Is he in love with his ex?

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Hey Guys!

I hope you all are in good health.

My boyfriend and I have been together for six months. We were best friends for the first three months and he has shared everything about his life with me. He basically says that I am his lifeline and I can see that in his actions as well. I love him and he loves me too.

But he always starts acting odd when he comes across his ex. They had been together for three and a half years. They broke up five months before we became friends. She was with him during the toughest phase of his life… when he lost both his parents. She stood by him and helped him stay strong. But he cheated on her several times and she knew about all the times he cheated. She always forgave him until she got tired one day and left. He told me that his world fell apart when she left him and that breakup changed him completely. He started working on himself and is a better person now. So their relationship meant alot to him.

My question is, why does he act odd and so different when he comes across his ex or when someone mentions her. He cherishes every moment that I spend with him and we have a strong emotional bond. But does he really love me or is he still in love with his ex? Will I lose him to her if she ever decides to come back?
Thank you for your time.


Dear Faith,

We understand your concern.

Clearly your boyfriend cares for you deeply, and it sounds like you have a solid relationship. However, it’s also clear that he still has strong feelings for his ex. Before you go into panic mode, this is pretty typical. They were together a long time, and like you said, experienced some difficult times together, which brought them even closer together. Losing a relationship like that creates a huge hole in a person’s life, one that takes a long time to fill, and a long time to get over.

However, his sadness is also compounded by guilt and remorse, which have led to regret. He’s not proud of the way he behaved and he’s probably wondering if the relationship might have had a chance if he hadn’t been so selfish. (His cheating.) We’re not saying he necessarily wants a second chance, and if he did, she’d want to give him one. But the thoughts are likely swirling around in his head. (Of course, we’re not mind readers, so it’s hard to say for sure.)

But you know all this, right? The question is: What can you do about it?

Well, it sounds as if you may be ignoring the issue, hoping it might go away, or fade over time. Maybe you’re worried about bringing up for fear that you’ll push him away? Are these accurate statements? Or?

If those statements are accurate, then we think it might be good to talk with him. Ask him to be honest. Now of course, being completely honest is going to be difficult for him, especially because he cares for you and won’t want to hurt you. And maybe he doesn’t even really know how he feels or he’s pulled. Maybe he loves you but a part of him still loves her. But we can tell you that regret can build over time, and cause a person to fantasize of what might have been. You don’t want her specter to be looming over him and your relationship in perpetuity. And the only way to truly have her fade is for him to face it head on and examine how he’s feeling, with your support of course.

If you go this route could you lose him?

It’s possible. However, the way we see it, you’re not quite sure you currently “have” him. Otherwise you wouldn’t be asking the question. So at the very least, opening up the line of communicaton will give hopefully provide you with the answers you’re looking for. The hope is, that he’ll see how much you care about his well-being and that you’re not just a loving partner but a supportive one as well.

What do you think? Reactions? Follow-up questions? (Leave in comments below.)

All the Best,


ps. We hope you’ll let your friends know about us. Thanks.

9 Comments on Is he in love with his ex?

  1. I recently entered into a fwb situation with the agreement of no relationship since he keeps saying he’s not ready for one. His actions are confusing though, so I’m hoping u could try to give me advice. He gets jealous over other guys that claim that they have slept with me. And he also has said he likes or dislikes something specific about appearance. He has started texting me while he’s at work, which could mean he’s thinking about me. What are ur thoughts?

  2. @Rayanna……Who proposed the FWB? You or him? How old is he/you? What did he say about your appearance? Any other details that might help us understand the entire picture?

  3. He did, but we both equate sex with love and I’m the only person he’s ever considered fwb with. He’s older than me, around 50. I’m 31. He has said things like he thinks i wear too much lotion, he’d prefer rough skin over scented skin. Or he’s joked about shaving my head but then said not to do that cuz he doesn’t like short hair. The other night was the first night I’ve slept with him over night, and he usually has to watch tv to fall asleep. He was out within minutes with his hand on my hip. Every time something like that happens between us, the next day he gets scared and says he cant do it anymore and we’re just friends. But then changes his mind again.

  4. @Rayanna……Thanks for filling us in. Let’s back up for a sec. A guy usually proposes FWB because he wants the “perks” of a relationship, but with no expectations or responsibilities of a relationship. This is not always just about sex. It could be emotional needs as well. There’s a cycle going on with your situation. 1. You’re apart. He begins to feel lonely, or horny, or both. 2. He starts exhibiting more interest of any kind. He shows you more attention. Reaches out to you. Wants to be with you. 3. You have sex. 4. Starts freaking out and says he can’t do it again. (Then Cycle repeats) We also wouldn’t be surprised if he feels conflicted about your age difference. Not enough to stop a FWB, but possibly enough to be in a relationship with you. (Meaning, he’s a bit embarrassed to “claim” you in public.) He might deny this, but we’ve seen it too many times. It’s not you he’s embarrassed about, it’s what his peers might think of him.

  5. @Rayanna……ps. Per the lotion. It’s not that he prefers rough skin, he just doesn’t like the scent. Many guys prefer an all-natural smell rather than a scented one.

  6. And his jealousy toward guys he has no reason to be jealous about?

  7. @Rayanna…….Doesn’t matter if he wants a relationship or not, he’s being territorial. That’s pretty common with some guys. He wants to have the freedom to come and go as he pleases, but he doesn’t want other guys to be talking to you. (Yep, double standard) Also remember that he’s 20 years your senior, so that also makes him a little insecure. He probably thinks to himself, “What’s she doing with an old guy like me? When is she going to realize these other guys are more……..(Fill in the blank) than me.”

  8. Hi been living with my boyfriend now eight months we been dating almost two years now and then I look at his texted to ex wife I know I shouldn’t but just want to see how clothes they are cause he says relatinship amicable he been divorced thirteen years two kids in teens now but now he hides texted and phone calls she raley talks about kids I ask him she had test done I know she called him he lied right to my face I could tell I want to know how to handle his lies and why does he do it and do I have any say to any of this he is always afraid I’m going to pack up and leave we dated back in high school and reunited almost two years ago we have a great relationship get along great but how to get over trusting and believing he loves me

  9. @Molly……The question is: What is the reason for his communication with his ex? If it’s about the kids, then that seems pretty typical. It’s important for divorced couples to be on the same page and keep their relationship amicable. And there’s likely lots to discuss. That said, if he’s talking to her as a friend, then that complicates things. (Not that that doesn’t happen, but if so, that should require an open conversation with you about it.) So what do you think? The other issue is one of trust. Clearly you don’t trust him. Is it just because of the communication with his ex or is it something else that happened? And since he knows you don’t trust him, that’s likely why he’s hiding things from you.

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