An ex-boyfriend of mine is a key member of a friendship group that I am on the periphery of. It includes people I get along with very well, and would enjoy spending more time with at group events. But my ex-boyfriend’s wife refuses to accept that sometimes his path might cross with mine. If we attend the same event, she insists that they leave as soon as she realizes I am there. This is noticed by other people, and the upshot is that I am excluded from many gatherings, especially those to which he is seen as having the greater claim (e.g. the memorial dinner for his best friend, who was also a good friend of mine). This seems so unfair to me—particularly given that I’m the one behaving well here and her radar is not entirely off. My ex-boyfriend does still seem to have feelings for me, but I rebuff every overture (I am happily married myself). The usual pattern is that after a few months of very occasional cheerful texts about work and children he crosses a line and tells me how much he cares for me, I shut him down, and then he is silent until something external triggers contact. What can I do? I am tired of being seen as part of a social problem others have to tip-toe around, and of missing events I’d like to go to. I have a phone full of messages that would clearly demonstrate where the problem lies—but I’d blow his marriage apart if I used those.
— I’m Being Punished Because He Behaves Badly