Is she really over him?
May 30, 2011 8:01 AM Subscribe
Why does my girlfriend still mention her ex-boyfriend and the life they shared together?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (47 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
We have been dating for about four months. Prior to that, I was single for six months—my ex left for Europe and never came back (we had been together for four years). My girlfriend was single for three months before we met and started dating. She was with a manipulative, lazy, and jealous guy with a whiny temper when things didn't go his way for two and a half years. She lived with him in his house that he owned for two years of the relationship. At this time she was in graduate school and he was working full-time making significantly more money than I ever will given my career. She maintained a garden at his place and they had dogs. He kept everything in the breakup, etc. He regularly checked and read her email, SMS, and Facebook. She changed all of her passwords immediately after breaking up with him. They were not engaged. All of her family and his family were well-acquainted, and they all live very near to one another. He lives 15 minutes away from both of us, and his parents and her parents all live no more than 30 minutes from us. She frequently runs into his family and extended family, despite the fact that we live in a big city. One of my girlfriend’s best friends is her ex-boyfriend’s cousin.
We are both in our late 20s with careers, have post-graduate degrees, and are employed full-time. We usually spend the night together, either at my place or hers, but we maintain our own apartments intentionally. Outside of this complaint, the relationship is perfect. We are reciprocal in every way, we usually eat breakfast and dinner together, we take turns cooking and cleaning, and we talk about any differences of opinion or taste that come up. I’m really easy-going and she can be pretty intense, but we find a happy medium. We live about 10 minutes away from one another. We both work out and are active—we rarely sit in front of our laptops or the TV at home. We pick out and read the same books before bed so we can talk about them.
Not a day goes by on which she doesn’t refer to her ex-boyfriend or the life they shared together. Whether it’s about “our” dogs or “my” garden (our=she and her ex and my=his, since the garden was at his house), or places they would go, things he would never do (laundry, dishes, take care of the dogs, etc), she always mentions it. Usually it is in response to something that I have done, such as unexpectedly doing the dishes, bringing her flowers, or tidying up her apartment. She has described him as obese, mean, and dressing like a schlub.
I do not speak about my exes. Happily for her, they live either in Europe or far away now and will never come back to our state, let alone to our region. I do not use Facebook and have no contact with them at all.
For 15 days I kept a tally of how many times she mentioned her ex/past-life with him. It was over 100 times, mostly on the weekends, which is when we see one another the most. She talks about “our” dogs the most (again, our refers to her and her ex-boyfriend, not me). I am acutely allergic to cats and have no interest in dogs, although I would be willing to get allergy shots now and then if it would make her happy to have a pet and have told her so.
We visited her best friend in a neighboring city for the long weekend. It was a blast and I loved getting to meet someone who has known her for most of her life…however they both talked about their ex-boyfriends, at length, in front of me. My girlfriend even accidentally referred to me as “Simon” (her ex-boyfriend and my name doesn’t begin with an S) a few times in conversation both to her friend and to me.
I say nothing and do not react at all when she mentions her ex or her past life with him. I do not avoid subjects that might cause her to bring him up, but I do make a point not to engage her when she brings those things up. It is my way of passively ending the conversation without coming off as jealous or upset.
I have been cheated on once, but I was young and foolish and ignored glaring signs. My most recent previous relationship ended due to forces largely out of our control and amicably. Is it foolish of me to stop noticing these remarks and reminiscing on her part? Am I ignoring signs that perhaps someone with more dating experience might not?