I have been with my boyfriend for four years now and we have two wonderful kids together. We have been very happy this whole time despite the few occasional arguments. About two months ago he got in contact with his ex, who he never truly had closure with. She knows about me, our relationship, and our kids. They started talking and one night he decided to go see her. Emotionally this hurt me beyond belief and I can’t seem to get past this incident. I still think he’s in love with her and I’m not sure what to do.
Contact with an ex can be tricky. People have different expectations about dealing with an ex. For some individuals, when they breakup that person is out of their life completely, while some people like to remain in close contact with their exs. And for others, it really depends on the situation and circumstances.
To help you through this situation, it helps to take a moment to reflect on whether you made your expectations clear. Did you and your partner discuss how you expected him to behave with his ex? Many misunderstandings and problems arise in relationships when partners don’t share their expectations with each other.
It’s important for you to be clear with your partner about what you need from him to feel valued, loved, and respected. Do you think it’s appropriate for him to talk to his ex? Is it ok for him to spend time with her? Again, did you talk about these issues explicitly? If not, you can’t expect him to always know how you feel or what you’re thinking — your partner can’t read your mind no matter how much he might love you.
Even if you didn’t discuss your expectations, you’re undoubtedly feeling betrayed and need to share your feelings with your partner now. You need to have a candid conversation about how you feel.
Such conversations work best when you are able to describe how you feel without leveling accusations and showing a lot of hostility, which are likely to create a defensive response. Instead, tell your partner that you’re upset, concerned, and hurt by what happened. And tell him that you want him to understand how you feel and where you’re coming from. Try to get your partner to see the situation from your point of view. If you can get him to empathize with your feelings, you’re more likely to work through what happened.
It’s important to get those initial conversations right because they lay the groundwork for all of the other conversations you and your partner will need to have.
We wrote Broken Trust to help you work through these difficult conversations and repair your relationship.