It can be difficult to see your ex with someone else—but especially so if it’s with your mom’s best friend.
A Mumsnet user turned to the parenting site’s Am I Being Unreasonable? (AIBU) forum for advice after discovering her childhood sweetheart is dating her mom’s pal, who is 17 years his senior.
Since being shared on November 30, the post has received over 100 comments from users, who are divided on the issue. Some saw nothing wrong with the relationship, while others found the situation “icky” and “weird.”
Why Do I Care If My Ex Is With Someone Else?
Whether you opt for a clean break, or try to remain friends, dealing with an ex can be complicated.
Just ask one Redditor, whose ex-fiancé contacted her asking for “closure”—eight years after leaving her at the altar with no explanation—while another woman divorced her husband after discovering he was “living a second life with his ex-wife.”
A man also recently wrote to Newsweek asking for advice after falling back in love with his ex-girlfriend, despite her being engaged to another man.
Terri DiMatteo, a couples’ counselor and owner of Open Door Therapy, said that once two people have dated, their connection can never be “benign or neutral” again.
“Once you have known someone intimately, privately, and sexually, it changes your relationship from now on, forever,” she told Newsweek.
“That person always occupies the ‘former intimate partner’ place. They cannot revert to a time before you and your former lover were strangers, friends or acquaintances.”
So, it’s understandable if seeing your ex with someone new makes you feel weird, even if you no longer have romantic feelings for them. These feelings may be heightened if their new partner is someone you’re close to, such as a friend or relative.
If you find yourself in a similar situation, DiMatteo recommends talking it out with this person.
“If you are close enough and comfortable, consider having a conversation in which you can express the slight awkwardness involved in this new arrangement,” she said.
‘Sounds Like You Had a Lucky Escape’
In her post, lucie333 said she’d discovered that her 23-year-old ex-boyfriend is dating her mom’s best friend, who is 40.
“Am I being unreasonable to think this is incredibly weird?” she asked.
“Me and him went out most of our childhood, [and] she would often see us.
“She thinks she’s not doing anything wrong, and my mum is still friends with her and I just can’t understand why! Maybe I’m over thinking it.”
In the comments, lucie333 explained she’d dated her ex for five years, from the age of 12 to 17. She feels betrayed by her mom’s friend, who she views as an “auntie,” because she spent a lot of time with them growing up, with the former couple even spending Christmas at the woman’s house.
Mumsnet users were split on the issue, with cindyhove commenting: “They’re not doing anything wrong.”
NadjaCravensworth agreed, writing: “Why cant she date him? he is your ex, not your current.”
StopStartStop said: “It is unreasonable to think you have any say over who your ex dates. It’s even more unreasonable to think your mum should drop her friend because you don’t like who the friend is dating.”
Others found the relationship “odd,” not due to the age gap, but as the mom’s friend knew him as a child.
MRSDoos said: “It’s a bit weird though isn’t it that she used to see you and your ex a lot and now she’s dating him.”
KitchiHuritAngeni wrote: “I haven’t got a problem with age gap relationships in general, but it’s creepy when the older person knew the younger one when they were under 16.”
WarriorsComeOutToPlay added: “If she wasn’t close to you and didn’t know him as a child there wouldn’t be an issue for just an age gap, but add those other factors in and it’s just grim.”
Still, after finding out that lucie333 and her ex split as he was “texting underage girls” (lucie333 appears to be based in the UK, where the age of consent is 16), users’ had concerns for her mom’s friend—especially as she just got out of a long-term relationship.
“I don’t think he’s the [vulnerable] one, she is,” the poster said.
“I love her very much and I’ve told her she can no longer be in my life, I broke up with him because he was messaging underage girls when we were together but she doesn’t care.
“She keeps saying he treats me well and tells me he loves me, I think she just wants someone to love her and she doesn’t care who!”
After reading the update, users opinions appeared to change.
Vegetablesupreme said: “From your update though, it sounds like you had a lucky escape.”
“Does she have children?” asked FunnyTalks. “Just something to be aware of, if he is interested in underage girls.”
However, Grassisbluer wrote: “OP does say they broke up because he was texting underage girls, but also says that they broke up at 17. So how old were the girls he was texting?
“There’s an enormous difference between a 17 year old boy texting a 15 year old girl as opposed to him texting an 11 year old, for example.”
Newsweek wasn’t able to verify the details of the case.
Have you noticed any red flags that made you end a relationship? Let us know via [email protected]. We can ask experts for advice, and your story could be featured on Newsweek.