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Divorce Issues/Boyfriend's emotional ties with ex complicate our relationship


Hurt and Confused wrote at 2012-11-08 15:09:30
I so much appreciate the thoughtful, respectful answer from the doctor, and I can relate to the question. I just ended a fairly new relationship a couple days ago, due to a similar issue. I really like this man, and he's a great person. Ironically, one of the things that drew me to him was the fact that he said he was still best friends with his ex-wife. I too, feel I have the same relationship with my ex-husband. However, I realized this man and his ex-wife took it to a whole other level. He and I fell very hard for each other, and he did call me his girlfriend, including to her. However, I discovered they talked on the phone every single morning while she was on her way to work, which I found really odd considering she is now married with a child and another on the way. She would pop in to his house any time she felt like it, and take items from his freezer for her new family. Whenever she needed something fixed at her house (which was often) she called him (my boyfriend), yet she has a husband. Every single gathering with his kids included her and her husband/child. When he told her how much he liked me, her response was..."Well, what if I don't like her?" I found this disturbing, because if she were truly happy for him finally finding someone (he had been alone for 4 years, they were divorced for 5), she would say just happy she is, and not be so condescending. She also asked details about "how far we had gone with each other." I began to feel so bitter towards her, because I felt she was being incredibly selfish. She was married with a child and one on the way, yet not allowing him the freedom to find someone and be happy. My opinion is this...They are still "emotionally married to each other," and she is using him (my ex-boyfriend) to fulfill what she is not getting from her new husband. I was truly falling in love with this man, but I realized that things could only go so far, as she had such a hold on him emotionally. He kept telling me "it works" and said it was great for the kids. I agree, a civil relationship with your ex IS great for the kids, but there still needs to be some boundaries. Am I correct?  

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Philip Belove, Ed.D.


Divorce is the beginning of a life review process. For many people, it`is the first intentional decision they make about their lives. The transition into the next stage of life is difficult at first, but it gets easier. The questions I can help you with: What happened? How do I take care of our children? How do I get over my anger? How do I plan a future for myself?


I am Philip Belove, psychologist and coach. My specialty is helping people do their midlife transformation work, a psychological project that creates a foundation for happy and satisfying second half of life.

Midlife Work, because it involves so much careful attention to inner truth, is notoriously stressful on marriages and on dating relationships.

The challenges of the midlife project are echoed in the typical questions asked me as a dating-at-midlife expert:

?Learning to reconcile what you say with what you do. This challenge is echoed in questions like: Why does he say this when he does that? What is really happening?
?Learning to create your own dreams instead of being the victim of someone else's. This challenged is echoed in questions like these: How do I say that I don't want to xyz? I've been lying about some things and what should I do now?
?Learning to live a life that suits you. This challenge produces questions like Is what I'm doing normal? What if my kids think I'm crazy? How can I say that this is starting to bother me?

A person doing Midlife Transformation Work needs to develop 1) A Working Vision, 2) Skills and Strategies to realize that vision, and 3) External sources of support for the project. My role for people is to be part of the support system. I help people clarify their visions, develop the strategies and skills they need, and I help them review their progress.

M.A. Counseling Psychology
Ed.D. Counsulting Psychology (Family Therapy)

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