My boyfriend "forgot" me and let his ex stay during the holiday with him
February 22, 2015 9:11 AM   Subscribe

Please help me get over the bitterness towards my boyfriend’s actions. I am turning into a person I truly dislike, but I can’t get over myself and all the bad feelings this story brought up. I have been with my man for almost three years in a LDR. He is great in so many ways and I do love him. However, I have lost my trust and confidence in him that he will be a considerate and respectful man, and a partner to count on in the future.

Here’s the story; we live in different towns (far to travel). We both have children who are attached to their friends and schools so we cannot move to each other’s town for the time being (at least not before two-three more years). We only spend summer- and school holidays together, when I go to his town, as I have a holiday place there.

He had a tough history with his kids and his ex wife 15 years ago (sorry for long story)!

When he was still with his ex wife, their two children and his ex wife’s daughter (his step-daughter - whom he raised as his own child), he almost died in a car accident.
For a long period, while he was in a coma, and the doctors were not sure of the result, his ex wife decided apparently it was a good time to leave him (to die by himself). Not once did she come to the hospital to visit him. Instead, she decided to continue her life in a religious sect with the children, Fortunately, my boyfriend recovers – and long story short – gains custody of the children. She stays in the sect. Every summer he has taken the children to this place to see their mother in secure surroundings.

Except surprise, this summer she decides to come to visit with her daughter. So, when him and I are having our last days together, he receives a phone call from his adult step daughter who says she is coming with her family (husband and children) and her mother (the ex/mother of the two children).
I ask my boyfriend where they will all be staying. Normally his step daughter and her family have stayed with him in his house when they come to visit. He says, that his ex will most likely stay at a B&B, only a few minutes’ drive, and a 25 minute walk (in lovely countryside surroundings). So I say; - Good, as I hope she won't be staying at your house as well! He says; - No, of course not!

I leave a few days later to go back home and start work. When talking to my boyfriend one evening, I ask him then how everybody is doing and which B&B did his ex eventually chose. He replies; - well, actually she is staying here, in the house!
It did upset me a lot, I have to admit and I do feel ashamed of my feelings. However, it’s just the fact that he didn’t even tell me, and the fact that I had to ask where she was. The fact that he didn’t have the respect, decency and courtesy to ask if I was ok with that – and that I wasn’t even considered. It made me feel really devalorised and like I was “nothing” to him, like it was more important to accommodate somebody who has, to be frank, deceived him in the most horrible way. How could he not think that that was not all that great for me? Letting his ex into his “intimate zone”/ personal space made me for some reason feel very, very bad. I do have a childhood history of being deceived and not being able to trust people who were important to me, and I sort of re-lived all these terrible feeling; of neither being considered, nor being worthy at all. I fell into a depression where all my insecurities came back, and I still feel bad, after all this time after. I found it hard to understand why he felt the need to do her a "favor" when she had treated him so badly and just left him to die.
He says he loves me and did it only for the kids (who are teenagers and fully capable of transporting themselves or walking).
I feel I’ve been betrayed, but at the same time I feel like I’m a horrible person as I have a lot of anger inside me. And I guess I’m being stupid, but I would really like some help and input of how to get over this (by the way, therapy is not an option). Should everything be fine because he says he loves me?
posted by dreamsandhope to Human Relations (33 answers total)
This does not sound like a fulfilling relationship for you, aside from the issue with the ex-wife. LDR's can be fine, but it sounds like you should be looking for a relationship with someone you can actually be in a relationship with. Not someone you see occasionally on holidays who lies to you.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:14 AM on February 22, 2015 [10 favorites]

He is great in so many ways and I do love him. However

The relationship basically ends with the "however".

Lots of people are great, but not all of them are good for you. When someone makes you crazy and obsessive, that's not actually a good sign. When they lie to you, they've chosen that lie as more important than the relationship. When he knew how you felt - and it was a reasonable request - and did what he wanted (or what got him the least trouble from his ex), he chose her over you.

If you are okay with that, then by all means stay in the relationship. If you are not, leave.

Nobody here can tell you a secret trick to make all these things un-happen and make him love you as much as you want him to. They happened, he doesn't. You can only control what you're going to do about it: stay with him knowing that this is how it is, or leave.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:19 AM on February 22, 2015 [8 favorites]

You are reading too much into his decision to let her stay at his home. It doesn't imply a lack of "respect, decency and courtesy" that he didn't ask your permission. Why would he have to, it's his home? So he changed his mind about letting her stay there. That is his prerogative. He did not lie to you, he told you when you asked. I frankly find you disingenuous for asking what B&B she stayed at--obviously, you didn't care, it was just a way of fishing to see if she stayed at his home. If it were me I might be hesitant to tell you, given your obvious propensity to overreact.

I think you should break up with him, not because he did anything wrong but because you should find someone whose expectations for "ownership" in a relationship are the same as yours. Find someone who agrees that if you are in a relationship with him, you own him, and he has to ask permission before making any decisions about his own life.
posted by mysterious_stranger at 9:20 AM on February 22, 2015 [77 favorites]

What's the question here?

Thoughts that may or may not be an answer to whatever the question is:

You don't have the right to decide that he should hold a grudge against his ex. If he's not mad enough at her to cut her out of his life, or if he is mad but feels like he can't because they have kids together (a reasonable position), you don't get to say that because she did X he should never do anything for her.

Should he have let her stay? If she had come alone it would be more of a definite no, but given that she came as part of a party, I think it's not crazy that they would all stay in one place (his house) rather than some at his house and one at a B&B. This also maximizes time kids can spend with their mom.

Should he have told you? Yes, probably. THough it doesn't sound like you gave him the space to do so. It sounds like you basically took every opportunity to say "She's staying somewhere else, right? I mean she better be staying somewhere else. She's staying somewhere else, right?"

Is everything ok because you love each other? No. You seem unhappy and unfulfilled. The details of why are almost beside the point. If this doesn't work for you, stop trying to force it.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 9:22 AM on February 22, 2015 [9 favorites]

This isn't a healthy relationship for you and that's why you don't like the "person you're turning into". It isn't likely to get better - because of his behavior, not yours - and so you need to make a choice.

Staying with him is not likely to lead to eventual happiness.
posted by stormyteal at 9:25 AM on February 22, 2015 [2 favorites]

I am turning into a person I truly dislike

I had a really weird, dysfunctional, rocky, on-and-off 6 year relationship and my only regret about it is who I turned into at the end, so this is all I had to read. My advice is to let go of the anger, and if you can't do that, eject.
posted by ftm at 9:30 AM on February 22, 2015 [17 favorites]

The actual thing you've identified as the issue here- she stayed at his house instead of a B&B- is not worth breaking up over. It's a question of logistics and is only the tip of the iceberg. You need to identify what that actually MEANS to you.

-Is it just a matter of wanting him to ask you first? I tend to side with those who say it's his house, his kids, his ex, his life.
-Is it that he doesn't keep you updated on his life? Fair point. You should matter to him.
-Is it that he lied to you and told you at first she would be going to a B&B? Fair point, lying is always a bad sign- but in this case it could have been honest confusion or plans genuinely changed. You would know better than we would whether or not he was being purposefully evasive.
-Is it that you think he has feelings for her? Huge deal, but there is nothing in particular here suggesting that to me. People can't be enemies with their exes and the mother of their children forever; it's absolutely exhausting. Somewhere between cordial co-parents and friends is fine and you should want that for his sake and his kids' sake.

That said, you're long distance for years and years and that really sucks and is really hard and only worth it for someone super special, IMO. There is also a huge amount of general baggage here that is going to make any relationship difficult. I don't blame you for not wanting to deal with that. Also, being mad for almost a year after something happened is hugely bad and seriously worrisome. You never talked about it? You never reached resolution? Is that because this "relationship" really only starts and stops at summer holidays and so you've been stewing about this for a year until this summer?

Tl:DR - the actual issue here in the question is pretty minor, but this relationship sounds really difficult for other reasons and you absolutely have my permission to get out if you want to.
posted by quincunx at 9:40 AM on February 22, 2015 [15 favorites]

I consider your boyfriend's behavior pretty normal...after all, this is not a random ex coming to visit him alone, but rather the mother of his kids (and of a former stepdaughter that he obviously still feels close to), visiting with kids involved. Regardless of how he personally feels about her actions, it makes total sense that he would want to maintain a civil relationship with her for the sake of the kids. It makes total sense that she might end up staying at his place with the group rather than him having to explicity exclude her. It's not as if she were sleeping in the same bed as him! I think it's very easy for those outside of a co-parenting situation to get all judgey about how people handle these situations, but the bottom line is that it's NOT the same as a normal ex relationship -- there are more people involved that need to be considered. I would guess he avoided telling you because he knew you were overly sensitive about it and wanted to avoid a fight (maybe not the best behavior, but somewhat understandable given your reaction).

That said, if you don't like who you're becoming in a relationship, I think that's reason enough to end it. You might fare better with a non-LDR and perhaps someone who doesn't have a tricky relationship with an ex like this.
posted by rainbowbrite at 9:40 AM on February 22, 2015 [15 favorites]

Nah.. In my opinion, for what its worth, you are in a committed relationship with him and (presumably) you two made some agreement to be exclusive with each other (if that is not the case then I would have to re-think this answer). You let him know you would not be O.K. with her staying, which despite the answers upthread that imply otherwise, is your right to do. You are perfectly right to feel how you feel and communicate that clearly. It is then his right to let you know that he accepts that, or he doesn't accept that. Then the two of you work it out through discussion. To tell you, "Oh no OBVIOUSLY she wont stay here, " and then letting her do just that, is breaking his word and being disingenuous. Slimey behavior in my opinion. So, I have to agree with those who said, unfortunately, you can't make it un-happen. Either accept that he is going to put his own needs and wishes above yours and move on, or set your sights lower and stay. I'm sorry you are hurting. I hope you feel better soon.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 9:59 AM on February 22, 2015 [9 favorites]

(by the way, therapy is not an option)

Why not? Because frankly it sounds like you could use it or some other way of coping with the negative feelings you're having.

From the sounds of it, you're ready to dump him over this and that seems excessive. Sure, he should have mentioned that she was staying at his house, but on the other hand, it's not a big deal. It seems silly that she should stay away from the group, just because they use to be married.

Is there any other reason you have not to trust him? Do you know for sure that he actually lied to you, instead of things just working out that way? Have you talked about what happened and why it bothers you? Because your belief that she should stay elsewhere obviously isn't something he ultimately agrees with.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:06 AM on February 22, 2015 [5 favorites]

On the one hand, you seem to feel that he needs to run everything he does with his kids or his ex past you: that somehow or other, he has to what? get your permission/approval to let people stay in his own home? Also, it sounds like you see no reason for him to want to keep a peaceful relationship with the mother of his kids.

So while you're demanding the right to approve or disapprove of his life, you're also bending over backwards to placate him (apparently you always visit him, never him visiting you), which sounds like a really unhealthy combo.

I'm sorry, but all of this, plus your own statement that you don't like who this LDR is turning you into, is more than enough justification to call it off.
posted by easily confused at 10:08 AM on February 22, 2015 [3 favorites]

My mum cheated on my dad and moved to another continent, leaving my dad to look after my brother and I by himself. When I graduated from high school she came to visit, and he let her stay in our home, even though he had a gf at the time, living in another house. Even though I was a teenager and old enough as you say, it meant a lot to me for her to be close to me. He did it because he thought it was best for my brother and I, not because he wanted to get back together with her. I thougt it showed real strength and forgiveness.
posted by akita at 10:14 AM on February 22, 2015 [31 favorites]

Twice you say, "she left him to die." That is Drama Llama language. You have NO idea what was going on at that time in her life. You don't know what she was told about his condition. You don't know if there were issues in their relationship before the accident. She may be the biggest bitch in the world, but she's not YOUR bitch, and thus is not really worth your consideration, for good or for ill.

For whatever reason, and there can be many good reasons, your boyfriend is friendly enough with his Ex that he's comfortable with her using one of his guest rooms. And frankly, if he's cool with it, it should be nothing to you.

This lady didn't do anything to you. He's not harboring any linger feelings for her. They have children together, he has a relationship with her adult daughter, you should be GRATEFUL that he's the kind of man who will honor his past relationships and that he is still close with his step-child. That speaks well of his character.

You have to stop seeing things in such a black and white way. As we all know there are 50 Shades of Gray.

Not telling you about something that has NO meaning, is none of your business and would only upset you is not being deceitful, it's being smart.

So stop being all butt hurt over a thing that has zero to do with you.

You may have other issues in your relationship and I'll leave that to you to sort out, but this ain't one of them.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 10:19 AM on February 22, 2015 [24 favorites]

It easily might not have crossed his mind that this would be a problem for you, in which case he wasn't lying/ disrespecting your wishes/ whatever. If I were him it probably wouldn't occur to me that my long term girlfriend could get jealous over an ex who treated me badly. Does it help to see it as an oversight rather than a slight?
posted by metasarah at 10:21 AM on February 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

Not meaning to threadsit, but just to clear up a few things:

@mysterious_stranger, I am already feeling really depressed and bad, and I'm asking for help how to get over these irrational feeling. And he did lie! I do not wish "ownership" over anyone, just respect.

He can do what he wants, he doesn't need my permission to do anything. I just think it would be showing respect if he asked if I was ok with her staying, yes. It's more the fact of not being considered. If he asked (and not being lied to) I would most likely have said; fine!

Already when they were coming (and when I asked) I guess he knew she would be staying at his place, as no reservations anywhere were ever made.
posted by dreamsandhope at 10:31 AM on February 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

Try to imagine what a truly considerate person would do if they were in your boyfriend's shoes.

I'd imagine they would've called you right away. "Hey, because of XYZ reason, I'm inviting the ex to stay here. I wanted to let you know that right up front so it's not weird, OK? Love you!"

Except that didn't happen. In fact, it seems to have been the exact opposite. Nothing was said up front, and in all likelihood, nothing would have been said had you not asked about it.


You're dealing with an inconsiderate person.

Party's over. Check, please.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:38 AM on February 22, 2015 [14 favorites]

Re: Your update.

So talk about it with him. He might just be clueless. Or he might have lied completely knowingly and coldly. So confront him, see what shakes out. Maybe he'll compound the problem by being a dick about it, and there's your answer. Maybe he'll apologize and express that he cares for your feelings and although you don't see eye to eye on this, it would be a small thing for him to try to communicate plans better with you in the future.
posted by quincunx at 10:53 AM on February 22, 2015 [2 favorites]

I'm not sure it's so cut and dried that he lied. You said that he said she would most likely stay at a B&B, not that plans were made for her to stay at the B&B. Assuming that he doesn't have the best communication in the world with his ex, I could easily see how this was a big misunderstanding, or maybe she just showed up expecting to stay and he couldn't put her out on the street. Should he have called you as soon as he found out this was going down? Maybe, depending on your relationship and communication styles, but I wouldn't immediately jump to "he lied." For what it's worth, if you trust him and generally want to build a life with him, I'd let this go. But if this is just the tip of the iceberg, or if you generally can't deal with the stresses it's adding to your life, then dump him and find someone who can give you what you need.
posted by Weeping_angel at 10:56 AM on February 22, 2015 [5 favorites]

You don't know that he knew she was staying there before they came. You don't know the details of how she ended up in his home.

What you do know is that he's a kind and decent man who obviously does not carry a grudge. You also know that he's compassionate enough to make a HUGE sacrifice to make his kids happy and keep drama between their parents to a minimum, and can gracefully "roll with the flow" in what was very possibly a last-minute accommodation to his family.

My advice is focus on and appreciate these qualities in the man you love. After you get your head straight about that part, you can ask him a non-judgemental question about how it came about. And move forward in whatever manner you need to after you get the facts, instead of assuming the worst.
posted by raisingsand at 11:04 AM on February 22, 2015 [7 favorites]

I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that you have all these bad feelings, but they're not about his ex, they're about your relationship.

She's the mother of his kids and they broke up over 15 years ago. Who cares if she slept there or not? It's irrelevant.

But what's relevant is your level of unhappiness. Maybe you don't want therapy and that's fine but you need to commit to very serious soul searching and get a handle on why you're so unhappy. I don't think it has anything to do with this woman; I think it has everything to do with you and this man.
posted by kinetic at 11:06 AM on February 22, 2015 [10 favorites]

You seem very upset by how this woman behaved to your man a long time ago. If he has forgiven her, you've got to let those feelings go.
posted by vrakatar at 11:06 AM on February 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

I think that while you are dealing with a lot of childhood pain, he's dealing with a lot of adult pain. Maybe a way for you to think about this (unless it seems wildly unlike his actual personality) is to think of how traumatic it must have been for him to have to deal with this sudden visit from the ex who abandoned him when he might have been dying, and how intense it must have been for him to have to deal with her on his turf. Maybe he got overwhelmed by the thought of trying to push her to stay somewhere else; maybe she was really demanding and he didn't have the extra emotional force to push her to stay elsewhere; maybe in the moment he thought "oh, I don't feel good about telling her in front of the kids that she can't stay here". It was probably pretty intense and hard-to-deal-with for him.

Basically, I think you should focus on how his decision was, legitimately, about him and his history and his ex and children - and not about you. That doesn't mean that it "shouldn't" cause you to have strong feelings, or that you're bad for having them, or that - god knows! - you should break up a serious relationship. It just means that the serious feelings are coming from inside you, because you're triggered, not from something in his intentions toward you.

I had a really strong and painful response to something that happened about three years ago - it was awful! I was so messed up that I could hardly function. A very, very good friend - who really stepped up and was an excellent friend to me - wrote me a letter imploring me to talk to a therapist so that I could get a handle on all the stuff inside me that was causing me to respond to a bad circumstance with a total breakdown. Which, for some reason, I actually followed through on and did, and it really helped. I am now much more able to move through things that trigger bad memories of childhood and young adulthood (which was, IMO, at the core of my inability to deal with what happened.)

I think that you should do the same, if that's possible. You've had something happen that is definitely worth discussing, maybe even arguing about, and certainly worth pre-planning if it's going to happen again. And you're having these really, really strong and intense reactions that are far larger and far more you-centric than is really warranted. If you can deal with the feelings of abandonment and betrayal from your past, you'll end up in a much better place to deal with the actual relationship stuff for itself.
posted by Frowner at 11:08 AM on February 22, 2015 [13 favorites]

From the short description of the question, I thought the story was going to be completely different. I imagined a young couple, the guy acted like an asshole, pretends he's single and gets together with his ex during a holiday. Where is the part about him "forgetting you"?

I don't know, maybe this is not really helpful, but it seems like you might be overreacting a bit. I am not saying that was he did was ok, it wasn't, but it also doesn't really fit your reaction. I agree with others that if he's comfortable with having her over WITH THEIR KIDS, and this is important, because at first you made it sound like she was there alone, then you either make peace with that or find another partner.

Sorry for the tough love. You should talk to him. Good luck!
posted by divina_y_humilde at 11:26 AM on February 22, 2015 [5 favorites]

I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that you have all these bad feelings, but they're not about his ex, they're about your relationship.

That's where I was heading, but more: you have all these bad feelings but it's because you're not happy in general. For myself, when I'm depressed, feeling trapped, feeling powerless etc my first reaction is to try to figure out the cause of it, and my first go-to item to blame is my partner.

I feel bad. Our relationship must be why. And then I go through and find evidence to corroborate this. However, for me, that's rarely the real cause, and breaking it off or having a confrontation would make me feel worse (though in a definitive, action-packed way! When the pain of drama feels more comfortable than malaise, it's a solution).

What helps me break out of it is to remind myself of all the things I'm choosing to do, and I am choosing nearly everything in my life.

For instance, you are choosing to live in separate towns. You have made that choice because it is best for your children. You chose it because you're a good mom. It sounds like it's the right choice, but it is still a choice.

The next biggest thing that helps me snap out of the victim mindset, (which is where I go ALL THE FUCKING TIME, btw, so no judgment there) is to take care of myself.

Taking care of myself means:

-Go out with friends and I do not talk about my partner with them (or I limit it to 5 minutes venting).

-Exercise, (with friends if I can find them, but usually alone).

-Buy myself a pair of cute, fancy undies or whatever I'm usually too practical to buy. (Okay, in my case it's a pair of cute socks FULL PRICE! I have a sock thing).

In short, I remind myself of how happy I can be on my own, and that my partner and his actions don't have to determine my happiness today. And THEN, I remember that our relationship is also my choice and I am choosing to be in it because my partner is great in 99 out of 100 ways.

(If, when you're in a good mental space, you still come to realize that your relationship isn't in the best interests of The Dreamsandhope Company, you can decide to end it. I'm not saying don't end it. I'm just saying I don't think it should be your first step.)

Anyway, YMMV. I am completely projecting here, obviously, but your description of your headspace sounds so much like mine that I thought I'd offer what's worked for me.
posted by small_ruminant at 11:27 AM on February 22, 2015 [14 favorites]

I suppose you can tell your boyfriend, "I'm really upset that you didn't tell me straight out that Mary was staying with you during her visit. I'm really insecure about her, and about not being told things that are important to me. In my youth I had important people in my life lie to me, and so I hold people in my life to a higher standard than the average person. I feel deceived about these arrangements and it's upset me greatly."

Then you can hear what he has to say. If he apologizes, are you prepared to accept that and to move on? Because if you look at the majority of us, most of us don't see it the way you see it, and I'm wagering that he doesn't see it that way either.

You claim that he lied. Based on your narrative, he didn't know for sure, guessed at what the arrangements would be, and it didn't turn out that way. He didn't feel the need to update you on the arrangements because in his mind, it wasn't an issue.

Even if he did tell you up front, WHY does it matter to you if his ex stays with him while her family visits?

As to what you can do to make yourself feel better, that would be therapy. Discussing your feelings with someone who can walk you through them, process all the history and unresolved anger from your family that you're bringing to this situation, and to help you see that this man is not looking to screw you over.

Again, I have this caveat. I have no idea about the rest of your relationship. You may have some serious issues that are causing you to be insecure, and you need to discuss them with your boyfriend. But in this one thing, if I'm assigning blame in all of this, I'm assigning him 25% for not being upfront with you, and I'm assigning 75% to you for completely over-reacting to a non-issue.

Take that for what it's worth.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:31 AM on February 22, 2015 [6 favorites]

So he doesn't need your permission, but you're pissed that he didn't ask for it? And you would have been totally fine with her staying but you told him "I hope she won't be staying at your house as well". Think about what you're saying here, he doesn't need your permission but you're angry with him because he didn't ask your permission.

You're making huge assumptions and not giving him an ounce of benefit of doubt. You don't know that he lied. He might not have wanted her to stay at his house, she may have shown up with her family and assumed that she would stay there too as her daughter does. If he has the room it would have been difficult to say no without seeming really petty.
The way you're reacting, its like she's a recent ex that he still has feelings for and she's staying at his house alone. This is his ex of 15 years who left him while he was in a coma, I don't really see any flames rekindling there.

I think you should deal with your negative feelings by breaking up with him, either you're far too insecure to be in this relationship, or there are bigger problems between you guys than his ex showing up unexpectedly and staying at his house, because your story just doesn't add up. If therapy isn't an option, maybe you should spend some time on your own reflecting on why you're so angry about this? You say you don't have a problem with her staying at his house and that he doesn't need your permission to do anything so why are you so mad that he let her stay without asking your permission first?

He made a minor faux pas in not telling you sooner (although given how you've reacted, I kinda don't blame him for not wanting to tell you, he didn't lie when you asked him though), but I completely disagree that he should have asked you first if you were OK with it.

Bottom line is, you don't trust him and you don't feel secure in your relationship. Trust is vital in a relationship, even more so in an LDR.
posted by missmagenta at 11:49 AM on February 22, 2015 [6 favorites]

Bring this all out in the open, and focus on what actually IS instead of your interpretation. Tell him you've been very upset and troubled by negative thoughts, and you don't like this in yourself. Ask him what his actual feelings are now about his ex. Important: while he's talking, genuinely listen. Make eye contact, nod your head, says things like "go on." At first, he may be hesitant and afraid you'll react very emotionally. But when he sees that you're listening, he may open up. When he seems to have finished or is taking a pause, use your own words to briefly sum up what he just said.

Don't make this about what he did wrong or what you didn't like. This part is just about getting clear on how he feels and what led him to host the family in his house. That might allow you to let go of some things that have been governing your reaction: your idea of how he "should" feel about the ex wife, and your fear of not being considered.
posted by wryly at 11:55 AM on February 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

The thing that strikes me most clearly is the mismatch in your expectations.

You expected him to tell you about interactions with his X and expected him to (a) predict it would be a concern to you and (b) clear his decisions on this with you.

My big question is: does he know this? Do you have agreement that as a couple, you will each do your best to meet such expectations? Has he had a legitimate chance to sit down with you and talk about the nature of your relationship, and which decisions are independent ones and which are couple ones? What your boundaries are, as individuals and as a couple?

Because it sounds like you have one set of beliefs and principles about that that you think he should just know and observe, and that you think that obviously if he cared about you, he would be able to read your mind about those beliefs and principles and also agree 100% with the way you think they should be handled. But he has another set of expectations and beliefs and principles entirely, and you don't seem to know what they are. Meanwhile, he doesn't seem to know what yours are. It is very easy for someone to end up hurt when this disconnect is in place.

In short, you don't have agreement about the nature, boundaries, and even future of your relationship - and that's the problem, not where people sleep when they're on vacation. I'd suggest the next thing you do, when everyone's left town and you've had a chance to calm down, is take this as an opportunity to have an adult conversation about what each of the two of you expect and would feel comfortable with, with regard to your existing and any future relationships outside the primary partnership (if that's what you both agree that you have). It may be you have that conversation and you find out you're on totally different pages about what's reasonable. It may be that you can resolve it and take another step as a couple in touch with one another who are willing to compromise to preserve the relationship. You really can't know until you have that conversation.
posted by Miko at 12:47 PM on February 22, 2015 [7 favorites]

I think you are dealing with someone who is easily manipulated and wishy washy, someone who did not have the character to tell you up front his ex was staying at his home.


I can't get with folks who let all that much drama into their life, y'know? I get that someone up top confused your upset over his deceptive behavior with "ownership issues" - but honestly - where the fuck are his boundaries??

The whole thing is too close for your emotional wellbeing, that his life is so porous to users and flakes. I wouldn't feel great about him, either.

Doll, I think you should bounce.

You need people to show character and good judgement. He is showing neither.
posted by jbenben at 5:44 PM on February 22, 2015 [7 favorites]

Wanted to weigh in and say the much-favorited comment near the top strikes me as extremely unfair. I think it IS expected that a man ask his partner of *3 years* whether she'd be comfortable with his ex staying in his home. I don't think that's an unreasonable expectation on your part. Nor is it unreasonable of you to be nervous about the whole situation and fishing for a few answers. I don't understand why people are being so hard on you on that front.
posted by namesarehard at 12:34 AM on February 23, 2015 [8 favorites]

I trust and respect my partner, I wouldn't feel lied to in this situation and I certainly wouldn't have a problem with his ex staying. And as others said, it is his house and she's the mother of his children, he shouldn't have to clear things with you.
You did also contradict yourself, you confronted him when he said she was coming to town, and you tried to make sure he wouldn't have her at the house, then you said further down that you wouldn't have a problem with it. It seems to me you're changing your story because people don't agree with your actions.

I have been this way in the past during times of poor mental health, it wasn't fair to the people I dated or me. I know how hard it can be. You need therapy.
posted by shesbenevolent at 2:01 PM on February 24, 2015 [4 favorites]

Yep..disagree with the much favored comment above also. What he did was really shady. I don't blame you for having trouble trusting him.

It's not the fact that he let his ex stay that is the problem. Yes- his kids are teenagers, but from what you've written it seems that the ex never stays with the family during the holidays and for the teens (who are probably off to college soon) this may be among their last changes having a holiday as a family. If this was for the kids as he claims it makes perfect sense for him to decide to let her stay.

What's shady is that he KNEW it would bother you and didn't tell you about it. He obviously knew and was afraid to tell you the truth because he waited until you brought it up. You had just spoken about you spending the holidays with him not long before so it's not like he forgot about your plans together. Hell- if he did forget about you- his partner of 3 years- then that's just as bad. So either he was dishonest with you or he didn't even bother to think about you at all. Either way he does not come out of this looking good. He basically left you to make up your own plans for the holidays with little notice...which probably would've been even less notice if you hadn't asked. I don't know if this warrants you dumping him or not as there's not enough info on this relationship for me to say, but you're not nuts to be feeling the way you are.
posted by rancher at 4:30 AM on February 26, 2015 [3 favorites]

[Folks, please answer the question without critiquing or questioning the motives of the other answered. Thanks. ]
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 10:39 PM on March 12, 2015

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