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Real Live College Guy Dale: Why Does He Want to Hang Out With His Ex?

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We all need a little guidance now and then, so whether you’re stressed about a fling gone wrong, a recently wrecked relationship or how to handle a stage-five clinger, Real Live College Guy Dale is here to help you navigate the college dating scene.

The guy I've been exclusively seeing for five months told me his ex is coming up for a few weeks this summer because she has a vacation home near our hometown. He says he's going to hang out with her when she comes up, but I don't feel comfortable with this situation, mainly because I just don't see the point in being friends with an ex unless there are still feelings there, and they were serious for over a year.

Do I have a right to be concerned, or am I being crazy? He claims that she has a new boyfriend and he has me so there's nothing to worry about, but I know that while she was here over spring break, she hit him up wanting to hook up with him and sneak out of her house while her boyfriend was in her bed. So clearly she still has feelings for him. I don't want to be controlling because I do respect him and I want him to do what makes him happy, I'm just having a very hard time deciding what to do. -Ex Trouble at Emory

Emory,

You’ve got to draw your boundaries. A relationship is, or should be, built on trust and understanding. On one hand, unless he’s done something previously to lose your trust, then you should trust him to hang out with someone and not screw around. On the other hand, he should understand your unease about the whole situation.

I’ll be straight with you—I’m on your side here. I’ve never thought that hanging out with an ex was a great idea unless there was a friendshipthat existed before a relationship. Sometimes friends date, break up and move on to better things — that’s fine. But at the same time, I think hanging out with your ex when you’re in a relationship with another person is kind of a crappy thing to do.

You’ve got a right to be wary, and if after communicating your feelings to him he still doesn’t (or won’t) understand your stance, then maybe you need to reexamine the relationship. Like I said, a relationship is built on trust and understanding. If one party is uneasy about something, the other party should take that into consideration.

He’s with you now, and hanging out with an ex (especially one whom he was with for that long) isn’t going to help anyone move forward. Moreover, the fact that you know she was willing to cheat on another guy to hook up with your boyfriend tells me that you have every right to be upset if he wants to see her so badly.

Show him you respect him by communicating your feelings with him; otherwise, he’s going to be equally as upset when he goes to hang out with her and you’re suddenly angry. Give him a heads-up as to how you’re feeling, and while he may not be totally understanding, if he cares at all about being with you, I think he’ll realize that hanging out with an ex is probably not the best idea.

You’re in the right, Emory, but you need to communicate with this guy. Otherwise, it’s going to get super messy. 

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