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How to Handle Boyfriend Contacting Ex?

"My Boyfriend Wrote a Love Letter to His Ex"

This question is from a Group Therapy post in our TrèsSugar Community. Add your advice in the comments!

I have been dating my boyfriend for almost three years. We had an amazing relationship. We got along great. We always had fun together, and we loved each other a lot! We were in a serious committed relationship. We've talked about moving in together and getting married, and I thought we had everything under control. I was so happy that everything was working out so perfectly. Until a few days ago, when I found out he wrote his ex a love letter.

About a month ago, his father passed away tragically and unexpectedly. He had a shaky upbringing and never really had a great relationship with either of his parents but nonetheless, still loved them. In this love letter, he says that he loves her more than me and wants to be with her more than me. When I spoke to him about it, he told me he did not mean any of it and that he had been going through a tough time since his father passed away. When his dad died, he started to question life, his father's life, his own life, and our relationship. He started to think about what he really wanted, and if he really wanted to be with me. Then a few weeks later, he ran into his ex at a friend's house. She had just broken up with her boyfriend, and so my boyfriend talked to her about our relationship. He then claims he momentarily felt feelings for her and got carried away. He was reminiscent of a time where things were simpler and his relationships were easier. He says he's been confused and depressed and at the time, unhappy with himself and our relationship, and when he spoke to her, he remembered the good times and felt happy again and got carried away.


Ever since his dad died, I noticed he was acting distant and not himself, and therefore our relationship was a little distant. I figured he was just grieving and needed some time, but I never imagined this would be the outcome of it. Because he barely knows this girl anymore, I do believe the that he doesn't love her more, because frankly, that's impossible. There is no way he can love someone he barely knows more than his girlfriend of three years. But still, as much as I try to understand everything he is going through, I can't help but think about the letter. I am so upset and angry, and I have no idea how to handle this situation. I want to give him a second chance, but I am not sure how to even do that. I would love any advice or experience anyone can share with me.

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violent-femme-1974 violent-femme-1974 4 years
You teach people how to treat you.  So, what you are telling him if you stay with him is that you do not have enough self respect to walk away from some body who put in writing that he loved someone else more than you.  I think you should leave him, but you have to decide for yourself.  If you stay with him, will you always hurt and feel insecure?  Will you feel jealousy toward this other woman?  Will you go crazy every time a beautiful woman crosses his path?  It sounds like both you and he are making excuses...he blames the death and you are trying to believe he doesn't know her anymore.  What is the truth is that he was operating with another woman behind your back and  because of that it is YOU who doesn't know HIM anymore.  Please don't stay with him.  Leave him, and possibly he can work at regaining your trust if you decide to allow it.   Take it from someone who's been there, it can destroy your self esteem to believe this type of bullshit.  It has been ten years since my husband did something similar to me and I am still not totally healed.  I stayed with him and I wish I would have left and made him earn my trust again.  We are still together, but if I could go back and respect myself I would.  He also agrees that I should have made him work harder to regain my trust.  Trust me, if this guy really loves you and isn't totally full of shit he will work to win you back...if he doesn't well, his loss.
steph1234 steph1234 4 years
honestly...i think he is using his dad's death as an excuse to get out of hot water with you. Yes losing a parent you are close to is horrible...i just went through it 3 years ago...and I still miss my dad every day....however, grieving for your lost parent doesn't give you a 'get out of jail free' pass for doing something like this. I think it is inexcusable. And i agree with the below poster that this is probably a good indication of how he will 'handle' difficult situations in the future, which should be a red flag to you.
matoad matoad 4 years
Yeah, not fun to deal with... I agree that he doesn't really know her and I think that's a really important point. In some ways it's always easier to feel 'love' for someone who lives in your memory than someone who is in your real life, leaves the tooth paste open etc. (not saying you do that :) ). It may be worth a talk to make sure you guys are both aware of that dynamic, and know it needs to be handled better. So next time there is a stressful situation your guy should know it's not worth retreating into a dream world with an essentially imaginary dream girlfriend (that ex relationship clearly didn't go so perfectly in real life, he just doesn't seem to have remembered that) - and potentially messing up a real, awesome relationship in the process. Obviously, stuff like this is not doable in a relationship in the long run, so if something like this should happen again you'd have to decide how long you want to put up with it...
daisy23 daisy23 4 years
Wow a tough situation for sure. Yes he has been your boyfriend for a long time and I am sure you know him better as the person he is now than his ex does. But beyond all that it is important to take note that this is your boyfriends weakness. Having his father pass away is  hard for him of course, but in life there are a lot of difficult  situations that are bound to happen and how you deal with them is telling about what kind of person you are. I am not saying that your boyfriend is without a doubt going to repeat this kind of mistake but you should be aware that if you stay than it is a possibility . We all deal with stress in different ways. For some of us it's overeating and not sleeping, and for others it is habits that hurt others more. And habits can take time and effort to break. I agree with the previous poster. I think you need to take a break from this relationship and let him know that this is a behavior you do not accomodate.  This will also give you both time to think and for you to do some introspection and see if you can forgive this because being in no man's land of accepting/not accepting will do nothing but make you both angry.
JennyJK JennyJK 4 years
Ugh, this really sucks.  I'm sorry you are dealing with this, especially at a time like this when your bf's dad just passed away and I'm sure you want nothing more than to be there for him.  But then, there's this, so how can you?   I think there are many different ways you could handle this situation and it sounds like you have a good grip on everything so ultimately go with your gut.  To give some perspective I had a (somewhat) similar thing happen to me with my current boyfriend.  He wrote a really inappropriate email to an ex girlfriend saying her loved her and things like that and when I asked him about it he said he meant 'love' as in the way that friends sometimes say it to each other.  I wanted to leave, wanted to stay, didn't know what to do.  So I kind of did both and it didn't solve anything and was just a huge rough patch.  Things are ok now but I still have doubts sometimes even though I know in my gut he is telling the truth about loving me, etc.    In retrospect I wish that after I found the inappropriate letter I just straight up took a break from the relationship.  Move out, no contact, focus on myself for a while, a month or so to see what I really wanted to do and just had some space.  Maybe this wouldn't have changed anything or made me feel better in the long run, but I think it would have been a good idea.   So all that being said, I think you're fine to leave or to stay.  You have to go with your gut.  It definitely could have been a fleeting thing (taken out of context? It's always tough to tell the context if you're not the one in the convo) and if your gut says stay, then you have to forget about it.  But if you want to leave I think you're justified that way too.  Just take some time to think it out.  I know you want to be there for him right now and  you still can tell him you support him, but it's not going to do much good to hang around with this thing hanging over your heads.  Hope that helps some!  So sorry.
henna-red henna-red 4 years
Merle give yourself the time you need to understand what you need from him.....what you want from your relationship, where you want to be in a week, a month, a year from now. Take the time you need to figure that out. I agree with Bubbles, too, about staying calm about this. Don't have a serious talk until you can keep the anger and hurt from exploding all over the both of you. You want to be able to express what you want, what you need without putting more distance between you. Merle, something I've advised friends to do, when they have a lot of anger to work through, is to find something very physical to channel that destructive emotion. With one friend, I suggested chopping wood....takes a lot of focus, a lot of physical energy. With a lot of folks who have lost a relationship, I and others suggest a good physical workout, and I frequently suggest something like boxing or a self defense course...something new that makes you focus, makes you sweat, makes you tired, and lets you hit something. It's just a safe way to express anger, to dump some of that overloaded emotion so that when you're ready to talk, you can do so succinctly, clearly, in control of yourself and your situation. You don't neccessarily have to "look past" your anger right now. Feel it, give it an appropriate expression, channel it, use it to motivate you to a new may eventually find that it's fear of losing something very valuable to you that's helping cause the anger. Fear of thinking you may be in a place you didn't anticipate, fear of facing this thing that you did nothing to deserve....fear is a bitch, and the most common reaction to huge fear is anger....... ok, enuf arm chair psychology....feel your emotions, use your emotions, give yourself permission to take the time you need, the space you need to figure out just what you want and where you want to land. Focus on where you're going, and don't keep going over and over those hurtful move forward, you have to dwell in the present, not the past....something else a good workout will help you do. good luck with your second chance, and with figuring all of this out
henna-red henna-red 4 years
great advise from Bubbles.
Bubbles12 Bubbles12 4 years
Merl my advice is stay with yourself, in this case, your feelings of hurt and the anger as it wants to protect you. Ask yourself what you need right now to feel safe in light of his writing a love letter, and then give yourself exactly what you need. Do not factor the death into it. Act protectively, tell him exactly what he needs to do to re-earn your trust. You can be respectful and non-drama queen about this. You don't have to rant at him, you don't have to tell him you need a ring, or make him suffer with long angry silences. Let it and him be for awhile, withdraw into your own interests and feel your way out. The trick is not letting your sympathy for him become your compass.
merl388 merl388 4 years
Thank you all so much for your advice! It truly means a lot to me. I am trying to get as much perspective as I can because I am so confused right now. I know I want to give him another chance, because I truly believe he is going through something I can't understand right now. I don't know how I am supposed to though. What do I do from here? Do we still see each other? Do we see each other less? Do we take a break? I am just so confused. Its hard for me to act normal around him because I am just so angry. The things he said in the letter hurt me so much and I don't know how I am supposed to look past that.
onlysourcherry onlysourcherry 4 years
Great advice above. I'm inclined to believe that he is being honest when he says that he got carried away, easier times etc. Did he send the letter? I'm guessing he didn't if you found it. If so, that just supports what he's saying. Totally agree that 1) this situation sucks and I'm sorry you're in it 2) Support him and encourage him to seek grief counseling 3) but look out for yourself and make sure he's not taking it out on you. Good luck.
Bubbles12 Bubbles12 4 years
I have a general rule of thumb that whenever someone goes through a divorce or suffers the death of an immediate family member they are officially crazy for two years. Unhinged from an important mooring we are all subject to doing things and making wild decisions that are the result of being both in shock and extreme pain. Even the amiable divorces or 'she lived a long, full life' deaths. That person needs to hold off on making major decisions for two years. However, everything tends to get urgent. Hard to resist the impulse. Get ready for a wild ride. He can do anything right now. That was the warning shot. If I were you I'd be a certain point. Also be self-protective, don't let your desire to help him through this get in the way of what's good for you too. He may confront things about himself that he had no clue about previously and may want to create major change. He may suddenly NEED to get married to you, right away. Don't do it, or anything else major. Wait another two years if you can.
henna-red henna-red 4 years
Hi there OP. I'm so sorry for your distress, and for your boyfriends'. A lot of people have great trouble dealing with grief, particularly when it's a parent. And when the childhood relationship is troubled, it can be even more difficult, because, often, the child doesn't know how to feel or react. You can love a parent who is abusive or difficult, get past the childhood experiences, or think you have, until that parent is gone. Then there's this hole in space where there used to be someone....and instead of dealing with the confusing emotions, some people do just what your boyfriend has described to you, and sort of sublimate of redirect their emotions, often into an inappropriate direction. I expect you're right, he can't possible love her....he has these happy memories that are easier to deal with that all of the unhappy, abusive memories that his father's death are bringing back. He's reliving those bad times, and looking for a distraction, because he doesn't know how to deal with those memories, those emotions. Your boyfriend needs some help. A grief counselor could help him understand his current reaction, but if his chidhood was so traumatic for him as it sounds like, then he really needs a full time therapist to help him learn skills to deal with the emotions he's never dealt with. And speaking to a therapist, perhaps a relationship specialist, or an abuse specialist, can help you understand what he's going through, and what he needs to do for himself. If he doesn't help himself, he's going to continue having difficuties in your relationship....he'll eventally push these emotions away, but they always come back to the surface at some point, and poison things. I suggest you speak to a counselor, and get a professional's advise about how to suggest to your boyfriend some therapy..for him, and for you both. I understand that you're in never expected something like this. But the death of a parent can be a trigger all kinds of unexpected stuff. I lost my mom in 09, and it was a life changer...I'm not the same person I was before. I carry a wound that will never quite heal, but I also have a strength that I didn't have before....I still cry thinking about that time, and remembering my mom. My dad died years ago, and he was an abusive parent. I didn't love him when he passed, but that feeling of a hole in space where this presense and the memory of his crimes against me has been something that has shaped my entire's been a long time process to work at that healing, and it will continue for the rest of my life. Your boyfriend needs some help, and some understanding, and you getting some information about how people deal with difficult childhoods can help you know how to approach this situation with your boyfriend. Don't despair, don't panic, and don't hold this against him. Grief.....know one know how they'll react until they're in the middle of it. take good care, blessed be
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