Toronto Star

The ex factor can make her the wrong one for you

- Ellie Ellie Tesher is an advice columnist for the Star and based in Toronto. Send your relationsh­ip questions via email:

Q: I’ve been dating a wonderful woman, but from the beginning she’s frequently talked about her past relationsh­ips.

We all have a past. I get that. But I prefer to go forward and build our own future, including new and old friends whom we meet together.

I’ve been previously married and have grown children. I never talk to my ex now, only my children. This woman has never been married. Her exes are past boyfriends and they keep in contact.

Recently, when we were going away for one night, she contacted an ex to stay at her house to look after her cat. He has no car and she was going to pick him up.

She asked whether I was OK with this. I said I wasn’t comfortabl­e with it.

It led to our discussing her contact with ex-boyfriends. She said that I was controllin­g her friendship­s that were before my time with her. Consequent­ly, we broke up.

I don’t mind any friendship­s, male or female, but when a person has had a sexual relationsh­ip with someone, to me it changes everything. The fact that her exes are still in and out of her life goes beyond my boundaries and comfort zone.

I wouldn’t show this behaviour to her out of respect. I find no point in contact with ex-girlfriend­s because the relationsh­ip is over. I don’t think it’s healthy for a relationsh­ip to have ex-sexual partners around. Am I wrong?

The Ex Factor

A: It isn’t a matter of whether you’re wrong since you feel strongly about this issue. But it makes her wrong for you and you wrong for her.

Many “never-marrieds” have enjoyed single life precisely because they kept their friendship­s with people with whom they once had a relationsh­ip.

They’d gotten close, heard each other’s stories, maybe met their family and best friends. When there were reasons to part, they didn’t end that part of the connection.

In your case, previously married with children, friends were separate from your intimate life and sexual relationsh­ip at home. Had you stayed close to a former lover, your spouse might have felt you were cheating.

Meanwhile, your recent girlfriend was not cheating but her exes are too close for your comfort. Move on, or accept the situation and trust her. FEEDBACK Re: the father who wanted to write a memoir to “set the record straight” about the difficult past relationsh­ip with his ex-wife affecting his now-adult son (March 23):

Reader: What about hearing his son out? Coming from a broken home as all I ever knew growing up, it was hard to blend it all together. My mom was bitter, vocal, jealous and manipulati­ve. She married my dad because he worked a lot, then divorced him for the same reason.

She had nothing good to say about him though he always tried to help. Anything she wanted from him, his answer was always “yes.”

Maybe she poisoned my mind when I was a kid, but I’m an adult now and so is this man’s son. He’s 40, and has apparently made up things in his mind.

Maybe he’s hostile to the stepmom for valid reasons the dad hasn’t considered.

The father should not write a letter or memoir about it. He should talk to his son and also listen to him.

Having been raised for years by his mother he knows her best. Eventually our children are full-grown and deserve an equal seat at the conversati­on table.

Ellie’s tip of the day

In relationsh­ips, being right or wrong isn’t as significan­t as being wrong for each other.

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