My boyfriend loves me but takes care of his ex-wife


Book your Private Coaching Session with THE GUYS. Click the Ask a Private Question option to get started. Read Testimonials on our Relationship Coaching/Advice page to see what clients say about us.

To read more Relationship Advice check out our Ask the Guys page.



Dear Guys,

I’ve been dating my boyfriend for almost  four months. We love another as deeply as two people can in that amount of time. He’s met my daughters and family. I’ve met his daughters and family and even went to Mother’s Day dinner with his family. He’s been married two times and his daughters are with his first ex- wife. He has no kids with his second ex-wife and they’ve been divorced for over four years. The apartment he lives in is her name; out of convenience he never moved and she has not lived there during that time.

About a month ago she found out he was seriously dating someone and wanted to talk to him. Over a weeks time he met up with her two times, even paying hundreds of dollars to help her out. He kept this from me, got distant and would ignore my texts and calls. I found out and was hurt, almost ended it, but we talked through it. He said he doesn’t have feelings for her and would never want to get back with her, but he feels bad for her and that she has no one else. I told him to just be honest and open with me. He also decided to move out of that apartment and get one in his name. He was open and honest for about three weeks.

Last night he wasn’t answering my calls or texts, similar to last time. I went over and saw her in his apartment. She left at 11pm. I went to his door; he wouldn’t answer. I texted him “Be a man and face me.” He finally answered the door. He said it’s not what it looked like and that she was there just talking. I asked where they were talking, he said in his room on his bed and that she had come over unannounced. He said he was just comforting her, that she’s depressed and has no one. I asked him why he didn’t just talk with her on the couch and why did he ignore my texts and phone calls. He said he wasn’t planning on telling me, because it’s nothing.

Even IF I believe that they were only talking, I feel that he betrayed me just by taking her to his room on his bed and was then going to lie to me about it. I broke things off with him and am completely heartbroken. He was someone that I meshed with on so many levels; things just fit and we truly loved each other. I talked to one of his friends that told me even years ago he said he didn’t love her but felt like he couldn’t leave her because he felt bad for her and that he needed to take care of her.

So why, if he says he loved me and wanted his future to be with me, did he allow this dysfunction with her to continue? To point of jeopardizing my relationship with him?


Dear Jill,

We are sorry. So where do things stand now? Has he tried to reconcile with you? What’s going on?

You know, we understand why you feel uncomfortable. It sounds like the way he’s handling it is more the problem than his communication with his ex-wife. And we agree, ideally he’d just be open and honest with you.

That said, we also see his side. There’s a reason he doesn’t feel he can be open with you. We can’t say what that is, but we don’t think it’s because anything is going on between him and his ex. We get the sense that he wasn’t not sure how you’d react. Has anything happened in the past that might cause him to feel this way? Have the two of you had other issues that haven’t gotten resolved? (With this sort of thing?) Is he secretive like this in other ways?

Honestly, the issue at hand does not seem like a deal breaker. You know yourself that people come with a past, and that past just doesn’t disappear when a new relationship begins. We think he’s telling the truth when it comes to his ex. She sounds like she doesn’t have anyone else and he feels, not only bad about that, but guilty and maybe even responsible for her current state.

The bigger issue we see here is trust. It sounds like you don’t really trust him. Is that true? In order for the relationship to move forward the two of you need to work on reestablishing trust. Of course he has also has to be open to working on your relationship.

What do you think? Feel free to share your thoughts or ask any foll0w-up questions in the comments below this post.

All the best,


ps. We hope you’ll share our site with friends. Thanks.

13 Comments on My boyfriend loves me but takes care of his ex-wife

  1. Thank you for answering.

    The first time this happened and he hid it from me, I told him to just be honest and upfront about communication with her. And he was, for about 3 weeks. There was a couple times he showed me some texts between them and I told him thank you. He looked surprised and asked me if I was mad or hurt. I told him no and that I appreciated him letting me know. He told me that any other woman he’d been with would have flipped out. So I feel that I not only told him, but had shown him that it was safe to communicate with me and I fully forgave him for it, not bringing it up at other times at all.

    I sent him an email on Monday (today is Wednesday) and we talked last night. He feels terrible and knows he hurt me. He feels like he just keeps hurting me and I don’t deserve it. There was been another time that he hurt me (unrelated), and both that time and with the first instance with his ex wife, he was ready to walk away. It was me that initiated conversation to talk through it. I think this is partly due to a lack of confidence or self esteem on his part, he also said that he couldn’t handle the rejection if that’s what my choice was going to be. I feel that with all that’s taken place that he needs to be the one to decide, step up and take responsibility (with action) and approach me for a reconciliation.

    The lying and deception are definitely the bigger issues here, but him taking her to his bed to talk is very hurtful. I do feel confident that nothing physical took place, but I also feel that a bedroom is a more personal and intimate space, which why it hurts. He did say that if the roles were reversed he be mad and would not be able to get passed it and forgive me. He also said that he feels he doesn’t deserve another chance with me….that he’s hurt me too much. I also feel that it’s not/wouldn’t be healthy for our relationship for him to allow her to continue relying on him for issues in her life or for emotional comfort either. The fact that he lied to me a second time after he knew I could be trusted with my reaction, really hurts. It also does cast a shadow of distrust with him that he chose to hide it and told me he was going to lie to me about it. He said he didn’t want to hurt me, that he could just handle the situation and be done with dealing with her once he moved out of that apartment.

    I understand, to a degree, him feeling bad for her, but I think it’s time for him to cut the emotional ties. They don’t have kids and the communication isn’t a “Hey, how are you doing? What’s new in your life?”. It’s “I need you to comfort me and tell me life is going to be ok”. While she cries and cries to him. This is in addition to asking him for money and help with other things more manual labor related. They were together (dating and married) for a total of 4 or 5 years.

    So as of now, we professed our love for eachother, talked about how we both thought we would build a life together, he apologized profusely and feels terrible, said there is no one else like me out there for him, but did not ask for another chance. He told me to find someone that treats me better because that’s what I deserve. I told him he felt like ‘home’ to me. He said he wanted to be my home,but he destroyed it.
    I don’t know where to go at this point. I feel like the proverbial ‘ball’ needs to be in his court. What do you think?

  2. *update

    He text me a few times over a couple hour period. I finally responded and texts were exchanged. He brought up that he doesn’t want to tell anyone that we’re not together and that he gets asked about me all day long. I asked him if he’s told anyone. He’s only told 1 person…. his ex wife. He said he told her because he was mad and he told her that he hurt me on her account. Does the fact that she is the only one that he’s told further validate the fact that they do in fact have an emotional bond and connection? Or could it be a different reason?

  3. @Jill….We agree. He does have an emotional bond with her that crosses the line, at least a bit. And it’s up to him to put up clearer boundaries with her. (Otherwise she’ll take whatever she can get.) However, she’s not the issue, it’s him. He has to be the one to stop it. As for what to do? Just let this sit for a bit. (Maybe a week or so.) Then touch base with him and see where he’s at. If you still want to be with him, just tell him again that you love him and that you’re willing to give him another chance, but that he needs to have clearer boundaries with her. One other thought: Do you think it’s possible he’s forced your hand? Meaning, created a situation where you almost had to break up with him? And then said he doesn’t deserve you. We’re not trying to make things worse, but we felt it important to ask the question.

  4. That’s an interesting thought and one that I’ll need to ponder. Although he wasn’t planning on telling me, it does still make me wonder. I agree that the issues definitely lie with him in not setting appropriate boundaries and allowing it to continue. I’m wondering if he’s confused and doesn’t even know what he wants at this point. If a man is ‘deciding/debating’ between me and another woman, I will make the decision easy and walk away…..I don’t want to come second to anyone in my mans eyes, whoever that man ends up being.
    I really appreciate your feedback, it has helped. THANK YOU!

  5. @Jill….You’re welcome. And we get it. No one should feel as if they’re a second choice in their relationship. Keep us posted and take care of yourself.

  6. Will do, and thank you again! You guys are awesome!

  7. And what happened?

  8. @Jess…..Good question. Of course, it’s up to Jill as to whether she’d like to share and give an update.

  9. Hi The Guys and Jess! I’m happy to provide an update….. It’s not good…..
    We had talked through things, and what seemed to me, to be gaining ground and understanding. I had helped him move and get set up in his new apartment, he was helping me by driving me to my brothers to pick up my car (I had borrowed my brothers truck). On the 25 minute drive to my brothers, I received a message on Instagram from his ex wife saying “If you want to know what XXX is really doing call me”. I text her, letting her know I was with him and asked a few questions. She confirmed that on the night I saw her, and he adamantly professed his innocence, that they had slept together, had been for months, and that he was ‘playing’ both of us. At that point I called her, he haf asked who I was texting/ calling, I calmly told him to hang on. When she answered the phone I asked her if she could repeat what she just told me while I put my phone on speaker. She did and he went ballistic, yelling that he was going to drop me off at the next exit, she was saying she would pick me up if he did, on and on. He did continue to take me to my brothers and still refused to admit what he had done. His ex wife had sent me screenshots of their conversation as ‘proof’ (I am aware that there are jaded women that make false accusations, so the proof was helpful). Needless to say, I am no longer with him.

  10. Part 2…..
    She and I talked a bit more, finding out more details on both sides. Their relationship really never ended, is one that I’m glad to remove myself from, and to have found out the truth. I was beyond hurt and devastated. But with the help of some good friends, have gotten through it. This has made me more aware of how deceptive people can be, and although I don’t want to not trust if I ever get in a relationship again, I will be more cautious with who I extend my trust to. I appreciated your feedback at the time as it helped me navigate through it.

  11. @Jill……Thanks for the update. That sound pretty tough but at least you now know the truth. Our two cents: We know it might be more difficult to trust a guy in the future, but try not to become jaded yourself. You take care Jill. We wish you all the best.

  12. I am too living with a divorced man he has been divorced thirteen years and ex wife always texting and calling he only tells me once in a while when she does he tells lies about it he does not want me to leave him so now he hides everything but he also always attentive to her anything she needs money always tells me he has none cheap with me not ex and she gets two thousand a month and plus anything else I’m also debating to move out

  13. @Molly…..Okay, we understand. The question is: Does he still have feelings for her? Because, it sounds like he has to pay alimony every month and that’s pretty typical. Are there kids involved? And on another note: Do you trust him?

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.

Maximum comment length is 1500 characters.