Poll: How bad is it to call your current SO by your ex's name?

The long story: I have a very, very good friend who is basically like a girlfriend, although we haven’t made the leap into coupledom yet. We confess our feelings to each other and make out when we drink, but otherwise we’re just great friends.

Just now she called me at work, and I called her by my ex’s name. She laughed it off and we continued the conversation, but I got the impression she wasn’t pleased. My ex and I have been split up for almost a year.

It’s not like I think of my ex constantly or anything. Far from it. She moved thousands of miles away and I haven’t spoken to her since the break up. The new “girlfriend” knows this. What she doesn’t know is that my ex broke the silence and emailed me today to catch up, and it threw me off-guard and has been occupying my thoughts for a while since I read the email.

So my question… Do I owe “new girlfriendish girl” an explanation? Have I done damage to her and my possible relationship by this blunder? Would telling her about the email I got be a good move or a stupid move?

Has anyone else done this/had it done to them? Is it horribly offensive? I’ve never had the pleasure of it myself…

Well, it’s good that she laughed it off. Maturity on her part. Congrats; don’t hear many happy stories about this kind of thing usually.

It would be horribly offensive if, say, you were in the middle of sex. As it is, I think it threw you because of the email. She was on your mind and you slipped. No biggie.

If your friend asks about it, tell her the truth and apologize. If not, let it go. Don’t turn it into a big thing.

I don’t think you did anything wrong . But you should probably apologizes simply because it’s the kind of thing that might make her feel insecure. And if you care about someone you should care about making them uncomfortable even if it’s unitentional. (Don’t go overboard though…“Sorry I called you my my ex’s name, here’s a new car”. is probably going t convince her she should be insecure :D).

(My name is exactly the same as my SO’s ex-wife. Yes there are times I think he planned it that way.)

Not as bad as calling her by the name of a woman she’s never met…

Never called my GF by any ex’s name, but I occasionally slip up and refer to her by the name of a close friend (their names are quite similar). She’s been cool with it.

I think Maureen has very wise advice. Definitely don’t bring it up unprompted, and if she brings it up, apologize and don’t make a big deal about it.

Or the old joke of, if you are newly married for the first and only time, introducing yourself thusly, “Hi, I’m so-and-so, and this is my first wife…”

Back on topic, I work with a woman who has had three consecutive relationships with guys names Peter. No worries there…

I think the pollees responses will be tilted to whether or not they’ve offended here.
Me? Did it once. Was about the worst possible circumstances on all counts. Eventually things got smoothed over, but I’m guessing it always stuck in there, and was part of the equation when we broke up. Regrets? Nah, not really. There’s lots of faux pas in a relationship, if the relationship is gonna work you get over this one just like any other.

I was called Natalie (his ex) by Ardred after we’d been together a few months. I got all mock-offended, and his friends, who heard, didn’t let him hear the end of it for months.

Worse, though, is A’s friend Adam, who mixes up my name and his girlfriend’s name all the time. We’re talking, three or four times a day. It’s becoming really amusing, now that they’ve been together over a year. It’s always in situations like “I was talking to Kati and she said…” when he was actually talking to me. Hopefully it’s never happened during anything intimate and if it does, I won’t hear about it.

Couldn’t that ever be taken as a compliment? Like, “Baby, it shows I think of you as a girlfriend… baby? Hey, come back…”

I guess not. I once called my wife “Elizabeth” but as we don’t know any Elizabeths it didn’t matter. Also I regularly forget my own daughter’s name, so people are used to me.

A strange aside is that I used to get in trouble a lot for calling my ex by the name of my new “kinda girlfriend”. I’m not great with names, I guess.

Thanks for the advice. I’m probably going to end up telling her about the email either way, since I don’t really keep anything from her, but I won’t necessarily relate it to the name mishap unless she asks.

More input is always appreciated, especially if anyone else has fun stories about their own name issues.

I hadn’t even considered that! Genius! You should make greeting cards!

I don’t think it means anything. At least I hope not; my boss occasionally calls me by her boyfriend’s name.

mrs.lanelee died last June. :frowning: I began dating again last fall and in February I started seeing someone very seriously (we are living in sin now). About 3 weeks ago I started to say something and I addressed this new woman mrs.lanelee and I immediately felt like HELL. I apologized abruptly/awkwardly and ran outside and sat in the yard half the night in panic. Later that night I slinked in to face my mistake and my new SO put her arms around me and said that she understood, she realized that me and mrs.lanelee had been together 18 years. She reminded me that she had also been widowed just 4 years ago and that she often remembered her husband that she had been with for 20 years. Somehow she considered it a complement, I don’t understand. My new SO is amazing. I AM MORE BLESSED THAN ANY MAN HAS A RIGHT TO BE!!!

This is kind of my rationale. Like when I was married to my ex-wife; I used to associate: Arguing + Female = wife.

I used to call my ex sweetheart or baby all the time.

So, with that in mind, I got to arguing with my boss at work one day (A female) and I made the grave mistake of calling her “sweetheart” in the midst of our arguement.

Lucky for me the boss lady had a good sense of humor because we both just laughed it off when I explained to her: “Usually when I argue with a woman, it’s my wife.”

Before my ex and I fell in hate, I had an endearing pet name for her. In a moment of pure insanity, I told my darling Marcie what that pet name was. Months later, in another moment of pure insanity I called my darling Marcie by that pet name. I apologized, I groveled, I begged and pleaded and she said she forgave me. I think she is saving that moment for the right time and someday I will be beaten to death by it. Women may forgive but they never forget.

Aw, heck. I call my beloved husband by my mother-in-law’s evil troll of an ex-husband’s name sometimes! My husband’s name is Jeff, and the evil troll’s name is Jay, so they’re fairly similar, but yeesh! Fortunately my husband isn’t offended by it. Unfortunately, when I do it, my husband invariably launches into his horrible imitation of the evil troll’s umm…“distinctive” personality. :slight_smile:

It don’t mean a thing.

Wasson, I’m glad you’re going to tell your current squeeze about the email. Better you should casually mention it than take the chance that she’ll find out about it and think you’re hiding something. She’ll probably say “oh, so that’s why you called me Gertrude!” Assuming your ex’s name is Gertrude, of course. If your ex’s name isn’t Gertrude, then I retract my earlier statement.

p.s. SHAKES, that’s hilarious.

That’s the key. Names become engrained in your brain and in certain situations it just pops up automatically. Especially after a long or intense relationship, that tends to happen a lot. I’ve had it happen to me, and don’t mind it at all. I just laugh.

Wasson, I’m kind of surprised anyone would make an issue out of wrong name use. I come from a family of absentminded people. People and things alike were often called “thingy” or by the wrong name entirely. "Could you please pass me the sap…um…salt?
Typically, my father would yell up the stairs: "Come down for dinner, <brothers name>…uhm no, <my moms name>[, um… no*…<dogs name>[/* uhm no, … <my name>. If it was my brother he wanted, same thing.

If it makes you feel any better, I adressed the label on my Christmas present, last year, to my brother and his exes-name :o . His current girlfriend, of 4 years just took it in good humor.

I have called my current SO a few times by my exes name, for the reasons described by Arwin. It’s just absent mindedness and habit. These things happen most often when you’re distracted or a little too busy with little everyday things right? And not in intense or romantic moments. No biggie.

There’s only one way out of this and that is to buy her a massive bunch of flowers; write the card out to a randomly-named third girl - then, when your SO notices the mistake, run away. That’s what I’d do and it can’t fail to help.
OK, what I’d really do is to apologise (and I’d offer the apology/explanation even if it isn’t called for), but not in a grovelly way - you’ve done nothing actually wrong; explain yourself honestly and leave it there.

I’m dreadful with names and have a tendancy to forget nouns for no readily apparent reason (which leads me to do a lot of pointing at objects with a profoundly annoyed look on my face because I cannot recall what the hell the gizmo we use to make the TV change channels is actually called). Hence I periodically cannot recall the names of those nearest and dearest to me. I will stare blankly at them in a futile effort to make their name come to my lips.

Fortunately for me, they think this is hilarious.