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Boyfriend still talking about ex

HappyTree posted 3/15/2021 09:51 AM

I'm starting to get worried about this. I have been dating this man for 15 months now. His divorce took 2 years so it was not finalized until December. I keep on wondering if he is still not over his ex. His divorce was long and costly (about 90K, mine was 5K). But he also talks about his ex ALOT. Like the two of us went out to eat on Friday and he brought up his ex 5X. I told him that it bothered me and he stated that he only talks about her because he is worried about his kids. But I'm not sure if its really that. He talked about how his ex might get engaged, how his ex doesn't like the name of his dog, how his ex allowed their daughter to dye her hair and he is worried about the chemicals that were used. I get being worried about your kids, but some of this seems like a bit of a stretch. He has also formed a friendship with his ex'es boyfriend ex wife. I can see someone wanting some information on the person their kid is with, but I don't understand why you need to get this involved with things.

Is it time I give him up? He is such a great man. He has his PhD. I honestly doubt I'll find someone as good to me. But I just not sure about this.

He also got a dog. I hate dogs. He assumed that he could bring the dog to my house and is surprised that I won't let him (I have a disabled cat). Any thoughts?

grubs posted 3/15/2021 11:57 AM

The dog thing is weird. That's a 5 year or more commitment. Him getting one without considering your input says a lot about what his thought process about the future of your relationship looks like right now.

His divorce is just 3 months old. I think it takes most a full year to re-adjust their world view. I know it took me that long to truly get out of considering myself married to the ex. I don't see this as the worst sign, just that he's has some emotions about that relationship he still hasn't put away.

Your call about sticking around, but just be aware you seem much more mentally & emotionally invested in the relationship right now.

AnnieOakley posted 3/15/2021 12:31 PM

Iím a dog lover and while I do not currently have one I would never assume or attempt to push someoneís boundary about bringing my pet to their house. Does he clearly know your strong hate for dogs? Does he clearly know that you do not want one around your cat?

If I was in a relationship with someone and they knew I hated dogs and decided to get one...I would wonder what they are thinking about the potential of the relationship. Will the dog last longer so therefore a higher priority or are they assuming I will just get over my feelings and grow to love the dog? Both negatives in MHO.

Now to the ex, honestly this is one reason I refuse to date someone that is not completely single, and single for a reasonable amount of time. I have no desire to help someone heal thru their divorce or break up. I donít have the room for the drama and potential bonding that results from it.

Iíve seen it a few times in real life. Once the divorce was final and things calmed down-one couple really didnít have much to talk about. They then created their own drama! Ugh. And eventually broke up.

Her not liking the dogs name, childish on both of them. Creating a friendship with the BFs ex, that is crazy. Nope. People have been coloring their hair for decades and yes it can cause harm if not done correctly of course. Madison Reed hair color is well known for their lack of chemicals, let him do the research. But yes, I feel this is a stretch.

Iím not saying it is time to end the relationship, but I would watch closely how things change now that the divorce is final, maybe another 60-90 days to assess. You have brought it to his attention, wonder if he even really hears you? If he continues bringing her up all the time I venture a guess it wonít change much in the long term either.

I have no desire to constantly hear that kind of information and would as an experiment of sorts, be prepared to acknowledge his comments....ĒinterestingĒ. And then immediately change the subject, basically you are redirecting a child. He has a PhD, wonder how he will react or if he is self aware enough to realize what you are doing?

You deserve better. ☮️

EllieKMAS posted 3/15/2021 16:47 PM

As trite as it sounds, maybe he was just in your life for a short-term period to help you get to the next stage in your own personal evolution.

Because honestly, from what you've written here, it doesn't really seem like he is a good fit for you. And it seems like he maybe has some more work to do on his own healing, which IMHO he would do better to handle on his own.

FWIW, I am a dog-lover and wouldn't dream of dating someone who wasn't. Nothing wrong with not liking dogs, but someone who didn't love dogs would not be a good match for me at all in the long run.

HappyTree posted 3/16/2021 11:05 AM

Alright, so to reply to some questions.

It actually seems like he is more emotionally invested in things then I am, then again maybe its more surface. Like maybe he thinks he is more in love with me, but his idea of "love" might be more limited then mine. Make sense?

The dog thing is actually more weird then what I first wrote. I've had a fair amount of trauma from dogs. My friends all know this about me. Like, one time a "store dog" just ran up and bit me!! I was very honest with him about my feelings. However, I did mention one time that I could *maybe* warm up to having a very calm dog *one day*. So, just 1 week after I adopted my cat with 3 legs, he adopted this dog. Yes, it did seem like he was just ignoring my feelings and acting like I would just get over my dislike.

I do like the re-direction idea, thank you for that. He has his PhD in psyc and facial expression analysis, so I'm so surprised that he hasn't seen my general boredom when he brings up his ex.

I am wondering if we were a great match for the pandemic, but post pandemic might be a very different story!

annanew posted 3/16/2021 11:41 AM

Yeah, problematic.

Best case scenario is that this is a habit of thought that he needs to break. But he needs to acknowledge it and work on it. Not to censor his speech necessarily, but to find other topics of conversation and other interests. To practice talking about his kids without talking about her.

The worst case scenario... he's just not out of the woods yet and has a lot of hang ups.

Unfortunately the worst case seems more likely than the first, but if all else is good, see if he is willing to talk to someone about changing his habits and reducing his focus on the ex.

Why do you hate dogs?

I hated cats for a long time because of a bad experience, until a stray adopted me. Sometimes an animal ambassador will show up to change your heart. You might consider just spending a little time with the creature, outdoors...

You don't need to let the dog inside, that was a wrong assumption on his part.

Charity411 posted 3/16/2021 15:13 PM

Maybe it's just me but I see some real red flags here. I wouldn't if you've only been dating 5 months, but 15 months in, I can't help but see them.

I agree with the others that if this was just conversations about his kids, it would be one thing. But why is she expressing her opinion about the name of his dog, and why does he care? Even more problematic is befriending the boyfriend's ex wife. In my experience, that's not the norm.

I went through a similar experience with someone I dated for about a year. He was a terrific guy in a lot of ways, but he was fixated on his ex wife. It got to be like nails on a chalk board. It was like having a third person on every date.

Only you can decide if you want to spend more time on this. I can tell you the guy I dated has never gotten past his fixation with his ex wife. He isn't still in love with her. He hates her. But she is the defining moment in his life when it comes to relationships. It's like BC and AD. Only BW and AW. And it isn't healthy.

BraveSirRobin posted 3/16/2021 15:34 PM

If dogs make you uncomfortable, then you shouldn't have to be around them, full stop. You don't have to explain or justify it. That being said, I have an extremely low opinion of people who adopt dogs and then give them up as soon as it's inconvenient. Either your boyfriend unilaterally decided to make a 10-15 year commitment to an untenable living situation for you, or he is fine with casually abandoning an animal after training it to love and trust him. Either way, I hear alarm bells.

Cooley2here posted 3/16/2021 16:04 PM

I took a ton of psychology classes in college. One prof gave us some great advice about how to stop anotherís bad habits. Here goes. When he mentions his wife donít respond. No sighing, no eyebrows raised, no shoulder shrugs, nothing. As soon as he talks about other things respond. Donít tell him what you are doing. This will do one of two things. He will stop seeing you or he will stop mentioning her and he will be unaware of why things turned out the way they did. Itís a neutral form of manipulation because your repeated requests have not changed anything. It might take a couple of weeks but one way or the other you will have an answer.

Karmafan posted 3/19/2021 06:49 AM

HappyTree, I resonate so much with what you are going through, as I found myself in a very similar situation with my ex bf. So I'll give you my two cents, for what they are worth.

First of all this:

Is it time I give him up? He is such a great man. He has his PhD. I honestly doubt I'll find someone as good to me. But I just not sure about this.

From experience, the moment you start feeding yourself a rationale of why you shouldn't leave, that's when things normally start going pear shaped. There is a dissonance somewhere and you are papering the cracks with all the reasons why you should stay. I give you an example. I was so very impressed with the fact that my ex bf had a PhD and that he was so successful that I allowed those *external* factors to gloss over the fact that he was, ultimately, a very limited human being. I am not saying your current bf is, all I am saying is that a PhD doesn't make the person.

Secondly. I started dating my bf when he was still going through his divorce and living with his WW. To say that his wife was the elephant in the room would be a massive understatement. I got to know her, her habits, her faults, her quirks, probably better than her best friend. Every little detail of their interactions was duly reported back to me. It took me a while to understand that I was, in fact, my bf's cousellor. And when I brought it up, he replied that he believed in sharing everything with me. He claimed to hate her but the fact that she featured heavily in all our conversations spoke volumes. I still stayed, and still couselled. At the expense of my own wellbeing.

Bottomline, to date someone fresh out of separation and divorce is not a mistake I would ever make again. Whether they are amicable or not, they are still in the process of unraveling a lifetime together, emotions are still running high, and bonds are still being severed. You can decide whether to wait until you bf is emotionally available, but that could take years, or acknowledge that you are not comfortable with the status quo and leave.

I hope you can figure it out HT!

[This message edited by Karmafan at 1:26 PM, March 19th (Friday)]

barcher144 posted 3/19/2021 08:56 AM

It sounds like you could be dating me, well almost.

Ironically, in my current relationship, I am the one who asks my GF to stop talking about my ex-wife. I mean, it's okay to talk about her some because what she does affects my kids and my income (i.e., alimony and child support)... but I really don't care to talk about her that much. She lies. She cheats. She steals. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. We split 2.5 years ago and I don't want to talk about her anymore.

My sense is that you are ready to move on, whether it's his dog or the fact that he talks about his ex. You don't need anyone's permission... you can just go ahead and move on. It's okay. Really.

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