Alias (DO NOT USE A REAL NAME!!): Derek
Comment: Recently I met a woman I really like. She’s fun and smiley and makes me feel better than any woman I’ve ever met before.
But I made a few mistakes in trying to impress her, and after three months, she broke up with me.
Basically, at the beginning of our relationship, I spoke a lot about my exgirlfriend. Maybe too much. I really think I was just trying to impress her and show her that I’m capable of being in a relationship. I’m 41 and want to show her that I know how to be serious.
But she said the details I told her are things no woman wants to know about her spouse, and show that I’m weak.
One thing I probably should have kept to myself is that this woman owes me close to $3,000. We went on a very expensive trip together. I figured she’d pay me back soon after we got back, but then we broke up.
My current girlfriend was horrified, because I’d only gone out with this woman for nine months. She’s like “Why would you lend someone you hardly know that much money?” She says it makes her doubt me financially.
She also said, if it’s something that bothers me enough to be telling her about, I should call up this other woman and ask for the money back. But I can’t. It was almost three years ago, and frankly, that would be embarrassing. My girlfriend says I should be more embarrassed to be telling her about it, then asking for what is mine. And the fact that I never asked for the money back, makes it seem like I intended to give this other woman the money. I DIDN’T. I just broke up with her suddenly (to her at least) and I felt badly about that.
I mean, she did deserve it I guess. We had a pretty bad relationship. And the final straw was when she asked me to pay her money for the meals she was making us (though she insisted I pay for all dates and I bought the actual groceries).
Unfortunately I told my girlfriend this as well and she just lost all respect for me. She’s like “What? the woman owed you $3000 AND asked you to pay her for cooking? Dude, she was a whore! And what the hell is wrong with you?” Nothing was wrong with me. I’m just a nice guy and was trying to keep the peace.
Should I not be telling these details? I mean. I thought it was a way to get closer. To share past traumas and all. But apparently it makes me look weak.
I’m pretty sure she now thinks I’m a total loser. But I’m not. I have had tonnes of women interested in me. It’s more like I’m a commitment-phone. I was just in that relationship, as I said at the beginning of the letter, to try my hand at the long-term relationship thing. In retrospect, I even think I picked her specifically because I knew she was such a disaster, and I could just get one “under my belt” for future reference. Unfortunately, the future did not enjoy this referencing.
If my guy was owed money and decided not to try and collect the debt, I’d keep my mouth shut. It’s not my place to nag him into getting his money back. Nor would I think less of him if he chose not to seek payment. Deciding to walk away from drama is a sign of maturity, not weakness. Opening up that can of worms will do no good, other than it will sate the new girlfriend’s desire to see the Ex called on the carpet. What concerned your new girlfriend is why you didn’t want to piss this Ex off by asking that she pay you back. By talking about your Ex you created drama where there didn’t need to be any. As such, your girlfriend began to feel threatened and annoyed, both rightfully so. You didn’t stop to consider how hearing these stories would make your girlfriend feel.
What your girlfriend wanted to see was indisputable evidence that your Ex was no longer a presence in your mind /life. That’s why she wanted you to get that money back. She wanted to see you actually do something to prove you no longer cared for your Ex. That way she wouldn’t have to worry about this woman popping back into your life.
By mentioning your Ex in more than just a passing way and with regularity, you made this into a thing. This is not an example of you trying to bond with your girlfriend. This was clear cut whining about an Ex. That’s why your new girlfriend’s hackles were raised. By repeatedly discussing this Ex, you started to make your new girlfriend wonder why – still – you were so bothered by her. You can’t say in one breath that an Ex was horrible or crazy and persist in talking about them and then claim not to care about them or what they think. Those two thoughts are incongruous. Clearly, this issue bothers you enough to keep griping about it. THAT’S THE PROBLEM.
Reading this made me think of a guy I dated who, like you, told his new girlfriend about an “ex” (aka me) and all kinds of drama unfolded. Last year, his sister in law was on a show that I watch. While scrolling through the twitter feed for the series, I came across a tweet that had a link to naked pictures of her. Undoubtedly, some skeevy photographer took the pics and decided to post them somewhere to get publicity for himself. I was pretty confident she didn’t want those photos out there and didn’t give her permission to have them distributed in that way. So, despite the bad blood between this guy and me, I sent him the link and suggested he try to get the pics taken down. For the next few weeks he and I messaged back and forth about the pics. I gave him a fair amount of advice on how to address it publicly, all of which he implemented.
Well, he must have told his wife that he and I were in touch. Or she somehow found out. I don’t know. I assume she wasn’t happy about it. This guy and I had a very toxic relationship but an extremely intense sexual history. She had a right to be bothered that he and I would communicating for a couple weeks or that he’d be seeking my feedback for anything. He made her aware of me when they first began dating and even admitted they often poured through my tweets together and had a laugh at my expense. That was his first mistake, as by putting me on her radar, she started to read my tweets and blog and probably read somethings that made her question him. Things got really ugly between us at one point and I had no problem taking shots at him publicly, sans his name or anything that could identify him, including that he was a serial cheater. (He is.) I’m sure that didn’t thrill her. That wasn’t the most productive use of my time, and I look back on it with embarrassment, but I was angry and profoundly hurt. That’s not an excuse, just an explanation.
So, because he and I were chatting last summer and because we had such a tumultuous past, naturally she was confused. Why would he be talking to me at all given our past? Eventually she went trolling through my tweets and came across one that was absolutely a shot at her husband and by extension her. She had to dig to find it, as it was part of a much larger conversation. Apparently, she sent him a link to the tweet and was quite upset. In response, he forwarded her email to me and wrote some super bitchy rant that I know he mostly wrote for her benefit. This guy would sooner chew his own arm off that than directly confront me about anything unless he was forced. A few nights later he sent me this 1600 word missive around midnight talking about how I was an “open wound” for him and how terribly cutting it was for him to think we had finally mended fences only to see that tweet. I have a feeling his wife knows nothing about that email.
Anyhoo, my point in telling that tale is to draw a comparison. By habitually bitching about me to his girlfriend/now wife, he raised a red flag. By drawing her attention to me, she possibly learned things about him she didn’t want to know. The longer he went without standing up to me, the more upset she became. I suspect that she, like the OP’s girlfriend, was baffled as to why he would let this go on and not say something. Finally she had had enough and forced him to stand up to me.
That’s what was going on in your relationship, Derek. Your girlfriend was pissed that you weren’t speaking up because she feared that that was an indication that there was more to the story. And for the record? Usually, there is. There certainly was in my case.
Going forward keep all talk of your exes on a need to know basis, dude. Mentioning an ex on any kind of regular basis will only end up worrying your new girlfriend. She’s going to wonder why this person still has such a hold on you. . That’s why your most recent girlfriend kept at you about your dealing with your Ex. She wanted to see that you no longer harbor any feelings for her and possess no semblance of an attraction to her.
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