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Problem with girlfriend. Need advice(45 posts)

Problem with girlfriend. Need adviceFender
Aug 21, 2003 6:54 AM
My Gf and I have been together for four months now. For the most part it's been a great relationship, except for one minor detail. She is still friends with her ex with whom she spent 4 years with. He dumped her and a year later we both met and started dating.

While I have appeared not to have a problem with them still talking and hanging out on occasions, it is starting to become a problem with me.

This Sunday one of my Gf friends is having a BBQ. The BBQ host is friends with both my Gf and her ex, but none the less invited them both (even knowing that she, my GF, is dating somebody which is me). We where going to attend but my gf ex directly told her that he did not think it was right because 1) it was through him that she met the BBQ's host and 2) it was mostly going to be his friends at the BBQ.

What it boils down to is that her ex is pretty much telling her what to do, in this case don't come if your bringing your boyfriend, yet I'm still expected to act cool when she hangs out with him.

This is not the first time that her ex would rather her not attend if she is bringing me along.

My question is, should we still attend the BBQ since the host invited my GF knowing that we are dating and at the same time send a message to her ex that I don't care what he thinks? Or should we not attend but also ask my Gf not to hang out with him anymore unless I can also be present? or the final option of just breaking up with her since this seems to be an ongoing problem which had led to several arguments.

Aug 21, 2003 7:04 AM
I'm that guy who remains friends with all my exes. I wouldn't have a problem with having you around. But this guy seems to have a problem with having you around, and that's his problem, not yours.

The host invited both of them, he (or she) is the only one who can influence attendance. If the ex doesn't feel comfortable, he shouldn't go - but he doesn't have the right to change the guest list - that responsibility falls solely on the host.
Aug 21, 2003 7:09 AM
Go to the BBQ. And DON'T tell your ex who she can see and not see socially. That's a sure fire way to screw up your fledgling relationship, and that kind of assertion of control would, if I were her, throw up all kinds of red flags.
Aug 21, 2003 7:12 AM
Absolutely go, and throw food at the ex while he is not looking.
Aug 21, 2003 7:15 AM
I was thinking about throwing hot coals but that might be too obvious...
No, the very oppositePaulCL
Aug 21, 2003 7:31 AM
Don't even joke around about doing something foolish or funny to the ex boyfriend. Instead, be a perfect gentleman. At the BBQ, go up to him and introduce yourself - if you haven't already met him. Shake his hand. Ask him about his day, etc.... If you've met him, go up and be very cordial. Be very polite. If he's a jerk, ignore him, be above it all. Make him look like the buffoon and jerk. Maybe your girlfriend will figure out that its' his problem, not yours.

Have fun at the BBQ. Don't get drunk and do something stupid until after the Ex leaves the party.
question for PaulCLFender
Aug 21, 2003 7:38 AM
Thanks PaulCL.

Only meant that as a joke.

Just one question. Since it's mostly going to be his friends at the BBQ, won't I be to an extent humiliating myself by trying to act cool and such? From what I hear his brother is also going to be there along with one of there close friends.
Um, no...TJeanloz
Aug 21, 2003 7:45 AM
If the GF and ex are "friends", by proxy, he is now your friend. You should be as nice to him as you would anybody else. I don't see how it's humiliating for you to be his friend - it's probably worse for him.
question for PaulCLPaulCL
Aug 21, 2003 11:02 AM
Don't act cool, just be nice. Maybe he'll end up being a nice guy too. Or, he'll be a jerk but the ONLY jerk and everyone will see it. Either way, it is a tough situation to be thrown into. Going to a party with your girlfriend and her ex and her ex's buddies - not fun.
Aug 21, 2003 7:16 AM
The host is the one who decides whom to invite, not the ex.

So the ex is still friends with your gf, but doesn't want her at a party because (1) he introduced her to the host and (2) his friends will be there? Hmmm, he doesn't sound like much of a friend to her. It seems like there is something else on his mind besides a sense of ownership over his friends... or maybe he's just a controlling jerk...
Bad adviceColnagoFE
Aug 21, 2003 7:47 AM
If this guy still has feelings for her (and it sounds like it is somewhat mutual) I forsee a big fight--especially after numerous beers have been drunk.
Like TJ ...sacheson
Aug 21, 2003 8:24 AM
... I remain friends with several of my ex'es. Unlike your GF's ex, I make it a point to reassure any new guys that I am no threat either directly (if we 'hit if off'), or non-directly (if I sense a little too much tension) ... of course, the pregnant wife does a lot to reaffirm any of my intentions!

I also take a hint from the new boy friend and/or my former girlfriends if there is any tension created in their relationship from my presence - and I am mature enough to realize that they are involved in their lives now, and I can't interfere if it will negatively impact their relationship.

Here's what I'd do:

1) be open with your girlfriend. If she's cool, she'll understand. If she's not, she can hit the high road.

2) be cool to this guy. You're never proud of yourself for being a putz.

3) if your gf goes to the bbq, go with her and be cordial to the ex and his friends. If they are being asses and your gf doesn't see it and do something about it, she's not worth the effort. No person is worth reducing your self worth.

4) if you decide to go your own way, do it openly, honestly, and graciously. Don't hide anything, and don't feel bad for your decision. Even if you don't end up with this girl right now (or ever, for that matter), she'll realize one day how much cooler you are than her ex ... it always makes me feel better when an ex girlfriend stops me and tells me how much cooler I am/was than someone else she's dated.
It sounds like you may want to consider....rwbadley
Aug 21, 2003 7:11 AM
the final option. It seems this girl is carrying around some baggage that she is refusing to shed. The ex is still in the picture enough that maybe his freinds are hoping he and your girl will get back together. Maybe just step out of the picture for a while and see what happens.

How big a town do you live in? Does everybody know everybody?

I think I would be tempted to move on... but don't listen to me; I haven't dated since Reagan was in his first term.

Live in a big town, San Francisco. She lives in the East Bay (nmFender
Aug 21, 2003 7:18 AM
Dump her-filtersweep
Aug 21, 2003 7:32 AM
"Friends"- unless her ex is "playing for the other team" these days, it is simply a bad sign. It implies that your current relationship is not permanent. Let's face it: how many guys actually just "want to be friends" with a woman? Particularly once a level of intimacy has been established. She's keeping the door propped open. If her ex can't deal with the two of you being around him, he really isn't "just a friend" with her, nor is he over her either. Think about it.
I'm with ya' here RW! Fender should look at the big picture!Live Steam
Aug 21, 2003 3:16 PM
I for one, wouldn't put myself in a position to be left holding the bag :O) They sound like they are playing games with each other and Fender is a pawn in the middle. They are together 4 years vs 4 months with Fender? How long was their breakup? Are they really broken-up or just "taking a break"? That wouldn't be for me. Too many other fish in the ocean to be bothering with one fluke :O)
UltimatumCaptain Morgan
Aug 21, 2003 7:11 AM
What a pickle. If you tell her to stop all contact with the ex, you risk looking like a jealous control freak. However, the fact that they dated 4 years means there is a significant history, and it is natural that you would feel uncomfortable. I would.

I think that under the circumstances, I would tell her that you would like her to stop contact with the ex. There are millions of people she could be friends with, so there is no reason that losing the ex as a friend should be a big deal. It is weird that she wants to stay friends, particularly since she was the one who was dumped.

That's my vote. Let us know what you decide!
Anytime I talked to or hung out with an old girlfriendContinental
Aug 21, 2003 7:28 AM
I was desperately horny and irrational. Of course, from the time I was 14 until I met my wife when I was 27 I was always desperately horny and irrational.

It's likely that ex-boyfriend is a typical low life scum of a male who wants to get into your girlfriend's pants. If he was just her friend, he's be your friend, too. She's probably too sweet and naive to understand what a beast he is.
I've been married 12+ years...ColnagoFE
Aug 21, 2003 7:51 AM
and I'm still horny and irrational way too often!
Aug 21, 2003 7:30 AM
Tell your girlfriend that if she really wants to go, she should go, and that you would love to go with her.

Tell her that you would never tell her who she could and couldn't be friends with, and only a jealous control freak would do that. (By the way, make sure you live up to this.)

Remind her that her ex didn't invite her to the party, their mutual friend did, and therefore, only their mutual friend can uninvite her.

If you go, tell her that if she feels uncomfortable, you'll leave. Otherwise, go and have a good time, and be the model of charm and tact. Be cool and act like it doesn't bother you at all that her ex is there. Greet him, talk to him, hang out with him. Don't hover around your girlfriend. Show her that she can have her own life and friends and you are happy just to tag along. Your being (or pretending to be) comfortable will make her comfortable and she'll have fun. You will score major points here. She'll see what a jerk her ex is and what a great guy you are.

Nothing to it.
you aren't marriedColnagoFE
Aug 21, 2003 7:45 AM
I'd tell her this isn't acceptable if you have agreed to be an exclusive couple. If that isn't the agreement then deal with it or lose her and find a new GF.
Thanks Guys!Fender
Aug 21, 2003 8:10 AM
I will be talking to her tonight and asking her for us to attend. If she refuses to do because the ex might have his feelings hurt or be uncomfortable (which was an excuse I was given two months ago on a similiar incident) I will ask her to seriously reconsider our relationship while giving her some time to think it over.

If we do attend, the ex is going to have some major issues with me being present. Although I doubt that a fight will break out, I will be keeping a beer bottle close to my hand at all times (just in case). What will happen is that he will stop talking to my Gf for at least a month.

Anyway, I will let you guys know what the outcome is.

Thanks again!
Thanks Guys!Tri_Rich
Aug 21, 2003 8:19 AM
Seriously, you probably need to figure out what her reletionship with the ex is. It may be that she simply has issues with being the dumpee, or that she feels that ending the relationship with him completely means she wasted the four years they were together. It may also be that she simply does not the idea that anybody dislikes her.

I went through the last of these when I first started dating my wife. She broke up with her ex but was very uncomfortable with the idea that he disliked her, despite having no desire to date him again.
You knowlotterypick
Aug 21, 2003 12:28 PM
Being a slimy guy and knowing what guys do, I don't get the friends part.

I'm all for him going to the BBQ and hanging out. By the way, he should act cool and not stress. Meaning, have a very thick skin, which will make him look better if things get weird.

Bottom line, he needs to be the calm mature one, especially if the ex isn't.

But my problem is the friends thing.

She should not be friends with the ex, even if it means finding new friends. Meaning, her number one priority should be her boyfriend.

I'm not saying he should go in their demanding anything, but he should ask, why she's friends with him in more than just a run into by accident sort of way.

By the way, how do they run into each other. Is it because they bowl together (joke) but really if it's a local hang out, then hang out somewhere else. If it's an activity (that's not important) then do other things that are better.

My point is, the boyfriend should look at the circumstance that bring the ex and her together and offer (find) other things that can take that time and make it theirs.

To me, hanging out with him even in groups is asking for a slide. Meaning, she has a fight with her boyfriend, talks to the ex (who's needs sex, not love) and they fall into stuff.

Right now, I can see a fight tonight. Meaning, if he asks her about priorities and the ex.

I think the better plan is to look at her life and see the situations that cause her to run into them. More than likely, it a habit to hang out or do this or that.

The boyfriend needs to be creative and find other things for he and her to do that would silently replace the old habits.

That's how you train a dog, by replacing a bad situation with something better, seems like it'd work in this one too.

The boyfriend would look great while eliminating the ex time. As for the BBQ, go and have fun. Ignore him, don't look at him unless you run face to face and then act friendly like he's no threat. be the mature guy who the girlfriend can find no fault in.

That's my take.
I think you should talk to your GF, not these freaks!dr hoo
Aug 21, 2003 12:29 PM
Seriously, if you can't communicate about important things like this, you are doomed.

You are talking about taking actions. Attend, don't attend. Breaking up, asking her not to hang with him. Consider asking your gf about how the TWO of you can deal with this situation.

Relationships are partnerships. Looking at the options you are considering (attend but confront, tell gf what to do and who not to see, break up) all are based on conflict. You have argued about him, which means you two are pulling in different directions. You need to work on some solution that eliminates the conflict by focusing on your common goals.


Now, if I was being cynical, I would say talk to your GF about your FEELINGS. Use the line "This is the way I feel, do you understand how what you are doing and how he acts makes me feel this way?". Cry. Chicks dig that stuff.
I think you should talk to your GF, not these freaks!lotterypick
Aug 21, 2003 12:43 PM
I think you're asking for a fight with that line. It's automatic. Once you throw out the My Feelings line you are dead.

Every fight pciked over this issue will drive the girlfriend away. Has anyone asked him if he really thinks she could be the one?

You plan is a bad one because clearly he doesn't have the winning solution on this one. Asking people in a forum like this is like going to church. You get answers and thoughts you would not have considered if you just went it by yourself.

He needs to be creative. Look very closely at her life and why she keeps running into the ex. He needs to try to offer alternative activities that eliminate that situation, where she ends up with the ex, all in a good way that is seamless and invisible (as to him being concerned about the ex and being vulnerable).

If he finds the girlfriend turns down really good things for them to do, all seemingly in a effort to stay with her friends or the ex, then he should consider breaking up with her.

In negotiations you have power as long as you can walk away from the deal.

Some times, with weaker people, you need to leave for them to see the truth, your importance, and reestablish their priorities.

ANy way. Read my plan. It asks him to be creative
My 2 cents.eyebob
Aug 21, 2003 12:55 PM
You sound a bit insecure. If this situation bugs you, look for the reasons in your own character that cause it. It probably isn't the first time that you've felt this way. I've been there and I think that I've learned what it was all about with me. In the grand scheme of things this is probably just one of many situations that could make you feel uncomfortable so it might be better to solve the bit that's "you" and let her do her own thing. In life, you might as well just accept 'em as you find 'em because they (your GF in this case) are not likely to change. Change yourself but don't expect others to change.


Or just throw food at her ex....whichever.
My 2 cents.lotterypick
Aug 21, 2003 1:02 PM
I think the personal issue is that we all have been there and still get that way, if the circumstances are wrong.

Part of being strong in it is not saying anything rash. If you're getting mad, just let it sit until you can think better.

A lot of times I've said things that seemed right at the time, but then a little later I found I was an idiot for even thinking that.

First thing, hold your tongue. know that you are a good person and that you have worth. For me, being a Christian and knowing that God loves me and is rooting for me to do the right thing, is enough for me to suck it up, put aside my insecurities and look for good or how to be a blessing to those in the situation.

With girls you have to listen and just sit there (meaning don't talk too much). Then things come out, they feel better and you look like a metrosexual rather than a cave man. ha ha ha. but applicable.

we all have insecurities, at work, home, in laws, etc. we just need to suck it up and look to help others. we will look good, look mature and it will help us take away those insecurities (for that situation).
Update on GFFender
Aug 21, 2003 1:37 PM
I talked to her over the phone earlier today. She said she talked to the BBQ host and he is going to talk to her ex. FWIW, the BBQ is gay. We might be attending although we will be meeting after work to discuss it.

My current thought process has been:
1) attend the BBQ and let the ex act as the A-hole he really is. I am mostly concerned on how my Gf will act around him and his friends.

2) If she does not want to attend, then I will give her some time to reconsider what she really wants. If she wants to be with me, then I will ask her to cease communications with him.

What I think this is coming down to is her not being ready for a relationship. I will talk to her and ask her to take a breather and think about what she wants.

I'll post tomorrow to follow up.
The BBQ is not gay, the host is. (nm)Fender
Aug 21, 2003 1:39 PM
That's it!!lotterypick
Aug 21, 2003 1:45 PM
The ex turned to the dark side and she can't believe a guy left her to be with another guy.

Now it all makes sense.

Dude, you're safe. But I'd follow what I said before and start offering different activities to get her out of the running into ex routine.
I think he said the host is gay...not the ex (nm)ColnagoFE
Aug 21, 2003 2:27 PM
If you really give that ultimatumjtolleson
Aug 21, 2003 2:42 PM
then I think you deserve for her to tell you to "stick it." Ask her to "cease communications" with him? Are you serious?

If it weren't so inappropriate and controlling it would be a bad solution anyway because it will solicit rebellion, deception, or both.

But if that's really the kind of guy you are, then good for her that she's going to learn it NOW while she can get out with little loss.
Listen to jtolleson and TJeanloz.czardonic
Aug 21, 2003 2:50 PM
Maybe I missed a few others, but most of the responses on this thread have been severely and typically immature.

FWIW, I am much more suspicious of ex-relationships where the two can not be friends. It suggests to me that a) they were not friends in the first place, which makes me question their reason for getting together and/or b) there are unresolved feelings that are so intense that they preclude contact.

Also, birds of a feather flock together. If your GF's ex and his crowd are given to this kind of behavior, I have to wonder why your GF (and you) are mixed up with them in the first place. If it is bothering you, it might be time to strike out for greener pastures.
And how often do we agree on anything? (nm)TJeanloz
Aug 22, 2003 7:33 AM
An infrequent occurence that I take to be auspicious. (nm)czardonic
Aug 22, 2003 8:58 AM
I think I hear the 4 horsemen arriving (nm)ColnagoFE
Aug 22, 2003 10:33 AM
If you really give that ultimatumFender
Aug 21, 2003 3:13 PM
Although I'm not that type of guy (control freak) I'm not sure what to do about this situation. The reasoning behind them being friends is that when she moved to Berkeley for college, she met him and they became friends. He was the only person she could count on and thus feels certain gratitude towards him. Then you factor in the 4 years of a relationship and it gets even worse.

So supposing we continue together, and she does not stop communicating with him, then what should we do? When he asks her out (most of the time it's with other people present and for specific reasons such a mutual friend visiting or similiar) should I also tag along?

I've talked to a few other persons and they have suggested taking some time apart and have her decide what she wants.

The more I think about it, the more it makes me want to move on to greener pastures since this is not the first time it happens and I am starting to believe it won't be the last.
If you really give that ultimatumlotterypick
Aug 21, 2003 3:30 PM
Truthfully, I guess you should share your feelings in a good way. meaning, whatever happens don't get mad.

She should chose. If you do it in a loving way, she'll probably chose you.

I don't believe in the ex's being friends, this is the real world, not some fairy tale where everyone does the right thing.

Women need love, but men need respect. They need to know they have solid ground to stand on, most importantly in their significant other.

Talk to her, be loving and don't get mad or even close and let her talk.
Suspicion of your friends and loved ones is not normal.czardonic
Aug 21, 2003 3:47 PM
And neither is your servile approach to keeping spouses happy, nor your chauvinistic view on what men and women "need".

Seriously and sincerely, you should be asking for relationship advice, not giving it.
Let's see your my friend so ...lotterypick
Aug 21, 2003 4:18 PM
Get real.

You have no idea what good is, nor what is good for you.

Loving your wife and family and serving them (looking out for them above your own needs) is apparently beyond your understanding.

I'm a realist, I understand human shortcomings and weakness. I don't act like we should expect dog and cats to get along, nor do I expect ex's and apparently confused priority girlfriends to act sensibly and right for the boyfriend, who is apparently disregarded.

You should separate your stinging defeat from different topics.

See, just another example of humanist idealism ignoring reality. Thanks for the reminder.
If you understood your own shortcomings and weaknesses. . .czardonic
Aug 21, 2003 4:27 PM
. . .that would be great. But instead, it is aparent that you are trying to instill them in others so you can feel like you are normal, and thus continue to ignore them.

I understand love -- such that I know that abject obeisance has nothing to do with it. What you are talking about is known by us humanists as "co-dependency", and it is viewed as a pathology, not a virtue.

You are not a realist, you are a dogmatist who assumes that anything that validates his view is correct, and anything that does not is incorrect, unwholesome and immoral.

BTW, many dogs and cats get along famously.
To thine own self be true!Live Steam
Aug 21, 2003 5:16 PM
No one here can really understand the situation as you can. Though you may feel confused by it, if you step back from it and view it with your intimate knowledge, the answer will come to you.

The only advice I can give is to act with dignity and pride. That is all we ever really have that is ours and ours alone. I am not talking about mechanism of defense. I am talking about establishing your own personal datum (certain base minimum requirements or standards you want to live by and would desire a significant other to live by). Sort of treat thy neighbor as you would have him/her treat you. If she is crossing a ceratin line of your personal datum, she needs to know that and how it effects you and your relationship. The rest is up to how each of you handles it from that point on.

This situation sounds like it's a difficult one for you to handle even if her intentions are pure and their relationship is truly platonic. Either you trust her or you don't. Nothing is more damaging to a relationship than a lack of trust. You have to understand yourself and know what you can and cannot live with. There is no wrong answer. There are however, wrong ways to react. I wish you the best and I hope it turns out however you would desire it to.
Doug - Please move to Teen Chat. (nm)53T
Aug 21, 2003 5:47 PM
From a woman's perspectiveCritLover
Aug 21, 2003 7:08 PM
The whole situation depends on what kind of guy you are. Not about trying to figure out what kind of woman she is. Let me explain.

My current relationship: Been together six years and from the very beginning have been friends with several ex's and even had dinner alone with one of them in their house (someone had died and he was devastated). Boyfriend was and continues to be completely secure with my desire to keep these guys as friends (and no nothing ever happened).

His theory is that if I'm into being with some other guy, I will, regardless of whether we hang out or not. Also, if something could happen, than our relationship isn't built on anyhing substantial and we won't be together long anyway. I was kinda surprised to hear it from a man, but it's really worked well for us. You know how the old theory goes, if a person is loyal and committed, then nothing the other person can do will change that (this may be doublely true for women).

So if you are the kind of guy that is confident and secure in the commitment, and if she is really into you and your relationship, then you are making a problem when there is only some awkwardness.

(and FWIW most of the ex's I've been friends with afterwards have all eventually moved on and out of my life)