The Case of the Ex


    This topic has been fermenting in my mind for quite awhile.  I have debated whether or not I would post about it due to the fact that some of the people who will be discussed here subscribe to this blog.  Finally, I decided that I wasn’t being true to myself and to the integrity of this blog if I did not provide my readers with the opportunity to chime in with their thoughts and feelings about the whole thing.  Your feedback is invaluable and perhaps it will help to change the minds of some of the parties involved.

    Most of you who are loyal followers of this blog are aware that I was married once before.  I don’t want to spend too much time talking about that in this post except to say that the marriage did not last very long and it did not produce any children.  In hindsight, not having had any kids turned out to be a blessing for me because it allowed me to make a clean break from this man and I have not had any reason at all to maintain contact with him over the last thirteen years.  After all, there is really no reason to keep in touch with an ex-husband after the marriage is dissolved unless both parties are forced to remain amicable with one another due to having children in common.

    Since this person was my high school sweetheart, he was around my siblings for many years and my younger sibling actually started to look up to him as an older brother during that time.  After the divorce, my sibling continued to try to be close to him but I felt that the Ex was not really putting in any effort into maintaining this relationship.  As a matter of fact, I recall having a phone conversation with the Ex during that time where I advised him not to play games with my sibling’s feelings and to continue having a friendship with him for the right reasons.

    I believed then that the Ex was only maintaining contact with my sibling to keep tabs on my comings and goings after the breakup.  My hunches were confirmed when my sibling was stationed overseas.  Although he called the Ex and tried to maintain contact with him during that time and over the years, the Ex has not really reciprocated and has not been genuine in trying to keep in touch.  I’m aware that this has always been a sore spot for my sibling because he has fond memories of the brotherly relationship that they had when he was growing up.

    Recently, through the wonders of Facebook, they have come in contact with each other once again.  I am very angry that my sibling has not given up on this person that has obviously had no interest in talking to him or spending time with him over the years.  His loyalty should be to me as his sister and he should chalk this up as a learning experience where he learned about human nature.  In my opinion, the Ex has not considered their relationship a priority in his life and has not put forth any effort whatsoever into maintaining open lines of communication or interaction with my sibling.

    The thing that is particularly upsetting is that my sibling and I are neighbors since we purchased a multi-family home together.  Although he has his own unit downstairs and is obviously welcome to invite anyone that he wants into his home, I find it very inappropriate for him to invite the Ex here since my home is here too.  It is very disrespectful for him to bring the Ex here around my new husband and my children.  After all these years, I have no romantic feelings for the Ex.  However, I resent that my sibling is digging up an old grave that is not his to dig up.

    Perhaps I would feel differently about this whole fiasco if the Ex had exhibited a sincere effort in wanting to continue to foster close ties to my sibling.  The fact that he hasn’t and that my sibling has been the one to pursue this friendship makes me resentful and suspicious of the Ex’s motives for wanting to get together after all these years.  I also resent having to deal with him popping up in my life after so much time has passed.  That was definitely a door in my life that I closed a long time ago and that I don’t see any reason to reopen.

    Ironically, my sibling also has an Ex that is forbidden from coming over here out of respect for his new spouse.  Don’t I deserve the same loyalty, consideration, and respect? 

© 2011, Tough Cookie Mommy. All rights reserved.


  1. Ugh… it’s never “the same” when the shoe is on the other foot. That’s a tough situation, for sure 🙁

  2. Anonymous says

    i think that your sibling should extend the same respect that you showed in regards to ex. you don’t have his ex over, and therefore, he shouldn’t either. that is common courtesy. it would be one thing if you lived a few blocks away, few miles away, etc., then your sibling could invite your ex over freely. but despite having different areas of the house, you still share it, and therefore he should respect your feelings as well. it’s beyond me why people hold on to toxic relationships or ones where they don’t receive anywhere near to what they give. so yeah, i think you have the right to be bothered.

    • Ciara, I agree that I should receive the same respect in return. I am also stumped as to why he would pursue a friendship with someone who has so clearly exhibited disinterest in fostering this relationship. You are right, it wouldn’t bother me so much if the meeting took place away from the house…

  3. You have every right to be upset about this turn of events! Unfortunately, your sibling is holding on to what was instead of seeing what is. You can’t change that; he’s an adult. However, common courtesy would dictate that if they insist on seeing each other, it should be done away from the house. You can ask your sibling to respect at least that boundary — especially given the fact that he wants to spare HIS spouse from the same situation! — but in the end, if he insists on being that selfish, there isn’t much you can do. Sad that he can’t see how unfair his actions are…

    • Chela, see that is just it, I would never create such a difficult situation for him and his spouse. I just feel that there are just some things that you don’t do to the people that you care about. I totally agree with you that he is holding on to a relationship from the past that now has different boundaries…

  4. Dear Maria,

    How unfortunate that you are in this situation.

    I haven’t been following your blog for long so I don’t have any history, perhaps that’s best. I’m only commenting because you said “your feedback is invaluable”. I’m positive that you weren’t talking to me but hopefully you will find some of what I have to say constructive.

    1. You ask “do I have a right to be bothered”? Of course you do. It bothers you. It would probably bother me. If it is negatively impacting your life think about speaking to someone (or blog about it, smile). There’s definitely something to it as it’s been 13 years and still coming up…
    2. You ask “Don’t I deserve the same loyalty, consideration and respect”? Question, have you ever ASKED your brother not to invite him over? If you have and he’s still inviting him over than I consider that to be disrespectful (given that you share a house and you afford him the same respect). There are many other places that they can meet that don’t infringe on you, your space and your sanity.
    3. You talk alot about how your ex isn’t treating your brother properly, isn’t putting 50% into the relationship. While I consider that to be really admirable (and a great quality in a sister), he is a grown man and can choose whatever relationships (good or bad) that he wants. Assuming that your brother is getting something he needs out of the relationship, you wouldn’t want to deny him that would you?
    4. You mentioned that “people will be discussed here…”. If one of them isn’t your brother, perhaps you could send him a link to your post. Civilized discussions between adults goes a long way to sorting out hurt feelings and misunderstandings.
    5. You talk about being worried that your ex is trying to “keep tabs on my comings and goings after the breakup…”. If you and your brother can’t work something out and you’re worried that your ex is finding out information about you (from your brother), you might need to start withholding information from your brother. While not ideal, that is then a choice that your brother needs to make.

    I get that you don’t like your ex (he’s an EX for a reason, smile). That you feel your brother deserves more. I just get the feeling that there is some underlying reason why you are still so upset 13 years later. I’m not saying that you’re holding out on us. I wonder if you even know what it is yourself. You might want to look into your feelings further.

    All the best on sorting things out.

    • Hi, Sarah. I am so glad that you decided to comment on this post. Of course, I am always interested in reading all of the feedback from my readers. I will attempt to answer all of your points separately just to keep my thoughts in order…

      1. No, I don’t think about my Ex at all except when I am reflecting on how wonderful my life is now and how glad I am that he is out of my life. The only reason he is even coming up now is because he is attempting to arrange a get-together with my sibling.

      2. Yes, I have asked my sibling numerous times to respect the fact that I do not want my Ex around the house regardless if he is only being invited to my sibling’s unit downstairs. Obviously, my concerns have fallen on deaf ears.

      3. You are right in saying that my sibling is grown, however, as adults we have to take the feelings of our loved ones into consideration especially when we are aware that we are making decisions that could potentially have a negative effect on them. Plus, this argument would not be accepted if I used it to defend having invited my sibling’s Ex to my house…

      4. There have already been a number of “civilized discussions” around this topic by all parties involved. This blog is my refuge and I should be able to vent if I need to here.

      5. I’m not worried about my Ex “keeping tabs on me” I only mentioned that to support that my Ex has less than genuine reasons for attempting to rekindle a friendship with my sibling.

      Lastly, there is no “underlying” reason for any of this except for the fact that I feel I am being disrespected by someone whom I am close to and care deeply about. The only thing I might be “holding out” is that the marriage ended badly, as most marriages do, and I have no desire to see someone whom I don’t have the best feelings towards. Believe me, I don’t have any underlying feelings as you suggested…

      • Maria,

        Thanks for the clarification. You really are in a tough spot.

        As for #4, I totally agree that you have a right to vent your feelings on this blog or anywhere. It was not the intention of my comment to imply otherwise. I just didn’t know if you’d talked to him about it. Your post laid everything out really clearly and honestly and I thought that it might “get through to him”.

        Any ideas what you’ll do if it’s confirmed that he’s coming over? Is this a case where you can get family members involved; your parents, his spouse, friends, to talk to him?


        • Sarah, I honestly don’t know how I will react if it is confirmed that he is coming here. My family members totally agree with my point of view. I think my sibling’s following through with it will cause irreparable damage to our relationship and I certainly hope that he will consider how strongly I feel about this before he makes that mistake. Thank you so much for your honest feedback, I love genuine engagement and exchange on my posts. 🙂

  5. New follower! Please come check out my blog if you get a chance.

  6. I have no idea why your brother thinks he should remain loyal but he shouldnt ESPECIALLY when your ex blew him off anyway. It is really bizarre. You are totally right to be annoyed.

  7. fromtheheartsof says

    Oh! Tough subject. Have you sat down with your brother and told him that it is a two way street and some people are never going to be on the guest list at the home?

  8. Hmm, I am going to be completely honest with you, because I always am. I think maybe you’re making a bigger deal out of it then you should. I know your relationship ended badly but that was 13 years ago and you’re happy now. No one should be allowed to disturb that happiness.

    You see, your brother made memories with that man that you can’t change or erase. They were happy memories for him or else he wouldn’t after all these years try to re-establish the relationship. It doesn’t matter that the ex hasn’t kept up his end. It’s not for you to tell your brother that he can’t keep trying. For whatever reason he wants to and it’s his right. His emotions, his memories.. and maybe just maybe by you continually telling him that your ex hasn’t reciprocated the way you think he should have you’ve insulted and hurt your brother because you’re outright telling him someone is not treating him right and no guy wants to hear that.

    I’m sure he knows the ex didn’t try as hard as he did and in a way your brother feels let down, so time after time he keeps giving the ex another chance because he’s hoping he’s still that man he knew so long ago. The one he has fond memories of. This isn’t uncommon. We all have people we give 2nd chances, or even chance after chance. Your brother will only decide to stop communication when he wants to, when he feels there is nothing to the relationship. You pushing it will only result in him feeling that he has to show you and himself that your ex really does “care” about him.

    I hope that makes sense. I just think that you should not worry about how you think your brother is disrespecting you. I don’t think at all, even if he says it out loud! that is what he is trying to do. I don’t think it had anything to do with you at first but you sort of pushed yourself front and center and I don’t care how eloquently worded it sounded like “I stopped my relationship with that man and now you have to as well.” and then you threw in the “Well if you don’t, you don’t respect me”. You’re almost sort of bossing your brother around and telling him what to do… and you know that sort of thing doesn’t work with siblings most of the time.

    I think you just need to ignore it. Let it go. Be happy and be very very thankful you have your beautiful kids and husband that you do today (I know you are) and not worry so much that this is disrespect. I think it’s more of a life lesson for your brother. One that he is still learning and that he has to learn on his own.. with no input from anyone else.

    Also, forget about the double standards. Both relationships were totally different. Don’t compare. Just try to look at this situation as totally unique not a “Well if I can’t do it neither can you!

    As far as your brother needing to listen to you just because you two are neighbors, not a good argument. No one should be able to tell another person who they can have in their house.. of course there could be some really rare exceptions but you know, don’t think just an ex counts for that. No matter how bad he used to be or treated you… (because your brother wasn’t there for every argument/fight/disagreement and doesn’t know the ex you know).

    Anyway, I hope you resolve this situation soon..or at least move on from it.. and I hope that I haven’t offended you because I played devil’s advocate. Good luck!

    • Monica, I am never offended when my readers disagree with me or play the “devil’s advocate.” You are entitled to your opinion and I respect it. I’m going to have to agree to disagree with you on this one. Although I agree with you that my sibling is an adult and should be able to make his own decisions about his friendships and his home, I’m disappointed that he is not taking my feelings into consideration. I pride myself on being sensitive to the feelings of my loved ones when I make these kinds of decisions and I just want that consideration to be a two way street. The fact that I am extremely close to this particular sibling might also be making me a little more sensitive about this whole issue. Thank you for your raw honesty and for bringing up valuable points to the discussion.

  9. Tough spot, but in the end I think the same thing I tell my kids should govern here – your siblings are family, could be your best friends, and will be there for you your entire life. Friends come and go. If there is a choice to be made between friends or family – you should always pick your family. No matter what, stick up for your siblings.

    That doesn’t mean your brother has to sever his relationship because you and your ex don’t get along – but when you specifically ask him to meet away from your house – he should respect that. I would be incensed if I were you and my brother so blatantly hurt me too.

    • Daria, this is exactly how I feel about this whole thing. I would never push his feelings to the side on such an important issue and it really made me feel badly that he would even consider doing something that he was aware would have a negative impact on me.

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