What's the Ex-Girlfriend Protocol Here?

Best friend called me today, pissed off at her byfriend (BF hereafter).

She moved in with BF about a month ago (they’ve been seeing each other for a year, friends for three). Though he claims his ex-GF’s crazy, BF still gets together with her occasionally, chats on MSN, etc. She only lives a few blocks away, with her own ex-BF (also a friend of the BF in question).

My. How incestuous.

Anyway, my friend also knows both the ex-GF and ex-BF and is pretty friendly with them both, though they never get together just the three of them. All four of them have gone out for dinner, to the movies, etc.

So. She got offended when the non-couple (the exes) invited her BF out for a congratulatory dinner (he just got promoted), but not her. The BF claims it wasn’t a big deal, they went to a cheap indian joint. My friend says that since they’re living together, she should be invited along, even if it’s an unvitation (one they expect her to turn down).

She’s not a particularly needy person, and she goes out with me or other girlfriends on her own, but her and BF do usually eat dinner together every night. I know the ex-GF doesn’t like my friend that much (she thinks she and the BF were having it on while he was still with her. Friend claims they weren’t, and I believe her).

Friend claims living together changes everything- like a ‘standing date’ every single night. I told her to just forget about it. I guess she probably has the right to be jealous of the ex, but I hate to see her get mad this early on in their, uh, new life together. She’s told him she has problems with the ex-GF before, but he’s assured her nothing will ever, ever happen between them (again). I believe him.

Any thoughts about this teenagerish romance crap?


Don’t get involved. You’ll be sorry!

The etiquette rule is that you never invite one half of a couple to a mixed social event without inviting the other. Work-related stuff, maybe, but not mixed social stuff. (And I add the qualifier “mixed,” because there are certain get-togethers, like poker games or spa days, where SOs generally are not invited.) But, yes, I would certainly invite both parts of the couple to a dinner out – especially a dinner out celebrating one party’s promotion. What, the ex-GF thought your friend would not want to help celebrate her own BF’s promotion?

But I think that having received an invite that didn’t include his SO, it was the BF’s job to make sure it did include the SO.

This doesn’t have anything to do with residual feelings for ex-GFs/ex-BFs, whether they would or would not hook up again, any of that “teenagerish romance crap.” It comes down to the fact that you assume that two people cohabitating in a romantic relationship are a single social unit for mixed functions, and you don’t invite one without the other, because it makes it explicit you are only interested in seeing one (but not the other) which is insulting.

Put the lot of them in a room together, remove their clothes, and lock the door as you leave. Either they will make nice, or they will kill each other off. Either way, the problem is solved.

Or what Jodi says. She is wise.

Perhaps her BF was unaware of protocol. I’d let this one slide, but see if he understands that living together with an SO is, in fact a commitment, and he owes her certain courtesies. I would say not inviting her wasn’t the problem, it was that he didn’t pick up the phone and say "hey honey, so and so are taking me out to celebrate–meet me at [insert eatery] at seven?

The invitation was a violation of etiquette.

If was BF’s job to fix it. (Had I been the BF, I’d have simply brought Friend along and responded to any question with “We’re together; I assumed the invitation was to US.”)

Incestuous is a good start for a whole series of adjectives I’d use for the lot of 'em (although “juvenile” would be high on my list).

It is NOT your concern and requires no more and no less than sympathetic clucking while listening to Friend vent.

Apparently he told her in the evening, just before dinner time. So she ate at home, alone. He’s a bit older and her first real significant other (is that the word they landed on in that other thread?), so she’s taken to questioning me and all her other oh-so-experienced friends about whether she’s overreacting, since she’s got nothing else but crap Cosmopolitans to guide her.

I think part of the problem may be that she’s a lot like a buddy to him and very un-stereotypical-girlfriend-like imost of the time, so he expects her to be laid back in other ways (e.g. when he’s chatting on MSN with the ex. i told her to brush that off, too).

Good advice- will keep out of it as much as possible. I am actually friends with her BF (ha. And this is in a big city), he even used to complain to me about his ex, but I won’t bring it up. I’m sure they’ve got much worse fights in their future. Will save my counseling for then.

I concur.

Oy. I wouldn’t touch the thing.

Is it and if so, why? Is it because it was an ex relationship or simply because when you live with someone it is considered inappropriate to invite one without the other. I don’t know where the line is drawn here. If you are dating must you invite the other one or does it become mandatory when you become housemates.

Personally I do not think for one minute that my friends taking me out for drinks to celebrate something automatically should include my SO. It is the ex girlfriend thing that gets a little shady.

The ex is trying to start shit, and has been for a while.

Your friend is finally letting it get to her, but still trying to be cool.

If this doesn’t break them up, the ex will escalate.

And the BF will claim until the end of time that he doesn’t know how it happened. And perhaps he really won’t.

I could be wrong, of course, but that’s how it looks to me.

/Miss Manners On

Actually, I would say that, as a matter of etiquette, if the inviter is aware that the person they are inviting is one-half of a serious, established couple, it behooves her to extend the invitation to the other half as well. If it’s a drinks-after-work thing, an offer of “Oh, please ask Jane if she can make it down to join us!” would suffice.

If the BF here gets an invite only for him, his job (if the relationship is a serious one) is to gently remind his friend to include the SO (i.e., “Wonderful! Jane and I will be there!”).

To deliberately not include the SO is rude to the SO if you’re aware that they are in a serious relationship.

/Miss Manners Off

The ex-GF is to be passed around the males of the group and then dumped in an alley, as recommended in the Hells’ Angels Definitive Guide to Manners, Deportment, and Genteel Social Relations.

I agree with Rilchiam. The ex is likely deliberately trying to exclude or irritate your friend. It is her BF’s role to say, “Yeah, drinks sound good. When should GF and I meet you?” Because if someone invited me out for dinner and drinks to celebrate a promotion, I would definitely want to include my SO and would say so. If I was the BF and my ex asked me out to dinner, and when I mentioned my SO, in any way discouraged me from bringing him, there’d be a big :dubious: Because that is sketchy, and it’s a problem I’d address post-haste.

You’re friends with the BF, so is he generally clueless? Because I think the only way the ex can mess with your friend is if he lets her by allowing his GF to be excluded and made to feel weird. Not that there’s anything you, Cat Fight, can do about it, since you’re just a bystander in all this, but that’s my take on it.

I thought that was a “nonvitation”. An unvitation being when you un-invite someone.

Nuke it from orbit…it’s the only way to be sure.


My copy says to be sure to make use of any available dumpster and/or garbage cans for her clothing, but I have a very old edition. Is that still the approved procedure?

Look at your username. The answer lies therin.

Either the Signifigant other is signifigant orshe is not…

The Bf brings her or decline the invite…

I’ve got a feeling that the ex-GF is trying to start shit too.

The thing I don’t get is why he remains so friendly with a crazy ex. Personally I try to keep distance between myself and the crazy people I’ve dated. Fortunately most women I’ve been in relationships with have been sane.

Or at least no more insane than me. :smiley: