ASK HOLLY: 'My boyfriend's ex stays over at his house. Can I ban it?'

Welcome to Mamamia's advice column, DON'T FREAK OUT, where Holly Wainwright solves your most personal and problematic dilemmas with her sage wisdom. If you have a drama you need solved, email us at — you can be anonymous of course because otherwise, awks.

Hi Holly,

I’ve been seeing a guy for a couple of years. We’ve both had
 long-term relationships in the past and are now both happy living on our own, managing our own financial situations and parenting our own kids. We have a great dynamic, lots of fun together and an amazing sex life. We spend at least one night a week together at either of our homes, get along well with each other's kids, but are also okay with each doing our own thing.

He’s still friends with some ex-girlfriends and recently arranged to catch up with one of them. The sticking point for me was that he told her she could stay the night at his place “for convenience” (she only lives an hour away). He said he won’t share a bed or sleep with her (and I do trust him) but he otherwise doesn’t see this as a big deal, whereas I find this a heartbreaking breach of sharing intimacy with another woman.

Am I weird that this just feels wrong to me? I don’t know how much I can push my view!




Dear Heart-dented,

You can push your view as far as you like. You just have to be comfortable with the fact your partner might not be there when you get to the edge. And you know what? That's fine.


In theory, it's great when exes stay friends. In practice, it can be a massive challenge to a current relationship. Because it forces you to decide whether you truly, deep-down trust him, and what happens if you decide that you don't?

It's not the act itself. Whether this woman sleeps over appears to be a deal-breaker for you, while for someone else, it might not be. But if you have expressed to him that you would rather his ex did not stay, and he says it's important that she does, you have to respect his position, but you don't have to stick around.

Speaking of relationship deal-breakers, the Mamamia team revealed theirs in the video below. Post continues after video.

Video via Mamamia.

He's a grown man who gets to make his own decisions. And you are a grown woman who gets to set her own boundaries.

It feels horrible to not be trusted. It feels horrible not to trust. Ideally, you're not putting him in a position where he feels like a naughty child, and he's not putting you in one that makes you feel like a scoldy mum.


Maybe your spidey senses are tingling about this ex. Maybe you have had experiences in the past that make this a particularly difficult issue for you. Whatever, you are going to spend that night she stays over lying in bed, stressing about what's happening. You'll be feeling bad about yourself for not taking him at his word. Or furious with him for not giving a s**t that you're having a sleepless night. You might start a big fight the day before, or the morning after. You might do something bats**t, like go and sit outside his house all night, with a bucket of coffee, slumped low into the passenger side of a nondescript hire car (bit far? Fine, just me). None of these things are going to make you feel safe, secure and looked after.

It's perfectly possible that your boyfriend has zero romantic or sexual interest in his ex and that the couch and the bed are and remain separate spaces with no path between them. The red flag here is the fact that you are really uncomfortable with it and that does not seem to factor into his decision-making. That rings an alarm bell louder as the sleep-over invitation.

If it truly is the deal-breaker, ask him to respect your feelings and find her somewhere else to sleep.

And don't hire that spy car xxx

Feature image: Getty.

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