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Partner's ex gives me anxiety

Community Member
Hi everyone, thank you for taking time to read my post.

My partner and I have been in a relationship for almost 3 years. He was with his ex girlfriend for almost 3 years as well before he met me and we started hanging out as friends. About 2 years later we decided to give it a go however he is still constantly around her or doing things for her. He ended their relationship due to indifferences and said she agreed happily (however I feel like she still loves him).

When we first dated, he told me she asked him to look after her cats for her as she would go overseas for almost a year and needed someone to look after her house, cats and take the bins out (so that people would think there was someone at home). Mind you my partner has a soft spot for pets and animals and he told me as a friend he agrees to do it.

However at first I found it extremely weird as my partner lives a good 30mins away from her house but has to constantly go there every second day to do 'house sitting' for her but she has a friend that lives down the road. Why can't that friend do it? He still does it till this day and when she comes back from overseas, she will always find something small to ask him to come over and do for her.

She has cameras all over her house and will constantly see him on the screens and talk to him. I've seen her message him almost everyday and it gives me so much anxiety. I trust my partner and knows he just has a good heart and wants to help a friend however depsite how many times I tell him that it makes me uncomfortable that he is always doing things for her, seeing her, having lunch and dinner, he says he doesn't see it as a problem and that she's just a friend, sometimes gets mad at me for always having a problem eith his ex. It hurts that he doesn't respect my boundaries and would rather have our relationship be rocky than keep a friend distance from her. I don't mind if when in emergency she asks for his help but this constant need for him is really pissing me off and I don't know how I can continue a future with my partner if she is always going to be in our picture.
1 Reply 1

Community Member

Hello there Bubbleandsqueaks

I can understand your annoyance with this situation. Your boyfriend doesn’t see it as a problem but he’s missing the point entirely. If it wasn’t a problem I wouldn’t be writing to you now. My life experience has taught me that it is common to feel affection for people, including former lovers who are no longer part of our lives. It is also an act of kindness and generosity to help out friends when necessary.

However, there are also unwritten rules that most people observe in romantic matters of the heart. One of those rules is to firmly but gently end the daily ties to the former wife or girlfriend when the new lady is in the picture. This act is not carried out in a discourteous act of cruelty to the former lover but as an act of devotion and commitment to the new girlfriend. The ex girlfriend should understand that and so should your boyfriend.

As you say, it is okay in an emergency for her to call or email from overseas and ask for a special favour because he has the skill or knowledge to overcome a once off problem but to establish a routine pattern is not respectful of you, in my opinion. If you have to nag him to see the problem it is a poor sign. Even if he were to cut ties with the ex to your level of expectations, the risk is he may resent being forced to change his behaviour. The change is best coming from him because he sees the clear picture.

You write you don’t know how you can build a future with your partner while the ex is always in the picture and I don’t know how you can either. I don’t think it is reasonable for you to have to try. Only you can decide how much of this you can tolerate before taking action.

Best wishes.