EX-Factor- Still in love with ex-fiancee??

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-21-2004
EX-Factor- Still in love with ex-fiancee??
Mon, 01-07-2013 - 11:07am


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 tends to call him 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?



iVillage Member
Registered: 01-02-2008
Mon, 01-14-2013 - 4:36pm

I would have to agree with the others. It appears too many red flags and one sided on his part.. and yes it appears you are in a three way relationship.. I learned once that there is no room for three people in a relationship so someone has to take the high road and bow out. That is going to either be you or the ex gfriend.. Let your boyfriend make a choice.. Tell him if he is not done with ex G 100 percent then walk away...


iVillage Member
Registered: 09-26-2012
Mon, 01-14-2013 - 12:59pm

This is not a healthy relationship.  How old is this guy?

You've been doing all the heavy-lifting in this relationship - moving 1500 miles to be with a guy who is not 100% committed to you seems unwise.

I recommend seeing a very good therapist immediately - for you, and considering separating from this guy until you can think clearly about any future you'd have with him.

The red flags are too numerous to count.  

Good luck.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-29-2002
Mon, 01-14-2013 - 10:15am

The Ex-fiancee' is not the problem.  It is your Boyfriend, and you need to make it clear what you find acceptable and what you do not.  He is no longer in a relationship with her, therefore he should not be catering to her.  He is in a relationship with you, if it is to progress to marriage, then he needs to create clear boundaries and stick with them.

Talking to the ex-fiancee' is not going to bring you any closure or understanding.

Avatar for ukgirl82
iVillage Member
Registered: 09-17-2005
Sun, 01-13-2013 - 6:19am

lvlyleyla wrote:
One of the reasons I want to talk to her is to get her sense of their prior relationship as well.  You know there are always two sides to every story...

You shouldn't need to get her side of the story because their story should be over. Stop allowing yourself to remain involved with two people who have made it clear that they are not finished with each other.

Community Leader
Registered: 01-03-2004
Sat, 01-12-2013 - 5:15pm

Forget talking to her. He's not "over" her, especially if he still had/has her things in his house with you under the roof. So my only question to you is this: WHY are you wasting your time on this guy? Is he a rescue job or a true potential partner? A true partner would have broken it off and waited to get involved with someone else when HE was ready (not when YOU wanted it.). 

Stop wasting your time. Let him go. You can do better...and should.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-29-2010
Thu, 01-10-2013 - 11:14am

The fact that you are living together and he wasn't telling the ex about you; and that you hope to make marriage plans within the year add a twist to this story. If you were "just dating" it would be one thing to not tell the ex of your existence but living together usually means taking the relationship to a more serious level and makes his failure to tell her much worse IMO.

I have to ask why you want to marry a man that lies? Not telling the ex about you, about the true state of your relationship is a lie of omission. Not being honest and forthcoming with you about the texts etc with the ex are more lies of omission. Plus you're questioning what he has really told her about you/your relationship, that maybe there have been bald-faced lies. For me that would raise some real questions of trust and honesty, in addition to the questions about where you rank in his affections vs the ex.

At the very least get couples counseling before considering marriage to this man.

Avatar for Kendahke1
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-09-2012
Tue, 01-08-2013 - 8:16pm

lvlyleyla wrote:
<p>Hmm, I guess you don't see where you are coming from.  To be clear, the problem I have is not that he has a past or an ex.  It's that he lied to her about me (1.5 years to inform her??) and he lied to me about her.  Noone has the complete story except for him.  I am cordial with 1 or 2 exes but I dont hide my relationship from my bf or them.  I have a past as well bit I am up front about it.  He skulked around like he had something to hide.   I wouldn't even care if he wanted to be friendly as long as I was not excluded due to to her fragility.  I was not planning to be hostile in reaching out to her... just to talk and hopefully reach some common ground.</p>

I can't say I blame your feelings...  you're not saying that he's not allowed to have a past--what you're saying is that lying about being actively involved in his past and proceeding as if her feelings mean more to him than yours do is intolerable. That he is with you is non sequitur: he is not present and open with you; he is not honest in his dealing with either you or her.  There is no reason why by this time he hasn't told her that he's with you and is moving forward with you... and he should have no problem making that plain to her.

The fact that he refuses to make plain to both of you where each of you stand is blatantly obvious--and THAT seems to be from where the problems stems.  Her 'fragility' is an issue for a licensed therapist, not an ex.

Having said that--if him being deceptive is the issue, then it might be time for you to reconsider the wisdom in being in a relationship with him.  If he is keeping emotional tethers to this woman, then he's not emotionally done with her.  You cannot make him do what you want him to do--that has to come of his own volition, and so far, his volition is to obfuscate and deceive--are those the qualities you want in the man you love?

I dont' think contacting her is the right idea.  Your boyfriend is the problem, not her. Every human understands the meaning of the word "no" by that age of 18 months.  He is not telling her "no, I can no longer be emotionally available to you".  His behavior says he's doing the opposite of that.  The closure you seek can only be given to you by your boyfriend, not through her.  If she didn't have his permission to contact him, it wouldn't be happening.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-21-2004
Tue, 01-08-2013 - 4:56pm

We are actually 14 years apart (I am in my 30s).  I agree with you, and it has often bothered me, but I have I have told him that is non-option for me.  He says the reason he and his ex never got married (by the way they were engage 1 year into their relationship) is mostly because of her.  He wanted kids, she didn't and at some point she was probably too old to start trying.  They had separate houses and neither wanted to move.  He said they evolved into a relationship where it fit for them.  Some of it made sense and some of it did not.  

So, I understand your opinion because I have had it myself and it is still in lingering in my mind.  If we have no marriage plans by the end of summer, I WILL call it quits.  I won't end up like his ex ever because they never moved forward.  The never even lived together and we already live together. He makes me very happy when there are none of these issues and bad feelings. I just don't want to waste my time if he is not over her / nor any plans to cut her off and if he doesn't want to make a committment to me.

One of the reasons I want to talk to her is to get her sense of their prior relationship as well.  You know there are always two sides to every story... 

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-22-2003
Tue, 01-08-2013 - 4:40pm

You didn't mention your age but the fact that his previous relationship lasted 7 years without a successful ending would be a huge red flag.  Sorry but your boyfriend does not sound like longterm or marriage material.  You could be in the same position she is in 6 years from now.  Think hard about whether or not to continue this relationship.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-29-2010
Mon, 01-07-2013 - 10:15pm

To me it sounds like he is putting her feelings ahead of yours. He doesn't want to upset her by telling her that he has another gf, or that he cannot be the one she turns to every time she has a crisis. But he doesn't seem to care that you are upset by those things. The little shrine to her was a tip-off. People say guys are clueless but most are not so clueless that they don't know that when you bring over a new gf you first dismantle the shrine to the old gf---they can imagine how they would feel seeing a shrine to an ex-bf. IMO the unwillingness to get rid of or put away the mementos of their relationship was more than just not getting around to it. It sounds like he hasn't fully moved on. He may be sincere when he says that you're the one that he wants to be with; but it doesn't sound like he has accepted that he has to fully let go of her to be fully with you.

I don't see that talking to her will solve the problem. She may not stop contacting him just because she finds out about you, or because you ask her to. HE needs to tell her to stop contact, and he needs to be willing to enforce the no-contact.

As others said, it may be time for an ultimatum, but be prepared that he may choose her over you. Maybe because he doesn't want you to tell him what to do, or maybe because he still needs to have this contact with her for whatever reason. Probably what is making you insecure is not that he is still friends with her, but that he is sometimes secretive about it and there seems to be more emotional bond than appropriate for an ex who has moved onto a new relationship. If he considers you his gf then he should be putting you and your feelings ahead of his ex's feelings. Until he breaks it off with her emotionally she will always be the third party in your relationship and you will continue to feel insecure.