Miss Information

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My boyfriend's ex refuses to go away.

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Dear Miss Information,

My boyfriend (let's call him V) and I, like many couples, started out as hookup buddies. During all of this, V remained in very close contact with his ex-girlfriend of ten years, a woman whom I consider quite possessive, at the very least.

Since things weren't serious for us and I didn't really care about much in those days, he never mentioned her to me or me to her. I'm not sure what their relationship was at that point (were they or were they not still banging?), but V has sworn up and down that they were nothing but friends. Regardless, this ex-girlfriend and I met once and for some reason, I felt some kind of guilt, like I was doing something wrong.

A few days later, she contacted me to tell me she had gone into V's Facebook and seen the messages he had sent me, and wanted to know what the extent of our relationship was, because the truth was she "didn't know" if she and V were still together or not, and she didn't want to be misled. She claimed she had spent New Year's with him and was a regular friend of the family, and pretty much insinuated that anything he did with me would be nothing less than infidelity. I was extremely disturbed by the situation. I told her everything, and told her not to worry, that nothing else would ever happen between me and him. She assured me that there was no problem, and that if I wanted to continue with him, she would simply step out of the equation.

V, during all of this, pretty much denied everything both to her and to me, and even told me that she had a boyfriend. Of course, I believed him and continued messing around with him. The ex found out and exploded on me, calling me (with the phone number she had stolen from V's messages to me on FB) crying and telling me that she loved V and that she did have a boyfriend but didn't see a future with him, and all in all, begged for my pity. She even told me that she was going to marry her boyfriend, in an attempt to get over V.

Flash forward to a few months later. V and I are now really happy, aside from the usual kinks. He's apologized for the whole episode, explaining that his ex has always been an intensely jealous person, that he would deny being with me so as not to upset her and have her start drama with me. He also said that it had been over between them for a year and a half before he met me. We've all but gotten past it.

But here's the problem: this girl will not go away. She's now engaged to be married, and looks to be quite happy about it. I don't have any contact with her, but she's pretty much a second daughter to V's family and is constantly at their house, whether at family events or just visiting V's mother. V has recently thought about getting back into contact with her, mainly selling his car and getting a new one at a bargain price with the help of her and her new fiancé, who works in that industry.

For me, this just has bad news written all over it. It's one thing that she's a friend of the family and retains that relationship, but it's another thing entirely that she stays in contact with him. I'm trying to handle this with as much maturity and grace as I can, but I'm wondering about how to do it. I'm all for healthy relationships between exes, but I don't think this woman is really capable of that yet. 

— V For Vendetta

Dear V For Vendetta,

Your focus here is on the ex's bonkers actions, but I want to zoom out a little bit. It looks like the pattern is this: V's ex does something dramatic → you have to handle it → V plays dumb. As the linchpin of this whole mess, V owes it to you and to her to keep the peace. Not only is he failing to do that, but he's actively making things worse with his policy of, "Baby, I denied our relationship to protect you from my crazy ex." He needs to step up and set some boundaries right about now.

Allow me a little soapbox: "crazy" and its cousins "dramatic" and "jealous" are grossly overused. Sometimes they're correctly applied to the card-carrying nutter. Just as often, they are used when someone expresses an emotion the speaker finds inconvenient. V dismissing his ex's actions as "dramatic" sounds like a case of the latter: she's not using her inside voice, so he doesn't have to take her seriously. It's a cop-out, and it's lame.

To be clear, this girl deciding to marry her boyfriend to get over V is a terrible choice, as is calling you crying, as is hacking Facebook — nobody refutes that. But it sounds like her crazy is a holdover from some unresolved issues with V. He either did or didn't lie to her, and either did or didn't lie to you, but it fell to the both of you to cat-fight it out while he got to brush off the whole affair with, "Oh, she's just dramatic."

The moral here is, you have every right to be distrustful of their relationship. But rather than blame this wild card of an ex, I'd look at V's lack of boundaries. Why isn't he taking responsibility here? You shouldn't have to be in a position of policing V's relationships. He should be mature enough to draw these lines on his own. If he isn't, you should give a hard look at why. His ex is dramatic, but is it possible that he secretly gets off on all the drama?