Friday 19 July 2019

Dear Mary: I found her ex-boyfriend's number on her phone - now I want her out

Mary O’Conor

I have just found out that my partner has been in contact with a former boyfriend for the past 10 years. I came across this by chance, while looking for a number on her phone.

She was in the shower, when I believe she suddenly realised that because I had her phone, I would see his name and number. So she panicked and came rushing out of the shower, soaking wet, and grabbed the phone from me.

I had already seen his name and number, and told her that I had. She would not speak then, but came back a few days later and told me she had deleted it.

I asked her why she had deleted the number, and told her that if in her heart of hearts she wanted to contact him, she should contact him.

I know she is afraid I will go and find someone else. She is now trying to say that I was imagining it. I have tried to talk to her, and it was only when I said I wanted answers and told her to leave, that she declared undying love for me. She has her own house but still wants to stay with me.

I now know I am not going to get the full truth from her and I want her to go as I don't trust her any more.

I know my own make-up and I won't let this go, I feel betrayed and angry. I now feel like a bully because I have said to her she has to go, in no uncertain terms, although she has refused to budge. I can see myself getting her stuff together and putting her out.

She is in complete denial. I know it's over between us now as this contact has been going on for a long time. I want it to end.

Mary replies:  I agree with you that 10 years is a very long time for her to have been in contact with her ex. I don't know how often the contacts were and you don't tell me if she has physically met up with him, or if the contact has been only by text or phone calls.

I think that we are all entitled to speak with our friends, even those with whom we were once romantically involved, providing there is no longer any emotional or sexual involvement.

I am presuming that this guy has moved on with his life, just as your soon-to-be ex girlfriend has moved on with hers.

Her big mistake, of course, was not to tell you that they were still friends and that they had ongoing conversations. Because she didn't do this, and because she acted so guiltily when she rushed to get her phone back, you now feel betrayed. And because you know yourself and your reactions to certain situations so well, you cannot see yourself letting go of this.

If, however, there was more to it and she was seeing him behind your back, then you are quite justified in finishing with her and if you want it to end then so be it.

Even if you have to be like a bailiff evicting her, you seem to be determined to finish this relationship. But before you do, please ask yourself if you are really justified in doing so. If she was having just a friendship with her ex, then you can be accused of overreacting.

Think about what life would be like for you without her, and if you don't like what you see in the future, then perhaps you should reconsider. You could also suggest taking a break where you would both be free to see other people and then meet up to see how things have been during that time for you both. I am just trying to stop you from doing anything that you might later regret.

So in summary, if she was seeing him without telling you then go ahead and end things. If, however, it was purely telephone contact, then I feel you should think again.

You can contact Mary O’Conor anonymously by visiting or email her at or write c/o 27-32 Talbot Street, Dublin 1. All correspondence will be treated in confidence. Mary O’Conor regrets that she is unable to answer any questions privately.

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