He doesn’t want me to mention exes – ever

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My boyfriend does not want to hear about my past if it involves anything to do with an ex. I can't bring anything up if an ex was involved at all.

I have kids with an ex whom I was with for years, and even if they bring up their dad he gets tense. He also won't talk to me about anything that involves an ex of his. I was asking him if he'd ever been in a hot air balloon and he said yes, but would not tell me anything other then that – and snapped at me when I asked more.

There are other subjects I am not allowed to talk about. He also gets upset when I wear lipstick. On his birthday he got upset because I put on tinted lip gloss. He accused me of doing it to slight him.

Is it normal not to be able to discuss exes?

– Exed

Break up with this person. Consider why you haven't already.

You want to be able to speak about your life – to share your life – but this boyfriend has boundaries that make it impossible to speak freely.

I can understand a person not wanting to hear a million stories about a recent ex and how wonderful they are, but that's not what you're going for here. You want to acknowledge life experiences without shame. Also, you have kids! How can you go through life without bringing up their dad? How do your kids feel about the tension in the room when they talk about their father? That's bad for them.

I'm not even going to get into the lip gloss thing. That's just another deal-breaker on top of the first one.

You didn't say anything about what keeps you around, but that says plenty too. You ask whether rules about exes are normal; all I'll say is that this relationship doesn’t make you feel healthy or happy. It doesn't sound good for your kids. Really, that's the only answer that matters.

– Meredith

Readers? Thoughts on how much ex talk is OK?