Note: Mumsnetters don't necessarily have the qualifications or experience to offer relationships counselling or to provide help in cases of domestic violence. Mumsnet can't be held responsible for any advice given on the site. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

Three in the relationship? Sorry, long

(41 Posts)
worcssauce Tue 12-Feb-13 17:04:26

I've been widowed 4 years. Started internet dating around a year later. Met DP online in September 2010 and dated for around 9 months. DP is a lovely, caring, man who had never married, no children, but had had a longish relationship of 12 years, which had run its course. DP is 4 years younger than me (late forties/early fifties). DP was ready to move on and after a month or two, declared his love for me and wanted to see me more and more. That was scary as I was enjoying dating, and socialising with friends, but not looking for anything too serious, and definitely not ready to have someone moving in and/or introducing them to my late husband's family. I did introduce DP to my children (in their 20s) and they adored him. My mum also met him (liked him too) and I was introduced to his parents and sister. All good so far. However, he wanted to move things on quicker than I did and he started planning holidays and wanting to come straight to my house from work and stay over. Eventually I said I needed space and we split up in June 2011.

We agreed to remain "friends" and for a while, we stayed in touch, but gradually the phone calls/texts got less and less. In December 2011, I sent him a "Happy Christmas" text and he responded by saying how good it was to hear from me. I replied that perhaps we could meet for lunch one day and it was arranged for after Christmas. We had a lovely lunch and I was surprised at how nice it was to see him again, he looked well and I immediately felt an attraction. However, he told me that he had met someone and that he was very happy. So I wished him all the best and said that I was happy for him.

However, a week or so later, he texted to say he would be in my area at the weekend so could he pop in. I agreed and we had a nice afternoon chatting. He told me about his girlfriend, apparently also an internet date and had met her literally days after our split. Three months into the relationship, he moved in with her, like him never married and no kids. He said that once we split, he just tried to put our relationship behind him and move on. Interestingly we had kept in touch for a few months after our split, but he hadn't mentioned the new girlfriend. Anyway, as the afternoon progressed, things got a little amorous and eventually had a snog (nothing more!), for which he apologised. However, after that, we met once a week and began a relationship again. He was still living with his girlfriend at this point, although it was obviously tearing him apart. He told me that she was a lovely lady, didn't deserve this, but that there was "issues" between them which made him think it would eventually split them up. I had to say that he would have to choose as obviously this was no good to either of us. I had never been the OW before and he had never two-timed anyone. He agonised for a couple of weeks and then DP and his girlfriend had a discussion where they both agreed that it wasn't working, that they were friends but didn't love each other. So, he packed his bags and returned to his house. This was a year ago now and our relationship has gone from strength to strength, (I've introduced him to all my family and he's moved into my house), apart from his insistence that the OW remains a friend and someone he cares about. In the early days, the OW was constantly phoning him and they met up from time to time. She apparently told him that "she would be a shoulder to cry when it all goes wrong, as she was convinced he'd made a terrible mistake". I'm not comfortable at all with this, but have had to accept that she's been "needy" and lonely and from time to time, wants support from him. Unfortunately, my DP really doesn't understand that I might not like this friendship and feel uncomfortable with it and I'm made out to be sulky if I complain. The OW also has a good relationship with DPs parents (her own have died), and still is in contact with them regularly. She does contact him slightly less now, but still once a week, which after a year seems a little excessive. I have never met the OW, so I suppose I feel envious that he has a female "friend" (one he was intimate with) that he speaks to regularly and I am not part of it. He reassures me that he has no feelings for OW and hasn't ever regretted leaving her, but she always seems to be in the shadows, either he speaks about her, or she's on the phone (usually they speak at work, since I got upset when she phoned once when I and the children were sitting there). She seems to phone for any reason she can think of and I can't help thinking that, even if he no longer has any feelings for her, she hasn't got over him and it's causing me to feel vulnerable and doubt his feelings towards me. I can't help comparing myself to what I know of her, that is, she's slimmer, 6 years younger, a career lady with a masters degree (though she's been unemployed for the last few months) and highly intelligent and I keep wondering why he chose me? He says he loves me totally (and I love him), but still the doubts remain.

Am I being silly and stupid?

GoSuckEggs Tue 12-Feb-13 17:16:49

I think you have some bloody cheek to call HER the OW!!

BranchingOut Tue 12-Feb-13 17:26:25

Well, I am not sure if either of you have a stronger claim to him!

The best thing is to tell him that you want to meet her and put this behind you.

Xales Tue 12-Feb-13 17:29:10

Yeah I would feel vulnerable and doubt the feelings of a man capable of doing this to another woman.

Shame you can't tell her that you were messing around and in a relationship with the man she was living with before he decided to tell her things weren't working so she can see for herself how worthless he is.

Declaring he wanted to live with you after a few months. Declaring he wanted to live with her after a few months.

Good luck and I hope you don't get your turn being treated like this.

worcssauce Tue 12-Feb-13 17:51:25

GSE - you do have a point, however, since we were dating before she met him, you could argue, she was a rebound relationship. I'm not proud that I became an OW, though in total was no longer than three weeks, and he did leave the relationship.

BO - probably do need to meet her, maybe one day.

Xales - thank you, I am vulnerable. I was happily married for 24 years and I really want this to work, but yes, I am worried that my turn will come.

GoSuckEggs Tue 12-Feb-13 17:55:11

So what 'rebound' relationship?! hmm SHE did not poke her beak into your relationship, you were split. YOU have poked your beak into THEIR relationship, therefore YOU are the OW.

worcssauce Tue 12-Feb-13 18:13:57

GSE - ok fine, I'm the OW. We are now together, have been for a year and are very happy. I just want his ex-girlfriend to move on and stop poking her beak into our relationship which she has now done for a year.

So you split up, he met someone else but kept you on the back burner for a while, he eventually cheated on her with you (making you the ow) and now your worried about her keeping in touch, . Sounds like he's the sort of bloke that always needs a back up plan, how can you trust a man that meets someone days after you split, moves in with that person while still keeping in contact with you, cheats on her then starts the cycle all over again with you?

worcssauce Tue 12-Feb-13 18:22:05

desperateforaholiday - I guess that's it in a nutshell, however, I don't think it's a back up plan, I genuinely think he's too nice to cut off contact. That would sum him up really.

FayeKorgasm Tue 12-Feb-13 18:38:52

OP if he was so 'nice' he wouldn't have played around with you behind his ExGF's back.

I wouldn't be surprised if you both haven't changed roles.

I would also wonder why he wants to move in to his girlfriend (whoever it is) house so quickly. That would be a big red flag for me.

GoSuckEggs Tue 12-Feb-13 18:41:52

'you could argue, she was a rebound relationship' you could argue until you are blue in the face, but you would still be the one is the wrong.

I do hope that your turn will come. You ARE the other woman, you are having an affair with someone in a relationship.

GoSuckEggs Tue 12-Feb-13 18:44:01

Sorry I thought that you was currently the other woman.

looks like it will be 'your turn' sooner rather then later.

But he didn't cut off contact with you and you ended up having an affair with him, how do you know that won't happen again. I dont agree with having affairs but if I was in your place I would tell him to cut contact or its over.

worcssauce Tue 12-Feb-13 19:10:07

The point of the post was to ask MNers if it was acceptable for an ex to still need contact/support after a year since the relationship was ended. Yes, I was an OW for three weeks in Jan 2012, none of us were married and there are no children involved. It happened, and I'm sorry that the ex-girlfriend was hurt, but DP and I have been happily together for the past year and hopefully will continue to be so. Of course, I'm worried this might happen to me later on (or sooner), but if I didn't take a risk on what might hopefully be a happy long relationship, would I regret it, probably. You only have one life, and I want it to be a happy fulfilled one. Should the relationship break down then I will pick myself up and carry on as I have done before when my DH died.

worcssauce Tue 12-Feb-13 19:12:40

desperateforaholiday - he did cut off contact with me. I didn't hear from him for four months and then it was me who resurrected contact with a "Happy Xmas" text, which he responded to - I didn't know then that he was in another relationship at that time.

I agree its not acceptable, he should cut contact. Im just saying he seems to be forming a pattern.

tribpot Tue 12-Feb-13 19:40:21

So essentially 'all' that has happened is he wants to stay friends with an ex? This is his choice, no?

GoSuckEggs Tue 12-Feb-13 19:46:14

So you started a post to ask if he can have a friend? hmm

maleview70 Tue 12-Feb-13 20:00:46

Some of these responses are very harsh. She has asked for help with something that clearly is bothering her yet rather than offer support and guidance on the question raised, people choose to attack. If you don't have anything constructive to say then sometimes silence really is golden.

I think OP you will find on here many women who have been hurt by an OW (and clearly can't get over it) and therefore you end up with answers like these.

Every relationship is a gamble. Personally I would see if he is open to you all meeting up and therefore getting to know her better. If he isnt then you can't really stop him being friends with her if that's what he said he was in the first place. You will just have to trust him. If you had a good marriage for 24 years, I can see how scary it must be to leave yourself open to someone again. Still better to have loved and lost as they say so a gamble worth taking.

izzyizin Tue 12-Feb-13 20:05:20

He was in a relationship which he claimed had 'run its course' when he signed up to the online dating site through which you met him back in Sept 2010.

Having placed yourself in the position of being the ow, he declared his love for you shortly thereafter but, having allegedly left his former long term dp, your relationship with him ended in December 2011 whereupon he allegedly met another unsuspecting woman online moved in with her shortly thereafter.

Knowing he was living with another woman, you rekindled your relationship with him in January 2012 and were happy to be the ow once more until he 'returned to his house' before eventually moving in with you.

Has it occurred to you that the 2nd ow he allegedly met online and moved in with within days of your breakup in 2011 may be one and the same as the woman he cheated on when he first met you - the one he had a 12yr relationship with, which would explain her 'good relationship' with his dps?

Whether it's acceptable for an ex to continue to still need contact/support a year after a relationship has ended is not the question.

The question is why is he engaging in contact with her? Once you have an honest answer to this question, you'll be able to decide whether it's acceptable to you to be one of 2 or more strings to his bow.

izzyizin Tue 12-Feb-13 20:07:15

CORRECTION TO 2ND PARA: your relationship with him ended in June 2011 whereupon he allegedly met another unsuspecting woman online.

CabbageLeaves Tue 12-Feb-13 20:11:25

I think you are uncomfortable with his relationship with her because you know exactly what he is capable of doing...having a relationship behind your back this time?

I'd leave. Whether you make him split up with her or not he's still the person who could do that. He went into it eyes open. I think you were a little less conscious of your role

Foxy12345 Tue 12-Feb-13 20:52:44

She is his back up plan. If things go wrong with you, he can always go back to her - he's keeping her warm. I'd put my foot down - its ok to have friends but not ones that you feel worried about.

The moment she's distracted by someone else their "friendship" will dwindle, so you could wait for that. But I'd prefer him to be respectful of you. If she really is just a friend, he can bring her to meet you. But I suspect not - in which case an occasional text hello or catch up coffee is ok but not full blown emotional support. If you tell him it upsets you and he still contacts her every week he's not worth it

Lueji Tue 12-Feb-13 21:30:44

To be very honest I don't think I'd be able to trust him.

The trying to and moving in too quickly, the suddenly going back to you, the cheating.

worcssauce Tue 12-Feb-13 23:49:59

Thank you so much maleview, so nice to hear a supportive message.

Izzyizin - When we met in Sept 2010, DP was single and I was not an OW. His partner of 12 years lives locally and I have met her. There are no feelings between them whatsoever. They split up in February 2010 several months before I knew him. We went out for 9 months before splitting in June 2011. When we met again in January 2012, he told me he had met someone - this person lived 50 miles away and one of the reasons for moving in so quickly was the distance, though he still maintained his own property. We rekindled our relationship while he was still with this girlfriend, but three weeks after rekindling, i.e February 2012, he ended their relationship and moved back to his property. We then continued our relationship from January 2012 until October 2012, when he moved in with me, having both decided our relationship was worth something. The four months we have been living together has been fabulous. The ONLY glitch is his continuing (mostly phone) contact with the ex girlfriend. I have seen her photograph and she is not the same person as his previous partner of 12 years, who incidentally his parents did not like. He does want me to meet his ex girlfriend and I think I will do so, I just feel unsure if that is a good idea or not. He has reassured me that she is not, and will not, be his back-up plan.

Foxy - thank you, you seem to understand very well and I'm grateful as some of the posts have been rather harsh. There are a lot of people on here with OW problems and obviously I'm not oblivious to that. As several people have already said, it may happen to me, as it may and does happen to others. I didn't set out to be an OW, and in the end he made a choice to be with me and we are very happy.

badinage Wed 13-Feb-13 00:22:41

It's just his spin on things though isn't it that she is 'needy' and is the one who always phones him? Because you've never met her, you've got no way of corroborating much of anything he's told you; their relationship before, the way it ended, their relationship now. What I do know though is that no-one keeps in touch with an ex who still hankers after the relationship, just to provide support and help. There's always something in it for him; an ego boost, a fall-back plan, a bolthole or a fully-fledged relationship. I certainly don't think it's because he's 'too nice' because when it suited him, he was extremely cruel to her.

What's your relationship like with his parents and his friends?

AnyFucker Wed 13-Feb-13 00:30:33

You don't trust him because you have witnessed how quickly he can turn from one woman to another.

This man is no prize. I am pretty sure you will always feel unsettled in this relationship. Which, to be honest, is not really any more than you deserve. That is not meant harshly, although I am sure you will take it as so.

LessMissAbs Wed 13-Feb-13 00:39:00

His track record indicates he gets bored and moves onto other women before finishing with the first, moving into their houses seems to be part of this pattern (does the man not work, so as to enable himself to move around the country into other women's houses?).

I don't think his behaviour is good, and he seems to have a pattern of behaviour that you might find uncomfortable to live with.

TranceDaemon Wed 13-Feb-13 00:41:07

It sounds like he is playing you both, sorry. sad

MidnightMasquerader Wed 13-Feb-13 01:29:56

Your thread title sums things up pretty well, as it goes.

Is it acceptable for an ex to still need contact/support a year after a relationship ends? How long is a piece of string...

The answer to that question depends entirely on the fundamentals of the relationship, and obviously there is a rather interwoven back story here between the three if you that will tint the answer to your question.

You've placed yourself into a situation over which you don't really have an awful lot of control or grasp. You either let him conduct his friendships as he wishes (put up and shut up), ask him to end the friendship (and possibly cause him to resent you), or walk.

Dottiespots Wed 13-Feb-13 02:11:23

Well if it were me I would feel very uncomfortable that he is having contact with his ex lover. I would feel scared of what is going on between them. To be honest I think you moved in too soon and could have done with time just dating and getting to know each other properly. You have every right to feel the way you do.

Dozer Wed 13-Feb-13 06:50:18

Sounds like he wants a live-in relationship and its advantages without commitment, pushy (odd) in seeking this early on in relationships and in moving onto someone else when he wants.

Does he share domestic work etc?

With respect to his ex, if he met her online and their relationship ended because he preferred you (he moved in v quickly with her - again, odd), is strange to keep in touch IMO. Sounds like he is hedging his bets and enjoying keeping you on your toes / in a weak position. You sound eager to justify his strange/selfish behaviour and assert that yours was somehow the "true love" relationship.

Imo he is likely to leave, probably to another relayionship, if/when things get tough for any reason.

kalidanger Wed 13-Feb-13 07:44:19

although it was obviously tearing him apart. He told me that she was a lovely lady, didn't deserve this, but that there was "issues" between them

It all really falls apart here. He told you it was 'tearing him apart' (boo effing hoo) and his lies started kicking in. He's not a good guy. He's hedging his bets, has more of a relationship with her than you're aware of and you're on a hiding to nothing if he won't stop communicating with her.

Is he amazing? Is he really a great catch or just Mr. He Will Do? Does he (be honest) absolutely share in your home life together or do you pay all the bills and have free access to the remote control?

kalidanger Wed 13-Feb-13 07:45:20

*not have free access

worcssauce Wed 13-Feb-13 08:36:54

badinage - I get on with his DPs and friends very well. They have all accepted me and I have been told by one couple that they have never seen DP happier than he is now.

Anyfucker - how many women/men have met their husbands/partners when one or both were in a previous good/bad relationship. It's what happens, not many of us are completely single when we meet another person. It's when a relationship is going on for a long time in secret and the truth only comes out when the other person discovers it, that it is abhorrent. We met, we rekindled our relationship and he ended his relationship with his girlfriend within 3 weeks, which is surely the best thing to do in this situation rather than carry on being deceitful for months/years as some people do.

LessMissAbbs - yes his track record may suggest he moves on, although a 12 year relationship would suggest he can commit. Ultimately it didn't work but there are plenty of relationships that fail before 12 years. Since then he's had two girlfriends, me and the ex. Surely that's not a "pattern"? He works full time.

MidnightMasquerader - thank you, you have summed it up pretty well. I have accepted that my DP and his ex girlfriend have remained friends. I have found it difficult to handle at times but have mostly held my tongue to him. My friends however, think it strange that one year after they broke up, they still phone each other and I guess I had hoped that by now, it would have dwindled away.

awsangel - he moved in with me in October 2012 - 9 months after we rekindled our relationship. I thought the time was right and my children were very accepting of him. Maybe it is too soon in your opinion but I have not regretted this decision.

Dozer - he did move in with his ex very quickly, partly because she lived 50 miles away, and seeing her for dates had meant a fairly long drive for him (his ex doesn't drive), though I'm not making excuses for that - I was pretty shocked too when he told me about it and it has been the source of many discussions since. Oh and yes, he does share domestic chores.

Helltotheno Wed 13-Feb-13 10:17:02

OP the answer to this lies with you. Just decide what your boundaries are and what is a dealbreaker for you. It doesn't really matter what anyone else thinks of what's going on, if you don't like it, just give him an ultimatum. If you won't do that, just accept that this woman is still in his life and leave things as they are.

As an aside, I'd also say protect your assets and don't marry him. Why is he so keen to shack up with people so quickly?

badinage Wed 13-Feb-13 11:17:30

It's what happens, not many of us are completely single when we meet another person.

Please speak only for yourself. It's not what happens in my world and apart from chaste romances at 13-14, have always been completely single when I've started a relationship, with men who are equally unattached.

You started this thread because you were uncomfortable with his attachment to another woman. Although you appear to put most of the responsibility for that attachment on to a fiercely intelligent, independent woman rather than a man who has form for neediness and duplicity - since then all you've done is defend him.

What did you want people to say?

Did you want us to join with you in criticising a woman who's been treated very badly by your partner?

Or for us to agree with you that cheating is not such a big deal?

Or that your partner sounds like he's a great catch?

You're worried for a reason. I'd be worried too.

bestsonever Wed 13-Feb-13 11:58:20

Have they met up since I wonder? If so, then with 50 miles between, and her not driving, has he traveled to see her? If not, it's less of a worry as phonecalls may be as far as it gets.
It also strikes me as odd that the first time around you seem to say you went from a good relationship to nothing and splitting up because you did not want him to move in. No middle ground? Was he not willing to wait and why was that? What would of happened if this time you had not let him move in also, and why is he so keen to move in each time? If a real commitment is happening, surely it's best to move somewhere new together. Seems he just plays at commitment as he keeps his own place on each time like it's just a part of dating so is no big deal. I think you see living together as a bigger commitment than he does, which may be why it was harder for you but so easy for him the first time.

GreatUncleEddie Wed 13-Feb-13 12:05:11

Gosh you've had a pasting here. I think you need to meet her. If she is a friend then you should be included in the friendship to some extent. Opinions vary as to whether men and women can be platonic friends. Most people think if one side of the friendship won't let their partner meet the other side, that is worrying.

bestsonever Wed 13-Feb-13 12:06:47

I would not be lulled into an expectation that living with him gives you more status than girlfriend. He has not moved the relationship on much as he can, and already has left whenever he likes. As long as you realise that you are a girlfriend rather than partner as such and are happy to stay that way for the foreseeable, then that is fine. Did he have his own place during his 12 year relationship? The answer to that could be revealing.

worcssauce Wed 13-Feb-13 13:09:48

Hellototheno - thank you, I can see that I will probably leave things as they are and accept their friendship. Re the assets, don't worry I have sought legal advice.

Bestsonever - he hasn't been to see her at all, though she occasionally travels into the city where he works and they have met for coffee maybe three times in the last year. We split up the first time because I wanted space and I initiated the split. It was nothing to do with moving in - he had not even suggested it, but he started making plans for the evenings/weekends, even holidays. I was also enjoying socialising with my friends and family alone. I had lost my DH 2 years earlier and I was beginning to enjoy my independence and didn't feel ready to commit fully to the relationship. When I started to feel he was suffocating me, I felt I had to end the relationship.

GreatUncleEddie - yes, I agree, I do need to meet her and my DP had asked me to several times so I don't think he feels I have anything to worry about.

Bestsonever - DP has moved the relationship. He sold his house in October, hence moving in with me. He would now be effectively homeless if I were to throw him out. We are in the process of buying a house together. His previous house was owned by him and his XP of 12 years. When they split up, he bought her out.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now