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am I worried for nothing?

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Hello all,


I'm new to this site and I would love to get perspectives on my situation with my boyfriend. here's the basic information:


both in our early 30's we knew each other as teenagers then went our separate ways to university and beyond. got in touch through one of those internet sites that puts old friends and classmates in touch with each other. we're both in the same field we both love our work which is very demanding. we both live abroad though in different countries. after emailing for a few months we met up last Christmas when we were both home for a visit and we got on like a house on fire. we've been together ever since.


long distance isn't easy but we're managing and next year he is going to move to live where I am. he initiated this move and worked it out with his employer. we've had a few long lovely holidays together we email several times a day and ring each other frqntly. he shows every sign of taking me and our relationship seriously. he is affectionate and caring and I know I'm falling in love with him.


so what's the problem you may ask. it's his ex-girlfriend. he simply refuses to discuss her. they were together for about three years, they broke up nearly two years ago. I am the first person he has really been involved with in a serious way since her. he says that what was between them is very personal and has no bearing on his relationship with me because it is a thing of the past.


I do not know her but what I have heard about her from his friends and the little bits he has been willing to say is that she is a beautiful kind intelligent and warm person. I got the sense that his friends think he was a fool to let her go. he wanted to marry her at one point. my boyfriend acknowledges that he loved her deeply and was crushed when they broke up even though he was the one to end it. but he will not discuss it further.


I'm not an insecure person. I don't try to compare myself to her. I don't want to know all the minutia of their relationship. he is right to say that his relationship with her is by and large none of my business. our conversations don't frequently go in directions where his past relationships come up but when they have he has been very forceful about his unwillingness to talk about her at all. it's his defensiveness that raises questions in my mind.


once he actually barked at me when I'd merely asked if his ex was still living in the city where they met (we were going there ourselves on holiday so it wasn't completely irrelevant). as far as I know they do not communicate anymore (I asked him directly and he said no).


am I right in thinking that his insistence that her name never be mentioned is a sign that he is not over her? he is not like that about his other (earlier) ex-girlfriends in fact he is friendly with some of them.


I am glad that he is wise enough to keep away from her if he still has feeligns for her but I wonder if he's just biding his time with me. if his feelings for her are still so strong that he cannot bear even the most casual of references to her isn't that cause for concern? I think I am really falling for this guy but I don't want to make myself too vulnerable. as our relationship progresses especially once he moves here I know that my attachment to him will grow. should I be wary about this?



thanks for taking the time to read this. I will be grateful for any advice.

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The insight you want here is not really what his feelings are for her now but exactly why he broke up what sounds like a great relationship.


So let's talk about that. Why would a person break up with someone he loved who seemed perfect for him. I think he was terrified of that...the cause was fear. He has a deep fear of committment, of love, and with putting his total self into another person. That's the only answer I can come up with so you'll have to work on this with him all by yourself.'


If I'm right and he hasn't resolved these issues, you'll likely be another of his victims if your relationship with him comes to that.


Now, I can be quite wrong. But there are many reasons shot of the one I have speculated here that a person would break up with somebody they loved unless there was a lot of fear.


Now, she may have had bad breath and refused to use mouthwash...that's another reason...but I doubt it.


I don't think he owes you a lot of detail about this previous relationship but I certainly think he should disclose any issues he may now have that could cause you great hurt and pain later on.


If he doesn't speak up, tell him to stay put and forget the whole thing. If he can't be somewhat forthright with you on this critical issue now, he will be much worse as they years go by.

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The situation you've described sounds like someone who's got issues with committed relationships. Maybe he doesn't want to talk about his ex-girlfriend because he behaved badly in their relationship-- is it possible he cheated on her, whether or not she knew about it? If so, he's probably embarrassed to tell you about it, afraid that you would (correctly) assume that it could happen to you too. People can do all kinds of bizarre things to sabotage a perfecty good relationship, if they're afraid of getting in too deep.


And as Tony shrewdly observed, that's what you're really afraid of, isn't it, that as the two of you get closer you'll find him pulling away. If he has put his ex on a pedestal, "the one who got away" who will always occupy the center of his heart, you could find yourself shut out.


My ex boyfriend was like that. To the best of my knowledge there wasn't another woman occupying a part of his heart, but he built a lot of "escape hatches" into his life and even into our relationship, so that he could avoid fully engaging with me. Close (albeit non-romantic) friendships with other women, career priorities, other priorities -- these all provided him with ways to not fully share himself with me. You're right to be concerned about that tendency, because it's a tell-tale sign that someone is not ready to be in a lasting, committed relationship, responsible to another person.


You should try to talk to your boyfriend about how he feels about your relationship. He might well reply that his moving to be with you is all the proof you need of his feelings for you, and his commitment to making it work. And that might well be true ... but you still need to talk about it. You might also want to consider if there are other reasons why he'd want to move to where you are (reasons besides you, that is). Is he eager to leave his current location? Do you live in a better place, economically or strategically, or in terms of culture and lifestyle? There's not necessarily anything wrong if the answer is that yes, he does have other reasons for moving to your city than just to be near you . But it would be good to bear that in mind, to remember that he's not doing it SOLELY for you and the relationship. Don't mistake a pragmatic decision for love.


The one thing I disagree with Tony on is I think that you ought to let him move to where you are, regardless of whether or not he's able to openly discuss relational issues past and present. Being in the same place will be much better for figuring out whether or not there's a future for you. I've done long distance relationships and I know how difficult they are. Since it's he who will be undertaking the upheaval and inconvenience of moving, you don't stand to lose much even if he does in the end prove to be unsuitable. Just remember that you are under no obligation to this guy. If he moves and you try things for a while but find that he's still evasive on certain points and you're still feeling insecure about the relationship, you can break up with him.


I think it's wise, in the meantime, to listen to what he's saying, and what he's not saying. Keep a journal. If he's inconsistent you'll soon realize it if you document it and try to view him and your relationship with some measure of objectivity.

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he's still affected by her apparent rejection of him? Whether or not he loved her isn't the case, but the fact that she didn't want him (this is what I've read between the lines of your posting). No one likes being rejected, but some cases of rejection are much harder to cope with than others, and it sounds like this is what's going on in your guy's little world.

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I thought she said that her boyfriend broke up with his ex-girlfriend ("even though he was the one to end it"). But yeah, if he's still carrying around strong emotion of one kind or another for the ex (sounds like guilt or angst to me) it's going to get in the way sooner or later. Seems to me like the question is whether this is something he needs to open up about and sort through, or if this is a tactic of his, a built-in obstacle for getting close to his current gf.

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thank you tony midori and quankanne for your replies.


yes it was my bf who broke up with his ex. Tony is right (and midori too) that I am concerned about why they broke up and why he refuses to talk about it or her at all. I am worried that he still has feelings for his ex otherwise why can't he bear to hear her name mentioned?


But I am more concerned about possible fears that led him to break up with her. If there's a pattern there it would be good to know about. You both are right that I must talk to him about this. It's hard to bring up in an email or over the telephone. I might have to wait until the next time we're together. It makes it more difficult to interact with him in the meantime when I know that we need to have a serious discussion about where we're headed. But it's the kind of thing that's best done in person.


Thanks again.

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