I met my boyfriend when he had just broken up with his former girlfriend. I was suspicious he was only interested in me because he was on the rebound but he insisted on a date. I liked him too much to say no, although somewhere in the back of my mind I knew this was going to be trouble.
I was right. On our first date he talked about her for two hours. He said he wanted to explain that it was a wrong relationship that shouldn't have happened. He didn't like her anymore and the whole thing was in the past. That didn't stop him from talking about her for two hours. I wanted to stop him but I figured he needed to vent. He told me way too much about their relationship, things that I would rather not know and that I can't compete with.
After that we got along great, we had a lot in common, lots of chemistry, lots of attraction ... and then she called. She said she wanted him back. He spent hours with her on the phone, telling her no, including while on dates with me. She always called. She once followed us to a date, crying hysterically, asking why he doesn't have any pity for her. He had to take her home and he only got home at midnight. I stood by the phone crying until he called to say he was home. I didn't tell him that, though. I had no right to interfere between them.
One night when he was supposed to be with me he ended up staying with her because she threatened suicide. That was the worst night of my life. I couldn't sleep. I just cried and waited for him to call, which he did, in the morning.
After that she cooled down a little, but she kept calling him 'just to talk.' She asked him to go out with her once because she was going away and wanted to say good bye. He went again but she only left two months later, so that had nothing to do with good bye. She used to keep him online to tell her about her new sexual adventures with other guys until I put my foot down and told him these conversations bother me. He ended them (I think); he never mentioned them again, anyway.
I can't shake the image of her crying hysterically and asking for mercy. He couldn't have stayed in a totally bad relationship for so long, so he must have liked her. She seems to believe that he loved her. Did he lie when he said it was a bad relationship?
His mother still e-mails her, and once called me by her name (on purpose?).
What should I do? I have tried everything: letting it out, keeping it in, asking, refraining from asking, occupying my time. I can't help worrying that she's going to try again. My partner and I have been together for quite a while now. He seems committed and he's never actually done anything wrong. (I can't blame him for trying to help her, although I wish I could.) This is not about him anymore, though. This is about me and my fears.
Signed, Haunted One
I believe your boyfriend was telling the truth when he said he had a poor relationship with his former girlfriend, because he continued to have a bizarre and dysfunctional relationship with her after he met you. People stay in bad relationships for a variety of reasons, including poor self-esteem or because the relationship has some redeeming feature such as steamy sex. He did choose to end it, though, just before meeting you.
I disagree when you say he did nothing wrong. He repeatedly chose to safeguard her feelings at the expense of yours. He obviously had a difficult time letting go of his feelings for her and you were justified in feeling threatened by this.
You say he spent hours talking to her, telling her no, including while he was out with you. His words might have been saying no but the fact that he was willing to talk with her that long was a clear signal to her that there was hope. She still had a degree of control over him. For goodness sake, she was able to make him ignore you when he was out on a date with you! She was playing him like a fiddle and he was willing to go along with it, even though that meant hurting you in the process. If he was over her and truly committed to your new relationship, he should have simply shut her down, and quickly. All he needed to say when she called was, "Look, it's over between us and I can't talk right now."
"But I need you. We never should have broken up."
"I've got to go. Goodbye."
That's it. That's how long it should have taken for him to get off the phone and away from her ... IF he was truly over her. When she called back, he should have turned off his cell phone and focused on you. He should have known it would be threatening to you to have the former girlfriend calling and he should have done everything in his power to show you that you had nothing to worry about.
Instead he talked to her for hours and allowed you to worry and feel neglected. Why? At best he didn't want to be rude to her, to hurt her feelings. In the process, though, he chose to do exactly that to you. At worst he was not over her and couldn't bring himself to completely sever the ties. He wanted to keep both options open while he sorted out his feelings. Either way, his focus was clearly not where it should have been -- on building a relationship with you. You should have put your foot down right there. "Either pay attention to me, buddy, or I'm out of here."
So then she shows up at one of your dates crying hysterically and he "has to" take her home? Without you? Making you wait and worry and cry until he calls? Please, that just doesn't wash. Either the hysteria was real (in which case he needs to avoid this woman) or faked (in which case he DEFINITELY needs to avoid this woman). He had to know you felt threatened by her. No way should he have allowed himself to be alone with her in any circumstances, let alone to allow her to crash your date and drag him away from you. Again, that was another occasion to put your foot down. Many women would have refused to have anything to do with him after a stunt like that. Unfortunately, by putting up with it you gave clear signals to both him and the former girlfriend that they could get away with poor behavior.
Threats of suicide should never be taken lightly, though I wonder in this case if it was simply another ploy to gain his sympathy. If he truly felt she was in danger and needed help, he could have found ways to do so without ending up alone with her and without making you worry for hours. He could have called her mother, or the two of you could have taken her someplace where she could have obtained help. He had options and he chose the worst possible one in terms of your relationship. He should have chosen an option that included the two of you remaining together. Again, he allowed her to control him and to hurt you. He chose her over you.
Are you starting to see the pattern here?
She told him stories of her sexual adventures ... and he listened to them? You have to ask yourself why he didn't just shut her down in disgust. What was he getting out of those conversations? Whatever the answer, I can't see it boding well for your relationship.
You put your foot down way too late in the game. You allowed yourself to be treated badly and now find yourself in a relationship you can't trust. As I explained above, your boyfriend has given you plenty of good reasons to mistrust him. Many women would have ended this relationship long before now and I wouldn't blame you if you considered doing the same.
At a minimum you should make sure your boyfriend knows how his actions hurt you and how badly you feel. He owes you several huge apologies for the appalling way he treated you. The ball should be in his court to find ways to reassure you, to repair the damage he has done.
You definitely have the right to interfere between him and his former girlfriend. He gave up any rights to have a relationship with her when he chose to be with you, especially if she is going to act like a possessive, controlling wacko. You should insist that he have no further contact with this woman. If she calls or sends him an online message, he should tell her he can’t talk and should break off contact immediately. If she shows up, he should say he can't see her anymore and should walk away immediately. If he fails to abide by those rules, YOU should walk away immediately.
Whatever your decision, I hope you are able to regain the peace of mind these events have cost you.
All the best,
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