Ask Amy: Too Close to His Ex?

By Amy Dickinson | August 25th, 2021

How much time is too much time to spend with a former girlfriend?

Middle aged man is too close to his ex Image

Dear Amy: I’ve met a wonderful man. We’ve been dating for seven months — three online during COVID, and four months in real life.

We’re older (I’m 45, he’s 40) and have talked about moving in together and possibly having children. The problem is his ex-girlfriend. They dated for two years, then split up and stayed friends. Over the last 10 years, she’s remained a large part of his life.

She calls and texts him constantly. They go hiking and camping almost every weekend, and she attends all of his family events. I haven’t even been invited to a family games’ night yet, but when I am finally invited, his ex will be right there when I finally meet his siblings and their families. Oh, and because the family lives in the next town over, we’ll be carpooling with her.

While he says that I’m his priority, I feel like I’m fighting for a place in his life where there already is a girlfriend.

Am I wrong to think this is weird? Or should I accept that she is part of the family and suck it up?

– No Package Deal

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Dear No Deal: Your guy’s close friendship with his ex might be unusual, but … let’s do you.

Why are you seriously considering cohabiting and having children with someone when you have such an important (and basic) question about his other relationships?

If I told you that your guy’s situation is not at all “weird,” would you rush forward with confidence that your own instincts and feelings would cease to matter so much?

Your feelings are completely valid. Because they are yours.

You and your guy are older. You’ve both lived half of your lives – and you have formed and have the right to maintain your strong relationships and friendships. But yes – other relationships shift and make way when you form a family with someone.

If this other woman has transitioned from an ex-partner to an every-weekend buddy and forever-friend, then, as your guy’s “priority,” you should not only be brought into the fold, but you should be put first.

“Priority” means: first. It’s hard to see how you are a priority when your boyfriend is hiking and camping almost every weekend with someone else.

No one else should decide what is right for you, but it would be wise for you to slow way down until you feel great about your place in this particular relationship triangle.

In the tradition of the great personal advice columnists, Chicago Tribune’s Amy Dickinson is a plainspoken straight shooter who relates to readers of all ages. She answers personal questions by addressing issues from both her head and her heart. A solid reporter, Dickinson researches her topics to provide readers with informed opinions and answers. Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068

© 2021 by Amy Dickinson

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