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You Asked: My Boyfriend Won't Stop Talking About His Ex

You Asked: My Boyfriend Won't Stop Talking About His Ex

Dear Sugar,

I've been on and off with this guy for more than a year now, but the last six months we've been in a steady relationship. About a month ago he told me he loved me. He's only been in a committed relationship once before, which was about two years ago. The story of how they broke up is not exactly clear, but I know she cheated on him and broke his heart. He tried many times to win her back, but she wanted nothing to do with him, and is currently in a new relationship.

The problem is he talks about her all the time. At first I was very understanding, but now it's getting annoying. Within the first three months we were dating, I asked him if he was over her and he said that he was trying. Not long ago, I asked him again. He said, "I am. Before I wasn't sure, but now it's clear; I'm over her." And yet, he continually talks about her. When I mention that it bothers me he stops for a while, and then he's back at it again. I don't know what to do. I love him and I don't want to lose him, but I also don't want to be with someone who wishes they were with the one who got away, and not me! Is it time for me to move on? Or can I make this work?

— Over Being Understanding Beth

To see DearSugar's answer,


Dear Over Being Understanding Beth,

I don't blame you for being tired of listening to your boyfriend talk about his ex; I wouldn't like it either! While I'm sure he truly loves you, it does sound like he has some pent-up issues about his ex, but unfortunately, that's something that only he has control over.

Open up to him and let him know that by continuously mentioning his ex, you're not sure he can truly let go and focus on what he has in front of him. Don't be shy about sharing your fears that he'll always wish he was with her instead of you; I think that's a truth he needs to hear. But do remember that a change like this doesn't happen over night. It's many small steps that happen over time, so be patient. However, if things stay the same you'll have to decide for yourself if this is something you can tolerate.


Join The Conversation
Janine22 Janine22 9 years
I'll just say that I think that he is not over her and that is not fair to you.
a-nonny-mouse a-nonny-mouse 9 years
He's not over her -- and you know it. (That's very sad for you; I'm so sorry.) Either move on, or figure out how to get really cheerful about being the one he's with in the absence of the one he truly wants.
sparklestar sparklestar 9 years
Up to the "he talks about her all the time" you might as well have described my situation. My boyfriend had his first and only serious relationship end 2 years ago. She cheated on him quite brutally and I guess he must have been pretty heartbroken over it. It's bitches like his ex that cause men to become embittened towards women and not want to do nice things! However, my boyfriend dealt with his heartbreak and moved on healthily and we now have a wonderful relationship together. No mentions of ex's at all. The only time she has been mentioned is when we bumped into her once on the university campus... other than that? Nothing. So your boyfriend needs like... therapy? Closure? He needs to not be in a relationship until he's dealt with his issues, basically. :/
jessie jessie 9 years
wow.....almost like he's trying to find out where he messed up at in his last relationship so he doesn't do it with you. but it prolly wasn't his fault in his last relationship. he has a lot of unresolved issues he needs to resolve with himself before he can continue with a full relationship i feel. he's blaming himself i think for the past and somehow trying to see that is doesn't happen again, but not seeing that he's pushing you away.
FoxyJo FoxyJo 9 years
Lose him! You're better then that! And there is someone who will only talk and think about YOU!! Good Luck Girl!
sourcherry sourcherry 9 years
Imagine this scenario: his ex broke up with the guy she's with, and starts contacting your boyfriend. Hm, what do you thing he'd do? Yeah. I couldn't date a guy knowing that if he had a chance he'd be with someone else. But ok, being a little more comprehensive, he has said he loves you, and he seems to be slowly forgetting her. I'd try one more time, ultimatum style. Either he stops talking about her, or you're done.
MissJules5x MissJules5x 9 years
He's not over her. he's obsessed and obviously still dealing with being rejected by her. He is with you to pass the time because he clearly doesn't give a damn about your feelings or the relationship if he continues to bring her into it and hurt you. he's not ready to be in a relationship with you or anyone else right now, and you will never be happy in this relationship. i think its time to cut your losses and move on
bigestivediscuit bigestivediscuit 9 years
I'd suggest that YOU suggest the both of you take a break until he's ready to take the third person (his ex) out of your relationship. It sounds like she's almost actually there with his constant mentioning of her!
ajennilynrushhh ajennilynrushhh 9 years
I agree with princess_eab, glowingmoon, and chocolatine. You are very patient, I would've left him already. He's not over his ex.
chocolatine chocolatine 9 years
Why don't you start mentioning your exes at every opportunity? I know it's not the most mature approach, but it'll make him experience the annoyance first hand. If/when he brings it up, tell him "I'll stop mentioning mine if you stop mentioning yours".
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 9 years
I agree -- how annoying. Seriously, I consider this a deal breaker (yes, I do have longish list. :)). It seems like there's THREE people in the relationship -- you, him, and his ex. And you know the saying -- three's a crowd. I would make my exit, and leave him alone with the woman he's really preoccupied with. I would want to be with man who's preoccupied WITH ME. :)
RockAndRepublic RockAndRepublic 9 years
I wouldn't be so cavalier with my emotions in a relationship with a guy that only now has actually become something, 2. is obviously not over his ex.
princess_eab princess_eab 9 years
Wow, you are very patient. I would have probably broken up with him over this. You should say "look, I'm DONE hearing about her, and your need to either get over her and stop talking about her or we need to think about splitting up ourselves." No normal adult acts like that, it's very disrespectful to you!
honeysugar28 honeysugar28 9 years
While its normal to remember an ex from time to time what he's doing is not fair to you. He might be over her but not over the break up or the torment that she put him through and he might still be struggling to understand what happened. But now he's got you in his life and he should be looking forward to the future not living in the past. You obviously want to make things work and love him so talk to him again calmly and remind him that you've had told him your feelings about this before and this relationship is between YOU and him so you'd rather just focus on the two of you and leave her out of your lives.
Jude-C Jude-C 9 years
Wow. That's annoying. In his defense, though, I think this is just something people do--especially since that was not only his first deep relationship, but also a big heartbreak for him. I'd counsel patience for a while. Let him get some of the stuff off of his chest. If he keeps doing it for months and months, though, you've got a problem.
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