Is My Guy Still In Love With His Ex-Wife?

Question:

Hi Marlon,

I’ve been dating a guy for about a year now and we’ve been living together for most of that time. He was hurt pretty badly by his ex-wife, who he’s been divorced from for over 14-years. He never remarried after the divorce, but just had 2-3 year relationships here and there instead. He says I’m the “one”, and that he loves me like he’s never loved anyone else, and I feel the same way about him.

Well I was looking for something in his truck, and the contents of his glove box fell out onto the floorboard. There was a picture there among all his stuff – his ex-wife’s work badge. I don’t understand why he would hold onto something like this for such a long time. I’m assuming he still hasn’t thrown it away since I first found it.

What does this mean, do you think? When they broke up she called him at work, said she wasn’t happy, and by the time he’d gotten home she had literally moved everything out of the house. She sounds cold and selfish to me. I feel like I’m always being compared to her, or maybe that’s just me being paranoid??

What do you think?

Tonia

Answer:

Hi Tonia,

Your boyfriend is dealing with not having any closure to his marriage. Not only did his ex-wife hurt him, but she also left him without any real explanation, and then ruined his life by emptying their house of their possessions. This has probably left a pretty big scar your guy’s subconscious, and he doesn’t even realize that there’s any real damage to him from all of this – I can assure you that when people’s lives are turned upside down that there is always lasting damage done.

Your boyfriend (at the back of his mind) is probably hoping that his ex-wife will eventually tell him exactly what he did wrong, so he’s probably holding onto the picture for that reason. There’s also the possibility that he’s still in love with her, which might explain why none of his previous relationships lasted more than a year or two at most. Is he still in love with his ex-wife? The only person that can answer that particular question is your boyfriend – otherwise you’re just speculating and making assumptions, which is something you want to avoid doing in as much as you can.

When you have closure on a relationship it means you can walk away from it knowing you tried your best to make it work out, but that making it work was impossible. Closure means there’s little or no baggage brought into your future relationships, so you get a fresh start with the new person in your life.

From what you’ve told me it sounds like your boyfriend has never gotten closure on his failed marriage with his ex-wife. A professional counselor will be able to help him understand his motivations for keeping a picture like that, and then once he’s gotten the closure he needs you might considering attending a relationship counselor together to make sure that you both know where you want your relationship to go, and most importantly that you’re both working towards that goal together.

Avoid confronting him with the information about the picture if you can – it will just make matters worse. Instead maybe reassure him that if he needs to talk to you that he can, and that you understand that he might still be troubled by the hurt his ex-wife caused him – this allows you to hint at him that counseling might help him get the closure he really, really needs.

I hope that helps 🙂

Marlon

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