Ask the Agony Uncle: Can my long-term boyfriend still be friends with his ex?


Last week, I asked you to send me in some relationship questions, and we got a pretty decent response. One question came in from Michelley that was particularly interesting, to say the least.

Michelley writes:

"My boyfriend is best friends with his ex. They were together for three years, don’t have any kids but do own a house together and the break up was fairly amicable. But is it normal to still meet up once a week or so?"

Short answer? No, it f*cking isn't. At all. Not normal in the slightest.

OK, Michelley, time for a dose of reality here. No man, and I mean, NO MAN is friends with an ex unless he's planning to get with her again at some point. It just doesn't happen. I don't care if the break-up was amicable, and they were friends beforehand, a man doesn't hang around with his ex unless he's trying to keep himself on her radar or vice-versa. The only caveat to this truth is that they were going out YEARS ago. When I say years ago, I mean school days-type situation. Otherwise, big red flag here.

You say they've got a house together, and they went out for three years. First off, that sends up another big red flag right there. Three years, no kids, but they bought a house together? Odd. For a lot of reasons. Buying a house after three years in a relationship is a bit much. They were obviously planning on building a life together but then either he or she decided to chuck the whole thing. Again, the question has to be asked, why's that? You don't buy a house on a whim. That's just crazy talk. Is he impulsive, generally? Something to think on.

You didn't mention in your message if they were meeting up within a group of friends or just on their own. If they're meeting up with a group of friends as they share mutuals, that's... OK, I guess? It's not as suspicious as them meeting up on their own. If that's the case, that's pretty dodgy. Again, referring back to my earlier point, men don't hang out with exes just for the fun of it. It just doesn't happen.


You can tell yourself that he's different, that it's just amicable, but it's not. It really isn't. That's not to say that he's cheating, mind, but he's definitely keeping his options open. He might not act upon them; he might not consider it that way, and he might tell himself that he doesn't see his ex that way anymore. But he's lying. Deep down, in places he won't admit to, he sees her that way. 99.9% of men keep a strict no-contact policy with exes for the simple reason that they don't want them in their business. Say he's met some new woman, and he's still friendly with his ex. Why would he give himself that headache of having to explain his "platonic" relationship with his ex? It's too much work, Michelley. F*ck that, life's hard enough without giving yourself more work.

Broadly speaking, men don't keep friendships unless it serves a purpose. They may have grown up with a friend; they might work with someone, they might share common interests, so on and so on. With an ex, there was a relationship, and that's gone. Therefore, its purpose is no longer there. So why continue it?

I don't care how well a man gets on with his ex - unless he has a specific reason for hanging out with her, i.e. a child is in the picture, or there's some sort of business venture together - he shouldn't be hanging out with her. More to the point, he WOULDN'T hang out with her unless he planned on scoring her again at some point.

If they're renting this house together or something, and the purpose of their regular meeting is to, I don't know, do some landlord-type sh*t, then fine. That has a purpose. If they're trying to sell the house and the regular meeting is something related, that's fine.

If they're meeting up on their own, for their own pleasure, that's suspicious, and you have a right to be suspicious. Confront him about it, but do it without judgement. Be honest with him and say, "Look, I'm a bit uncomfortable with you hanging out with your ex. Why are you hanging out with her?" Ask him about it, but do it in a way that lets him know you're not mad or whatever, just curious. Admit to him that it is a bit suspicious, that most men normally don't hang out with their exes and go from there. You're open with him about it, so he should reciprocate and be honest with you.

Do not, and I mean this, Michelley, do not go through his phone or e-mail. Don't do that. Don't go looking for evidence when, as far as you know, there is nothing to suggest guilt. Ask him, to be honest about it because that's putting the onus on him to deliver the goods. Men can't think on their feet, and unless he's some kinda sociopath, he won't be able to come up with a good lie on the spot.

Plus, you've got that sweet, sweet moral high ground because you asked him, to be honest. If he's not honest, then f*ck him out and move on. You don't need that sh*t in your life, Michelley. Better still, ask to go with him the next time he's meeting her for the craic. See what he says.



Right, if any of you wanna get on this action, you can e-mail me in confidence at [email protected] or message me below.

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