Wedding Woes

OMG, *talk* to the man.

Dear Prudence,

I’m in a happy relationship of about five months. He’s kind, considerate, and hilarious. We haven’t had any conversations about our exes. I know he’s only dated one girl before me because he mentioned it in passing. I left it alone because I figured it might be a painful topic. I was still curious, so I snooped through social media (which was a bad move on my part) and found out that they were together for at least two years, if not four or five. That seems like such a big deal! She still likes every single one of his posts. I freaked out but haven’t talked to him about it yet. It just feels like such a major part of his life is being left out of the story! I have a tendency toward anxiety and the fear that I am just a placeholder for his feelings for an ex—baggage from a previous relationship. Is it worth a conversation (and an apology for snooping), or am I better off focusing on the present and refusing to fuel my anxiety?

—Ex Feelings

Re: OMG, *talk* to the man.

  • downtondivadowntondiva member
    Seventh Anniversary 1000 Comments 500 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited January 2020
    OK, so I was 18 when my husband and I started dating, and neither of us really had any exes to speak of, so this wasn't an issue that ever came up. But 5 months seems like kind of a long time to have never talked at all about your respective exes. (Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.)

    Anyway, I think it's okay for LW to bring up the subject of exes without accusing her boyfriend of being hung up on his ex or demanding to know why she's still liking all his social media posts. She can just ask how long they were together and let the conversation go on from there, if boyfriend is open to it. As long as LW doesn't go in already confrontational, it should be fine.


    Ask him about the relationship and what may have not worked.   But FFS, if they broke up and are not together you have to move on as he did. 
  • I think this is an overreaction given you haven’t even had a conversation about ex’s. I don’t think 5 months is too long in the scheme of things (depending on how serious those 5 months have been) to have not talked about it. But that doesn’t mean you can’t bring it up! And not in a “I creepily snooped your social
    media” but in a “so we’ve never really talked about this, but I’ve had two serious relationships in the past. What about you?” 

     I feel like these things naturally come up (or they don’t and people don’t really care about their partners past) and it’s good to ask questions if you have them, but I don’t think he’s done anything wrong here for LW to be this worked up. 
  • I have never had an in depth conversation with any boyfriend about any ex's ever, DH included. Granted DH and I were friends before we dated so we kind of knew each other's ex's but I don't think it is that big of deal not to talk about it. Unless the ex is traumatic in some way, then there should be a conversation. If it was just a normal relationship I have no need to tell DH my ex loves Beck and is good at darts or hear about how his ex prefers vanilla creamer or whatever.
  • MyNameIsNotMyNameIsNot Atlanta member
    Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I think this is one of those things that gets more important as you're dating older. When you're in your early 20's, pretty much everyone has similar stories, a few s/o's here or there, maybe something mildly serious. But for my friends in their 30+'s dating now, it's a much bigger topic. I think prior marriages tell you something about compatibility long term, but also meeting someone who is 45 and never married is interesting. There's more perspective about why prior relationships didn't work, beyond "I was 22 and too immature." 

    DH and I did talk about it. He had an ex that still had some financial entanglements and wanted everything to be above board. I'd dated primarily women, and wanted him to know that going in. We talked about relationship failures some, but we never talked about things like an ex's personal preferences. 
  • DH and I were friends for years before we dated but once we did start dating we peeled back a few layers of the onion to start to talk more about what did and didn't work in prior relationships.  I *knew* when he broke up with his girlfriend but didn't know a lot about the inner workings of their relationship and still don't know all - but know enough that we made things work.

  • climbingsingleclimbingsingle NYC 'burbs member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    H and I were engaged after 5 months, and we had definitely spoken about our pasts, and exes. So yes, I do think it's weird to not ever discuss that in 5 months of dating. But yeah, talk to him! 

  • After M and my first date I asked about his ex. There had been mention the night before.
    I legit started the convo as "Idk how to bring this up and it's probably early, but what happened with your ex?"

    I'm awkward a.f
  • H and I were friends first and I observed one of his relationships, and he told me about the other one pretty early on.  Unless it was a really painful breakup that they still have difficulties about, it might be an awkward conversation but shouldn't really be avoided for too long.  

  • Being friends with someone you dated previously is not a problem nor red flag in and of itself.  I dated a guy that beyond great guy and friend but no way in heck were we compatible in the marrying/spouse category!  ISYN - the day I found out he was dating someone and he was marriage bound I could not have ever been happier for the gal about to marry him!

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  • short+sassyshort+sassy member
    Seventh Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    edited February 2020
    I see the LW's issue definitely being more of a "perspective" thing.  Different people have different comfort levels in talking about their past.  Do I think it's unusual her b/f hasn't mentioned this relationship much?  No, I don't think that's necessarily unusual.  Even though I myself and many other people would have already given a summary/some stories of a previous long-term relationship.  But not everyone is like that.

    For example, my H is not.  He and I have been together for almost 20 years.  He was married twice before me.  But, overall, I know very little about his ex-wives or even his immediate family, for that matter.  He's told stories here and there but, overall, he is no longer in touch with and doesn't like to talk about any of them.  Earlier on, I talked to him about what went wrong in his previous two marriages.  He readily gave me a general summary of what he thinks went wrong.  But not many details.

    Edited: Oops, forgot the "advice" part, lol.  I don't think the LW needs to admit to snooping.  I'd think they can achieve what they are looking for with an opener like, "I know this can sometimes be an awkward conversation.  But considering how well things have been going between us, I would like to know more about the relationship you had with Jane Doe."  And be ready with some questions to foster the conversation, without making it sound like the third degree.
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  • If its really bothering you and might make you feel uncomfortable or awkward around him, you should definitely let him know, there's nothing wrong in having a conversation with him to let him know your worries. But, don't accuse him of not telling you about his ex either, especially since past relationships isn't a topic the two of you discussed. 
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