RelationshipFilter: I told my boyfriend I was fine with him traveling in Europe for a couple of weeks with his ex-girlfriend. Now I'm having second thoughts. Help me figure out how best to handle this and get my confidence back?
posted by booknerd to Human Relations (68 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Pertinent info: I'm 23, he's 26 and in graduate school. He has the opportunity to work in London doing research for several weeks this summer, which coincides nicely with a conference he was planning to attend in Paris. Since he's never been to mainland Europe (just UK), he wanted to spend a couple of weeks in between traveling, hiking, and seeing sights. Although he wanted me to go with him, my financial situation is such that there was just no way in hell I'd be able to afford it right now. He's booked his flights now, and he'll be leaving next month, returning in July. When his ex expressed an interest in traveling with him, I told him that was fine with me.
She lives in another state and they're still good friends. They dated for a few months a couple of years ago, and it was apparently understood to be a short-term thing at the time, although neither of them has dated anyone since then (until he started seeing me) and they continued to see each other as non-exclusive friends-with-benefits, and for all intents and purposes, still acted like they were dating. When he and I first got involved, he felt conflicted and had to break things off with her for good. At that point, she told him not to tell her if/when he was seeing someone else, until such a time as she started seeing someone. For some reason, he agreed to this (he hates conflict and didn't want to hurt her, etc.). I was pretty peeved/confused by this, but just went along with it and figured it really wasn't any of my business, although it bothered me a lot. He finally got sick of it and told her about me just a couple of months ago. According to him, she reacted okay. I met her for the first time last weekend, after much drama when she initially told him that meeting me would be "too stressful" and I took that pretty poorly. She later apologized for the comment and said that she'd be happy to meet me, and when we did meet, she was civil but didn't seem very interested in talking to me much or engaging in conversation.
After all of the drama about meeting/not meeting her last weekend, I talked the situation over with a few friends. The universal response from everyone I know is that a) he's an asshole for going with her, b) she's crazy, and c) I'm an idiot for saying I was okay with it. He's definitely not an asshole. He's a quiet, mild-mannered nerdy guy, who went two years without dating or sleeping with anyone when he first started grad school. The only people he's been involved with for the past four years are his ex, and me. We've been dating about 9 months or so, and I'm crazy about him. I trust him completely, and the ex isn't exactly seductress material. I'm going to miss him a lot while he's gone, but it's a great opportunity and I want him to have as much fun as possible, even if it's with her and not me. I'm coming in to this situation with my own baggage and biases. I've been burned pretty badly in the past by boyfriends lying to me, cheating on me, and even being involved with my family members. In each instance, I trusted the guy completely and never saw it coming or suspected anything. I know that sounds ridiculously naive, but it's true. I was pretty wary of getting too close to anyone too fast after all of that, so I've been taking it slow with this current guy, but I'm starting to get really, really attached to him. I've also been in controlling, co-dependent type relationships before, so I think I might be overcompensating to avoid that. As one of my friends just said, "there's a line between controlling and like, being fine with him travelling with the ex". Where does that line fall? Am I crazy? He's already bought his plane ticket to and from London, allowing for the extra two weeks of travel time, but she hasn't bought a plane ticket to meet him over there yet. Given that I want what's best for him and for our relationship, what should I do to deal with this?