Ask Experts Questions for FREE Help !
    bigdee's Avatar
    bigdee Posts: 132, Reputation: 20
    Junior Member

    Sep 18, 2013, 04:52 PM
    What's the proper etiquette when dealing with exes?
    Just recently, my ex from over 20 years ago got my e-mail from a mutual acquaintance and e-mailed me out of the blue to say hi and see how I was doing. It caught me off guard since it has been about 15 years since I last heard from her. She was an old college girlfriend where the relationship ended a bit messy.

    Anyway she said she was thinking back to her college days and thought of me and wanted to get in touch again. I gave a polite, if short, reply. She replied saying she was so happy to hear back and that she missed me. Now I feel awkward because I am married. I have no real feelings for my ex anymore. I'm glad she is doing well and stuff but overall I guess I am just trying to be nice. If I was single, I probably wouldn't feel bad replying. But since I am not, I do.

    I'm going to guess that I should just cut off contact with my ex, is that right? To me it sounds a bit rude because at one time we were really close and helped each other through tough times. But the consensus seems to be to end all communication, even if the communication is simply "polite". Agree?
    talaniman's Avatar
    talaniman Posts: 54,325, Reputation: 10855

    Sep 18, 2013, 06:17 PM
    I am sure after 20 years you have both outgrown the drama but the bottom line is if you rather not keep in touch then don't. Just curious if your spouse knows about your past with her and does that make a difference?

    Its really up to you.
    bigdee's Avatar
    bigdee Posts: 132, Reputation: 20
    Junior Member

    Sep 18, 2013, 08:40 PM
    My feelings are pretty neutral. I guess I am a little curious since it has been awhile, but that's about it. I don't hold any negative feelings or anything. My spouse doesn't know about her. We seldom bring up our ex's, we prefer to leave it in the past. I guess this would qualify as not leaving it in the past.
    joypulv's Avatar
    joypulv Posts: 21,591, Reputation: 2941
    current pert

    Sep 18, 2013, 11:53 PM
    I assume that she knows you are married?
    She might be innocent about all this, at most hoping for some introductions to friends of yours - or she might be feeling you out to see if you are looking for an out of your marriage.
    If you want to nip it in the bud, do so.
    A mature thing to say might be 'I'm happy for you but have a very full and busy life these days, and truthfully don't want to go back in time.'
    bigdee's Avatar
    bigdee Posts: 132, Reputation: 20
    Junior Member

    Sep 19, 2013, 06:30 AM
    Yes, she does. I think it is innocent nostalgia because she also recently reached out to some other people from those college days. Seems like she is remembering that time fondly and trying to contact those people she remember from that time.

    Honestly it was kind of cool to catch up and talk about the ol' days but I'm thinking it is time to nip it in the bud just in case. I decided to take a tactic that I use when dealing with people I'd like to minimize contact - make each reply more terse and slower in response. Eventually they get the hint.
    tickle's Avatar
    tickle Posts: 23,796, Reputation: 2674

    Sep 19, 2013, 06:32 AM
    There is no protocol for contact with exes. You are either done with them or not. I am surprised you did not just tell her then and there, that you are married now, nice to chat, but would rather not pursue telephone conversation. Unless of course you had it in the back of your mind that a little diddling on the side would be nice and wanted us to validate it. Sorry, not validating. Only heartache can come from that.
    bigdee's Avatar
    bigdee Posts: 132, Reputation: 20
    Junior Member

    Sep 19, 2013, 06:39 AM
    Nope, no diddling plans at all! Just wondering what others thought. Some people say innocent contact with the ex is fine as long as you keep it at a distance and you know both parties would keep it platonic, while others say any contact at all is not recommended no matter how innocent.
    joypulv's Avatar
    joypulv Posts: 21,591, Reputation: 2941
    current pert

    Sep 19, 2013, 07:13 AM
    I am all in favor of contact with exes and others of both sexes from the past - if it was a good relationship back then. When you said the breakup was messy, I took that to mean you didn't care to revive any part of the memory.
    talaniman's Avatar
    talaniman Posts: 54,325, Reputation: 10855

    Sep 19, 2013, 07:17 AM
    After 20 years and supposedly the drama and emotional dust has settled there should be little harm with casual communications but if you and the spouse have an agreement and boundaries in place, then its not worth the trouble. You don't seem keen on the idea any way so that's the way you go.

    No biggie.
    N0help4u's Avatar
    N0help4u Posts: 19,823, Reputation: 2035
    Uber Member

    Sep 19, 2013, 07:34 PM
    It is common in this day and age for people to look up and want to catch up on old friends. Tell her you are happily married and you are willing to chat about everyday things on occasion.
    Homegirl 50's Avatar
    Homegirl 50 Posts: 10,794, Reputation: 2604
    Dating & Teen Expert

    Sep 19, 2013, 08:42 PM
    Tell her you're married , it was nice hearing from her and you wish her well. Unless she is just dense, she will get the message.
    Jake2008's Avatar
    Jake2008 Posts: 6,721, Reputation: 3460
    Emotional Health Expert

    Sep 20, 2013, 01:39 PM
    Let's make a protocol rule. Call it, 'Protocol Rule for Ex Lovers'

    It is now and forthwith, and forever more, a big no-no to contact an ex lover, when that ex lover is married. Protocol for the one contacted- delete email address from address book.

    If this person was a cousin or a person contacting you to let you know that there is a high school reunion, and were you AND your wife planning to attend, etc. that is different.

    Leave ex lovers in the past.

Not your question? Ask your question View similar questions


Question Tools Search this Question
Search this Question:

Advanced Search

Add your answer here.

Check out some similar questions!

Proper etiquette on family tree [ 1 Answers ]

My dad is remarried and I want to give my step mom a family tree for xmas. My problem is her son is divorced. He has 2 children with his ex. Do I list her with him on the branch with him and his kids?

Dealing with exes [ 4 Answers ]

I just started a new relationship. We have been dating for about four months now, and about a month ago we both decided to make it official. Just two weeks ago he told me that he loves me and I also said it back. Everything seems great, but the one issue is that he is still very good friends...

Proper Etiquette [ 2 Answers ]

My son has a girlfriend who I have never met or talked to. Her grandmother just passed away. Should I do anything like send a card or flowers?

Proper etiquette for second weddings [ 3 Answers ]

What is the proper etiquette when the marriage is the second for the groom in reqards to bridal showers and such

Proper etiquette [ 3 Answers ]

One of my closest friends is getting married and I am in the wedding party. Things are getting quite pricey between dress, shoes, bridal shower, bachlorette party, not to mention the cost of the hotel room for the weekend. The reception is at a very nice place and unfortunately that nice place...

View more questions Search