I read some of your posts and thought you could help me like you helped those other people. My boyfriend is constantly hanging around his ex and it bothers me. They aren’t hanging out one on one or anything, but they share a mutual group of friends, and so when he tells me he’s going out with his friends, the ex is usually there. I think I’d be cool with all of this, but I’ve recently seen how my boyfriend and his ex interact, and it was weird. I was around their group of friends, but it was those two that made me feel like I was on the outside. I think they’re vibe is starting to seem like it’s more than friends. How do I tell my boyfriend to stop hanging out with his ex without sounding jealous.
-Mr. Been Over It
Dear Mr. Been Over It,
Thanks for writing to me. Your letter touched on the classic question, can exes be friends? I’ll be the first to admit, I was originally in the school of thought that exes can’t be friends, but can be friendly. I used to feel that on general principle, anytime exes attempted to be friends, one or both of the people in that friendship would have lingering feelings that could make lines blurry. However, chalk it up to living more and seeing more, but I’m not as opposed to exes being friends these days. Sometimes two people can fall out of romantic love and enter a strictly platonic relationship; although, it takes time for both individuals to reach that platonic headspace.
In the case of your boyfriend and his ex, I don’t know if there is something going on between them because I don’t know any more than what you’ve shared. I haven’t seen the two interact and I don’t know how long it’s been since they’ve broken up and you’ve been boo’d up. What I can say, is just because you felt weird about an interaction doesn’t mean something is going on. I’m not discounting your gut, but if your boyfriend has done nothing to betray your trust so far, you should give him the benefit of the doubt.
It’s completely possible that when you hang out with your boyfriend and his ex in a friend setting, you aren’t seeing two people still deeply in love, but simply two people that are familiar with each other. When my best friends and I get together, although I’ve dated none of them, we sometimes speak in a way that can make outsiders feel left out. We’ve just known each other for so long and there is a sense of familiarity between us, that we sometimes operate on a wavelength that can make outsiders uncomfortable. Your boyfriend and his ex probably have just become extremely comfortable with each other and operate in that comfortable space when they meet. They more than likely don’t know they make you or anyone else feel a certain way because of their interaction.
With all that said, it’s understandable if you find yourself a little upset. It’s one thing when your boyfriend is locked in a zone with a strictly platonic friend, but it’s another when that platonic friend is an ex of your boo that’s seen him naked and probably done a few laps around the bedroom (tried to class it up a bit). But while I get your feelings of frustration, I’d ask you to keep trusting your boyfriend and the respect he has for you.
Suggestions going forward.
- If you are really that uncomfortable with your boyfriend hanging out with his ex in a group setting, mention your feelings to your boyfriend. Don’t demand he stop seeing the ex, but calmly explain how him hanging around his ex-boyfriend makes you uncomfortable. If your boyfriend is worth having and nothing shady is going on, he’ll more than likely reassure you nothing is going and takes steps to make you feel comfortable about the situation. (That doesn’t necessarily mean he will stop hanging with the ex.)
- If your boyfriend is going to continue hanging with the ex, to feel better about the situation, try spending some time around the ex. Get to know him better. You may find hanging around him makes you feel better. At the very least, you get to know him so you get a better sense of determining if the weirdness you felt is something to be concerned about.
As always nothing but love,