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Do you tolerate your partner's friendships with their exes?

(37 Posts)
normalishdude Thu 14-Nov-13 14:37:58

Hi All

As above- do you let your partner stay fiends with their ex? To what extent? Do you set boundaries?

eatriskier Thu 14-Nov-13 14:42:35

It depends on the state of things at the beginning of the relationship. I have a few exes I'm still friendly with and DH has no issue with this but it came as part of the package from the start if you see what I mean. Also, I'm not bosom buddies with them either so that probably makes a difference. My xH was friendly with some of his exes too, same thing applied with me - it was part of the original package and thankfully no threat came from them at all (though the new 'friends' he made were).

EdithWeston Thu 14-Nov-13 14:46:06

The boundaries that matter are those of the partner - if they are healthily in place, then the friendship will be just that, a friendship. But if they have lax boundaries and inappropriate intimacy with an ex (or anyone else, come to that) then yes I'd see that as a huge problem.

normalishdude Thu 14-Nov-13 14:54:28

Thanks. My ex partner hated me being in contact with the previous ex. The previous ex had some real troubles (unrelated to our ex relationship ) that needed fixing, and so relied on me a bit for support ;(she doesn't have close family). The ex didn't like it one bit and made me feel quite bad about giving the other woman the time that she needed. She forbade me to contact her- I ended up having to give the support in secret. It was a difficult decision, but lives were at stake.

Luckily (for all of us) me and the ex split up.

My current partner is very different to the last one. She's ace.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 14-Nov-13 14:55:25

My exH not only stayed friends with his ex but decided he'd replace me with her as well. smile I've since been the ex who remained friends with someone who I later found out was keeping me secret from his DW. Arse he turned out to be. So I'm rather jaded about the whole topic and would be quite suspicious of any partner that had a too-cosy relationship with a former girlfriend or DW.

MrsBungleScare Thu 14-Nov-13 15:00:15

My dh is friends with quite a few of his exes. At least 3 I can think of. One in particular he's really quite good friends with, they meet for lunch etc. they've been split about 20 years though and she's been with her partner for about 18 years. We've been together 9 years.

It honestly doesn't bother me. There's nothing romantic there. She did a reading at our wedding and her partner was an usher . I think it's proof my dh is a good partner and a nice man that his exes don't hate him!

JessicaBeatriceFletcher Thu 14-Nov-13 15:03:40

OP's question: "do you let your partner stay fiends with their ex?"

I dislike the word 'let' in there. Suggest controlling behaviour. I don't think it's right that a partner can dictate and decide who someone can or can't be friends with.

GetOrfGetStuffed Thu 14-Nov-13 15:04:23

My partner is on friendly terms with quite a few of his exes. The ex previous to me he is still friends with, has helped with building work at her house (she is married with a baby) and is on friendly terms with her family. Not too close, texts to say happy birthday and Christmas, if they bump into each other they'll chat for 10 mins.

His ex from years and years ago very friendly with, we have all been out for drinks together.

Various other old girlfriends from school days he bumps into and has a nice chat.

I'm not jealous. If he wants to have an affair with one of them best of luck to him. I think it's pretty good that he has ended relationships on good terms.

JessicaBeatriceFletcher Thu 14-Nov-13 15:04:39

Mind you, plenty of exes can become fiends. They are often exes because they were fiends.

Friends, on the other hand.... smile

GetOrfGetStuffed Thu 14-Nov-13 15:05:03

I wouldn't dream of comtrolling who he could be friends with or not. It's not my place to tell him what to do.

BerstieSpotts Thu 14-Nov-13 15:10:13

I think it's fine to be friends with someone who you've previously dated, I think that's quite normal especially if you were all part of a friendship group.

However "having troubles that need fixing and need my support" DOES sound a bit over-involved to me, I'm afraid, especially if you are the sole source of this support. To suddenly be dropped because the ex is having a crisis would make me very uncomfortable, TBH, and lead me to believe he was still fairly emotionally attached to her.

And yes it's nothing to do with "letting" someone be friends with someone else or not, but I think most people would be uncomfortable if their partner was so close to an ex.

It's fine to offer support to a friend, but be realistic about your own boundaries and why you are involved with somebody. If a relationship starts to get too dependent or intense then it's creeping into relationship territory - it's only a short step then to beginning an emotional or physical affair and that's what would make me wary.

normalishdude Thu 14-Nov-13 15:19:50

Yes, it was involved but it never approached turning into any kind of relationship beyond that of friendship. She had no one else to go to, and it was a serious set of issues that could have resulted in her death. I wasn't prepared to risk that.

normalishdude Thu 14-Nov-13 15:21:17

-and yes, substitute 'friends' for 'fiends' in original post. I blame my stickkkky keyboard

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 14-Nov-13 15:28:08

Bottom line is that you can't legislate for how someone is going to react to you dispensing your life and death services to an old flame. It depends on how solid the relationship is, how secure the new girlfriend is, how trustworthy you are, how much time this old friendship takes up .... it's an individual thing. Some people will airily say that they trust their OH implicitly... 'Oh yes, he shared a bed with Sharon when they all went skiing last month, but it's purely platonic' ... some of us live in the real world smile

MrsMoon76 Thu 14-Nov-13 15:30:15

I am still sort of friendly with a few ex's but my DH is very close to his ex gf and she even came to our wedding. They are pretty close and I am comfortable with that. I like her and trust them both. They have both said individually that they work far better as friends than as a couple and I can see that myself in their personalities.

I would be very concerned however if DH was lying about seeing her. That would be unacceptable to me.

JoinYourPlayfellows Thu 14-Nov-13 15:37:16

There is a massive difference between an ex and a friend who you used to go out with.

In my friendship group there are lots of friends who used to go out with each other, but now they are friends.

The relationship between them now is quite clearly based on friendship and the previous sexual relationship just a part of their history.

When "still friends with my ex" means still going on what are basically dates together and maintaining an exclusive relationship that involves "support", then you are not really friends. You are just dragging the arse out of your previous relationship.

I would not be interested in dating a man who had an ex who he needed to save because her "life was at stake" if he didn't and I think you treated your previous girlfriend very badly by lying to her.

You don't really sound like a prince amongst men. But since you now have a "cool" girlfriend, you'll be able to indulge your ego to your heart's content. Until you break hers.

ChristmasCareeristBitchNigel Thu 14-Nov-13 15:37:47

DH is not particularly friendly with any of his exes. There was one period where one of his previous "exes" kept ringing, facebooking, emailing and texting him all the time. It was very clear what she wanted. I told him that if he didn't tell her himself to leave him alone then I would. Something about her and the fact that she had her fling with DH when she was married made me very uneasy about her. Coupled with the fact that DH got himself into serious trouble at work with something related to her. I told him that if he responded to another one of her messages that there would be serious consquences for our relationship.

The rest of them don't bother me one little bit.

normalishdude Thu 14-Nov-13 15:50:21

I didn't say she was cool. I said she was ace.

No hearts were broken. No dates were attended either. Assumptions debunked.

Anyhow, I won't feed JYPF's vitriol further by trying to explain what was clearly a complex matter. The very fact that she tries and belittle the comment about the life being at stake shows that no matter what I say, it'll be dismissed. Thanks all for your contributions.

FantasticDay Thu 14-Nov-13 15:55:17

My husband's ex is our dd's godmother.

Loopyloulu Thu 14-Nov-13 15:57:16

My DH doesn't keep in touch with any of his but I do. I parted on good terms with a couple of significant others who were in my life before DH. We exchange Christmas cards and birthday emails but all very 'above board' and I haven't seen any of them in years. If I was still attracted to them then I'd be wary of keeping up the contact as it would be inappropriate but I'm not, so it's ok. DH is fine about it and thinks what matters is trust. The danger is if 2 exs think they have unfinished business and contact potentially spills over into something else.

Loopyloulu Thu 14-Nov-13 15:59:43

I do wonder why you are asking is your current DP is 'ace'.

normalishdude Thu 14-Nov-13 16:06:21

I'm curious to see what others thought and I was testing my interaction with Mumsnet users.

Loopyloulu Thu 14-Nov-13 16:50:42


BerstieSpotts Thu 14-Nov-13 17:04:33

I think it's a difficult situation, if a friend is in need and you genuinely are the only person they can turn to. But I think you'd be naive if you thought that you could do that and it not bother your new partner. Effectively you are saying that the ex-girlfriend was a greater priority at that moment. That might be utterly right, especially if she was in dire need of a friend, but you have to be prepared that (especially if it's a new relationship) a new partner might be uncomfortable with that and might consider it a dealbreaker.

In that situation, then you see where your real priorities lie - do you ditch the friend to save the relationship, or do you call time on the relationship, reasoning that if someone isn't comfortable with this friendship, then they are not right for you?

ALittleStranger Thu 14-Nov-13 18:23:41

I think it depends on the emotional intensity of the friendship. Staying in contact, obviously fine. A friendship that operates at the level of drinks, dinners, group outings etc, also fine. But I've known a few people (romantically and otherwise) where the ex has still relied on their ex for a lot of emotional and practical support. That makes me slightly suspect. I don't think it's necessarily untoward, I think it can sometimes be asked for and given with no expectation or desire of restarting a relationship, but I still don't think it's healthy as it suggests one or both parties aren't entirely comfortable moving on.

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