What Is The Correct Etiquette Between Ex’s When One Finds A New Partner?
Life was turned upside down for me a few months ago. It really hurt at the time and if I’m being honest it still hurts now. I’ve thought so much about things and I can pinpoint the moment things started to go wrong; my birthday. Somebody took offence to something that did not concern them but it didn’t stop them from voicing an opinion. The person was one of my partners ex’s.
We had been together 10 months at this point and they had split 2 years before we met. She had a daughter, my partner was not her father but for the few years they were together had acted as if he was. He clearly loved her. There was no doubt about that. He face just lit up when he spoke of her. This close relationship continued after they split. He was a big part of her life. He stayed over a couple of times a week after going for a meal at their’s. I thought it a little strange as they lived less than 2 miles apart and she was 17 when we started dating. I’m quite laid back and thought it’s a good thing she is continuing this relationship with her as good as dad. With hindsight perhaps staying over wasn’t for the best but I would never have come between them seeing each other. It’s just I honestly think now the stopping over night after we began dating was giving the wrong impression to her mother who I know was struggling to get her head round my partner having found someone else. I know why they split and I know she didn’t want him for a certain reason and I honestly believe she thought nobody else would want him either. But not everyone is shallow. I think she would have disliked anyone he met.
Fast forward to my birthday and the day after, I found out that sadly someone else also had an opinion on our relationship only they were a coward and only expressed their opinion anonymously. Their views were nothing but filled with hatred and they kept coming for weeks, on a daily basis. There was one person who could have clarified things but for some reason decided to stay silent. Their silence felt like a complete betrayal and still does. One minute they are being so lovely, so kind, so understanding and the next they say nothing to sort the issue out. Things escalate and still they say nothing until a lie is told. They won’t discuss this lie they told, instead they tell other people things that they want to hear instead of telling the truth as that which wouldn’t have gone down well.
I then ended up in hospital very ill and after I left hospital after 6 weeks of being there I did speak with my now ex partner about things but it’s clear now, that not only did his ex have a hold over him; so did her daughter. Right or wrong I was being told one thing and the ex and daughter another. Who knows which version, if either was the truth. Then the ultimatum came. Now aged 18, an adult, they still made a childish ultimatum and despite me never doing or even intending on doing what this person thought I would do, I was the one in the wrong with all parties. This ultimatum sadly meant I was also unable to tell him something I believe he had the right to know and walked away keeping something to myself. But I was not having this conversation through a closed door or via telephone or even worse in writing and due to the ultimatum he wouldn’t speak to me. He just told the other two I was in the wrong and turned it all round on me being at fault.
But life goes on and I’ve learnt now never to trust. It’s something that I am going to live with the the rest of my life and as hard as it might be, I have to move on. I’ll never go back to him although at the beginning I struggled with this but how can I go back when this childish adult is so unpredictable? How can I ever be certain another ultimatum won’t come because this wasn’t the first time she had aimed this ultimatum at me. This secret I held came to an end this week. My intention was to let things settle and hopefully start up a conversation in which we could discuss things through. But this is not what was to be. He still does not know and I can’t bring myself to tell him. It’s something that is not ever going to happen and I can’t see how mentally this will be good for him, his ex or her daughter as I know deep down they will be told. I dread to think what ultimatums will be thrown if she ever found out. More frighteningly would she enact out her threats. Although I owe her nothing and to be honest she has greatly contributed to the breakup of this relationship, I can’t bring myself to say something if there is a possibility she’ll be told. I am fully aware she wouldn’t like it, even though she should be acting in a mature manner as this would never have affected her relationship with my ex partner but she got things screwed up in her head I was a threat.
I don’t understand why nothing has been said to her, no reassurance that she wasn’t going to be thrown to one side, no reassurance that things were not going to change and more importantly, it made clear that you can’t go through life making ultimatums. There will come a time when someone will say no to these ultimatums, what happens then? You throw a bigger ultimatum with far more serious outcomes, escalating what you will do if you don’t get your own way until you have gone as far as saying you will kill yourself? Would you really do it just because you can’t have your own way?
To not stand up to a young adult and explain that this is not on when really they had nothing to fear, scares me. How far will these silly games go before something is done? How much stress and heartache will have to be endured before this is brought to a end. I couldn’t be part of someone’s life who thought this situation was right. To be part of someone’s life and not say no to their ultimatum after explaining I’ll always be there and love you is unthinkable.
I know I can’t be a part of this life because it would be like treading on egg shells all the time trying not to upset that girl, waiting for the next ultimatum and the stress and upset that would bring if she wouldn’t back down because she has never had to. I can’t live my life based on what ifs. I deserve better and I won’t be in a relationship that is not 100% honest where both of you are working together for your future happiness.
I have been speaking to some friends about this. Should an adult child dictate what happens? Shouldn’t they have grown up enough by the age of 18 to realise somebody can be happy with a new partner while still being part of their life. Where does somebody get the entitlement from to think this is acceptable adult behaviour?
Here are a few views about contact with ex’s when you find a new partner:
I’m very much one of those ‘An ex is an ex for a reason’ people. I don’t stay friends with ex’s, regardless of how amicable breakups were. I think telling an ex you love them is extremely off and if my partner did something like that, I’d be considering whether we should be in a relationship. It’s extremely disrespectful, in my opinion, to have a close relationship – emotional or physical – with an ex.
Sophia from Tattooed Tea Lady
I was not bothered about my ex being friendly with his ex, but there are certain lines that are not crossed, if they honestly have feelings for you they would want to be with you not them, if there are young children involved it’s a very tricky situation, but we must remember exs are ex for a reason, personally I would not entertain a relationship with somebody who’s ex was still in their life
Wow, if he is unable to tell them to butt out he doesn’t deserve you. Looks like he wants his cake and to eat it and really hasn’t got the guts to be a man and tell the ex to do one. Think you are so much better out of a relationship like this. You deserve happiness not an interfering ex and her daughter who is old enough to know better. He’s going to end up rather sad and lonely when the daughter gets on with her life
I am still really good friends with two of my exes and would stop and chat to the other two if I saw them in the street. My husband accepts this and I was open and honest about my relationships/friendships with them when we got together. In fact when we were a bit younger on of my exes lived in a flat share with us. My husband and he get on well! I think everyone is entitled to have concerns over their partners exes but talking honestly and openly should hopefully mean a compromise can be made.
Lauren from Scrapbook Blog
There needs to be boundaries. You can’t just split up from somebody and just continue the relationship as it was before without the sexual side. That’s just wrong and often leaves one side thinking there is more to this ‘friendship’ than there is. When you have moved on and found a new partner, if you want that relationship to truly work you must tell your ex that your new relationship doesn’t concern them. You certainly shouldn’t be stopping over at their house to please an adult child when you only live a few miles away. Continuing their relationship or not, that is unacceptable behaviour. Even if they were 3 or 4 this is still not appropriate. Ex’s are Ex’s for a reason.
The only reason ex’s would interfere in the relationship would be if she still had feelings. If they had been split 2/3 years then this just shows they are the one with the problem. You end a relationship and then constantly interfere when he meets someone else 2 years down the line, its just wrong. Pity the poor bloke as it looks like he’ll never be allowed to find happiness.
Me and my ex are still friends. He’s my son’s dad, so we still do things together, we go to sports day, parents evening, take our son out for his birthday etc. When we do pick ups and drop offs we’ll have a chat, and we buy each other birthday/Christmas presents off us as well as our son. He also gets on well with my husband, and me his wife. But, we wouldn’t stay over, spend time together for reasons that weren’t related to our son. I’d find that a bit odd, and I know my husband would be uncomfortable with it.
Donna from Bobsy’s Mum
It is easier if ex’s can get along together, however there are limits. Hugs and kisses no no. Ex walking in whenever … no no no… keys … no no no.
You don’t have to disclose everything to them. Don’t feel obliged to have break up sex / one last time. Depending on who broke up with whom. Don’t rub it in their face or get nasty. Life’s to short for that. Do not keep in constant contact as this could lead to false hope. Do try and keep it as amicable as possible.
If you can stay friends especially where kids are involved that’s great but you have to accept things are over and there is a line that shouldn’t be crossed regarding your contact and behaviour with ex’s. How do you feel about relationships with ex’s and yours or their children? Should ultimatums be made regarding you seeing a new partner especially when this person was nothing to do with the break up and years have passed?
The best part of all this is they had the audacity to confront me and make out I was lying. The looks of their faces were quite amazing when they read copies of text and Facebook messages between us. Somebody was telling two very conflicting stories but what annoys me is I was the one who was lying. It never occurred to them that he was telling two very different stories in order to keep all three of us sweet. That’s another reason I’d never go back. I couldn’t trust them to stay away, I couldn’t trust him to ask them to not intervene, when would this girl throw her next ultimatum and how can I ever truly know what he was saying was the truth.
I didn’t appreciate being called a liar and when these messages were read and I proved I had been repeating what he had told me, at no point came an apology. That hurt. I was spoken to as if they had trod in something but never had the grace to apologise to me when I proved I was being honest. Even to the last minute his ex just had to interfere. Why do ex’s feel the need to do that? I hope she is happy and at some point can get over him, as 3 years is a very long time to be jealous of his new relationship, especially when it’s her that ended things. I just hope he is given the chance to move on but deep down I don’t think either of them will ever allow that and nobody should be controlled and bribed by ex’s like that.
And as for me, well ‘m a fighter. I’m unlikely ever to trust again, which is sad but with previous relationships ending in distrust also, I’m at a loss of where to go from here. But I do know I will be concentrating on my health and my happiness. That’s all I can do.