We interrupt this relationship. . .

This has been a week from hell.  Starting with a horrible teaching day Tuesday in which everything that could go wrong technically did with regard to a medical video I was showing, and progressing to my boyfriend telling me his ex-wife was coming two weeks earlier and would be living with him for the month she's here.

He explained she would be sleeping upstairs in the loft space.  He swore that it was business only, that even if I ran off with some other man, he wouldn't be with her.  He said he could spend a lot more nights at my house and that we would still go up to Oregon for Christmas at the end of this month, in the middle of her stay.

But I couldn't take it.  The shock, hurt, and fear were too much.

To begin with, I told him there is no way I could deal with that, no way that she could stay with him, and at first he seemed like he was considering other options like her staying with one of his co-workers.

But the next day in emails, I could tell he was trying to placate me.  He wasn't answering direct questions about the situation and her staying with him, him spending time with her, etc.  So I called and asked him directly, and he told me that she was going to stay with him.

I said, "Even knowing all that I've told you about how it makes me feel and knowing what I said about not being able to handle it, you are still making that choice?"

And he mumbled a bit and then said, "Yes."

So I broke up with him.

It's been a few days now.  He picked her up at the airport yesterday and God knows what they are doing right now, but I'm trying not to torture myself with those kind of thoughts.

I've been feeling so confused and hurt about how he could so definitively choose to "honor his commitment" (about finishing things up with her work-wise) and "fulfill his obligation" (to talk things through with her and have closure on their marriage and post-marriage relationship) through her living with him for a month, when he knew that potentially could end our relationship, his current commitment?

And how could he think that it's okay to live with this woman who I've never met and who, the last time he saw her, he was sexual with and talked about "giving it another try" (around this time even), before he changed his mind and decided to be with me?

And finally, how could he present it to me as a done deal instead of talking it through with me and working harder to help me understand and get on the same page with him, which to me shows respect and love?

Trying to understand his perspective, which I hope to more directly hear about tomorrow night when he comes over to talk, I've considered a few things:

  1. I have been extremely jealous and emotionally volatile around the subject and he has reason to doubt I could have talked it over with him rationally.
  2. He feels a lot of guilt about breaking up with her back in the Spring.  He was married to her for four years I think and has a lot of history with her and agreements I don't know that much about with regard to business/work.
  3. He feels deeply (not that I agree) that he owes her this and would be a bad person if he didn't do right by her in this way.  So in this light, he's not choosing her over me but feels he has no other choice in order to keep his self-respect and integrity.
  4. I don't know why she had to come out two weeks earlier.  I was too angry to inquire clearly about this but plan to do so tomorrow night.  But if there was a good reason for this, putting her up in a hotel for a month would be thousands of dollars that he can't really afford (nor can she I'm fairly sure) and it's unlikely his co-worker could have boarded her for a month.  
  5. Because he feels so clear in his own mind that he is not interested in being with her, he expects me to trust this.  I also wonder if he feels at some level that this is a fair exchange because I live with a man, and my living situation has brought up a lot of insecurity and jealousy in him over time. Even though I'm beyond clear that I have no attraction and have stressed this with him.  I've posted about this before. . .

I think that he rationalized it in his mind and somehow made it fit together as an okay choice.  But the close confidants I've told clearly think this situation is outside the norm and seem to understand and resonate with my outrage.  An ex from not all that long ago?  Living with him for a month?  Really? 

I met with my Non-Violent Communication group leader yesterday, and she gave me a lot of empathic support.  It felt good to release emotion and receive compassion.  I was also able, through this process, to come to some of the above understanding of his perspective, which is also valuable.  I'm not saying I think he made the "right" choice, but I can see more of the feelings and needs driving his actions.

Do I wish that my feelings and our commitment somehow trumped everything else?  Absolutely, but I guess that's not the case here.

One aspect that I need to own is that I have had my own doubts about our long-term compatibility, and I know this has affected our relationship and how I treat him at times.  He was very hurt the other day when I did not respond to a text, even though I did receive it, until several hours later that evening.  Does that show some lack of respect and caring?  Probably so.  And there are other things I've done and said that show uncertainty and less than 100 percent commitment to him in my heart.  So I need to own those things too and recognize they likely play a role here, as well.

So, yeah, a depressing week.

To end on a slightly positive note, I did go buy and decorate a small Christmas tree yesterday - the first time I've done this on my own.  And I went to dance this morning, even though I was feeling very anxious and sad, followed by going out to the awesomely-named "Karma Kitchen" and eating with dance friends afterwards.  When I got home, I colored my hair a lovely red-auburn color.  Now, I'm drinking wine and am going to watch a movie.

I hope tomorrow night brings relief and understanding.

p.s. I would appreciate hearing any feedback or experiences you might have to share related to this.


  1. I'm so sorry that you had such a terrible week. Quite frankly, even without your reasoning (which were absolutely justified and pointed) you really didn't need to explain further to him or anyone else. In a relationship, you respect each other's insecurities, particularly if the past lays fruitful ground for concerns about fidelity. The fact that he felt his commitment to her took precedence over his commitment to you spoke volumes about his priorities. You deserve better. He never should have put you in the position about giving approval about such a scenario. It speaks of poor judgement and indicates some emotional confusion and lack of clarity regarding his emotional state. Living with a male with whom you have no romantic relationship or history with is very different from living with an ex.

    Human drama (the kind you see on Jerry Springer shows) is created by not setting clear boundaries with oneself and with others. It starts with putting temptation in your house while excusing it with a thousand rationalizations which miss the point entirely. The point is a committed person doesn't put their partner in a position which gives rise to doubt or insecurity.

    The fact that he put you in that position and then dismissed your insecurities.....you deserve better than that. You deserve the same level of commitment and respect that you give.

    Regarding "texting", I don't think constantly texting someone is indicative of commitment. I've seen players constantly texting their many partners. I rarely text or respond to texts because I feel the medium of communication is rather shallow and doesn't allow for in depth sharing as email or a call which it often is used to replace. Quantity doesn't not replace quality---and the measure of commitment is not how much you respond to text, but where your heart lies when you are apart from each other---not matter for how long or how far. Quite frankly, a letter written in long hand once a month is infinitely more value and takes more time and thought than a 10 second text.

    I know that doesn't provide much comfort; but I'm so proud that you stood your ground and walked away from a situation which dishonored you.

  2. I too am sorry that you had a tough week. I think your reaction is extremely justified. I would have a similar reaction myself. He should have discussed her living arrangements with you and come up with a plan that worked for you both. Maybe he could have moved in with you for a month and let her live at his place if a hotel was not an option. The bottom line is that he completely disregarded your feelings. I agree with poster above, you do not need to justify his actions or rationlaize them. Good for you to stand up for yourself.

  3. Oh, no! You poor thing. His ex-wife living with him for a month? Crazy! What else could you do? So sorry to hear about this.

  4. I'm so sorry, Kristina. :(

    I agree with the others who have commented: you are perfectly justified in your feelings about this. It simply isn't appropriate for him to be living with a woman he used to have romantic ties to while he's in a commited, monogamous relationship with you. It doesn't matter if they're "just friends." It's still inappropriate and completely disrespectful to you.

    The only experience I have that sort of compares to this (but really isn't anywhere near this level of severity) was my husband asking me if would be ok for him to ask a female friend to his work Christmas party, since I won't be there to attend. I recognize that a good number of his friends are female and I have no problem with that. However, I did have an objection to him asking one of them because, frankly, it doesn't look good. In that sort of situation, it looks like a date, and that's not appropriate. It took him a while to wrap his head around what I was saying because all he could focus on was that it would be strictly platonic and he just wanted to share a free meal with a friend. But after thinking about it for a while, he realized how it would feel from my point of view and decided he'd go alone rather than ask a friend.

    In my opinion, what sh/cm should have done was offer his ex-wife his house and HE should have found somewhere else to stay for the month, whether it be with you or with a friend.

    I really hope the two of you can work this out somehow. I hate that you're hurting. :(

  5. First, Kristina, I LOVE the new blog look.

    Second, I have been in a similar situation, and my first response as I read this was, Oooh, no this is not good.

    If sh/cm wants a life with you - wants a relationship, a baby, your love, he has to earn your trust, your love, and your respect. It is absolutely unacceptable for him to invite his ex-wife into his home. He is not responsible for her anymore. My personal feeling (which I will get to momentarily), is that he should not be friends with her. That relationship is over. And you did everything right. You are a strong, courageous woman for breaking it off, Kristina. Taking care of and respecting yourself is the best thing - if the hardest thing - you can do.

    When I was with my ex, RB (this was years ago), he decided to take a trip to Oregon to visit a (girl) friend. At first, he asked how I would feel if he stayed with her. Knowing the past, I said I was uncomfortable with that and that he needed to get a hotel. First he agreed, then I found out he'd decided to stay with her. It crushed me. Looking back, just the fact that he was going down there, I should have known it was trouble. (Turns out that he slept with her, which I didn't found out about until I was diagnosed with pre-cancerous HPV a few months later.)

    Now, with T, he was still talking with his ex-wife when we met - having lunches, etc., despite them having been divorced for years, and she was still with the boyfriend she (emotionally) cheated with on T. We had a talk about that, too, and I said that if it was over and he wanted to move on with me, that relationship needed to end. From experience, I know that you cannot get over someone if you're still in contact with them. Well, we had a few rounds in the boxing ring over this one. Ultimately, though, I decided to let it go. Then, she got crazy on him (jealous over me), and he told her he was done, that they were no longer communicating. Soon after, she moved to NY with her BF.

    Not sure if these situations help at all. But,what sh/cm did was not OK. And I am so, so sorry and my heart hurts for you. But you are also strong and amazing and obviously a caring, wonderful woman.

    I know it's hard to hear and easier said than done, and I don't know both sides of the story. But, I've been here before a couple times. You deserve better. You deserve to have your feelings about this, and other things, heard, respected, responded to, acknowledged, and relieved. You deserve to be #1 in his life. Most of all, you deserve happiness, and relationships, as I have found, should not be this challenging.

    I love you, lady. Sending you a smile today, and calming energy.

  6. I'm sorry that you are having to go through this, and at a time of year when emotions are already running high!

    The whole post I was shaking my head and saying "been there"...

    About four months into our relationship, my husband's ex started coming out of the wood-work. She started calling all the time and making crazy requests of him. Once, she was in the hospital and needed someone to go and pay her tuition and transfer her between classes, and I waited in the car for an hour while he did this. She would call at 3 am "just to talk", and complain that she was broke, so he would buy things for her daughter. She kept at him.

    Until I was on the scene, she wanted nothing to do with him. She led him to believe that they were forever when they were together, cheated on him, and then broke up with him... on Valentine's Day. But when word got around their group of friends that he had a new relationship, suddenly he looked good to her again.

    I wanted to be the "cool" girlfriend and not make a big deal out of it - and I didn't for a long time, but it kept eating at me, until I couldn't take it anymore. I finally put my foot down and made him choose. I'm very glad that he chose me, but I was ready to walk at that point. I wasn't putting up with her being the other person in our relationship.

    I have to say that I totally get where you are coming from. I think it's completely unreasonable for him to expect you to be ok with it - especially after not talking it out with you first. It's not fair to put you in that position.

    Just keep trying to make him see your point of view. If you want this to work (that's a decision you have to make), then you have to be willing to stand up for what you want, and make it clear to him that part of what you want is him. He needs to make some concessions about this too.

    It's a tough situation... I'm sorry you're having to deal with it.

  7. Wow, I am so sorry. I don't think you are being jealous or crazy.I broke up with a guy who told me his ex wife children and parents would be staying with him on Christmas. I said where the hell do I fit in this picture. He said nothing will happen. I told him if he wanted to be a family he should have stayed a damn family. Not play family.
    You should ask him how he would feel if your ex lover was staying with you for a month. I am not a jealous person. Atleast I don't think I am. I don't need someone putting me in the situation to have those feels. That is so unfair.

  8. I think you were being true to you. He was being insensitive, and he chose his ex in spite of the way he knew it made you feel. Men suck sometimes.

  9. Thank you so much for your supportive words and stories. I'm in a pretty dark place around it. We didn't end up talking Monday but will talk tomorrow. I don't really have hope that we can go forward at this time. It's a good point you made Peg about being willing to stand up for what you want. But at this point, I'm not clear it's what I want, even though I'm devastated at the loss. It doesn't make sense but that seems to be the case.