Are They Stuck On Their Ex?
If They Can't (or Won't) Live Without Seeing an Ex, It's Time For You to Move on From Your Relationship
Dear April Masini,
My partner still has contact with his ex. He has said to me several times that he will stop spending so much time with her. However, I see no change. Do you have any advice for what I can do or is our relationship doomed?"
Sincerely, Unfinished Business
April Masini's Advice :
Dear Unfinished Business,
If your boyfriend’s ex is his ex-wife with children, then he will have to have contact with her for the rest of his life because of the children. That said, he should limit his contact to anything that has to do with the kids. If you can’t handle that, then you should find someone without children with whom to have a relationship with. There are lots of men without kids, and finding one without them won't be that tough if you are very clear about what you do want, and what you don't want, and stick to it.
You Can't Change Him, You Can Only Change You
However, I suspect that your boyfriend’s ex is an ex-girlfriend or an ex-wife without children between them. In this case, it is perfectly okay for you to want him not to have contact with his ex. However, you need to really accept who he is – and who he isn’t. If he is someone who can’t honor his promise not to have contact with his ex, or your feelings which you have made clear to him, you will do yourself a big favor by accepting him for who he is, and not trying to change him. If he wanted to change, he would.
If he really can’t live without seeing his ex then you should accept that he has some unfinished business with her that has nothing to do with you. Maybe he still has feelings for her. Maybe he doesn't want to commit to you and this is his way of staying out of a commitment. Regardless, this is entirely his problem, and you shouldn't make it yours. If you don't accept him, you'll turn into a nag, and a nasty version of someone his mother might have been, and he already has a mother. Besides if you want to be a mother, there are easier ways to become one. And if he wants a mother, you can point him in the direction of the house where he grew up. Face it: You can’t change him. What you can do is buy my new book Think & Date Like a Man and change yourself.
If His Ex Makes Him Your Ex
The great thing about dating is that you don’t have to marry your date, and you don’t have to continue a relationship that isn’t meeting your needs. In fact, you don’t have to go out on another date with him at all if you don’t want to. Dating is all about finding someone who is right for you and who makes you happy, and who is happy because of you. If your boyfriend is committed to his ex and can’t stop seeing her, and this upsets you, then accept the fact that he’s not “the one,” and start dating other people. Open up your choices of men that you might have a serious relationship with. There are lots of men who want to be in monogamous relationships. There are lots of men who don’t want any contact with their ex. There are lots of men who will want to not see their ex if that's what you’d like because they want to please you. If you don’t have one of those men, then find one!
If this problem seems to be repeating with other boyfriends, you might want to consider your own needs and how realistic they are. It’s good to have self esteem and know what you want. But if your expectations are unrealistic and are interfering with your happiness, you need to readjust your goals. Most men have had relationships before they get serious or marry. This means that they will have ex girlfriends – and some of them may even have ex wives. This is normal. If you have an unusual need to be the only woman in your man’s life, there isn’t going to be room for even his mother – and that’s not healthy. On the other hand, you may not have any exes in your life, so the idea of someone being friendly with an ex may seem threatening to you – or you may not have friendly relationships with any of your exes so that anyone who does have a friendly or cordial relationship with their ex may threaten you, as well.
On the other hand, if you start dating other people and you find you’re happier, then you did the right thing by honoring your own choices in a man.