July 1, 2015

Ask Me Anything: Boyfriend Obsessively Searching Ex Online. {Weekly Advice Column}

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Dear Elephants,

Welcome to this week’s Ask Me Anything, where no question is out of bounds! To submit questions for next week, please email me at [email protected].

I look forward to hearing from you!

~ Erica

Dear Erica,

My current boyfriend, with whom I live and have a baby, searches for his ex (his first love) several times a month.

I first noticed he was searching for her last year when I was pregnant, on Facebook and Google, several times during the month and sometimes even as often as every other day. He even searched for her the day after I gave birth to his child.

I confronted him about it and he said it’s nothing, that he’s over her and they are just friends (not Facebook friends though) and if he wanted to be with her he would.

I do not think he’s over her. After I confronted him about it he started deleting his Facebook search history.

To me it shows a lack of integrity, respect and proves that he isn’t over her.

I know if I were searching as often as him for one of my exes or another man, it would be because they are obviously on my mind and I’m not over it.

What do you think? I’m getting to the point where I have walls up, feel second best, like I’m constantly being lied to with his sneaky deleting of searches, etc. It’s ruining the relationship and making me want to leave.

~ Not Over It


Dear Not Over It,

I agree that your boyfriend is not over his ex. I also agree that he lacks integrity, does not respect you and is lying to you—and possibly himself.

The only way you can move forward with him is if he chooses to be honest. Explain to him that this is a deal breaker. Ask him to look at it from your perspective; how would he feel if you were obsessively searching an ex-boyfriend? And what possible reason would you have for doing it? We don’t behave that way towards “friends.”

If he doesn’t come clean (and it’s unlikely that he will based on his past actions), I would seek out therapy either for you both or just for you if he’s unwilling to go.

With a child in the picture you have a lot to lose and, assuming your boyfriend hasn’t taken things beyond on line searching, you might be able to work things out.


Dear Erica,

I have been married for 8 years now and we have a son. I have lot of issues with my husband including him not getting along with my family, disrespecting me, not being there for me during child birth, not making me feel valued, judging me and demanding money.

I’ve lost track of when I stopped feeling unworthy and stopped loving myself, and when I fell out of love with him.

We still live together but I met this man at work who doesn’t judge me, who respects me and makes me feel special. I fell in love again. This time I didn’t expect any commitments. He is single at the moment but isn’t looking for a committed relationship. I feel happy when I am around him.

My husband has now changed and is suddenly trying to win me back. He has no idea about this other guy. This other guy I’m involved with is ready to let me go, but I am holding on to him.

Why is it so difficult to let go? What should I do?

~ Conflicted


Dear Conflicted,

You need to get your priorities straight.

First up is doing the best thing for your child. That does not include continuing to be extramaritally involved with a man who doesn’t want to be committed to you and is ready to let you go.

Secondly, you need to heal yourself. Years of a terrible marriage have broken you down and the way to build yourself back up is not by rushing into another unhealthy relationship– especially while you are still married.

Focus on your own mental and emotional health by finding a good therapist. Your son deserves a mother who can love herself and choose stable people to invite into his life.

If you can’t fix your marriage, have the courage to leave and be confident in the knowledge that other people will never truly “make you feel special”—you have to do that by yourself.


Author: Erica Leibrandt 

Editor: Katarina Tavčar

Photo: Lili Vieira de Carvalho/Flickr

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