Q: My current girlfriend will not stop talking about her ex. He died last year and we got together about six months later. I can tell you the color of his eyes, the way he laughed, his favorite color …

There’s no way I could ever live up to this guy. She’s great, but I can’t take it much more. It has got to be bad exetiquette to talk about an ex all the time!

A: Of course it’s not good exetiquette. While it’s not in the best interest of any new relationship to talk too much about your ex, to some extent, some discussion is standard. But those conversations should be fleeting and never reveal intimacies or comparisons.

Some in your position suffer in silence thinking it’s rude to ask her to stop talking so much about the dead. Truth is, it’s not rude at all. Those in your girlfriend’s position sometimes glorify the deceased ex.

And when that happens, someone who was not that great becomes glowing in retrospect. And that’s when you start feeling like you could never live up to how great this other guy was.

It’s time to initiate a conversation, making sure that you do not at any time bad-mouth the dead ex. This means even though you would probably like to say, “Shut up! What was so (bleeping) great about him?” be gentle in your approach.

Begin by considering things that you can control. For starters, does she know how much you care about her? She could be talking about this guy as a way to see how you feel and not realize she’s taken it too far and you are on your way out the door. If that’s not the case, and she’s stuck in a mental memorial, that’s something only she can control. She may have moved on too quickly and needs some help letting go.

There are lots of support groups to help her — and if you love her, stick it out. You know she’s a loyal partner. It often takes years forpeople to comfortably move on after the death of a partner. If you’re in it for the long haul, let her know but if her attitude doesn’t change, then the timing’s not right for either of you.

 

Jann Blackstone-Ford, Ph.D., and her husband’s ex-wife, Sharyl Jupe, authors of “Ex-Etiquette for Parents,” are the founders of Bonus Families (www.bonusfamilies.com).