Dear Wendy: “Now That I Have A New Boyfriend My Ex Won’t Leave Me Alone”

Wendy is on vacation, so we’ll be posting some of her more popular past Dear Wendy columns (that some of you may have missed!) to get you through the week.

I dated a guy back in 2006 and part of 2007 who eventually broke up with me. I was upset at the time but then moved to another city so I could move on with my life. Well, I have moved on with my life; I am currently dating a man I care about deeply. My current boyfriend and I have been together since late December 2009 and official since January. Since I started dating him, the old boyfriend has been occasionally sending me texts, writing on my Facebook, calling my phone and when I don’t pick up, leaving voice mails that send the message he’s desperate to talk to me. I feel it is clear the old boyfriend has feelings for me — there was one phone call where in one sentence he used every old inside joke we ever had. I am exceedingly content in the relationship I have with my boyfriend now and have no plans to wreck it. I have no ill feelings towards the old boyfriend; in my mind, he is something of what now feels like a past life. However, my current boyfriend is upset and angry that the old ex keeps trying to get in touch with me. I have no desire to create unnecessary drama and just want a peaceful life. How might I best handle the situation with no animosity directed at me as a result? — Happier Now

I’m curious when exactly your ex started sending all these texts and calling you and leaving messages on your voice mail. My hunch is it was probably exactly when you and your current boyfriend became “official” back in January. I’m wondering — did part of becoming official include changing your relationship status on Facebook? Have you been posting photos of the two of you where you look as content and happy as you say you are?

If your ex-boyfriend, who I assume must be a friend on Facebook if he’s leaving messages on your wall, is currently unattached, it probably makes him feel pretty jealous to see that you’ve so clearly moved on while he’s got no one. Sure, it may be kind of flattering that he’s come out of the woodwork to shower attention on you, but don’t take it to mean he still has feelings for you. If that were the case, where has he been the last three years? This is more a territorial thing. Think of your ex like a dog. He marked his territory once upon a time but now that same territory is being marked by someone else. So he’s desperate to get his territory back, especially since he doesn’t currently have any other of his own. It’s not that he necessarily wants to do anything with that territory — he just wants to know it’s there and it belongs to him. It’s an ego thing.

Maybe it seems innocent enough to you now, but don’t let this old dog rattle you. Don’t let him shake things up with your current boyfriend. Ignore his texts and phone calls and delete him from your Facebook page (or at least make your pictures and information inaccessible to him). He’ll quickly get bored and move on to some other former flame. And if he doesn’t? You need to be aggressive and tell him that you wish him well but he has to leave you alone now. If he wanted you back, he had three years to make his move.

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