He Went to Lunch with His Ex and You're Eating Your Heart Out
May 26, 2007 Ask Dr. Love Advice Column
My boyfriend and I have been dating now 9 months.
Last week, he had off work one day so I had asked him if he would like to go to lunch with me that day. He told me that he had already made lunch plans with someone else. When I had asked him who, he said his ex!
Now, he said that he wasn't going to tell me because he didn't know how I would react to him going out with her. I would have been really mad if I had found out afterward that he had gone to lunch with her without telling me, but I told him that I was fine with it, that it was ok that he go.
I do, however, feel nervous about all of that because he has told me that he still has feelings for her and she still has feelings for him. She has another boyfriend now, and he tells me every day that he loves me and that him and his ex will never get back together.
What do you think that my boyfriend going to lunch with his ex and not wanting to tell me about it means?
I think you need to ask him what having lunch with the ex means. I think you have two issues: The first is his tendency to avoid telling you something that he fears will upset you. The avoidance defense, as is the case with all defenses, eventually backfire big time.
When you found out that he planned to conceal information from you did make you upset--more upset than if he'd been upfront. What's more, the concealment makes you begin to worry what he might be up to, especially since you know he has feelings for his ex.
Tell him the above and ask him what were his thoughts regarding seeing the ex. Is he seeing her to explore whether there's a chance of getting back with her? If not, and he simply wants to stay friends, then you need to tell him that his telling you everything that relates to his ex is vital to the preservation of your relationship. Ask him to agree to let you know ahead of time when he plans to see her.
Your being all right with his seeing her with depend on your understanding why he wants to pursue the friendship with her. He needs to assure you that he isn't staying in touch with her in order to pursue the possibility of starting over with her. When he reassures you that this isn't his intention and he explains why he is keeping in touch, you should feel more comfortable.
When you are more comfortable, then you can assure him that you won't give him a hard time when he's honest with you about seeing her. Let me know what happens.
"If anger and fighting are ruining your dream of a happy marriage, Dr. Turndorf’s conflict resolution program is for you."
-- John Gray,
Author of NY Times #1 bestseller Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus
"This well-researched book offers a thorough, step-by-step program that provides tools for couples to heal even the most troubled relationships."
-- Dr. John Mack
Pulitzer Prize winning author and Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School
“This book is mandatory reading for every couple that wants to build lasting love.”
-- John Bradshaw,
Author of NY Times #1 bestseller Homecoming
"Dr. Turndorf is an amazing individual who has wonderful advice to offer men and women of all ages and in all types of relationships. Ignore her counsel at your peril!"
-- Bill Hammond III,
Winner of the Best Historical Fiction Award, 2012
"You are awesome Dr. Jamie. You really are. The best part about you is the way you translate complex psychological stuff into easy to understand and actionable insights."
-- Kajay Williams,
Producer Relationship Advice Cafe
"Let me tell you why you're extremely important now. I really believe your message is there. You're spot on. More and more people should be taking advantage of what you're offering."
-- Michael Dresser,
Syndicated Radio Host
"Good stuff. Great insight. I love your approach. Who doesn't need more healing. I love your idea of using your partner as a healing agent. That's such a great way to see your partner. You give great labels and patterns to look for. I love your method. You make it sound so easy. You have a great website with lots of great information and resources. These are the tools we all need."
-- Dr. Matt Townsend,
Host, The Matt Townsend Show