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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2 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?

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