Dallas, TX

"He gets gifts for his ex more often than for me," wife on husband's former girlfriend

Amy Christie

*This article is a work of nonfiction based on actual events recounted to me by a friend who witnessed them firsthand; used with permission

Getting engaged and married usually means you have chosen one partner to spend the rest of your life with.

Becoming parents and taking care of your kids are some of the goals a couple has after tying the knot, but how do you react when you suddenly learn that your spouse still likes sending presents to a former girlfriend? And what if she receives them more frequently than you do?

My friend Jo has been married to her husband, Ian, for five years. They have one son together and are thinking about a second baby. They dated for three weeks before he proposed, and their wedding took place just three months after the engagement.

"It was all spontaneous, and we didn't care much about planning—just a little get-together with family and friends and so much love. We didn't need any expensive party or a long ceremony," Jo said.

They moved into their new home in Dallas, Texas, after the wedding and began learning more about each other and the habits they had. Jo was more particular about cleaning, whereas Ian knew how to cook more dishes and wanted to save money and not go out all the time.

"I wasn't that pleased when I found out we wouldn't be going out as frequently, but I understood we had to save too. We both wanted kids as soon as possible, and it wouldn't be easy once I gave up my job. So, I asked him to show me how to cook, and he also helped with some of the house chores," Jo said.

In a few months, they got used to each other's personalities, and they avoided any arguments about laundry, dishes, or what they had for dinner.

"It was great we didn't really get upset with each other. Each time an issue showed up, we found a way to fix things instead of blaming each other or shouting," Jo said.

Eight months after the wedding, Jo found out she was pregnant, and they got excited about becoming parents. They soon welcomed their daughter Ava and Jo became a stay-at-home mom.

"It made more sense for me to watch over her instead of spending more on a babysitter I would be worried about. I can't have someone I don't know in our house, and I still want to have everything tidy while I prepare meals and take care of Ava," Jo said.

Ian agreed she should be a full-time mom, so she left her job and focused on making her family happy. Her mom also came by over the weekends so the couple could get away for a few hours on a date or on a day trip.

As time went by, Ian got promoted, and they didn't have to worry at all about costs or bills. Something did change between Jo and her husband, though. Ever since she stayed home, he wasn't as attentive as before, and gifts became very rare.

"It was like before he was worried I met so many people and gave me lots of presents, but when I was always home, he didn't take the trouble to go and get me something nice. Not just on my birthday but any day. Flowers and chocolates were a weekly thing for us, but he gave up, and I only received some candies during the holidays," Jo said.

At the same time, she noticed her husband was on the phone a lot after he came back from work. And it wasn't just the calls he made; he was also texting a lot and sending photos.

"I was surprised because he didn't care about that until recently. One time, when he went to shower, I looked through it, and what I found made me doubt he's still in love with me," Jo said.

The mom saw he'd been texting his ex-girlfriend. She knew her name, and there was also a photo attached to her number and social media, so there was no doubting it.

Jo saw they had been calling each other at least three times during the past three months, and she noticed her husband had been ordering different presents for her.

"It was like all the chocolates and flowers he'd forgotten to give me were now going to her. I felt so upset. How could he do such a thing behind my back? Of course, I knew her; he'd barely ended their relationship when he met me," Jo said.

She asked Ian what he meant by getting in touch with his ex, talking to her so often, and also buying her so many gifts. Ian didn't apologize for not telling her, but he said he just wanted to be friends with Giana, his ex.

"I wasn't trying to go out with her or anything like that. And our calls were friendly, nothing else. She was positive, and I needed that; Jo stresses me out sometimes, and it's annoying only talking to one person," Ian said.

He also added that the gifts he got his ex didn't mean any special attention.

"The presents I got for Giana were not romantic, and they only showed I liked her as an old friend and someone easy to talk to. She's always ready to discuss anything that's on my mind, and I appreciate that. I value her support; she listens to me," Ian said.

Jo didn't see it that way, though. And she let him know that while the gifts may not be romantic, he'd stopped giving her anything while he never forgot to get something for Giana.

"I wanted to buy stuff for my wife too, but she's so tiresome when she keeps waiting for presents. Sometimes I just give up," Ian said.

Jo isn't sure if this means he's willing to end their marriage or if Giana and Ian are only friends.

"He gets gifts for his ex more often than for me. I'm trying to trust him, but I don't like her at all. And I think she still loves him," Jo said.

She's asked Ian to stop buying gifts and talk less often to Giana, but he refused. And he asked her to show him how much she cares about him by allowing him to have friends like Giana.

How do you think this situation should be handled? Is it fair for Ian to expect his wife to agree to him talking to his ex and getting presents for her? Should he at least get just as many presents for his wife as he does for his Giana to restore some balance?

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Amy Christie is a passionate writer and journalist, always striving to bring out the positive and create meaningful connections.

Dallas, TX

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