Ex-Girlfriend should be Friend or Foe

OK I have a little dilema and I need a little help. What is the deal with Ex-girlfriends who are still friends and a wife who is getting mad when the ex emails me… Background I was with the ex for 3 years we parted on good terms and stayed in touch…I have no feelings for her intimately and neither does she for me… My wife gets very bent when the ex emails me and she finds out… I am not secretly mailing my ex or anything like that, I do not hide anything what so ever from my wife…So why the heck is my wife getting all bent out of shape. I am not a person who would ever cheat or even think of it…and she knows it.

Is this an ingrained primal fear women have of other women, especuially the ex’s of their current love.
I am spending the rest of my life with this women…Why can’t she get that? Incidently we are very open with one another, we have been through plenty of relationships and now we just want to settle have a couple children etc…etc… What do other people think???
Is she over reacting? or are her reactions perfectly fine?

If your relationship with your wife is so open, why don’t you ask her why it bugs her so much? She may actually have a good reason (something in her past that you might not know about). By the way, not all women are bothered by this.

Yes and no. She technically has no right to obsess over it, however this is human nature we are talking about. The problem with dispelling those types of fears is that no matter how much you tell your wife you love her (I’m 28 and single why am I giving you advice?), and would never cheat on her, deep down she’ll still harbors the fear. In this situation its an ex lover, you’re still close, yada yada, which can be pretty good ammunition for an imaginative mind. Also all women are insane.

I hope everything works out, and I’m sure some other dopers will provide a far better insight into the situation then I have.

I’ll second that you ask her why it bothers her so much, and insist on any other answer than “I don’t know” or “it just does.”

Speaking as the wife of a man in touch with a few exes (one is now his employee), I can tell you why it sometimes gets under my skin. I’ll also preface this with the acknowledgement that it’s 100% stupid and insecure and irrational.

My gut reaction is to assume that if he once considered her good enough to [expletive deleted] for a long time, he must still think she’s good enough to [expletive deleted]. And when it comes to him interacting with people, I’d much rather he spend his time talking to/hanging out with people he hasn’t [expletive deleted]. There are plenty of people in the world to be friends with–why can’t he be content with the ones he hasn’t [very happy and satisfied expletive deleted] with? Like I said, I know it’s irrational, but there it is. I guess it boils down to a fear of recidivism, so to speak.

Edited by Czarcasm, per request of a certain [expletive deleted] poster who should watch her [expletive deleted] language in IMHO.:stuck_out_tongue:

Does your wife correspond with any of her exes? If not, imagine, realistically, that she does, and be honest with yourself as to your reaction. It might provide some insight.

Also, are you sure there’s nothing in the back of your mind going on?

Maybe your wife trusts you, but does not trust your ex.

I would be upset if my husband kept in touch with one particular ex-girlfriend. She was manipulative and a player of mind games. She is the type of person who would try and get my husband to cheat so that she could declare “victory.” She’s just a poisonous person, and I’m glad my husband doesn’t keep in touch with her at all.

He does keep in touch with other exes and a couple of friends that he would have dated if he could have. I’ve got no problem with that at all, because they are nice people.

Why, exactly, do you stay in touch with this ex? Isn’t she ex-?

Yeah, I agree with Shera. Maybe your wife just feels a little insecure and you just need to reassure her. OTOH, put yourself in her position, would you get irritated? If you do, then you should understand where she is coming from. If you don’t, then you need to talk it out. If that doesn’t help, you could always try counseling.

I keep in touch with quite a few of my ex-boyfriends and my current boyfriend doesn’t mind (at least he doesn’t say anything). Either that or he just doesn’t give a shit. :wink:


I can’t speak for Phlosphr, but I have kept in some degree of touch with nearly all my exes. In my case, the base of this situation is that we both saw something we were attracted to in each other’s personalities that we were drawn to. So we gave each other a try and in the end, the personality didn’t fit the whole ticket of what we needed in a mate. However, those personality traits we liked in each other are still there, so why turn your back on a person you have made a connection with?

A couple real-life situations with me:

  • today i just sent a “Happy Birthday” e-card to an ex-girlfriend, I’ve travelled across the country on two seperate occaisions to visit her. No shenanigans ensued.

  • next week, a more recent ex-girlfriend is flying in to visit with me for a weekend. Honestly speaking, so long as neither of us are even remotely dating someone else, there is maybe a 50/50 chance shenanigans may ensue.

It probably just boils down to how humanely the two people break up with one another. The cases that communication breaks down entirely is if one party feels the other was found out to be a (real/percieved) total shit to the other. I do my best to keep that from happening whether I am the dumpor or the dumpee.


You gotta (if you haven’t already) talk it through with your wife. Sometimes people don’t say what they really feel because they know it sounds irrational, but then it never comes out into the open for examination. Fer instance: You’re both open and she knows that you would never cheat on her. She knows. But what if despite knowing that, she still feels like if there were extenuating circumstances, it…just…might…

Actually the “it…just…might…” is probabaly a pretty common fear.

So encourage her to be as shallow, illogical, irrational, spiteful as she can be just to get her feelings out in the open. Do NOT invalidate anything she says, as much as it may sound crazy - she’s not saying what she believes, just what she feels. Once you’ve isolated how she feels, you can examine why she feels that way. Maybe she was cheated on by someone she knew would never cheat on her. Maybe despite your verbal reassurances, your body language may (unintentionally) contradict what you are saying.

The other side of the coin is maybe she feels insecure about herself. Maybe you aren’t doing enough to allay that. It is one thing to be open and honest 100% of the time and it is quite another to regularly demonstrate how much you love her. How often do you praise your wife? Not in “…O mighty and exaulted goddess of light…” but in that minor-but-oh-so-important reminder what it is about her that made you choose her over every other woman in the world.

Here’s where the IMHO part comes in…

IMHO it’s a bit more unhealthy to keep tabs on your exes than it is to worry when your SO keeps tabs on his/her exes.

If your wifr were trading E-mail with an ex-boyfreind with whom she shared major hot-lovin’, how would you feel about it.
Be honest.

I have two things to say about this. First my husband came home from work one day to tell me they’d hired a new pastry chef (my profession) that reminded him a lot of me and that he thought he was developing a crush on her. I envited her over for dinner and now she’s a good friend of ours and I don’t worry about their relationship at all.

Second, I’ve found in life that people’s greatest problems with other people stem from their problems with themselves. Maybe your wife feels that she wouldn’t be trustworthy if the situation was reversed, therefore, you must not be.

Just a suggestion.

My wife’s name is similar to that of one of my exes, and when we were first going together I used to occasionally slip and call her the wrong name (fortunately for me, never at the “wrong time”:o ) It became a running joke, particularly after they finally met.
That meeting BTW, after some initial cautious comments, turned into a "Does he still?/Did he used to? exhange which ended with the two of them becoming friends. As a matter of fact, just the other day my wife asked if I’ve heard from my ex recently.

My best friend is engaged to my ex girlfriends sister. I am still friends with my ex (obviously) and was at her birthday party when her boyfriend (now fiance) proposed to her. It’s possible to have just friendships with ex’s.

I’m still pretty good friends with a couple of former lovers. My SO is on good terms with two of his ex-girlfriends. It doesn’t seem wierd to me at all. As Hey you! pointed out, if you like someone well enough to sleep with them, you ought to like them well enough to be friends with them afterwards. I can’t imagine being with someone who freaked out about keeping in contact with an ex-lover-now-friend. It would feel very much as though they didn’t trust me.

Cuz she thinks you might go back to your ex.

Wow, that was easy.

Here is my two cents, coming from someone who has to deal with her boyfriend having a friend who is his obsessive ex.

The best thing you could do, IMHO, would be to get the three of you together, and while you’re hanging out, act affectionate with your wife (if that is normal for you, don’t make it look weird).

This will show her that everything is out in the open, and that when you have a choice between the two of them, you choose her.

I’m with Green Bean. It depends on the boyfriend and the ex. I didn’t have a problem with my then boyfriend seeing his ex until I realized she was being manipulative and trying to break us up! She called him ALL THE TIME to do stuff for her like take out her garbage which she was capable of doing herself. Calling my apartment EVERYTIME he came to visit. He didn’t think she was doing it on purpose.

When I asked him to only see her once and awhile instead of several times a week, he couldn’t do it. He couldn’t go more then a few days without having some kind of contact with her. I then discovered they were doing all sorts of things together and he was lying to me about it and acted like I was overreacting because they were “just friends” Yet, surprise, surprise, he didn’t want me to hang out with a guy I worked with because “that’s different.”

Now he’s mad at me for breaking up with him but not at her at all.


Which, as we all know, is a really rare category for most of us guys – women we consider good enough to [expletive deleted].


I’d just stop talking to the ex. It isn’t worth it. It’s a bit like kids, sometimes they want more
attention from the real folks & don’t like step-folks in the picture competing for attention. Once things get secure,
maybe you can talk with her again.