*This article is a work of nonfiction based on actual events recounted to me by a friend who witnessed them firsthand; used with permission
Staying in contact with someone you previously were in a relationship with can bring a lot of tension for your new partner. And when there are no kids or mutual friends, why would communication continue when that relationship is done, and both parties have walked away?
Is a need to keep in touch with an ex a good reason to end a relationship that's just starting, or should trust matter more than that?
My friend Christina has been going out with her boyfriend, Aiden, for one year and a half. They started out as friends in college, and after they graduated, they decided to take things further.
"He was dating one of my classmates when we were in high school, so I knew him from back then. He left her in our second year of college, and they didn't talk to each other for a long time," Christina said.
She agreed to start going out with him only after checking in with Aiden and making sure he had no intention of contacting his ex-girlfriend.
"I knew they lived on the same street, and he was friendly to her parents, so I didn't want any confusion there. If we began a relationship, he had to leave all that behind. And he agreed; he said he no longer cared about her or her life. And that it would be ok if she saw someone else, though she wasn't at the time," Christina added.
Things went well for a while, and together they went on trips, enjoyed taking outdoor photos, learned how to cook, and started thinking about getting a place for both of them.
"I wasn't interested in cooking before, but once I thought about our future and having a home together, it all came so easily. And he liked helping me with everything, so I got really confident about our relationship," she shared.
After one year of dating, they decided it was the right time to rent an apartment for both of them.
"We were going to save money, but more than anything, it was to be together all the time. I knew he was thinking about proposing too. It was a great time in our relationship," Christina recalled.
In three weeks, everything was settled, and she packed her things and moved in with Aiden.
House chores, cooking, and cleaning went great, and she didn't have to remind her boyfriend to help. However, his calls and texts started to make Christina feel uncomfortable.
"I suddenly noticed he went out on the porch to talk on the phone. And if I opened the door or a window, he immediately ended the call. He also took his phone to the bathroom and always made sure I couldn't look at the screen as he was writing. I started to think something was going on, but I couldn't really believe he was already interested in someone else," Christina said.
She asked him about it, and he said it wasn't anyone new. Unfortunately, he'd been talking to his ex all that time, and he had no intention of stopping.
Instead, he told his girlfriend that he had decided to stay friends with his ex, and he didn't think there was anything wrong with that.
"He said it so clearly, even though he'd promised me before he would end all contact with her. I asked to see their conversations, but he refused and said I needed to show I could trust him," Christina said.
She wasn't happy with the turn of events, but she felt she should give Aiden a chance to show her all was good. But things didn't improve, and he didn't want to just text and call anymore.
He's recently told her that he wants to meet his ex privately and that she can't come.
"He wants to have a private talk with his ex; should I leave him? I keep asking myself what our relationship means to him and if he's truly committed. Why does he need to talk to her or meet her? They don't share friends, and they didn't have kids; there's no reason to be close to her unless he wants a second chance," Christina said.
She doesn't think it's ok for Aiden to get together with his ex, and she's told him so. She also pointed out that if he goes ahead and does it anyway, she will pack up her things and consider he left her.
What do you think about this situation? Should Aiden expect his girlfriend to accept a private meeting between him and his ex, or is it a good reason to leave him? Do all the texts and calls mean more than being friends, and should Christina just end the relationship without waiting to see if he meets his ex or not?
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