Not over his ex; should I leave now or give it a chance?

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Dear Guys,

I’m 38, own a home, a successful business, and was married five years to an abusive man. It’s been six yrs now, I’ve moved and restarted a great life and am the happiest I’ve ever been. Over the years I see I’m drawn to attractive, adventurous, man-boys and have feared the men who want something more. The hot young ones boost my ego and have been “safe” as they usually don’t want much more then sex.

But I’ve done a lot to heal and recognize all this and now I want a more serious relationship. I had one the past two years but he left me eight months ago and I was very hurt but knew it was right and I deserved more and didn’t want to be with another big drinker who couldn’t control his habits.

A few months after the breakup I met a great 31 yr old guy. Hot, adventurous and interested. We gradually kept in touch over a few weeks and met up one evening at some hot springs and had a hot, amazing few nights together. Over the rest of the summer we’d spend a few nights a week together but I knew he would be leaving for six months in the fall. Mid-winter he was hurt and came back.

He has six weeks here and I allowed him to stay with me until he leaves again for two months, then he will be back for the summer for work. He talks about loving where we live and getting a permanent vs seasonal job. So we’re playing house mates, having a ton of sex and it’s been great. Then the fool used my computer in my house to communicate with his ex. I realized they talk often, every day or so and while he will be gone after leaving here he will be meeting up with her in Thailand. It’s definitely not just as friends, he’s clearly not over her. They’ve been broken up for two years and he told me it was hurtful. (He moved for her and it ended badly, etc.) He said he was going on his trip alone and I know he lied. We are getting to know each other, haven’t talked about anything with us and I did read him telling her he didn’t want anything serious with her. It was hard to read it all. And when I saw he forgot to log out of their very long instant message that he sent to her while I was at work, my heart sank.

I’m quite mature and really do get it. He’s having a great time with me and doesn’t want to blow it by telling me about her. We said goodbye in the fall, I was with someone else too, but now he’s back and he came to me. It’s clear he and his ex have stuff to work out and perhaps need closure or want another try at it.

My question is…what should I do? Run like Hell or give him time to figure out why they’re still connected and heal or see if they get back together and just keep dating myself? I just don’t want to be the fool, be used, be lied to, etc. The age difference is a factor and this situation proves it to me. He’s not mature enough to see that their disaster of a past will probably never work but they both are still locked together. They joke about other people but I see through that and doesn’t sounds like either has really moved on in the past two years. He’s super nice but does have a big ego and I’m sure is crushed inside that he failed at something, his first real love. They only dated a year but that can still be significant when it’s the only big experience.

Bottom line…give him a chance or not? I know he’s not prepared to tell me the truth about her (she lives across the country) and I know he wants to be here for work. He’s got his dream job and wants to stay. I know he wouldn’t leave for her and I think he actually said something to that degree in their giant message. (Can’t believe I read it. I felt badly but I’m so glad I did so I’m not completely in the dark about all of this. Nor did I tell him about the other person I spent time with.)

I actually realized after this time with someone else I really liked, that I liked him more and that’s why I invited him to stay with me. I was so curious about us having a chance to come back together so soon after thinking I wouldn’t see him for six months. My BFF thinks he really likes me, I told her the story about the ex thinking she’d tell me to end it immediately but she still thinks he’s worth having fun with and getting to know more. But it’s not her heart on the line…


Dear Francine,

Thanks for your question.

We happen to agree with your friend. You’re going to regret it if you don’t see this all the way through.

As you know, life is complicated and people come with baggage. Dating in your 20s is different than dating in your 30s, and so on, because as people age they acquire more and more baggage. But they also acquire more experience, and in turn are often more interesting.

It seems the two of you are both being a bit evasive. He’s still involved with his ex, and you are seeing other people. And neither of you knows about the other’s activities. (Okay, you do, but only because you did it without his knowledge.) We understand that you’re not really in an exclusive relationship, but in order to take this to the next level you both need to come clean about what you’re up to and honest about how you feel about the other person.

You’re right when you say, he still needs to find closure with his ex. Sometimes people go back and forth for years and years before they finally make the split. Many times it takes a new person to jumpstart this final parting. It sounds like you might actually be the person that will make him finally realize that he has a dysfunctional relationship with his ex. And that he actually could have the kind of relationship he really wants to have with you.

But the two of you need to really start talking to one another. You specifically need to let your guard down and tell him how you truly feel. Seeing other people is just a way of protecting yourself. It’s not fun to be vulnerable, but in order to see this through, you might have to let yourself be just that.

We hope it works out for you.


ps. Let your friends know about us. Thanks!

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13 Comments on Not over his ex; should I leave now or give it a chance?

  1. @Marie…..He’s still hung up on his ex. So he’s not open to you at this point. Although it does seem that he’s interested in you on some level. It’s clear he was hoping for sex so the virgin situation threw him for a loop. (That’s a good thing for you. Because if you did have sex with him it would just have confused you more.) Our advice: Pull back. Move on. If anything’s going to happen with this guy it won’t be for a while. He’s in rebound mode right now. You don’t want that anyway. It’s hard to say what will happen down the line, but we don’t think you should wait around. Go have some fun.

  2. Hey guys,

    I’ve been dating someone great for the past two months. After a year and a half of dating duds, this one is promising. We have a great connection…that is until one night I stopped hearing from him, which was totally out of character. He did call me the next day, totally distraught. It turns out his ex, who has recently gotten engaged, got cold feet and reached out to him. They ended up spending a lot of time together that day- maybe even hooked up. He admitted to me that he still has feelings for her, and that he feels terribly for not informing me sooner. They haven’t been broken up very long, and she was very significant to him. I’m actually away for a month, and left just after this happened.

    I handled it with my head on my shoulders (after all, I don’t know him that well- 2 months is enough to for me to think about wanting more, but hey). I met him in person, took my things, and talked. He apologized profusely, and I told him that it wasn’t a total deal breaker for me, that I get it- we’re all human, but it was really shitty of him to do that to me. He said that he needs time and that his head isn’t clear. He hopes that I come back to a clearer minded him.

    I did tell him this: I want to keep in contact via email while I am gone, and that I do want to keep seeing him when I get back, but that I couldn’t change the way he felt about anyone. He wasn’t in any real state to be enthusiastic, having been emotionally drained. It’s not my business what happens between him and her, but it must have been heavy. I don’t have any clues on how things might play out for anyone in this situation.

    I really want to reach out to him, but I want to give him space as well, without having things die out. I just really don’t want out-of-sight, out-of-mind to happen (a month seems long), but I also want to keep my dignity intact, which I feel like I have done so far. I also don’t want to lose the guy, since things have been really great minus this situation. How do I go about this, from your perspective?

  3. I’m too in a similar situation I live with my bf been with him two years now living for a year we have a history thirty years ago we ran into each other and we are back now everything is great he has been divorced thirteen years his ex wife cheated and wanted over only six years married my question I got upset one time we were away and she text him something stupid she always does never about teen age kids so he told me he did not want to be angry anymore so now he said she lea no on him she has no friends but she does have a boyfriend so I don’t understand him but I get insurcure now and then so now she has not text him in weeks I think he is deleting them just in case I go on his phone I know he is protecting me does not want to upset me but how can I get him to be honest with me without accusing him of lying which I know he is I was his first love which I know he loves me but I want more honesty he made the commitment to lie with me but I think he is still hung up on her and I don’t know what to do leave him or try to overlook his issue we have a great relationship otherwise what to do I’m not Tharp insurcure about myself he had this relationship with her for thirteen years I’m not expecting him to drop her but shouldn’t he have some boundaries and be a little truthful with me or what

  4. @Holly…..We understand your situation. But we have a few questions. 1. Does he have children with his ex? 2. Do they have an amicable relationship? 3. What bothers you about her texting him? (Are you afraid that he might go back with her?) 4. What was your reaction when you found out she texted him? Did you get angry with him? (That could be the reason he’s hiding her texts from you. Not because he feels guilty but he doesn’t know if you’ll be okay with them.) 5. Besides responding to her texts does he text her first ever?

  5. No he doesn’t I quest I feels I made him do the hiding her text I only got made once we were away I think she knew and she text him if he sent a package to their son his return address was right there she is manipulating and jealous of us living together her boyfriend won’t commit to her not our problem she tells my bf all the time I understand you have kids together but I think he should of been more open about how close he is with her I have two teens also me and my ex only talk about the kids so I quest I have to adjust to the situation and it’s a little ruff for me thank you for your thoughts on it

  6. @Holly……Well, do you trust him? Because if you do, then you can definitely work this out. It sounds as if he’s committed to you, and if that’s the case, he should be receptive to discussing this with you. That said, you can’t control what she does. So work with what you can control. 1. Yourself and how you react to it. 2. Having open dialogue with him. Good luck. Keep us posted.

  7. Thank you One day I will talk to him about this

  8. Gina Lawson // April 12, 2018 at 3:13 am //

    Hi guys, I’m in a relationship with a guy, we have been together for 7 months. This is quite confusing for me as he is very sweet one minute and quite verbally abusive another minute, he snaps and I find this tough to accept. He seems to be like this with all his family and was the same with his wife.
    The problem I have is that whilst he is very loving towards me he still gets very upset about his ex wife of 30 years! His eyes fill up and he is quite nasty about her. She ended the relationship and he struggles to maintain relationships with his son and daughter because they have a closer bond to their Mum and she seems to be getting on with her life happily without him.
    He talks openly about having a relationship separation to other people we talk to in our local pub in front of me and seems shocked when I’m not comfortable when he does it. I suddenly feel very insignificant as if I’m supposed to feel sorry for him!
    He is still married and hasn’t taken any steps to get a divorce even though he moved out about a year ago.

    We are very casual, but do not see anyone else. We live separately and have no plans to change that.
    I am I just a rebound girlfriend or should I be more understanding about his grieving for his ex partner?

  9. @Gina…..How old is he? You? And when you say together, what does that actually mean? You say you’re casual, does that mean going out on dates whenever, does that mean sex, what does that mean? Also, what’s your relationship background? And do you have kids as well?

  10. Hey guys a question for you what are the signs he is not over his ex wife how do you know for sure some men try not to show it

  11. @Holly…..This sounds like a much bigger question. Is it? (We kind of need to know a lot more information, not something that we can do here on the comments. We’d also ask you: What is your concern?) But some quick thoughts: 1. Is he still in contact with her? 2. Do they have a friendship, or do they just discuss business matters and practical matters like money and/or kids. 3. Does he grow distant with you when he’s talking with her more often? 4. Does he talk about her with you. Etc. Etc. That should give you something to think about. You know Holly, you might want to consider doing this privately through our Ask a Private Question option on our site. Read testimonials on our Get Relationship Advice page if you’re unsure about what you’ll be getting. There is a fee, but we believe we’re worth it. We put a lot of thought and care into each question. Hope this helps a little.

  12. I’m 18 and I’ve had a crush on this guy for a while now. The thing is he had a girlfriend for almost a year, she was his first love, however, they broke up recently as they were too different and kept arguing, they still remained close friends. We have been friends for a while as we are in the same classes together and it’s scary how similar we are.
    we have been talking every day for a few weeks and i started to really like him. We have planned to meet up a couple of times but they fell through as he wanted to ‘respect his ex’ who he was still close with. Yesterday i found out that him and his ex had slept together that day. When i confronted him about it, he said that his ex came over to see his mother as they were close and then his mother left and things escalated because he ‘can’t control himself around her’. he felt really bad about it and was so confused how chill I was. However, he says that he thinks it is going to happen again because they are trying to slowly leave each other’s lives instead of going cold turkey. I only see him at school and we hardly talk as we are keeping this private until we figure things out. I’ve been trying to meet as there’s only so much you can learn over text but now he said he thinks we should wait.
    Do you think that i should continue talking to him and see where it goes (i think if he was over his ex that we would be really good for each other) or end things to avoid being hurt?

  13. @Sophie…..Clearly he’s not over his ex, and from what you describe that’s going to take a while. Are you cool being second in line? OR a rebound? Whatever you decide, we might give him some space. He needs to figure out what he wants.

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