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Exed Out

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Dear Mistress Maeve,

Last week you responded to a woman who was concerned about her boyfriend's relationship with his ex. Well, I'm in a similar situation, except I'm the guy in the scenario.

I'm dating this phenomenal woman, and I have nothing but the best of intentions with her. While I don't run errands for my ex or help her with household finances, we do hang out a couple times a month (happy-hour drinks or lunch). My new girlfriend has recently expressed her dislike of my relationship with my ex and has asked me to stop hanging out with her. I told her I thought it was ridiculous for her to ask me to stop hanging out with a friend. She said that it was "obvious" my ex is still into me. I don't see it.

I haven't hung out with my ex since this talk with my girlfriend, but I don't feel good about it. Can't exes be friends as long as certain lines are not crossed?

Signed,
Ex-isting Relationship

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Dear Ex-isting,

Relationships with exes are complicated. Some people can have pleasant, nonthreatening friendships with past lovers, while others can't get near their exes for fear of being arrested or committed. Many of us fall somewhere in between with former flames, and what happens in this gray area can cause problems in our current relationships.

The bottom line: It's not OK for your girlfriend to dictate whom you can and cannot hang out with. That said, she has to be able to trust your decision-making fully when it comes to your ex.
Who broke up with whom? If you broke it off with your ex and she still wants to spend time with you, she may be pining for you. Be certain you're navigating this friendship with your eyes wide open. It feels good to spend time with people who admire us (and want to sleep with us), but you must be careful not to take advantage of your ex's vulnerabilities just to feed your ego.

But, hey, if you're 100 percent certain your friendship is on the up and up, it's time to reopen the conversation with your girlfriend. Let her know that, while you understand her concerns, you're not willing to ditch a friend over unfounded jealousy. Kindly remind her that a good relationship is built on trust, and you expect her to extend you some.

Exed out,
MM

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