Saturday, May 18, 2013
By JANN BLACKSTONE-FORD
Q: My husband's ex is always around and it drives me crazy. We still hang around the group of friends they had and she's there at every get-together. The only ones she's not at are the ones we have at our house and there have been times when my new friends ask why she is not there! They have no kids together, so why does she have to be part of our lives?
A: No kids? She doesn't have to be part of your life and if it's really bothering you it sounds like it's time to have a talk with your husband. Might seem a little late -- those are the kind of conversations you should have before you get married, but I'm not surprised you didn't. When you first get together with someone you think you can overcome just about anything -- including exes being around all the time -- but if not taken care of, little things become big things and slowly drive a wedge between two people who really do care about each other.
Sometimes people can just continue the same life both before and after a break-up, they easily find a new person who is compatible with your "old" life. Sometimes it's not that easy -- as in your case -- all that togetherness is just too much. Moving on after a break-up may mean moving to another city, state, possibly changing jobs, and more often than initially considered, finding a new group of friends.
Both of you have to figure out exactly what you expect from your relationship and then design it accordingly. You guys have the control -- but, if you have been acting like this all really doesn't bother you, then that's on you. Ex Etiquette Rule No. 7, "Be honest and straightforward in all your endeavors," means tell each other the truth. Your husband can't take your feelings into consideration if you are not telling him what your feelings are. But, be prepared ... if these are his friends and you didn't speak up from the beginning, don't be surprised if he's less than excited about rearranging his life. Know this: It's never too late to speak from the heart.
Just for the record, if the ex is being too friendly, good ex-etiquette states that the object of the ex's affection is the one to establish the boundaries. Therefore it would be your husband's responsibility to stop the advances by being very clear about what he expects from her. Quite frankly, if that is the case, I don't know why you (you as a couple) would put yourselves in that position. If the ultimate goal is to make a life together -- then start one. If you are just playing at it, that's what you are going to get -- a lot of games.
Dr. Jann Blackstone is the author of "Ex-etiquette for Parents: Good Behavior After Divorce or Separation," and the founder of Bonus Families, www.bonusfamilies.com. Reach her at: