My boyfriend and I broke up six months ago after dating for seven years and he just won’t stop coming around. He pops up at family functions and constantly stops by my mother’s house. The other day I went over there and he was helping my mother paint the living room! When I asked my mom about it later, she said that I was overreacting. She says that we were together for a long time and that just because we broke up doesn’t mean that he is no longer part of the family. I have been dating someone new for about a month now and I have not taken him around my family for fear that my ex will show up. And I don’t understand why my mother still allows him to come around her house. Although he may have been like a son to her while we were together, I am her daughter. My feelings should be more important than his!
Ready to Move On
Dear Ready to Move On:
Breaking up and managing family relationships can be very difficult, especially when one person is ready to move on before the other. Even though I believe that relationships do not have to end in a negative way, I can see how your ex hanging around your family and showing up at family functions can be very awkward and annoying. Even if you and your family remain friends with your ex, there needs to be some boundaries. I suggest you first try talking to your ex. Let him know that you need your space and that his hanging around your family and popping up over your mother’s house is making that difficult.
Then you may need to talk with members of your family. Share your feelings with them and let them know that you are uncomfortable with them including your ex in family affairs. While it may be unrealistic for you to expect your family to end their relationships with your ex completely, I think they need to be a little more sensitive about the situation and about your feelings. Your ex should not be invited to family functions if it makes you uncomfortable. Your mother also needs to make sure that she does not allow your ex to use her or manipulate their relationship in an effort to keep tabs on you or to interfere with your new relationship.
Author of the upcoming book Been There Done That: And Lived to Tell About It, Tamara R. Allen is Your Advice Guru giving REAL advice from REAL experience. Email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow Tamara on twitter @tamararallen or check out her daily column and archives at www.tamararallen.com.