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Dealing with Ex’s , is it jealousy or disrespectful

Torn and broken
Community Member

Hi there

not Sure where to start. I’ve been with my partner for a few years now and we share a house together. I’m very much in love with this man but feel like I have put up with a lot to keep the relationship together. We have a beautiful connection, extremely intimate and enjoy each other’s company. He spoils me rotten as I do him but feel there is two sides to this man. I feel we are only at our happiest if I keep my unhappy feelings to myself. Omit seems if I ever disagree with someone ie Ex’s he gets very cross at me and says I’m jealous.
To fill you in a little, 5 months into our relationship he went back to his ex girlfriend for a week but then came back to me. I took him back. Along the way he also told me in anger that he did not know if he was still in love with his ex wife. 4 years later I have dealt with 4 occasions where he has been in contact with his ex girlfriend (not wife ) because he wasn’t sure about us. His ex girlfriend engaged with the contact because she was still in love with him. On all occasions I was completely devastated but he managed to win my heart back. As far as I know that contact ended over a year ago.

My issue now is his ex wife is always asking for help with maintenance around the house as she is single and has been since their divorce which was her decision
This makes me uncomfortable and I tell him so as I feel he should tell her she needs to sort things out herself now and not rely on him Am I wrong to ask him to do this , is it jealousy or is it disrespectful on his behalf and should he be putting my feelings first
at the end of the day I feel he doesn’t want to upset her by saying no he can’t do it but doesn’t mind hurting my feelings I feel like I have been through enough of disrespect with this man when it comes to ex’s but just don’t know what to do

I can imagine some people would just be saying leave him which is what my friends say but like I said there are two parts to this man
He is so loving , generous, fun to be around , treats me like a queen but then when these issues arise , he calls me jealous and is awful to me
Your honest answers will be gladly received

Thsnk you for taking the time to read

20 Replies 20

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi TornAndBroken,

Welcome to the forums, and you've done great reaching out to the forums for support.

Sorry to hear that you're having a hard time with your relationship at the moment. It seems you've been taken on an emotional roller coaster ride by how your partner is still being in contact with his ex wife (and in the past, his ex girlfriend). You've also voiced out your concerns to him about how for him to still be in contact with his ex-wife, is making you uncomfortable, which is good as communication is key to maintaining a relationship.

I want to assure you that, your feelings are valid, and I can understand why you feel that there's two sides to him. On one hand he is a loving and generous fun to be around person who treats you like a queen. It's great when we experience love and affection from another person, and it brings out a lot of happy and delightful times together with our partners.

On the other hand, your partner may have unresolved feelings towards his ex-wife, and is using the opportunity to help her with maintenance around the house, as a way to confirm his feelings. If he has truly moved on from his ex-wife and is completely committed to being in a relationship with you, it is as you said, his ex-wife will have to find other ways of living her own life without him in it (especially since she initiated the divorce, so she'll need to own up to that responsibility of choosing to live a single life). Your partner also needs to understand why you're feeling this way and work together with you (he'll need to express his feelings as to why he's still helping is ex-wife, and why does he think you're feeling jealous), rather than calling it 'jealous' and dismissing your feelings and concerns.

I do feel for you, and I feel you deserve better if your partner is not willing to work things out with you. Please take care of yourself first. Happy to listen to you more if you'd like to chat.


Hello Jt

Thank you so much for listening and taking the time out to respond. It was very hard for me to post on here but I feel my friends have heard it all and I felt so upset this morning that I just needed to reach out. It’s funny you know in my heart I have always felt that deep down he still loved her but gets on with his life because she ended it. He expresses his love for me everyday and that’s when I question, is it me being the unreasonable one.
I have also expressed this to him as I asked him that very question , why did you seem to be putting her feelings first. He has a way of making me feel guilty by saying it is for his children as they live with her and he would help anyone if needed. This may be true but at the end of the day at the expense of who’s feelings. I’m not sure if I would have felt this way if all the other betrayal had not happened but I just feel second best all the time. I ask myself even if he still was in love with her , they will never get back together so should I try to move on with my feelings and just try and let it go. If I were to mention this to him today , he will just end it. Every time I stick up for myself he ends it and I talk him around. I question my self worth as to why allow these things to continually happen to me. I guess I just answered my own question , ‘because I allow it!’
I seem to have a problem of not being able to leave someone when I love them , no matter how toxic the relationship may be. I was able to leave my husband because I had fallen out of love with him and was miserable and although that was extremely hard because of my children , I never looked back. But with him I continue to be disrespected. 😥

Once again thank you so much for listening. Sometimes it’s just nice to get it off your chest and have feedback from someone who doesn’t know you or him so there is no bias opinions.

Hi Torn and broken.

I'd like to let you know that the way you feel is actually quite normal and healthy in any relationship. You have even communicated to him your boundaries are and he still continues to make you feel uncomfortable and leaves you confused. A red flag is when you ask him for support and he disagrees, giving support to others. People from the past must stay in the past. You are his priority.

People who experience ambivalence have difficulties understanding what they want and sometimes try to fill a gap in their lives with other people, they may also struggle to keep a healthy mindset and be able to make healthy choices. Healthy relationships are ones that inspire each other to be the best versions of ourselves, they put each other as their number 1 priority, they inspire each other, they grow and develop with each other, they are able to feel happy and content in each other's company and they support and nurture each other.

If you have tried to communicate how he makes you feel and then he wants to run away (ends the relationship), he may need to deal with his issues and learn to value himself so that he can value others, including you. If your partner cannot love himself, he cannot love you.

Hello Jsua

Thank you for responding with such sound advice. It was hard to read but only because I know all what you actually said is true but I’ve tried to convince myself it’s not. I think I have a lot of my own soul searching to do and work out what truly makes me happy. Clearly feeling like this is not happiness.
Thank you.

Hi Torn and Broken,

It's great to hear that you were able to answer your own question. Our behaviors are tied with our past experiences and up bringing, so thought I'd share a bit more thought about why your partner is acting this way towards you. It is possible he has unresolved feelings towards his ex-wife. Especially for being the dumpee, there's a lot of feelings that needs to be processed from, and a lot to to learn and grow.

At the same time, there's that fear of being rejected by another person whom he began a new relationship with (that's you) prior to resolving his issues from his past relationship. Because of that, he throws an enormous amount of love and affection towards you, in hoping that by doing so he won't be rejected by you. Just like how in our childhood, if our parents are being strict to us, when all we want is their love and affection, we learn to be 'nice and good' in order to gain their love and affection, and by doing so, we grow the habit of needing to be 'nice and good' in society in order to gain people's approval/validation while hiding who we truly are as a person. Perhaps because you've experienced being the dumper before, you felt obliged to not hurt your next partner, and allowed him to get his way with the way he's treating you. But by doing so, you're neglecting your needs and feelings.

Also there's the possibility that he's genuinely showing care towards others, but again I feel that's something that really needs to be worked out between the two of you. This is where you'll learn to tap into what truly makes you happy, and identify what your boundaries are. It helps shape your value for who you are, and if your boundaries have been stepped over, then you'll be able to fall back to how you value yourself to make decisions (ex. I dislike being lower priority to his ex-wife, and this has crossed my boundary).


Hi there.

Glad I could help. Best plan of action for looking after your mental health is speaking to an array of support such as a health professional to help you through the next steps of your journey. Good luck and be kind to yourself.


Wow , you definitely know your stuff, so insightful. You have definitely given me so much to consider and definitely also made me see it from a different point of view. I have been told about giving my self boundaries before and the result was the fear of losing him. Something else I need to work on. Thank you so so much for such amazing feedback.

Thank you so much and take care.

One more thing JT. Would it be wrong of me or wise to confront his ex wife and ask her nicely to stop relying on him for help. He only has room for one woman in his life and that it shouldn’t be her.