In boyfriend you trust?

A gal pal shared a concern about her boyfriend of two months. “He’s still has a very strong relationship with both his ex-wife and his last girlfriend. He’s been apart from his ex-girlfriend a year after a year-long relationship. And he’s been divorced from his ex-wife three years after a two-year marriage.

“His ex-girlfriend comes over to his place and bakes cookies for him and his friends, and cat sits in his home while he’s away. He insists that they are just friends now, but their closeness bothers me.”

“Do you trust him?” I ask.


“Then what’s the problem?”

“I’m uncomfortable since my last boyfriend insisted he was over his last girlfriend, then he left me to go back with her.”

Aha. She doesn’t trust that this new one won’t do what her ex-beau did to her. She’s projecting her insecurities onto her new man. She knows this is her issue and she doesn’t want to be one of those controlling, paranoid women who kills a good relationship because of her issues. But she can’t seem to shake this feeling of unrest.

“If he really cared about me, he’d honor my discomfort with his closeness to these past relationships and cut back on his contact with them,” she said.

“Or, you could work on your trust issues and be happy that he left these relationships with such good will that he’s able to maintain friendships. Many people leave relationships with bitterness and resentment on one or both sides. It says a lot about him that he’s able to maintain good relations with these former love interests.

“Can you believe him when he says he’s over them and has no desire to be with either of them again? If you aren’t able work through your trust issues, you’ll have a hard time with this in any relationship.”

One of my past beaus was so friendly with his ex-wife they exchanged dating stories and advice. I’ve maintained friendships with several of my former sweeties. My ex-husband was so cordial with his first wife she once came and stayed with us for a week, and she and I spent the day together shopping. So keeping a good relationship with an ex can be done. And I understand that it can sometimes evolve into a reconciliation.

Trust is basic to a relationship. If you don’t see any signs that he is lying yet you still don’t trust him, you’ll poison the bond. No one wants to be around someone who is questioning your word.

Have you been in a situation like this where your sweetie was still friendly with his ex? If so, how did you handle it if you had any concerns?

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10 responses to “In boyfriend you trust?”

  1. nysharon Avatar

    OK, lets disect this. She is “baking cookies for him and his friends”? There is a line between being friendly with your ex and her still baking cookies for him. The EX is still into him and he dosen’t say no because although he is over her, he enjoys the attention, and that my dear could be a major red flag. I think this is OK if : 1. she is in another relationship and her love is OK with it, 2. It’s OK with him that your ex comes over and fixes your plumbing, helps move furniture, and what ever else his “gifts” are (that may be baking cookies too). 3. You are all friends and socialize together. If those 3 points are not the case, I think your Gal Pal’s instincs are right, and it ISN’T a trust issue. It is a lesson she has already been taught and that is why she is having “unrest”. Your Gal Pal is giving her love the message that she will tolerate. He is poisoning the bond by allowing this and then TELLING her about it. This is what we call testing boundries and he is learning that she has none if she dosen’t speak up about her discomfort.

  2. MADY Avatar

    I agree with Sharon..let me go a step further..just dump him..
    He is lovin ever minute of have 2 women cater to his needs sexual or otherwise in front of his friends at your expense..Remember no matter how gracefully the former affair ended it was still SEX and that will always be there no matter what..

  3. TAS - Broken Heart Avatar
    TAS – Broken Heart

    I broke up recently with a man I had known for awhile. Same issues. His ex-wife was constantly calling or needing him for something. They do have a son together, and he does spend time with him as much as possible which is great, but in a lot of these situations she’s along for the ride. What ended it for me wasn’t the fact that he was still in contact with her. It was the amount of time they spent together and her always finding ways to bring him close to her and his willingness to comply. How high do you want me to jump!!!
    Yet when I told this story before everyone was all like “Glad you dumped him” or “you did the right thing” now I’m reading it’s okay? That it’s great he gets along with his ex’s? She bakes him cookies? With or without clothes on? And does her oven not work?
    I’m getting mixed messages here. One minute it’s dump him cause he’s obviously not over his ex or ex’s. And the next it’s, oh how great he’s still friends with these women. I don’t think trust has anything to do with it. I think he enjoys the attention and uses it as a security blanket, and I think he needs to cut the “together” time he has with these women if he wants to have a meaningful relationship with anyone down the road. Friends, fine, but baking cookies? Please…show him the door and find someone who appreciates you and wants you to bake the cookies….

  4. Tim aka The Foto Nut Avatar
    Tim aka The Foto Nut

    No I haven’t ever been in this boat. What’s more, I don’t understand how others can be. I had a simply wretched marriage, and an even worse divorce. The last thing I ever wanted to do was to spend anymore time with her than I had to. We had children together so I needed to have some contact with her. 4 years ago this Aug, she died from Breast Cancer. The last time I took the kids to see her in the hospital when she still had all of her wits, she still was digging me, ON HER DEATH BED!

    I have heard of families taking week long summer vacations with their ex spouses, and their families, and I just don’t get it. If you can do things like that, why did you need to be divorced in the first place?

  5. Hiiaka Avatar

    Dear GalPal, are you sure you really trust him or are you just wanting to? If your warning bells are going off, I say pay attention.

    I was attracted to a man and initially admired him because he was friends with former lovers, specifically because I hadn’t been able to do that successfully. I’d never experienced a man leaving me for another woman, so when we became romantically involved and the relationship grew, I expressed my concerns but continued to invest deeply in the relationship. If self-fulfilling prophecies are true, perhaps my focusing on the issue drove him to back to an old love, or maybe he just had intimacy and commitment issues all along. Whatever the case, it ultimately wasn’t about him. It was about me learning to trust myself and believing that I deserved to have a loving trustworthy, committed man in my life. I learned he’s out there, I just had to be willing to let go of the good to let in the great.

    I admire Dating Goddess, think she offers great insight and wisdom, and agree it is possible to be friends with former lovers and spouses, but this situation smells like a burned cookie and I hope it’s not yours.

    If it were alcohol or cigarettes you were trying to walk away from instead of men who leave you for former lovers or spend too much time with them, would you go out and buy an unopened bottle of liquor or a unopened pack of cigarettes and keep them in your house to help you build inner strength and self-trust? Is it possible that this metaphor may apply to keeping a man around the house who is friends with past lovers too? Lots of men aren’t hostile toward their past loves, but they also don’t have a need or desire to have them in their daily or weekly lives.

    Actions speak louder than words. If your partner is sensitive to your past trust issues and comforts and reassures you and you feel safe and loved and you feel easy around the other women, I’m guessing none of this would be an issue. But it is. So how long are you willing to experiment in the relationship and could you live with the worst outcome if it happened? If you leave, would you regret not knowing if the best possible outcome could have occurred?

    You might find reading MJ Ryan’s “Trust Yourself: How to Stop Feeling Overwhelmed and Live Happily with Less Effort” to be helpful in working through this trust issue. Best wishes.

  6. Joy Avatar

    Yes, trust is the issue here – trusting yourself.
    If something feels off, there’s probably a reason.
    Is he fully present with you emotionally in all the ways you want a partner to be? Or is he using his closeness with these other women to keep himself from having to deal with a one-on-one intimate relationship in all it’s fullness?
    I recommend reading Shirley Glass’s “Not Just Friends” – brilliant info on the difference between healthy platonic relationships that don’t damage a partnership, and those that have an emotional component that is damaging to the partner/spouse.

  7. Bionic Avatar

    I am glad this was being addressed as my ex-husband has been sending me some strange mixed signals and I was not sure how to process them. I am on the receiving end of some attention. I happen to be in a rather bad financial state presently and suddenly my ex has decided to walk back into not just our daughter, but my life as well. There is contact that has to take place, but some of it is excessive or some of the things that he does is absolutely unnecessary. I know he still cares about me, but he has this other relationship and he knows that I won’t see him while he is in it. I have been generally trying to avoid him and the situation as because I know that I still have feelings for him and don’t generally enjoy all of what is happening. I can’t really say anything without looking like a complete whack job to our daughter because how can you be in a situation that is needy and refuse help….. Just felt like sharing, I have an extreme belief in God that he will ultimately take care of all this.

  8. Marina Avatar

    To me, an even bigger red flag would be the guy who says, “My ex hates my guts.” I would certainly want to know what he did that caused her to feel that way. Did he cheat? Was he abusive?

    Generally speaking, if a man says he and his ex are friend I take that as a good sign. But I have to agree with the others in that it can go too far. An ex that calls from time to time and says, “How have you been?” is fine. But I too would have an isssue with an ex who comes over and bakes cookies. That sounds more like an ex who wants to rekindle the flame.

  9. gail Avatar

    What about an ex-wife who is still wearing his wedding rings on her left hand 4 years afyer the divorce when she is meeting the girlfriend? Or her wanting him to visit her alone for a week at her home in another state even though they have no children together? He says they are just friends, and I am jealous and insecure. The one time we met, her entire conversation was a trip down memory lane that did not include me. This in spite of the fact that they talk 4 days a week,

  10. dedicated Avatar

    I boke my relationship with very same reason.
    He was not willing to break up with his past girl friends completely so I broke up relationship from him.