Q: Dear Meredith,
My boyfriend (I’ll call him Drew) and I are in love and beginning to talk seriously about a future together. I’m in my late 30s and he’s in his mid-40s, so we’re both older and approaching this with significant past relationship experience and a clear sense of what we want. We’re good at talking things out, and we know how to communicate and compromise. However, one recent issue seems likely to resurface — how Drew can maintain his friendship with a longtime ex-girlfriend in a way that doesn’t interfere with our relationship.
In Drew’s words, he and Suzanne bonded to provide each other support for their extremely difficult young adult lives. Drew has since worked on his past and grown into an accomplished, stable person. Suzanne, although now married, is still troubled and has “serious limitations” (his words). What got me thinking and prompted this letter is overhearing the nature of a recent phone call. Instead of casual conversation about their lives, the tone seemed emotionally entangled, with Drew in the role of constantly offering reassurances: Yes, they’re “different” when it comes to their friendship, and although neither he nor I have ever felt happier with a partner, he of course “was very happy when he was with [her],” and, yes, I do realize “how important [she] is to [him].” Is this normal behavior?
Drew keeps in touch with Suzanne by occasional emails and phone calls, and he meets her for lunch once or twice a year when he visits Massachusetts, which seems within the bounds of appropriate behavior. I’ll be going with him to Mass. later this summer, and although he asked me to meet Suzanne, I said I’d rather not.
I feel deeply loved and secure in our relationship. That said, is it rude for me to want no contact with Suzanne? What seems reasonable here? Looking forward to the perspectives of you and your readers.
– Trouble with his ex, Out of State
Meredith Hoss Goldstein’s Answer
A: It’s absolutely appropriate for you to stay away from this woman, TWHE. There’s nothing rude about your attitude. You’re just being honest and smart. Good for you.
I do wonder whether Drew needs some help setting his own boundaries. He offered to skip lunch with this woman. Perhaps that was his way of admitting that he doesn’t want to see her. Perhaps he was hoping that you’d set some rules for him.
You’ve been so understanding when it comes to this woman. Your boundaries are fair.
Readers? Should she want to meet the ex? Should he have asked her to? How do you distance yourself from a needy ex? What about her marriage? Am I right to say that Drew’s offer to skip lunch might have been a cry for help? Discuss.
I’m in the worst mood possible today so I’m not even going to fuck around with this one. Hey idiot your boyfriend is fucking his ex. Wake the fuck up. I mean did you really ask if it was rude for you to say no to meeting you’re boyfriends mistress? Are you that fucking naive? And hey Hoss what is up with this advice telling her she’s being honest and smart? Really? I’ve literally never heard of anybody with their head stuck so far up their ass before in my life. “Oh at least he asked if I wanted to meet her blah, blah, blah.” Yeah because it makes it seem like you have nothing to worry about. It’s reverse psychology 101. Bottomline is every-time he see’s her he’s fucking her. And the beauty of it is that he’s not even hiding it. Just rubbing it right in your face like a boss.