Is He Still In Love With His Ex?

Alias (DO NOT USE A REAL NAME!!): Brazilian in NYCthreesome

Comment: Hi Moxie!

I wrote in a few months ago about making a choice between an officer and recent (undocumented) immigrant. Thanks for your advice! You were spot on about the officer, i stopped talking to him shortly after asking that question and continued with the immigrant, my current bf and fiance I might add. We’ve been dating since March and have been exclusive since April (well since we met, since I never saw the officer again.)

 I trust that he is not marrying me solely to obtain status in the US, but I am also not completely dense enough to think that it doesn’t affect his decision to decide to marry me so soon, I know he loves me, but I think he wouldn’t make that choice so soon if he weren’t in this position (judging by his personality and past actions.) I am in love with him. I’ve never been so happy with anybody. I want to marry him. Maybe he is in love and taking a giant leap of faith, hoping he wasn’t wrong to marry so soon. Anyway this is not the question and you can leave it it out if you choose.

Here is my problem. I have anxiety that he can never love me the way he loved his ex. They were together for 11 years, since they were 18. His mother is his ex’s godmother.  He wanted to marry her and have children but she always told him she wasn’t ready and kept studying. Then shortly after he moved to the US (he wasn’t planning on staying permanently) she told him she liked the time apart and wanted to end things because, to quote him quoting her, “you are perfect, i just wish i hadn’t met you when i was 18.” I guess she wanted to explore. To be fair he had become depressed and gained a lot of weight. probably pushing her away during the process. It sounds like she ripped his heart out. We met two years after the breakup.

I know all of this because he overshared a lot about her during our first two dates, until i told him that wasn’t normal and I didn’t appreciate it (bragging about how hot his ex was, talking about what a hard time he had getting over her.) He continued to mention his 11 year relationship every now and then, during the first two months (of 4) we have been together. things like “babe you never have to worry about me cheating, I was in an 11 year relationship and I never cheated.” This bothered me and I snapped and said that if he was so pleased with his 11 year relationship he should go have another 11 years with her. I have trouble communicating sometimes.  After that he almost never spoke about her only to mention his debt to her. He lost some money in the stock market, some of hers and he is paying it off with interest.  He has to send her money every month. He says he really wants to finish paying off so he can cut all ties. he mentioned in april she was trying to work things out
but he didnt want to.

Nowadays he seems so happy, we have an amazing relationship. I feel like I’ve done a lot of hard work (trying to figure myself out and maturing) to get to the point where I can be in a great relationship. I used to be super anxious about his ex, but he made me feel better, he said he has never felt this way before, or fallen in love so quickly. when I’ve mentioned her specifically he says he has no interest in that and he has left it in the past. He’s happy to be with me now and make a future with me.

And i kept my anxious monster under control until recently. He started to make this little cute joke, it’s in portuguese so there’s no translation. He says i love you and then he says something else that rhymes with that. And now he is trying to get me to say that back to him. (two days in a row now) He says “you’re supposed to say this.”
The thing is, from having Facebook stalked early in the relationship. I know its something he and his ex used to say to each other, the would write it on each other fb posts. When he said it the first time i was hurt but i didn’t say anything and i told him I didnt get it. But he insisted later that same day and the next day too. that i say this little rhyming love thing with him that he used to do with his ex. i just keep ignoring it.

Now In feeling anxious and insecure. Am i always going to be second best? Is he trying to relive his old relationship. Or did i just Facebook stalk too much, had i not done that I would be fine. Do men get over 11 year relationships?
We are supposed to be moving in and then getting married shortly after. Should I be wary? If things were to go bad, i would be devastated.
Age: 25
City: NYC
State: NY

After my Dad died, my step-mother – being the horrible human being that she turned out to be – insisted that my father be buried in his family plot with his parents. My father, however, had purchased a whole other plot where my mother was buried so that he, my step-mother, and my mother could be buried together. But, see, my step-mother didn’t want to be buried with my mother because she was a petty bitch with the emotional maturity of a teenager. So, because my Dad was dead and couldn’t defend himself, my step-mother decided to ignore his wishes because, of course. Why wouldn’t she? She knew my Mom held a very special place in my Dad’s heart. We weren’t even allowed to mention my mother in front of my step-mother.Even in death she couldn’t see past her own insecurity concerning my mother.

My father loved both women equally, but differently. My mother was his first love and the woman  who bore his children. My step-mother was the woman who saved him and made him happy after he lost my Mom. (Side note: I feel fucking rage just typing that.)

My point is that it makes sense that your fiancee would still harbor feelings for his ex, which he clearly does. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you, it just means that he loves you differently. The fact that he owes her money muddies the water a bit because that debt is a very tangible tie to her, and that complicates things.

I think at any given time most people are haunted by ghosts of past relationships. Of course, most people are smart enough to keep their traps shut and not discuss said Exes. There is always going to be someone or some people in our past that still has a piece of us. I don’t know if we ever stop loving someone or being attracted to them. I believe those feelings simmer and cool, but don’t die. So, whether it’s this guy or another one, it’s likely there will always be some kind of specter floating around your relationship. The idea that you are someone’s one and only – in my opinion – isn’t accurate. We’re just the one that person has chosen for now, and we might last longer than the others, or maybe we won’t.

He’s never going to forget her, BINYC. If you marry him, you have to accept that. Now, as for the subject of marrying him…


You know that he’s rushing this because he’s undocumented. That is not a reason to get married. First, you barely know him. Second, at 25, you barely know yourself. This situation is steeped in red flag drama -the ex, the loan, the undocumented status. That’s a lot of heavy shiz to be dealing with on the brink of saying, “I do.”

It’s great that you’ve done hard work to become the person you want to be but…what hard work has he done? How is he any different than when you met?

You don’t want that question mark of whether or not he married you to stay in the country to hang over your marriage. You don’t. You also don’t want to be worrying if he’s truly over his ex. Spoiler alert: he’s not.

There are too many big questions looming overhead for you to make such a huge decision, a decision that will impact your life socially and financially for the foreseeable should this not work out.


Sometimes the love of your life is the love of your life. (R)


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34 Responses to “Is He Still In Love With His Ex?”

  1. BostonRobin Says:

    “…current bf and fiance I might add. We’ve been dating since March and have been exclusive since April.”

    I stopped there when I first looked at this post and… noooooo! Second Moxie’s “don’t.”

    And yes, while there are some people we never get over, we do get ourselves to the point where we don’t allow our future relationships to be haunted by their ghosts. I’m surprised the LW lasted past the first two dates hearing all about this woman. Sometimes I might give someone a pass on one date, but if I end up knowing more about some other person (ex or “friend” or anyone) than the person I’m supposed to be dating, I’m out.

    But that fortitude comes with time and many bad experiences being burned on the hot stove.

  2. Noquay Says:

    This guy is a train wreck and why, oh why, are you wishing to be married so soon? Moxie puts it well; “what hard work has he done”? Not taking time to grieve and at least come to terms with the ex in itself is a huge red flag. I was married to a wonderful man and yeah, some part of me will always be with him and the likelihood of finding someone as accomplished is non existent. However, when meeting new men I have the good sense to keep my mouth shut. No one has the right to tell you what you “should” say. Has he done the hard work to deal with his depression and now, unhealthy weight? If he became depressed whilst with Ms. So Hot, what’s gonna happen when he’s with you? Life is going to be full of all manner of challenges, most mundane rather than exciting. Marriage is about choosing to work together when the shiny and new wears off, you begin to age, you have to deal with dull daily realities such as taking care of the kids, paying the bills etc. It doesn’t sound at this point that this dude has nearly the maturity it takes to go the distance. It sounds like, OP, that you know deep down in your gut things aren’t OK yet you’re looking for validation that everything’s fine. Listen to your gut.

  3. Bree Says:

    “He lost some money in the stock market, some of hers and he is paying it off with interest. He has to send her money every month.”

    Riiiiiight. That money is to support the child he doesn’t plan on telling you about.

    Don’t marry him. He’s lying to you and just needs that green card.

    • ATWYSingle Says:

      Damn. Nice catch. I didn’t even think that the money was child support.

    • SB Says:

      I thought that, too. If he had lost money in the stock market, it would be “oh well” not him paying her back.
      Paying it off with interest every month. Well, he’s a creative liar.

    • BTownGirl Says:

      I would like to present you with The Jessica Fletcher Lifetime Achievement In Bullsh*t Busting Award. I’m seriously impressed! ;)

    • Lisa Says:

      I was thinking that EXACTLY!

    • Rosie Says:

      That’s exactly what I thought. It’s either child support, or its money to support her (his beloved), basically same shit.
      Don’t do it. I’ve heard so many stories like these. He’ll get that green card today and tomorrow he’ll ask for a divorce, and petition her as a fiancée; until the divorce is final. I’ve gotten so many messages from men I knew, or that are friends with my cousins in the Caribbean professing their love for me when I don’t even know them. It’s all about the green card.

      Tell him you’re having doubts about getting married and see how fast he breaks up with you. Don’t be an statistic.

  4. uesider Says:

    Seeing how he’s undocumented and the wife never came to the U.S., what are the chances that he’s still married to her? Answer: About 100%. He would probably have to go back home to divorce her and he’s not going to do that because he wouldn’t be able to get back here.

    Seems to be plenty of guys in NYC that are documented and not married that a 25 year old can find to date.

    • uesider Says:

      I re-read the message and see that the fellow never got married to her- but if it’s Brazil we’re talking about its common law after 2 years. He’d still have to get a divorce.

  5. bbdawg Says:

    Hey OP I am Brazilian too, and you have to be really careful with Brazilian men…I think you know that already? They tend to cheat and expect to be fawned over since birth, in a culture where men are taught they deserve special treatment from an early age.

    The large majority of Brazilian women who live abroad, even temporarily, date non-Brazilian men (because generally speaking non_Brazilian men treat women better and don’t expect special treatment – a maid at home) but the reverse is rarely true: most male immigrants gravitate towards Brazilian women, regardless of class or status, often they will bring a Brazilian girlfriend, wife or fiancée over.

    He is marrying you for the greencard. That is the only reason why he proposed to you so soon. I bet he’d have a REAL hard time finding an American woman who would fall for this spiel.

    If you are dating an undocumented person that HUGE problem becomes your problem as well. You’re too young for that much baggage.

  6. SB Says:

    Yes, he’s still in love with the “ex.” In fact, she’s probably not an ex.

    A good friend of mine had an undocumented woman try to force a marriage after a couple of months, and I saw right through it. She was horrible to him and even worse to all of his friends. Luckily, some male friends of ours talked to him until he saw the light. He was being taken for a ride, and so are you, OP. This woman found another sucker to marry her soon after. She cared nothing for either of them, and I’m afraid that’s happening here, too.

    He can behave for a couple of weeks to get you to say “I do.” but apparently not any longer than that. This relationship is a total scam, as will be any marriage that you allow to happen. His next step will be to bring his real wife over here to get her citizenship, too (is that possible?) and whatever kids they have. The money he’s sending her every month? He’s supporting his family back home.

    He’s mentioning this woman so much to get you used to hearing about her so that when he slips up, he can explain that away. He also needed a significant back story to make you believe she’s an ex. I’d be very surprised if that story were true.
    This is my read on this letter.

    Run far and run fast. You are 25; at this age, you can have almost any man you want. Why waste time with this guy who’s only using you for citizenship status?

    • Eliza Says:

      OP–Listen to all our advice here! Run for the hills…please and quickly. No good can come of this. These immigrants…Brazilian or otherwise are great scam artists, they spin their webs, create backstories, and put a spin on things, and can bring nothing but heartache…and possibly financial ruin your way. I wouldn’t move as fast as you have…you still have time to back out. Be very careful with these foreigners …they may not be born in the US or speak English fluently, but they know the system, and how to lie and cheat to get what they want. He’s still in love/and involved with his ex–and as someone else pointed–possibly even has a child with her! Do your due diligence.

    • BrNYC Says:

      OP here

      Thanks everyone for the advice.
      I will definitely reconsider the marriage. It’s meant to happen in late fall.

      I want to just add here that I’m 90% uninclined to believe he has a wife. I have met members of his family while I was vacationing in Brazil. And as I mentioned have facebook stalked him and his es from early on. She hardly had any privacy settings for some reason. No sign of children. His cousin mentioned the ex saying he didn’t like her and to give him some time because it was a hard breakup for him.
      I’ll consider it, but what can I do to know for sure? Short of going through his personal accounts. He’d surely break up with me if he found out. And that’s generally frowned upon here.
      As for the “child support” he’s shown me the receipts for the money he sends, because I needed to send money to Brazil and I didn’t know how.
      I’ll read about the common law thing though.

      He used to work in finance. So it’s not farfetched. I have confirmed this, his cousin is in the same field. Why he is paying her back? He’s prone to self righteousnesslol

      • SS Says:

        1. Financially disadvantaged people in poorer countries are well-known for latching onto (lonely?) people in order to get money, but also citizenship status in more affluent countries. Ask me about Turkish waiters, lol.

        2. Their entire families will *absolutely* lie/cover up in order to see one of their own get that citizenship, because they think they can follow, and… sorry, but I don’t set much store by his family’s word.

        3. ….I just Googled the $ to the Real. Apparently the average wage in Brazil is around $667 per month. Makes me wonder if the “sending the ex money” story is BS. Potentially it’s a cover for him just sending money back to his family. This is also what 99% of these men (and women) do to support their families in their country of origin whilst living abroad.

        4. “He used to work in finance.”
        Have you checked his Linkedin profile? Is he on their Alumni pages anywhere? Have you googled him? Does his story check out? I cannot comprehend why he is no longer in that field unless he’s at a commensurate salary.

        4. “She hardly had any privacy settings for some reason.”
        As my idol Judge Judy says: “If it doesn’t make sense, it isn’t true.” Have you considered that the ex story was purely a ploy to get you interested or “compete” for him? For him to establish legitimacy? That the whole profile is just a fake construct?

        Trust your gut. Please consider that maybe you’re feeling anxious and insecure for exactly the *right* reasons.

      • bbdawg Says:

        OP, I used to work in “finance” and I know Brazilians who do. Here’s the thing: if he did work in some area of finance it would have been a lot easier for him to get transferred into the US from a big company, since most big banks and other companies have offices in São Paulo and New York too. I know a woman who used to work in São Paulo and wanted to work here and did via a transfer to New York. She works at Bloomberg now.

        People like that would NEVER leave their professional job to become a dishwasher, pizza delivery person or a house cleaner which is the jobs that you get as an illegal immigrant.

        It makes no sense why he’d become an illegal immigrant here after a professional career. That is a serious step-down…I mean he can’t have any type of normal job here that’s for sure UNLESS HE GETS A VISA BY MARRYING SOMEONE.

        Something is not adding up, that’s what everyone is saying. It’s not just the visa, it’s the story about his job, the “stock market” story…when you lose money like that there are specifics involved…and ESPECIALLY if someone worked in finance…

        Ask HOW he lost that money, what specific stocks/mutual funds/hedge funds, etc… WHERE he worked…NAMES. Title. Exact function…ask him to forward a job description for the job he used to have.

        Don’t trust his family, they only have his best interests in mind – and that interest is that he gets a VISA BY MARRYING SOMEONE. So of course they will all be in their best behavior in front of you…

        • BrNYC Says:

          Sounds like a good idea. I didn’t ask because i thought it might be rude to ask how he lost soo much money, it would be a sore subject for me if that were the case.

          Anyway i will ask details soon and sort of postpone the marriage indefinitely to see how he reacts to that. I cant hack into his accounts even though it might be easy after we live together. im opposed to it completely and cant bring myself to do it.

          I looked up records, which are available to anyone online, and found nothing under his name under family or civil. i know its his name because i have seen his official federal id that every brazilian has.

          Thanks everyone, trying to keep level-headed without becoming overly cynical and suspicious.

          Yesterday i asked him about whether his past relationship would be considered common law and he says that they never lived together (in 11 years) because even though thats what he wanted she put it off to study and was happy being apart.

          And in case anyone was wondering he did lose all the weight while here.
          And yes i do want to get married soon and thats why i am rushing i also dont want to be worried that he will be deported. it was my idea to marry but i believe i am in love with him as crazy as that sounds to some.

          • D. Says:

            You’re going to be marrying this guy. That means joining and comingling finances. His debts will be your debts and vice versa. I’d say that gives you every right to inquire about just what the hell happened.

            Honestly, everything in this story, from your doubts about his lingering emotional connection to your reticence to ask about how he managed to lose a bunch of money, to your apparent facebook stalking of him and his ex, it all just sounds like you are NOT ready for marriage.

            Keep dating the guy if you want to, but marriage sounds like a really, really bad idea at this stage.

            Better to not be married according to whatever sense of “I should be married by X age” you may have, than married to the wrong person. Divorce is expensive, emotionally draining, and time consuming.

      • wishing u well Says:

        Agreed with the statements above and I’m just going to note this: remember Facebook lets you set privacy settings on a post by post basis if you wish. The only way you’d have a real clue is by having unfettered access to his social media pages as if you were him (which seems unlikely). Also: not everyone posts everything on Facebook / Instagram, including children.

        Secondly – listen to everyone about his professional stories not making sense as they are right. Something is not adding up here and / or he is stretching (Pinocchio style) the level of his involvement in the field. Technically a bank teller can describe themselves as being in finance. Catch my drift? Remember that some people take advantage of being in a different county and lie about their prior education, experience levels, etc.

        Thirdly it is not uncommon for families to lie on behalf of the significant other – and this is across multiple cultures. Remember that blood is thicker than water.

        Fourthly: the biggest red flag of all is that you are not settled in the matter and have all of these doubts. Tell him you want to wait for marriage and see how long he hangs around….most likely long enough if he thinks he can change your mind or long enough to find another person who will go for his spiel.

        He literally has very little to bring to the table as a partner from what you describe. Are you sure about this? Slow things down. See what happens. People with staying power wait. I wish you well.

  7. AC Says:

    The OP mentioned that she wrote in previously and if I’m remembering correctly, she dated a cop who was much older (10 years or so) while her now fiance was pursuing her. If I also remember correctly, the OP had significant doubts at that time about her now fiance. Feelings can change but the biggest red flag here is the time frame.

    Engaged after 4 months? I’m sorry but even if this isn’t a green card grab, her fiance is running from something. Four months is not enough time to really know someone. Are there exceptions? Yes. That’s why they call them exceptions.

    And then there’s this:

    “He says i love you and then he says something else that rhymes with that. And now he is trying to get me to say that back to him. (two days in a row now) He says “you’re supposed to say this.”

    It sounds more like the OP is caught up in something and can’t see the forest for the trees. While I doubt the immigrants intentions are nefarious, this whole scenario looks like a classic case of two people running towards or away from something.

  8. Lisa Says:

    Honestly, I don’t know why anyone would consider marrying any undocumented immigrant living in this country. Why??? Love aside, you know they have an immediate agenda that has nothing to do w/ love.

  9. Jenny Says:

    OP, you were smart enough to listen to the good advice you received here regarding the officer; please, do the same now! You are young (I know, you don’t like that observation. I didn’t either when I was 25!) and all caught up in the romantic fantasy of love and marriage and happily ever after. That can happen, it might even happen with this guy; we don’t really know. BUT – it doesn’t need to happen so quickly! I’ve been dating a man – a man with the same cultural and social background as I have – about the same length of time you have been with your guy. In spite of how great I think he is, and how great he seems to think I am, no matter how much time we spend together and how fine everything feels, there is no way either of us could even consider love and forever at this point! And, that’s with someone with a similar upbringing. Love takes time, time, time. AFTER you’re married to Prince Charming is not the time to find out who he really is. Fantasy is wonderful; reality often sucks. Sad but true. Enjoy this guy. Heck, move in with him and play house if that’s what you want (although I think it’s really soon for that, too), but pay attention to all the red flags waving around, and don’t do anything that can’t be undone easily. Like your mother told you, ‘If he really loves you, he will wait.’ Give it a year and see if you make it.

    • fuzzilla Says:

      Yeah, I remember dating a guy who wanted to escalate our status really quickly (move in after three months). I told him (or maybe I just thought it or shared it with friends): “If the thing really has legs, it’ll still have legs a year from now, so…”

      There was no green card issue at play, although he was a bit underemployed and I think saving on bills might have been a big motivation (contrary to this blog’s POV, there are actual sentient humans who eat and breathe and fuck and contribute to society yet don’t live in NYC or make six figures – the horror! Still…I’m okay with lowering expenses being *a* reason to combine households, but it better not be the primary one).

      Anyway. I think that guy and the OP’s guy had this notion that if the relationship loses an ounce of momentum, it’s doomed, which is just…at best, really dumb if you’re thinking of committing to someone for a lifetime, which is how marriage should be viewed. At worst, it’s manipulative, because you’re solely thinking about how the marriage/relationship will benefit you and not about what’s best for building a life with someone else.

      • fuzzilla Says:

        And momentum is a good thing in a relationship, unless you define it as constantly escalating things without talking them out or thinking them through. Those are the people who are more into Facebook bragging than actually doing the work for the bragged-about status.

  10. Jack Says:

    Is there any woman out there who wants a relationship where it won’t turn into a trainwreck or where she does not have to fix the guy? These days, when it comes to womens’choices in men, I just get the popcorn out and observe. it’s better than going to the movies and paying $15.00 to watch a disaster movie retread.

    Seriously, this is a new one–undocumented worker. My last ex-gf is now engaged to some dude who lives over 6 hours away, drinks too much, has Peter Pan syndrome and has 3 kids he had to go to therapy to connect with. Of course, she insisted he do that.

  11. Violetgirl Says:

    Regardless of the other issues, if he was with someone for 11 years and you are the next person to come along and you have only been with him a few months, you really need to wait before marrying him. This relationship could be a rebound for him, and it is possible he is still not over his ex. Do not rush into marriage, I would give it several more months to see if what you have is sustainable and the talk of the ex fades into the background.

  12. Kate Says:

    I have worked in immigration law for over 10 years.

    Not sure if OP is aware, but an undocumented alien does not obtain citizenship or permanent residence by marrying a U.S. citizen.

    He is not getting a greencard, and she is wasting her time.

    • BrNYC Says:

      He’s just in need of status adjustment. I guess I chose the wrong word. He had a visa and overstayed

      • bbdawg Says:

        You do know that if he leaves the US he will not allowed to come back legally, right?

        Yes if you’re here and you don’t have a visa (or your visa expired) you are an illegal immigrant.

        You may not have been a kid paying 10000 dollars to a human smuggler to cross the border and risk your life but as far as the immigration people are concerned, an “overstayer” is an illegal immigrant. It sounds like you were not even aware of what it means to be an illegal immigrant or what would happen if you actually married him.

        Look it up. The summary is: regardless of greencard, if he has been in the US illegally he has to stay away for 3 years if he has been here illegally for 180 days -1 year and TEN YEARS if he has been here for more than a year. AFTER THIS he can apply for a greencard in the American consulates in Brazil. This means is you want to give him a greencard you guys have to move away from the USA for TEN YEARS and THEN re-apply, which could take up to 3 years…which doesn’t mean he will get the visa anyway…

        Now if this isn’t a test of real love, I don’t know what is…LOL…

    • SS Says:

      Couldn’t they apply for a K1 or K3 Visa?

    • Bonjour Says:

      No, but they do get to stay in the country longer with their new status, don’t they? It could buy them enough time to obtain the green card.

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