His Exes Are Crowding Her
Q: My guy has two exes and he still stays in touch with both of them. He says he will always care for them and one of them he has kids with. I especially don't understand why he feels it is okay to stay in touch with the one without kids, as I do not with my exes. We have had three major disagreements about this and I am not sure we will survive another. We have been together over a year (I'm 43), and I love this man. I want to know if I should let him have his exes and move on. -- Lydia
Dr. Susan: Not to belabor the obvious, but love does involve trust. You apparently feel he's betraying you somehow by remaining friendly with his former lovers. You've had two major disagreements, you say, but have you really sat down and quietly tried to find out what needs these exes serve in his life? The one he shares kids with is obvious, so focus on the other one. You might try to be big-hearted about it and suggest you and he and she go to lunch one day. After all, if he's not hiding anything and she's "just an old friend" now, there isn't any reason you can't be included. It's the secret nature of their relationship that makes you insecure. Explain that you need help to feel comfortable about him spending time alone with ANY woman, especially one he's been intimate with. Such situations can become sticky, but if all is above board, there is no reason not to trust him. You may not wish to socialize with your own exes (nor do I with mine!), but some men have trouble making friends with anyone but women. So letting go of these women completely may seem like a bigger loss to him than it would to you. Ask him honestly for his take on the matter, and then decide how much YOU can take.
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Advice for Her
Advice for Him
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.