Boyfriend back in touch with manipulative ex... am I crazy?
Ultimately I am asking if I actually have anything to worry about. But I am extremely frustrated and just want to know what I can do.
So my boyfriend (we'll call him W) and I live in the same town as his ex girlfriend (M). He has lived there about 7 years, we've been together a year and I moved in with him in August. M works in a bar in town and we see her about pretty often (this is in London, so it's not like it's a small world).
They broke up a few months before we got together, and it was obvious he was still hurting about it (it was a bad break up - she cheated on him but told her friend and her other boyfriend that they had actually broken up, and told everyone he was stalking her, which ended up with her friends calling the police to his house).
As a result, W has put a LOT of effort into not being seen around her (which is difficult, considering they frequent the same places). M turned the majority of the town against him by spreading the story that he was stalking her. Up until recently, if she walked into a bar we were drinking in then we would leave.
She went through a phase of following him through the streets. She even tagged one of her latest boyfriends around with her one night to follow him into various pubs. When we first got together, she broke into his house while we were out and tried to crack into his computer.
It's important for me to add that, from the beginning, I have reserved absolutely no judgement for her. I figured both W and M were going through a hard time, and whatever hurt W was feeling would soon pass when M got bored of playing her games.
When we had been together a little longer, W called me to say he had been in town when he saw M sitting in a bar with a friend, crying. He considers himself a very caring person, and so if he sees anyone upset, he likes to do what he can to make them feel better. So he texted her, saying that he saw she was upset and hoped that she was okay. He rang me to tell me this because he "regretted it" and knew that I would not be pleased. He was right, I wasn't. I said, "Well done, now you've given her what she wants."
He tried to stress it was because he was a caring person and hated to see anyone - including the girl who ruined his life and had been following him around town - upset. I told him that, obviously this was something I loved about him, but asked him not to take the p*** with it. He apologized (he even said, "I thought I was going to lose you tonight") and moved on from it.
Fast forward to a few weeks ago. I met him in a bar and he told me that M had just come over and tried to talk to him. She was obviously drunk, and he told her he wasn't interested, and that I would be there in a minute. She wouldn't leave, so he went out for a cigarette and when he got back, she was gone.
W had the feeling that this was just another part of her games. At the same time, he felt that actually sitting down and talking to her and hearing whatever she had to say would bring some kind of closure. We talked about it for a week or so, and in the end he arranged to meet up with her.
From what he told me, M basically apologized for everything and told him she was going through a really hard time (having lost a lot of friends who had probably gotten wise to her). She told him she was lonely and was having problems with her latest boyfriend. W told her nothing about me - he says he told me just my name and that we were together. At one point afterwards I asked if he had told her we lived together, to which he said he hadn't, as he was afraid she would just turn up at the house again.
He told me that he told M that they would no longer be friends - that, if they saw each other, they would wave and be friendly, but no more than that. He told her that if he was out with me or any of his friends, she should not even think about waving or speaking to him. He told her to stop spreading the lies about him around the town.
ANYWAY, THE MAIN POINT - we were in a bar a few nights ago and she popped up in front of us, twice, with this other dude we know. She had her back to us and kept storming off. The dude she was with kept looking back at us weirdly. It was a weird scenario and we soon left.
W told me he had a feeling she was trying to wind up her current boyfriend - by chatting with W, and now hanging out with another guy. He said she was obviously playing a game. I said I felt bad that she had used him, especially when deliberating whether or not to meet up with her and talk things out had been such a big thing for him (and us).
After this conversation, I felt better about the situation. Knowing that she was just trying to play a game, and was of no threat to us, helped me relax and I thought about her far less. Bear in mind the fact that she has held such a presence in our lives from day 1 of our relationship. She has affected our social life and our relationship.
The other night I was at home. W was out drinking and said he would be home at 7:30pm. At 7:30pm, he texted me to say he would be out a little longer - totally fine. It got to 8:45pm and I rang him. He said he was finishing his last drink and would leave soon.
At 10:30pm he got home - I was in bed at this point, but not sleeping. I asked him what happened and he said he had been talking to M.
When he had spoken to her the first time for closure, he told me he did not want to talk to her unless I said I was ok with it. Now he was staying out late and talking to her without telling me about it.
Apparently, M had come over to him in the bar and apologized for standing near us the other night. She said the dude she was with was being stupid, or something, and she was only standing with him because they were drinking together. She told W that her boyfriend was upset with her because she had spoken to W.
W told me he had tried to "get away", by saying he needed to get home. And yet, he stayed - for almost two hours - and listened to her problems.
I asked him why he couldn't just walk away. Just the other day he was telling me she was obviously playing a game - she's got the result she wanted (p***ed off boyfriend). It was obvious she was just trying to get him involved again. She wasn't his problem anymore. And besides, he had told her they would not be friends again. Why was he bothering to hear out her (completely unrelated) problems?
He said, "I just don't like to see people unhappy. I thought that's what you loved about me. What am I supposed to do - just leave her to f*** up on her own?"
He told me he still cares about her, and always has. Understandable, as they were once together - but this goes against every impression he's given me so far.
I'm so confused - first he's telling me he's afraid to tell her anything about me in case she breaks the house again, the next minute he's hearing out her problems and telling me she's lonely and that he cares about her.
Another thing - he told me that he told her they would not be friends again. That night, he tells me that he told her they would be friends again, but it wouldn't be how it was. Worse of all, he's trying to act like he's told me the same thing all along.
Now he's acting like she's the victim in all of this and he has a responsibility to help her out.
He's friends with a few of his exes. My issue with this one is just - why? I told him if he wanted to start being friends with her, and going for drinks and having nice chats, then I wasn't sure how long it would take me to get my head round it. I told him if she hadn't broken into his house, if she hadn't hurt him so badly, if she hadn't called the police on him, if she hadn't followed him around town and made him miserable, if she hadn't turned the whole town against him, if she wasn't a liar and wasn't playing games, then I would feel differently about it.
He stressed that he loves me and he's with me now, but it feels like more of a respect issue. He knows how much it affects our relationship together. For the sake of our relationship, it just doesn't seem worth him being friends with M again. I feel like she's playing him for an idiot as well.
WHAT GETS ME - one minute he's saying she's playing games and she can't know anything about me and him in case she stalks him again. The next minute he's telling me she's lonely and needs his help.
Is she playing him? Is he playing me? Am I being too black and white about it?
I should add - last night he went out again. This was the night after he came home late having been chatting to her. I was cooking dinner so waited at home.
I was feeling a little better about things and he was very affectionate and attentive.
Then he got a text - it was from M, just saying she had seen him leaving the bar and hoping he was ok, or whatever.
It instantly irritated me. I said, "Now it's just going to be like this - now you're just going to be talking all the time."
I know it's not his fault that she texted him. But a few weeks ago he was infuriated that she would even dare come and speak to him. Now they're chatting freely and he doesn't understand why I feel threatened.
You really do not need help here.....your observations and gut feelings are good but you are now in deep enough to make excuses for him. It really IS his fault. You know what you nee to do. You moved in feeling he was ready. He is not. He is still attached to her. And I sense you are ready to make a home but haven't made the transition yet. Both of you go to the bar too much and as you said London is a big place so why are both of you running into her so much. Take the love blinders off. This is a no brainier. As a couple there are more places to go than a bar. He is not making the break and you are fixated on his sweet side but you must not ignore what is really going on. If you do you are betraying yourself and when you do that then it opens the door to others betraying you and he slowly is. When someone shows you who they are believe them. This woman has already proven how dangerous she can be. Both of you are playing with fire. He is a rescuer and drawn to drama. Is this your pattern as well? If not you need to set a non negotiable boundary fast or leave him. If all you really want is validation of your gut feelings that this whole situation is suddenly going south fast then yes do not try to put a positive spin on it. Or as better said....you can't put a bow on this t urd. Make some boundaries.....he obviously has too loose boundaries with her so expecting him to change on his own is not going to happen..He needs to stay out of her playground and you two need to spend your social life together and leave the bar scene to the single crowd. Be definite about what you want. If you are afraid of losing him....he WILL take advantage of that. In a nutshell.....he was not over their relationship yet. And it will get ugly......do you really want to be included in that sh it storm. They are volital together. Protect yourself and listen to your wise head not your heart. Your head is the protector. BLESSINGS!