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My Lover Called Me By His Ex's Name During Sex


Published February 17, 2016 at 10:00 a.m.
Updated February 23, 2016 at 2:39 p.m.

Dear Athena,

The other night my lover called me by a different name while we were having sex. I ignored it once because I thought maybe I had misheard, but then I realized when he said it again that it was not my imagination. It was his ex-boyfriend's name. When we talked about it, he said he hadn't noticed. He hasn't done it since, but I am really distracted about it. I'm worried he is still in love with his ex and that he's not thinking of me but of him. Is that normal?


Say My Name, Say My Name

Dear Say My Name,

Ouch. Of course you're confused and hurt and questioning his affections. Being intimate with someone you care about can make you vulnerable — and when something goes wrong, it can bring up all kinds of insecurities.

However, sometimes these things just happen. It doesn't necessarily mean he isn't totally into you. Haven't you ever said the wrong name by accident? Perhaps that's all this is — a brain fart or an old force of habit that he now surely regrets. Let's dig into this a little more to find out.

What did he say when you told him what he did? Even if he was unaware of the slip, I would expect some sort of apology. If there wasn't one, you need to bring it up again, because you're really dealing with two kinds of hurt here — his initial faux pas and his insensitive response to it. You won't be able to move on until you clear the air.

Tell him that you can't get what happened out of your head. Tell him you fear he's still stuck on his ex. Tell him you're hurt, and tell him what kind of relationship you want with him. Are you two monogamous? If you want to be the sole object of his desire, you need to make sure you're on the same page about that.

It's possible his ex is still part of his fantasy world. I know it's hard to hear, but it's not easy to completely rid yourself of someone even after you've broken up. Sometimes the body forgets last — and it's easy to lose yourself in the throes of passion. If he is pining for his ex, then you can move on from him and know that at least you won't be wasting any more of your time.

But let's assume he is completely sorry and embarrassed and you both want to move forward. It may take a while for you to get the "name" event out of your head, but you owe it to your relationship to try. And it sounds like he owes you a few rolls in the sheets you won't soon forget!