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Thread: Boyfriend talks about his ex A LOT!

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    Exclamation Boyfriend talks about his ex A LOT!

    My boyfriend of 3 months is constantly bringing up his ex girlfriend, either just mentioning her name in conversation...or making her the subject of conversation. Theirs was a complicated relationship - she was a lot older than him & he was made to keep their relationship a secret, although everyone pretty much knew. They started off as just sex buddies & then became bf & gf about a year later. He was also the "other man". She broke up with him in August of last year, via text message with the words "It's over. It's just too hard." It absolutley shattered him. He told me about her on our very first date (didn't go into too much detail then though). We hang out every weekend (we live 30 minutes apart) & every time we do, he will mention her. Sometimes he will admit "I know I shouldn't talk about this..." Yet, his still does. I have asked a few questions about her, don't get me wrong, I am kinda curious, but at the same time, it does make me feel very uncomfortable whenever he talks about her. He tends to tell me alot about his past (high school years, college years, years spent DJing, etc) & I know she is a big part of his past. But sometimes, he will make the mistake of bringing up what they did sexually. He knows I'm a virgin & that he is my first serious boyfriend. He treats me like a princess & doesn't want to rush things. He says he has learnt a big lesson from being with his ex...that sex can completely ruin a relationship. One other thing that really upset me was a few weeks ago, he told me he has kept a box filled with stuff that she had given him over the 2 years they were together. He's bit of a hoarder, so he keeps EVERYTHING & ANYTHING that he has collected, recieved over the past 29 years...lol. But the clincher was when he said that if we happened to get married or move in together one day, that the box of stuff will come with us, but will never be opened, looked in, & just shoved to the back of the wardrobe somewhere.

    I have the best time when I'm with him & I love listening him talking about his past (I've only known him since Sept last year), but it just gets me every single time whenever he mentions that C name. He is the first guy I have truly loved, but I'm just not used to all this confusion.

    He has run into her just the once since we've been together & she said how much she regretted breaking up with him. His response to her was "Tough! I'm happier than I ever was with you!" & he often refers to her as being stupid or crazy.

    How do I let him know how listening about her makes me quite uncomfy? & why would he be bringing her up so much??

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    It sounds to me like he's still got some wounds that are healing. What is the context in which he brings her up? Does it sound like he's missing her? Does it sound like he's just wanting to "talk through" all the mess of feelings that people go through when they've gone through a really rough breakup (people will do this when there are things they're still trying to make sense of)? Is he bitter? Is this something he does to try to explain to you where he's coming from?

    My advice is to ask him these things - why does he feel a need to bring her up so much? What is it that is keeping him from moving forward? Is he stil angry with her, or is he angry with himself? Maybe a bit of both? Sometimes a person can still get wrapped up in those old feelings of hurt without really realizing it (I'm guilty of it myself), and it makes it difficult for them to move forward until someone gives them a bit of a nudge to do so. I will tell you this: letting go of residual feelings of hurt after a bad breakup is TOUGH...even almost a year later. However, if he does this often enough to make you uncomfortable, he may need a reminder that you are NOT her, and that he needs to work on moving forward. I highly doubt he does this for the sole purpose of hurting you. It just sounds to me like he hasn't gotten over the "grief" part yet...and if things ended badly, I can understand that. However, your feelings matter here, too, and it's never easy to hear someone you love talking constantly about someone they used to love. I feel that the best thing to do here is to simply open up a real dialogue about this with him. You certainly don't have to sound like you're being insensitive or insecure, but simply curious as to what's holding him back here. Because whatever it is that holds him back will almost certainly end up holding you BOTH back, too.

    What concerns me about him continuing to call her "stupid" or "crazy" (whether she is, or if she just made a decsion for herself and executed that decision badly, I don't know) is that he could wind up inadvertently making you pay for her mistakes in some way or another. I feel that we're all entitled to blame the "dumper" for the whole thing for a limited amount of time, but once we're truly ready to move forward, we have to ask ourselves, "Okay, now where did we BOTH go wrong, and how can I avoid making the same mistakes in the future?" if we want to come out healthier on the other side.
    "Are tangerines really just oranges that didn't want it enough?" - Random Greeting Card

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    He spoke of her yesterday & he mentioned 2 things... "Over her" & "moved on". When he said again "I know I shouldn't keep talking about her..." I shook my head & replied "No, you shouldn't." So now he knows that it gets to me, so *fingers crossed* he'll quit it. He was asked once if ge regretted being with her. He said he didn't regret it, because it was a massive learning curve for him. He completely changed as a person while he was with her & he didn't like the person he was. So after she broke up with him, he slowly became the old person he was before he'd met her (this is the person I've fallen for). He's learnt from his mistakes, so now knows how to treat someone properly

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    Personally, I'd find talking about the ex too much as a red flag. He often says he is over her but of he really was over her he wouldn't be talking about her as much as he does. I can see occasionally bringing an ex up if you have a memory of something and they happened to be there or of you ask a question about an ex but it seems like even he is aware that he may be bringing her up to much yet he continues because he just can't help but to bring it up. I agree that he probably has old wounds still and is still healing. Plus, he can't become the way he used to be before he met her but if he learns from his experiences and moves on he can become a whole new person. If he was the old him his memory would've been erased and he wouldn't of learned.

    Also, I caution you not to completely discourage him from talking about an ex just because in my experience I expressed how uncomfortable it made me feel and then my ex almost never mentioned one of his exes and I think he still has never healed from that which made things difficult in our relationship.

    It also worries me a little that he calls her stupid or crazy because you never know if he would talk about you that way of something were to happen. I know sometimes people say it out of a sense of comfort to themselves. I've been guilty of talking about my ex that way but later I realize it's because I am mad about their actions and it isn't really the most mature thing to say about an ex.

    Oh and the hoarding thing kinda worries me a bit because usually there is something deeper to why people hoard. Could be something from childhood or something but he may have a tendency to hang on to a lot of past hurts and stuff. Even if he never looks in the box he knows it's still there and it's something he hasn't let go of.

    I guess just be open and honest about how you feel but don't say it in a way to make him shut off completely and see how things go.

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    Those ex's have a sneaky way of causing problems don't they? It's hard not to feel bothered by an ex who seems to still be in the picture somehow (even if it's negative). If I were you, I would just talk to my boyfriend about it. Ask him why he feels the need to mention her so much. Don't do it in an attacking manner, but explain to him how it's a concern for you, and you want to resolve this ex issue together. Don't take "she's stupid" or "it doesn't matter" as answers. Really try to find out why he feels the need to mention her all the time, if he's not open to talking about it then give him time. It'll show him you are there for him.

    It's better for him to express his dislike for her, than keep it bottled up inside.

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    From what you've told us, it sounds as though this guy is still learning from and coming to terms with his experience in terms of this ex. It does sound as though he knows what he wants - however I wouldn't be surprised if he's still dealing with the shellshock. Everyone who's been through a similar experience will know what I mean when I say some negative relationship experiences can leave people asking some really tough questions - like, why the heck did I allow myself to be treated/used in that way? Why wasn't I smart enough to see what was happening...etc etc.

    These are very valid and healthy questions to ask. But you know what...he's in a relationship with you now. And healthy relationships involve focus on each other; consideration of your partner's feelings. In my opinion, talking is to be encouraged. But talking about his ex almost everyday is not acceptable because he's failing to consider or respect your feelings.

    If it helps, my boyfriend used to talk about his exes a LOT when we were first seeing each other. Not because he needed to move on or anything like that, he'd only had v short term relationships before. It was purely because we were so close that I think he kinda saw me as a 'mate' who he could share anything with. For a while, that was rather flattering and I was glad he could talk and laugh with me about his history (not in a nasty way - he never made a derogatory comment about an ex and I did like that) but I tell you, it wore thin rather quickly when he was telling me an 'ex story' a few times a week. I believe I may have told him it wasn't funny anymore when he began a story about 'One night one of my exes and I were in bed and...' Whooh, that was the point when I said hon, I love how you share everything with me, but that's one share too many, lol!!!

    Thankfully, he quit - it did take a few reminders though. Lol!

    In my view, like I said, his focus should be on you. Yes, he needs to achieve a balance with being honest with you and sharing how he's feeling. But if he needs to talk out what's going on in his head re his ex for a while, in my opinion that's what his friends are for. You're not a mate - you're his lady, and he needs to balance sharing with you with considering your feelings. Because, ironically, sharing too much with you regarding this topic could potentially damage the intimacy between you two.

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    Today, something quite amazing happened. He started to say something about his ex, immediately stopped himself & admitted "I really shouldn't keep talking about her..." A few minutes later, he came out & said "The reason why I tell you so much about her is that I want to be honest with you about the way she treated me." He has always felt as though he was the user in their relationship, but we both came to the agreement that it was her who was indeed the user. She toyed with his emotions, giving him gifts upon gift & telling him how much she loved him until he did eventually fall in love for her, & then she ended it without no explanation whatsoever. Today was really a day of surprises because he even apologized for telling me all the "sordid" stuff they used to get up to. His words were "I know that it isn't something I should be telling the new love of my life..." ^_^

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    Hi there Savy,
    it's funny as i was reading through the other great replies thinking "it's all good, there's no point in me repeating the same thing" right until the very last words of your last post (i'll get back to this)
    Sure, this guy seemed genuine and maybe a bit to trigger happy in expressing his thoughts (behavior which i initially assumed was just his way of trying to make sense of his own thoughts regarding the break-up, in a louder way) but contradictions are what raised the red flag for me. Who exactly was his "old love of his life"? this other "crazy" and "stupid" woman? "over her" and "moved on" are very bold words for somebody who in my opinion is still a latent volcano regarding both his ex and the break-up. As a male, verbal exaggerations are also a raised eyebrow trigger....leaving aside the "new love of my life" quote you're so fond of (but which i find to be a very disturbing thing to say coming from a mature male regarding a woman he didn't even had sex with), the whole "Tough! I'm happier than I ever was with you!" one liner made me raise both eyebrows...It's a bit too much *cheese in this burger.
    "What you won't let die, won't let you live "

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    He is a big bragger. Before we got together as a couple I would tease him about having tickets on himself. He still brags to me every now & then...it's just a part of his personality.

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    I think talking about an ex now and then is ok, but not when it is constant and revealing. Calling her names; that is a big red flag saying that has in fact 'not' moved on or resolved his issues with her. Just stay wary and if it persists, call him on it again.

    Something I have learnt over the last 7 years is that not telling someone how you feel (with tact and grace of course) about a situation that makes you feel uncomfortable in the early days of a relationship, only leads to a partner thinking that they can walk all over you in the future or, continue with the same behaviour. People are so focused on 'not doing anything to put the new person off' that they forget about what THEIR needs are and to respect themselves.
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