Dear Aunty Lisa
I broke up with my boyfriend back in September after two years together. We didn’t have a major fall-out and ended things pretty amicably.
I just felt our relationship was all about him – he was always promising the earth and never making good on it. He was a charming guy, but things weren’t heading anywhere, so we decided to call it quits and I’ve since moved on with someone else, who is wonderful and things are already serious between us.
The only problem is, I can’t seem to get my ex out of my life because my brother and he became good mates when we were dating and they still see each other a lot.
I feel really annoyed about it and think my brother should respect the fact that I’m no longer dating him and don’t want to hear about him or see him. He’s even turned up at family gatherings where I’ve been with my new boyfriend and it’s felt really awkward. I just want to move on, but it’s hard when he’s around all of the time.
How can I make my brother understand that I don’t want my ex hanging round our family because he doesn’t seem to be getting it?
I don’t think I’m being unreasonable – what do you think, Lisa?
Aunty Lisa says
I actually get a lot of letters from people trying to move on from an ex, but their family can’t let go. I know it’s tough, but just because you’ve fallen out of love with your ex doesn’t mean everyone else around you will automatically feel the same. But I totally accept what a hard situation it is for you – and your new partner.
Explain to your brother that if he wants to be mates with your ex that’s fine, but not to expect you to be at events if your ex is there.
Your family should understand why it makes you uncomfortable and put your feelings first.
I think that’s reasonable – you’re not laying down the law about who they can and can’t have as friends, but you’ll opt out of events if your ex is going to be there. If they are sensitive to your feelings they won’t invite him to family gatherings.
When a couple breaks up, it’s inevitable that other people will be affected, too. I’ve been devastated in the past when my sons have split up with girlfriends I’ve adored, but you have to put your own family first and respect the feelings of new partners, too.