Dear Amy: I have been seeing my boyfriend for nine months. We are middle aged, and are talking about building a life together.
When we met, he told me that he has remained good friends with all of his ex-girlfriends.
He dated his most recent ex for a year (they broke up a year before we met), but they were close friends for a decade before that.
She is probably his closest friend. The problem is that she refuses to meet me, or to include me in any social activities they engage in. She has since admitted to my boyfriend that she wants him back. He has made it clear to her that that wouldn’t happen, but he doesn’t want to lose her friendship.
He keeps asking me to be patient with the situation, and that it will hopefully resolve itself, but from my perspective, the resentment (definitely on my side, and probably on hers, too) is just growing by the day.
He has been open and honest with me about everything regarding her, and I trust him, but the situation feels unbearable to me at this stage. He refuses to let the friendship go. Is it time for me to make an ultimatum, or am I overreacting? Frustrated Current GF Dear Frustrated: I’m trying to imagine your boyfriend’s thinking, where his priority is to continue a friendship with someone who doesn’t respect him enough to let him live his life. She is controlling him, and he is asking you to let her control you, too.
In terms of ultimatums, he should be delivering one to her: “This is my life. If you want to continue on in friendship, you'll have to accept my partner. You decide.”
If he wanted to put you at the center of his life, your boyfriend would find it easy to do so. Until he figures this out, you and his ex will be nudging each other in and out of the circle. Do you want to wage emotional combat with another woman? I don’t think you do.
I have mixed feelings about ultimatums. I think you should decide what you want in a long-term relationship, and then pursue your own ideal.
If you want a fully integrated love relationship where both partners freely share their lives, friends and family, you'll probably have to seek it with a different person. That’s not an ultimatum, but a choice.