His exes are in the way

What's your dating or relationship question? What's on your mind? Send a letter to [email protected] or use this form.

I have a boyfriend. In August, we'll have been together a year. He's been divorced for a long time and has three adult children.

Every time his ex-wife calls and says she needs him for something, he jumps up to do it, not even caring about how I might feel about it. It makes me want to leave him. Now his other exes are showing up. I love him, but I need peace – and not to have to wonder about these exes. Should I step back from this relationship? I was alone for 10 years after ending a broken partnership. I promised myself to not go down that road again.

What are your thoughts on exes who still make demands and take time and energy?

– They're back


I understand how exes become family. People share kids and have a life together. Even after separation, they're connected by those kids – and more. Sometimes it's nice when a once-romantic partnership can evolve into something different – and better.

Maybe that's the kind of connection he has with his ex-wife. But the other exes? I don't know. How many exes are we talking about here, and what do they want from him? Help with a move? Furniture assembly? Companionship?

It's time to ask your boyfriend for more transparency. How does he define his relationships with these people? Are they friendships? If so, will you ever meet them?

Tell him about your discomfort and when it sets in. If you feel less important than others, say that. If your time with him is interrupted, let him know what that experience is like.

Put it all out there, from what makes you uneasy to what might make things better. (Maybe he can limit time with his one ex so it never affects your plans.)

Instead of stepping back, get answers and then make decisions accordingly.

– Meredith

Readers? How have you made space for a partner's ex? What kind of relationships with exes feel appropriate?