Breaking a heart

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My situation concerns my current girlfriend, my ex-girlfriend, and my family. I dated my ex-girlfriend for about 3 1/2 years. We didn’t have the best relationship. Much of our time was spent bickering and trying to make up. We shared some physically intimate things but did not have sexual intercourse.

She came from a broken family. She had several relationships prior to mine. She became very close to my family during the time we dated, almost like a daughter. Things didn’t work out for us. I just knew and felt strongly that this was not a very loving / God centered relationship. We had a “mutual break-up”. There were tears shed and feelings hurt, but we both felt the relationship was going nowhere. It was not violent. She took care of some unresolved issues with past boyfriends.

I can’t recall if we talked about staying in touch during our “break-up”. Regardless, we did communicate with each other, listening to each others lives. I remember feeling turmoil in my stomach talking to her. I felt subordinated to her. I did not know what to do with my feelings. I knew she was still good friends with my family. I did not condone her dealings with my family. I probably encouraged it. About a year later, she had met some good Christian people and had a conversion. She seemed to be a different person. At this time, I considered her a friend in Christ. I knew 100% that we would never get back together.

The issue. My current girlfriend and I met online through St. I told her about my ex-girlfriend and her relationship with my family. She seemed quite amazed and shocked to know that my ex-girlfriend was hanging around with my family. She told me how she felt about it, that traditionally speaking, it’s not a good thing to have the ex-girlfriend in the picture. I never really understood that situation. I’m trying to understand more of a traditional take on the separation from ex-girlfriend thing. However, I am a person who does not like to hurt peoples feelings and doesn’t like to make ripples. I thought, it will be fine… just accept my ex-girlfriend and everything will work out. My family will come to love you just the same. To make matters worse, my ex-girlfriend was at my family for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Coincidentally, I brought my current girlfriend home too, so that was a messy situation. That hurt my girlfriend. We’ve “talked about” getting together with my ex and talking. This never happened. My ex-girlfriend asked me what I wanted. Of course, I feel like I should honor my current girlfriend. I sided with her, and asked my ex to not come around my family.

I decided to get counsel from several people. Half think it’s not a big deal that my family is still friends with my ex-girlfriend and half think it that it is disrespectful to my current girlfriend. I’ve talked to 2 priests and one is more lenient while the other one is very traditional and says that I must do this if I love my girlfriend. My parents will come to love and respect me more after I make a decision that my ex-girlfriend should not come around my family any more. What this traditional priest said made sense, yet I have grown up trying to not hurt anyone, turn the cheek, not make waves with people. I’m not a confrontational guy most of the time. On Palm Sunday of this year, I asked my ex-girlfriend and her fiance to meet my girlfriend and I at the Cathedral. I basically told her not to see, communicate with, or interact with my family with the exception of her wedding. This was more of a one-sided conversation but she did contribute to it.

To make matters worse, my ex-girlfriend and her husband called me last week and said that my family is very upset, that they don’t understand why I’m doing this, that this is not the person they know, that they should be able to have friends with whomever they want. When I heard this, it really hurt me.

Is there anyother way this can be resolved? What would have been the most prudent thing to do?

ps, my niece (4yrs old) had a sucessful liver transplant. A benefit has been planned for the end of June. My family wants my ex-girlfriend and husband to help with it. What do I do with that?
I was in a similiar situation 25 years ago. I was the ex. What a delicate situation for you. I suggest that you let your family decide for themselves who they want to be friends with. I know this is very hard for you and especially for your current girlfriend and it can even be hostile at times. But, remember, you can’t choose someone else’s friends. Besides, I honestly believe that their relationships will die down after a while especially since she is married to someone else now. Be patient and be faithful in God. He has a plan. It may not be revealed any time soon, but eventually it will all make sense.

God Bless…
You probably need more than side’s opinion, but I am the “ex-girlfriend” also! I still maintain a relationship with my ex’s family although I have not seen him in about 6 years. I have been married for 12 years and my ex has been married about 5 years. My relationship is primarily with his mother. I love her! She is a devout, traditional Catholic, and I respect her. We probably became so close because my ex and I dated in high school and college (almost 6 years), and it was assumed that we would marry. he did not want to marry me, however, and God had a different plan. My ex and I are happy in our marriages, and his Mother is a very important person to me. She has been there for me (and I for her) in good times and bad.

Now, how does my ex’s wife handle it? I, honestly, have no idea. If my ex were to approach me and say that my relationship with his Mother was detrimental to his wife’s relationship with his Mother, I really don’t know what I would do. Like I said, I love her, and she loves me, but I would probably step out of the picture because family is very important to me. Personally, I think the ex’s relationship with your family has little to do with you or your current girlfriend. There is room in the heart for many, don’t you think? Maybe your current girlfriend should pray and give it over to God. As long as no one is outwardly exclusive to her, than there will be room for all.

One more thing. When I said it would take time for God to reveal his plan to you, I meant it. It took me over 20 years.
I know (as a woman myself ;)) that emotions can often get the best of us.

But, I’m also a thinking Catholic woman too.

I think the fact that your ex has found love elsewhere- and married, is a large indication that her intentions toward you are not romantic if she has any intention at all!

Her relationship with your immediate family is one rooted in history and it seems a sad thing for her to be required to cut off this relationship with people she cares about- AND who care about her, because of your new love.

I guess if I were in the place of your new girlfriend, I can definately imagine feeling negative feelings toward that situation. I might feel like your family were comparing me to her, or that I’m left out of important conversations about past events that you, your ex, and your family share. Or even that you and she may discover newfound romantic feelings.

But I believe that it would be best to let go of those ideas and make the best of the situation. It seems a little selfish for one person to require a whole family to remove themselves from a person just because of insecurity.

I mean no ill toward your current girlfriend. On the contrary, I can easily empathize. But a quick change of attitude and a loving heart may overcome this. Your family and this woman and her new husband (and possible children) should be able to maintain a relationship with you, your girlfriend and your family.

You must not giver your girlfriend any reason not to trust you with this arrangement though. I believe it would be prudent not to be in rooms alone together etc. Especially if you marry your girlfriend. Your first loyalty will be to her then, and any actions on your part to undermine her trust in you would be wrong.

I believe that your search for the correct answer and your loving supportive heart, may be able to change her heart and mind, but if it isn’t- this may be an indication to you of incompatibility.

I’m sure there will be others who disagree with this assessment. But I guess when there seems to be nothing wrong with the arrangement in and of itself, and the only person who has serious issue with it is your girlfriend, it seems that it is she who needs to change and bend, not your ex and your family.
Some women want to get rid of any and all vestiges of previous women. This is not a good sign.
I am going to side with the new girlfriend here. And so should the young man.

I think she is right to be offended and to expect a warmer welcome from the writer’s family. For good or bad, mothers especially need to be careful about getting too close to their adult children’s loves. Their loyalty must first be to their adult children and their current loves, especially in this age of divorce. I am not saying cut off the friendship with the ex-girlfriend entirely (though that would be best) but discreetly maintain it in such a way that the current is not frequently confronted with and compared with the ex. For those of us whose family members have divorced and re-married, we owe our family members (whether or not we approve of their behavior) to put away the old wedding pictures, distance ourselves from the ex, zip the lips, and embrace the new. Just one of those unpleasant realities of modern (even Catholic) family life.

Furthermore, how the young man responds in supporting his new love is critical to the new love’s view of him. So he absolutely must stand up to his family and politely but firmly request that the current girlfriend be favored over the ex. The ex-girlfriend should never be invited to family functions that the current girlfriend attends. The ex-girlfriend really should respect his feelings too, especially since she is happily married and she owes him the same opportunity. It is most unfortunate that the ex-girlfriend, the young man, and his family have allowed this situation to continue.

Finally, if the young man does not use this occasion to stand firmly with his girlfriend, he will either not have a girlfriend or he will be fighting this issue (and similar) in his marriage. Guys, save yourself grief and support your ladies!

Yours Respectfully,
Mrs. Manners
How interesting. Your ex called Heart Mind and Strength, which is a call in program on WDEO radio (Catholic Radio) 2-3pm Eastern time M-F, to talk with Greg and Lisa Popcak about this situation. Greg is a Catholic psycho-therapist. His web site is You can listen to the current live broadcast at The shows aren’t archived as far as I can tell. The shows phone number is also listed.

I realise that Greg only got to hear your ex’s perspective but the gist of it is that your parents are free to be friends with whomever they choose. And your current girl friend needs to grow up a bit. There is enough love in people to care for more than one daughter type figure. Your parents caring for your ex does not diminish their capacity to care for your current friend.

It could be real helpful if you called the Popcaks. They are not harsh in anyway and they may be able to help you with this.
Ms Cilantro
To be honest, it is probably a bit weird to keep the ex-girlfriend as such a close friend, but it sounds like it went beyond you to your family. Your family has a right to invite whoever they want over. If there is absolutely no pretense of “trying to get you two back together” then it shouldn’t be a huge deal, if a little strange in some ways.

But it sounds like your “ex” is married, and it is not you doing the inviting.

Quite honestly, I question the motivations of your current girlfriend. There appears to be insecurity there that both of you need to learn to deal with. If she completely trusted you, she wouldn’t let the past bother you.

My wife had a very long relationship (5 years) with someone else before we started dating. She kept in touch with him for some time. All I needed to hear from her once was that “don’t worry, it is all over and you have nothing to worry about” and I trusted her. At first, it was a little tough to convince myself of that, but I soon realized the truth of it.

She will do nothing to endear herself to your family if you sever a friendship that they have with someone else because of her or you.

But I’m no shrink, so take this for what it’s worth.
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