Dear Wendy: “My Boyfriend Compares Me To His Dead Ex”

I’m 22 and recently started my first real relationship. We’ve only been dating for about two months and he already talks about, mentions in conversation and sometimes even compares me to his deceased ex (whom I knew very casually as we were from the small town and went to the same school). It’s been about four years since she passed away, and they were an “on and off” couple at the time. I was fine and actually thankful for his honesty about the situation in the beginning, but I got a little weirded out when he started comparing me to her — especially when I kissed him. He said it was odd that I sometimes kissed with my eyes open, like she used to do (and he even asked me to stop doing that). I tried to confront him a little about it, basically by saying I am not her at all, and any comparisons should be kept to himself, but I don’t want to hurt him or create more problems than it’s worth with this. I noticed that this also tends to make him seem a little clingy and sometimes emotional, but I have little to compare to. Any advice would be greatly appreciated! — Not a Replacement

I live in the same town as my my ex-wife who is an immature and manipulative person, where as my current wife is a saint. The two of them started a relationship, merely to get over the awkwardness that comes when all three of us are in the same area. Recently, my ex-wife has been having some man troubles and turned to my wife for support (she actually turned to me, but I told her I couldn’t care less and to talk to my wife). Now she’s constantly texting my wife while we have the children, taking her away from family time. The whole family went to swim lessons, and instead of being able to watch my daughter learn how to swim and cheer her on, my ex talked my wife’s ear off for 30 minutes straight. On Saturday night when the ex was having a meltdown, she called my wife to come over and be her support. I put my foot down and said ‘NO.’ My wife is a saint with a bleeding heart to fix things and people. She knows me and trusts me, and I have been completely open and honest with everything in my past, but I’m worried my ex will lie about something to get sympathy or cause drama. Is it wrong to be very uneasy about these two being so close and upset that my ex is taking away time away that my wife could be spending with me and the family? — Two-time Husband

Whether or not it’s “wrong” to feel a certain way is a pointless focus for debate. You can’t help the way you feel. What you can help is getting upset with either your ex or your wife for engaging in a friendship you fostered. If you’re so concerned with them getting too close, limit the amount of time they spend alone together by being present as much as possible. The next