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March 04, 2015

How Do I Break My BF's Close Bond with His Ex?

Should you tell you boyfriend to stop seeing his best friend who happens to be his ex?

by Magdalene

Dear Madge,
I’ve been going out steady with this guy for almost a year. He’s wonderful, loving, smart and funny, I couldn’t have met a better person. But there is just one thing. He has an ex-girlfriend whom he still sees a lot as a friend. They’d go out for the occasional coffee and sometimes lunch, and in the beginning he would ask me to come along, which I did. But it only made me feel left out because they would talk about things I didn’t know, laughed at inside jokes, etc. Now I’m very resentful of her, who makes me feel like I’m just another girlfriend he will eventually dump, while she will always be there for him. Even if they supposedly no longer have romantic feelings, I just feel uneasy about their close bond. He says he’s closer to her now that they aren’t together, which means they are only meant to be good friends, not boyfriends and girlfriends. But now I’m wondering whether I should give him the ultimatum to choose her or me.
Insecure girl
Dear Insecure girl,
Although he seems like a very nice guy, he might be a rather thick one for not realizing that his closeness to her is making you uncomfortable. You didn’t tell me, though, whether you’ve ever opened up to him about your feeling, or if you’ve been keeping it to yourself the whole time. Before you take a drastic measure like making him choose her or you, maybe you should communicate with him first that you’re feeling rather uncomfortable about them being so close and being together a lot.

Talk to him when you’re not in an emotional state, pick a time when the both of you are relaxed and open for an intimate conversation.  See how he reacts to this. If he gets all defensive, don’t get provoked, instead take a breather and ask him why he’s mad. Is it because he thinks you don’t trust him, or is it because their friendship means that much to him? Ask him if you’re meaningful enough for him to understand the root of your resentment.
Get the conversation going in a positive way, as a way to find a common ground to agree on, instead of a way to win the argument. Because as his partner you also have to learn to see things from his perspective.  Get to know the depth of their friendship. Perhaps she’s the only person he ever trusts and is comfortable to talk to. Maybe you will take over that position someday, maybe you won’t. But you have to understand, that making him break a friendship that means a lot to him is probably asking too much. Negotiate the most win-win compromise. The best relationship is one in which both parties can come to an agreeable compromise. Perhaps he will reduce the frequency of meeting her, and perhaps you will come with them for coffee occasionally.
After a while, check if this deal is still working or if either of you has broken it (him meeting her behind your back, and you being bitchy when he says he’s meeting her). And see whether he’s all right with it, or if it’s making him resent you. At the end of the day, we can’t have a working relationship if the other person is unhappy.
And my final words of wisdom: being insecure is human, it’s a function that drives us to grow and improve ourselves. But being overly insecure is never attractive. If he’s making you feel like that a lot, then maybe it’s time to move on.
 Got a burning question about something? Send us your question to [email protected] with the subject 'Ask Madge.'