it off, this morning I found out the calls and texts haven' stopped after November.  He's just been more sly about deleting them.  He travels on weekdays and left his cell bill out on the counter... over 2.5 hours of call time, 20 text message.  I confronted him and he lied flat out.  

I am so stupid that I really believed he was genuinely good and stupidly I still want to believe that there is a good reason for them communicating.

Avatar for ukgirl82
iVillage Member
Registered: 09-17-2005
Wed, 01-09-2013 - 6:08am

Leaving a note to make sure she knows about you is basically like marking your territory. You shouldn't need to resort to this in order to feel more secure in your relationship. You've been with a man for 1.5 years and you're still unsure whether someone actively in his life knows you exist. Wake up call - he may never stop putting her feelings above yours and if that's not what you want from a relationship, it's time to end it.

2nd Life is right that you can't force him to put your feelings above hers by making demands and marking your territory. It's his choice to put her feelings above yours and you can't control his choice. All you can control is your choice to remain in the relationship.

The reason you are struggling to get passed this is because you know that you are the one trying to force him to change his behavior, and even if he submits to that somewhat, you know it has not been by his choice but because you are demanding it. Leaving a note letting her know that you exist may make you feel a little better but it won't change any of this.

Additionally, there is really no need to apologize to her for anything. You've done nothing wrong so why would you apologize?

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-16-2008
Wed, 01-09-2013 - 12:13am

So if you've been together for 1.5 years I assume they've been broken up for at least 2 years or more. I agree with you that he should not still be her support system whenever she has emotional issues. He needs to tell her that her calling him with her problems is causing troubles in his current relationship. Does she not have a mother, aunt, or one or two close girlfriends that she can talk her issues over with? If not she can go talk to a licensed counselor who is much better able to help her with her problems than your bf is. Personally, I don't think I'd want to be friends with and ex whom I'd broken up with for cheating on me. 

Community Leader
Registered: 05-14-2001
Tue, 01-08-2013 - 9:14pm

The pain is being caused by you, not her.  A healthy relationship is not one where one partner demands the other get rid of his things; whether they're items from a previous relationship or not.  A healthy relationship is not one where one partner demands the other tell an ex about them.  You've been in this relationship for 1.5 years, about 1.3 years enough to have a clear view of what a relationship with this man entails = acceptance of momentos of a past relationship in his home, texts and phone calls to and from the ex, etc.  He's showing you exactly what the score is and what you can expect.  If you don't like it and can't accept it, then this is not the guy for you.  You cannot fix this by demanding, dumping, deleting.  YOU cannot fix this at all.  This is about how he feels and how you feel.  Maybe his feelings are simply kindness for the ex and not romantic at all; I don't know, whether or not this is about romantic feelings, it's clearly not something you can accept or feel comfortable with, and you shouldn't have to.  The right relationship is where the guy's actions and choices are in agreement with you, no changes, demands or fixing needed.  

Your in a relationship that isn't right for you and as long as you stay you won't be happy.  


~ cl-2nd_life

cl-2nd_
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-21-2004
Tue, 01-08-2013 - 2:19pm

Thanks for your reply.  I actually don't think his ex is an unreasonable person.  She sounds like she has severe phobia of everything including being social setting so she has a small support group.  I probably would sympathize with her if I were on the outside and he didn't act like there relationship was perfect. However, after the "love message", I feel they / he needs to draw lines.  I have never been the ultimatum type of girlfriend, but if he is going to have a friendship with her (which he says he does not want) it needs to be transparent, and I need to be in that picture.

I do have something I have to do still.  He had this piece of jewelry in his house in plain sight that I finally said, what are you doing with this because I am tired of looking at it?  He told me it was his exes and her grandmother or some family member had given it to her and that hadn't returned it because he knew it would upset me.  I told him there are other ways to return things (mail drop off, etc.) so you don't have to see a person. So, I offered to return it for him and he agreed.  I was thinking to place a short note in the mail with the jewelry basically saying "here's your ring… we found it and thought you might like to have it back.  I am not sure if ?? told you about me, so I apologize if this is the first your hearing about me."   In my opinion, this is a simple, potentially harmless way to make her aware of my existence.  My other option is just to stick it in the mail, not note, name, nothing.  Is this a bad idea?

Avatar for ukgirl82
iVillage Member
Registered: 09-17-2005
Tue, 01-08-2013 - 12:00pm

lvlyleyla wrote:
<p>Hi All,</p><p>Haven't been back in a while but alas another relationship ending?  I have been with the man who for the first time I thought could be the love of my life.  We click in every way and enjoy each others company.  There is only 1 problem- his ex-fiancee.  The were together 7 years but never married.  Just when I think I can relax and just be happy with someone, she somehow manages to ruin it.  And I say her, but the true reality is she did not know about us until October.  He always made an excuse that she was too fragile to hear it.  She tend to call him only when something difficult happens in her life. </p><p>Jus to give the backstory, I have been insecure about his ex since the begininng.

And understandably so. From the very beginning, he made it clear that he would put HER feelings before his relationship with you. It is really not his concern if she can't handle the fact that he is in a relationship. She's an adult and there is no reason why he or you should tip toe around her feelings. She is using her feelings to manipulate him and he is allowing her to do it. 

That said, I personally wouldn't have stayed in a relationship when this all became clear so I can not blame you for considering ending it.

Quote:
 The only other solution I have come up with is to talk to his ex and get her side of the story.  I don't know why but I think finding out if he actually told her about us and if he has been truthful I will feel some sense of relief.  Ive almost call and e-mailed her a few times, and then stopped myself.  Is that crazy?</p><p>~Confused</p>

I don't think this would be wise. You'd just be sending an open invitation to re-involve her into your lives. If she is really this unstable, you're unlikely to have a reasonable conversation with her. It would just invite drama, I suspect. 

However, it's only been 3 months since they haven't been in contact to your knowledge, right? Not very long and I wouldn't be surprised if you haven't heard the last from her.

You'll have to decide if you are willing to wait and see if he sticks to the boundaries he presumably set in Oct. Perhaps if he does, this will heal your hurt feelings.