Friday, November 27, 2015

Ask Firangi Bahu: "My Indian boyfriend's MARRIED ex-girlfriend is still in love with him!"

(Img via Oscar Keys)

Sharing a letter from a reader...

"I'd be interested in your perspective and that of other readers if you have the time or interest in replying. I honestly don't know if there is any kind of answer to this situation, but it's also a strangely dramatic story which is entirely foreign to me and I wonder if you/your readers will find it entertaining/have any insights for me.

My boyfriend and I are very happy to be building our lives together here in the US. We're both 28 and this relationship is the most mature, sincere and loving relationship either of us have experienced. He's been in the US for six years, first doing his master's degree, and for the last several years working. During their last visit here, my boyfriend told his parents that he would like to find his own wife, according to him their response was "Fine, but don't come crying to us if it doesn't work out." I take that as a hopeful sign they'll eventually accept our relationship. But I also expect that his parents were probably still expecting him to eventually ask for an arranged marriage. I feel secure in our relationship and trust that with time and communication things will eventually work out. So, the family stuff, I feel okay about, the concern I have is about an ex-girlfriend of his. 

They "dated" while they were in college in India. He's told me about their relationship and I am not worried that he has lingering feelings or anything like that. It reminds me of my relationship with my first boyfriend- mostly sweet and innocent "first love" kind of stuff, but without the realities of adult life. They dated for over a year while in college - but she ended things when he decided that he wasn't interested in following her to the US for grad school. He wound up working at home for a year and then later decided to come here. At this point, their relationship ended seven years ago.

She had an arranged marriage, but is apparently still hung up on my boyfriend. She sends him Facebook and WhatsApp messages once or twice a year. The messages range from cordial birthday greetings, to plaintive cries for attention and love. Seriously, the message read like my high school journal when I was processing the end of my first love. "I'm sorry for caring so much, I'm sorry for loving you too much, for wanting to see you everyday, for always thinking about you before going to sleep." Not even kidding, that is straight out of the latest message.

Three years ago, she flew across the country and appeared on his doorstep unannounced to confront him about why he had stopped responding to her attempts at communication. She was married at that point! Who does that?! His house mate let her in and she spent the night in his room while my boyfriend slept on the couch and called her husband, (yeah that seems like a yucky patriarchy thing to me too, but also, I don't know what I would do if I were in the same situation.) At that point he told her explicitly that while he cared for her as a friend, he didn't feel comfortable continuing to talk to her or exchange messages. I did not know him at that point. Since then, he hasn't really engaged with her when she sends messages, but she continues to do so. 

I feel a bit like a bad feminist for saying this, but I'm getting frustrated by her presence in our life. I mostly feel really sorry for this woman, she is clearly carrying a lot of pain and anguish over this relationship which ended SEVEN years ago. Honestly, it is entirely possible my sweet, wonderful, perfect match for me now, boyfriend, was not a great boyfriend to her when they were younger. I don't know. I know I've grown and developed as a person and handle changing relationship dynamics much differently now, than I did when I was 21. I've experienced a heart shattering break up which took me a year to learn and recover from - but it's been seven years and this woman is STILL holding on. I know there isn't anything I can do to control her behaviour, I would really like to send her counselling and therapist options for her area - but that might not come across very well. 

It's also frustrating for me, because as the white girlfriend, his family doesn't know me and we haven't announced our marital intentions publicly yet. I guess I'm feeling a bit of desire for public recognition of my place in his life, like maybe that will either help her see that this is clearly inappropriate, or at the very least, I'll feel less bothered by her nuisance if I'm publicly recognized as his partner. Does that make any sense? Or am I just borrowing trouble to even engage with this issue at all? 

Should I just keep my mouth shut about the twinges of irritation I feel? Just support my boyfriend in his decision to NOT respond to her? I feel really sorry for her, it must be very painful to continue carrying this emotional burden. 

Also, it's totally possible this last message has me more annoyed because he's at home in Chennai right now and I just miss him and our relationship is going through a significant milestone - he's telling his folks about me. It is a nerve-wracking time for us and her latest message came at the right time for me to get bent out of shape over. 

Any insight? Or is this just something I should peacefully ignore and let run it's course?"


Dear readers, should the reader get involved or stay away from the drama?
How do you handle people who just can't seem to let go, despite the amount of time that has passed?
Have you ever dealt with a stalker ex?



  1. some people can feel lonely and as a reaction they get very attention seeking I guess.
    Best thing the girl's boyfriend can do is keep his ex's husband fully informed and counsel them to actively seek psychological help.

    I know of a sweet married girl with a 5-year old kid who committed suicide because her boyfriend ignored her, this is very sad & awkward situation for all concerned, I still can't get my head around this, only rational I can think of is that the girl had a sibling revelry with her elder sister and felt that the sister got all the attention of her parents.

    anyways ask the girl not to nag the boyfriend, that might push him over the edge, but to keep a open & transparent communication? I don't much honestly what to say.

  2. 1. Discuss with your boyfriend about what comes up in your head when his ex interferes.
    2. It is not your ex stalking you. It is his. So, I do not think you should interfere unless he asks you to help. He needs to deal with it.
    3. Has he introduced you as his present day girlfriend to her? I am guessing not from your letter. Maybe that will make her back off.
    4. The incidents you mention are 3 years or older. Why are you letting it affect your relationship now? Who cares what she did 3 years ago. Why does it bother you if she messages him 1-2 times / year unless your boyfriend also cares about her and indicates that he wants to leave you for her.
    5. Don't let your insecurities grow into a monster and ruin your relationship. Your boyfriend chose you. Don't let your insecurities about the relationship push him away unless he indicates otherwise.
    6. Trust your boyfriend to handle this situation.
    7. Trust your boyfriend overall and the relationship unless he gives you serious indications he wants to break up. In the end do not spend more time thinking about the ex than the ex spends time thinking about your boyfriend.

    Getting frustrated by an ex in your life does not make you a bad feminist. This has nothing to do with feminism. What it has to do with is trust in your relationship and your insecurities which are getting blown up. Has your boyfriend indicated that he has feelings for his ex? Has he ever indicated that he would dump you for her? Has he ever made you feel that he would ditch you if his parents did not agree? If not, you are blowing things out of proportions and interfering in things that are not yours to deal with.

    How would you feel if your partner was paranoid about your stalker ex? Never trusted you? Thought that you were going to break up coz of the ex? That very paranoia and insecurity despite your reassurances would drive you away and you would have claimed that you cannot deal with such a sissy. Well, same applies for either gender.

    1. Very true BoilingWok.
      In fact I would say that LW, even if he made you feel that he will leave you if his parents did not agree, then that is a problem with him and his parents and nothing to do with the girl.
      Just remember that by behaving how you are now, you are actually driving him away from you with all this unnecessary questions and doubts in your head.
      Just be confident about your relationship with him and trust that it will all work out and please control your thoughts because if something that happened 3 years ago can cause this kind of an impact then I am worried how your married life will be when you both will be under the same roof 24*7.

  3. If your boyfriend is right now visiting his family and telling them about you I would do nothing about the ex at this point. I think you are right that you need some public recognition to feel more secure with this perceived threat in the back of your mind, but that public recognition is already on its way. I assume that after telling his parents you will be free to be more public about your status and more importantly his status (off the market) and at this point if she contacts him again in a way that made you uncomfortable then i would probably send her a polite msg asking her to stop harassing your boyfriend.

  4. The simple thing to do would be to ask him to change his phone number and Facebook page he shouldn't have to but if he's really serious about cutting her off then it might help you but I think you really should focus on why it's bothering you so much if it's just twice a year. I think if she's still pining for him 7 years on then she must be getting some gratification from being able to send him birthday messages and possibly stalking his Facebook page or other social media. If she has no means of knowing what's going on in his life there would be more of a chance for her to move on. If she is not happy in her own arranged marriage she's looking back on a childhood memory of happier romantic times when things where simple in a childish sort of way. Perhaps she regrets her decision to leave him believing he would follow her but if he did surely he would have she has not accepted this. In her unhappy mind perhaps she thinks he will eventually come back to her if she keeps in contact with him. The best thing in my opinion is put this woman out of her misery and cut all methods of contact she may have... That means changing all online profiles where she cannot find him by name and do not give a new phone number to anyone connected with her. Personally that's what I would want to happen.

  5. Reading your letter is like reading a slightly more intense version of my life!! I have an almost exactly similar situation with my boyfriend of nearly two years. His ex from college in India still messages for birthdays etc.... I know he has no feelings for her though and this is comforting, as it should be for you too dear. The difference is that my boyfriend's mum is also suspicious of this woman and actually asked me to my face once what would happen if she shows up at our door one day, and that actually happened to your poor boyfriend!

    Honestly once you guys are married she is bound to let go and stop the contact, it is surprising indeed that she hasn't already due to her own marriage. Try as much as you can not to worry about her, as she really isn't a threat. Whatever you guys have is infinitely more mature and real and unlike her you are able to marry him one day.

    Believe it or not I am the second white woman in my partner's life, his first love marriage ended quickly after they were under too much pressure to settle down and marry too soon, so dating for a few years is completely fine for both of us to make sure that this time it is right. Incidentally his Indian ex did stop messaging him when he was married for that year and a half, and only started up again once she heard of their separation. I hope she stops again if and when we tie the knot officially ;)

    Good luck! stay strong! don't be paranoid!


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