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David Eddie's Damage Control

My boyfriend told his ex he doesn't really love me Add to ...

The question

The "ex" situation has been a contentious one for me and my boyfriend for months. I often catch him sending texts to his ex. Then he lies about it. He maintains he hasn't seen her since we've been together, and I think that's likely true, but it hurts that he's been lying to me. The other day I noticed more texts between the two of them on his phone. In the message, he said he doesn't really love me. My boyfriend also said that the two of them should still be together. I confronted him. He didn't get defensive, and admitted to it right away. He said he was "humouring" her and that when he had told her before that he was in love with me, she flew off the handle and called him repeatedly. He said these texts were to keep her from calling him any more. My boyfriend does love me and I believe he's sorry for what he did, but is this a relationship worth working at?

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The answer

Madam, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but your boyfriend is: a) lying like a rug; b) behaving like a louse.

Though I have to call you out a bit for snooping around his phone, I understand that this caddish fellow has given you quite a bit of "probable cause," so I suppose I can forgive it this once. FYI for the future, though, in a healthy relationship both parties keep their proboscii out of each other's communication devices.

Actually, before we get to the specifics of your question, since I get quite a few like yours and I'm never-endingly saddened by how many people seem to accept these situations as normal, allow me to issue, for the Eddie-fication of ladies and gentlemen alike, a brief excerpt from my personal Manifesto for Healthy Relationships.

(It's like those laminated cards in the back of cabs that say: "You have the right to a smoke-free environment"; "You have the right to a courteous ride," except for your love life.)

1) You have the right not to be dissed at all by your significant other, to anyone, ever.

I would never, ever, ever say anything negative about my wife behind her back.

I make a quasi-exception for when a couple has had a terrible fight. You still shouldn't say anything negative per se about your S.O., but you're allowed to vent by describing the fight, as objectively as possible, to a close friend.

But otherwise, when you enter into a relationship you enter into a pact: What happens in the relationship stays in the relationship. You have intimate knowledge of the other person's every little quirk and fault and weakness. You've seen him/her naked and/or not at his/her best. To then turn around and cut that person up and/or rip him/her a new one to a third party, any third party, is just low.

But to an ex? That's the lowest of the low.

2) You have the right to an ex-free environment.

Maybe an exception can be made if your S.O. and his ex were friends for longer than lovers - i.e. friendship was the major component of their shared history. Otherwise, I don't understand this mania for keeping in touch with exes. When you break up with someone it's over and you should both move on. That's why they call them "exes."

3) You have the right to live in a house that is not a House of Lies.

This clause also applies to apartments, condos, cottages, tree forts, igloos, tents, yurts, patios with umbrellas that are close together - any enclosure, really. Whenever your boyfriend looks like he is about to fill the air with fumes from a pack of lies, he should be compelled to hit the bricks.

Anyway, I could go on. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to my Manifesto - just some of the main clauses and codicils that apply directly to your boyfriend.

Especially the lies part. Sheesh! Maybe I should amend that last clause to:

If your boyfriend is going to lie to you, you have the right to lies that are at least creative and persuasive and not insulting to the intelligence.

All this business about "humouring" his ex by telling her he doesn't love you, and texting her "to keep her from calling him" would be risible if it weren't so despicable.

You can do better. It's heave-ho time, the sooner the better (for one thing, this guy sounds like the type who will leave you at the first opportunity anyway).

Put this fertilizer-filled bag of b.s. you call a boyfriend on the curb for the yard waste truck to pick up, and find a gentleman who will treat you like a lady - with respect and honesty.

I don't know you, but I know this: You deserve no less.

David Eddie is the author of Chump Change and Housebroken: Confessions of a Stay-at-Home Dad. Damage Control, the book, was released in March.

I've made a huge mistake Have you created any damage that needs controlling? Send your dilemmas to damage@globeandmail.com, and include your hometown and a daytime contact number so we can follow up with any queries.

 

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