Mentioning “the ex” in causal conversation - Talk About Marriage
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post #1 of 130 (permalink) Old 07-14-2019, 08:32 AM Thread Starter
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Mentioning “the ex” in causal conversation

My wife and I have a very good relationship. One of my only concerns is her tendency to mention exes during conversations. I know very little about her previous relationships. I don’t know many details such as why the relationships ended, or how they shape who she is today. I have no problem with having real conversations about those things. I realize that she dated people before me, and that’s ok. I just have an issue with how exes are frequently brought into conversation when we go out on date nights. They are never mentioned any other time, expect when we go out together to dinner, movies, concerts, etc.

This is how it usually goes, I’ll mention something in conversation ,and she’ll make a comments such as “my ex used to like that”, “I went there with an ex”, or yesterday’s comment, “back when I went to my exes family party”. They are all brief one sentence comments about people I know nothing about. I don’t expect to erase her past, or not talk about whatever is on her mind. I’d just prefer spending date nights together without the high likelihood an ex will be brought into conversation.

There’s just something that hurts my feelings about the fact that whenever we are having fun together, the thought of an ex is important enough to mention. It particularly feels strange to me when she describes herself as someone completely different in those relationships than the conservative, cautious person I married. In fact, I’d love to see her be able to let go and not always be so cautious. The “exes” have seen that side, and I haven’t. That is another reason I feel awkward when I hear these random comments on our date nights.

Should I mention these feelings to wife? I’m just curious what you all think. I’m not sure if I’m too sensitive, but it’s also difficult not share my feelings with my wife.

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post #2 of 130 (permalink) Old 07-14-2019, 08:40 AM
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Re: Mentioning “the ex” in causal conversation

Yes, it's absolutely worth mentioning to your wife if it effects as much as it sounds like it does. Certain people are sensitive to certain things. Maybe you can only take so much...the casual mention, not a big deal. But if it's happening at a clip that is overdoing it TO YOU, you should mention it and how it makes you feel.
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post #3 of 130 (permalink) Old 07-14-2019, 08:50 AM
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Re: Mentioning “the ex” in causal conversation

Agree and amplify.

You: hey, these shrimp are really good.

Wife: my ex, Thunder SteelShaft, liked shrimp too, popcorn shrimp to be exact.

You: oh, cool, that's interesting....tell me more, how did he prefer to have his steak cooked?

Wife: er, um, medium rare....??

You: that's totes awesome! And Chad MuscleButt, what was his preferred wine pairing with linguine?

Wife: uh, you're being weird!

Done without snark, being snide, or passive aggressively, but with active and genuine curiosity.

If she doesn't get the hint, just tell her plainly not to mention them again.
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post #4 of 130 (permalink) Old 07-14-2019, 08:55 AM
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Read the thread "you did it for them but not me." I reference it because it kind of sounds like what your getting at.

On another note I recommend you find a few books of how female attraction works. I don't recommend to any man that he fumble his way through marriage and expect the results you want just because your a "good guy".

I don't recommend the snark and passive aggressive stuff. If you want to know stand up for yourself and ask outright. If she doesn't want to give it out then straight up tell her you never want to here about her exes again.

Defining some boundaries and standing by them earns respect. Go that route, never the passive one. Note: I never said to be rude to her.
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post #5 of 130 (permalink) Old 07-14-2019, 09:00 AM
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Re: Mentioning “the ex” in causal conversation

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Originally Posted by Seeker72 View Post
There’s just something that hurts my feelings about the fact that whenever we are having fun together, the thought of an ex is important enough to mention.
I suggest, the next time she brings up an ex, you ask her "...When we stood before God and witnesses and married each other, you promised that you would forsake all others and keep yourself only unto me. What, exactly, do those statements mean to you ??...... "

And, "....why do you think those two statements are part of wedding vows ?? "

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Originally Posted by Seeker72 View Post
I’d just prefer spending date nights together without the high likelihood an ex will be brought into conversation.
And, in my opinion, those two wedding vows give you the complete right to it.

Last edited by TJW; 07-14-2019 at 09:10 AM.
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post #6 of 130 (permalink) Old 07-14-2019, 09:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seeker72 View Post
There’s just something that hurts my feelings about the fact that whenever we are having fun together, the thought of an ex is important enough to mention.
I suggest, the next time she brings up an ex, you ask her "...When we stood before God and witnesses and married each other, you promised that you would forsake all others and keep yourself only unto me. What, exactly, do those statements mean to you ??...... "

And, "....why do you think those two statements are part of wedding vows ?? "

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Originally Posted by Seeker72 View Post
I’d just prefer spending date nights together without the high likelihood an ex will be brought into conversation.
And, in my opinion, those two wedding vows give you the complete right to it.
This could be a good suggestion, but it might not work for OP. Not every wedding is the same.

Not all weddings are religious, and not all vows include that language. Mine didn't.

It also might feel a LOT like "schooling" ----the questioning her--why she thinks those statements are part of wedding vows (if they were).

I think a sharp direct approach about how it affects you would be effective. Tell her you aren't interested in hearing about her ex partners when you are on a date night. Those nights are for you two to focus on each other. Tell her it really ruins the dynamic of your time together, for you.

And then, if she does it again on another date night, be real. Let her know that comment was a turn off, you're not feeling the date night anymore and cut the night short.
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post #7 of 130 (permalink) Old 07-14-2019, 09:48 AM
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Re: Mentioning “the ex” in causal conversation

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Originally Posted by Mr.Married View Post
Read the thread "you did it for them but not me." I reference it because it kind of sounds like what your getting at.

On another note I recommend you find a few books of how female attraction works. I don't recommend to any man that he fumble his way through marriage and expect the results you want just because your a "good guy".

I don't recommend the snark and passive aggressive stuff. If you want to know stand up for yourself and ask outright. If she doesn't want to give it out then straight up tell her you never want to here about her exes again.

Defining some boundaries and standing by them earns respect. Go that route, never the passive one. Note: I never said to be rude to her.
Sometimes being snarky is the only way to go.
The next time she mentions her exes I would just casually mention “none of these guys stuck around, I wonder why”.
Or you could say “You sure had a lot of boyfriends didn’t you, is there anything you didn’t already do or anyplace you haven’t already been “.

Now this is one I would save for someone who you want to split up with. When she mentions her past boyfriends and what they did together I would say “Yeah,I bet you were hot when you were younger”.

When someone says it’s not the money it’s the principle,it’s always the money.
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post #8 of 130 (permalink) Old 07-14-2019, 09:53 AM
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Re: Mentioning “the ex” in causal conversation

Your wife must be insecure if she constantly needs to make offhand and unnecessary comments about her exes.

I'm not big on the open honest dialogue routine. She may turn that around and call you insecure for asking her to never mention exes "as if she were born yesterday." O how terrible and demanding. I would try Andy's first repsonse.
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post #9 of 130 (permalink) Old 07-14-2019, 10:01 AM Thread Starter
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Your wife must be insecure if she constantly needs to make offhand and unnecessary comments about her exes.

I'm not big on the open honest dialogue routine. She may turn that around and call you insecure for asking her to never mention exes "as if she were born yesterday." O how terrible and demanding. I would try Andy's first repsonse.
Honestly, the open dialogue is more my style, but I have the same concerns you mentioned. I just don’t see it being successful because I could be portrayed as being insecure and unreasonable.
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post #10 of 130 (permalink) Old 07-14-2019, 10:09 AM
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Re: Mentioning “the ex” in causal conversation

Start talking about the things your exes liked, preferred, or were interested in. If you don't have any exes, make some up. "That's what I really liked about her." Fight fire with fire. See how long that lasts.


It is easier to get forgiveness than permission.
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post #11 of 130 (permalink) Old 07-14-2019, 10:11 AM
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Re: Mentioning “the ex” in causal conversation

Have you ever mentioned your ex's too?

I would mention something about my previous relationships, if she says "I've been to that place with ex1" I would say, "I remember going to X place with ex234 and eating abc, enjoyed a nice bottle of pinot, talking about life and the future..... Good times.." while looking out the window...

It's interesting to see how people react when tables are turned.

My kids got mad at my husband because they found a photo album at Grandma's house that had pictures of his senior prom where he was hugging and kissing an ex girlfriend.

Our daughter said, "I saw a picture of you and another girl that wasn't mama!" My husband turned beet red and said, "You know, I had a life before marrying mama!" Our daughter was upset! I was laughing so hard!!!
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post #12 of 130 (permalink) Old 07-14-2019, 10:13 AM
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Re: Mentioning “the ex” in causal conversation

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When she mentions her past boyfriends and what they did together I would say “Yeah,I bet you were hot when you were younger”.
That one will win her heart ..LOL !!!!!!
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post #13 of 130 (permalink) Old 07-14-2019, 10:13 AM
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Re: Mentioning “the ex” in causal conversation

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Honestly, the open dialogue is more my style, but I have the same concerns you mentioned. I just don’t see it being successful because I could be portrayed as being insecure and unreasonable.
My third point was a joke.
However the other two are things that you can mention without being overly aggressive. If she takes umbrage then it’s her that’s being insecure and unreasonable.
In my opinion anyone who keeps mentioning exes to their spouse is definitely showing signs of insecurity and lack of self esteem.

When someone says it’s not the money it’s the principle,it’s always the money.
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post #14 of 130 (permalink) Old 07-14-2019, 10:17 AM
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Re: Mentioning “the ex” in causal conversation

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anyone who keeps mentioning exes to their spouse is definitely showing signs of insecurity and lack of self esteem.
I was thinking it was from the other direction like showing disrespect. With the said ... he mentioned in the beginning they had a good marriage and he isn't pointing
to any other issues.
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post #15 of 130 (permalink) Old 07-14-2019, 10:33 AM Thread Starter
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anyone who keeps mentioning exes to their spouse is definitely showing signs of insecurity and lack of self esteem.
I was thinking it was from the other direction like showing disrespect. With the said ... he mentioned in the beginning they had a good marriage and he isn't pointing
to any other issues.
Yeah, the only real issue we have in our marriage (at least an issue to me) is the baggage that gets brought into our life. For example, if she went to a particular place with someone else and didn’t enjoy it, she won’t do the same activity with me. Unfortunately, I couldn’t address this early on, because she didn’t actually mention these things until recently.
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