Sex with my ex? Don't tell me!

I'm in love with the ex-girlfriend of my ex-boyfriend and I don't want to hear about their sex life

By Cary Tennis

Published October 31, 2012 12:00AM (EDT)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       (Zach Trenholm/Salon)
(Zach Trenholm/Salon)

Dear Cary,

My life is so messed up.  I know you have heard it all, been there, done that.

Here goes ... I am in love with my ex-boyfriend's girlfriend, who actually dated him throughout our courtship.  She had been dating him for four years, when he ensnared me.  He played with me for about a year, then I ended up in the loony bin.  At the time I was dealing with a divorce (from my infidelity), and crushing self-esteem issues.

I have messed around with various men and now I am in complete love (lust?) with this girl.  We hang out all the time.  The only problem is she insists on telling me her every sexual encounter with my ex, her boyfriend.

I want her to focus on me, not the asshole who will never love her, since he is still hunting and having affairs with other women, which she is aware of.  WTF?  Why can't I have a normal relationship?  I actually wrote a letter to myself today at work telling myself how not to have feelings for anyone, ever.  Is this my future?

Messed Up

Dear Messed Up,

Let's imagine it's just you and me talking in a corner of a large downtown apartment where a cocktail party is being held to raise funds for the building of a new loony bin (Let's just pretend, OK?) and your doctor and my doctor are both here, actually, but I have gravitated to you because I get the feeling in some ways we are alike; neither one of us has a very healthy respect for what the doctors call consensus reality, and I delight in chatting with somebody who has no big agenda and isn't going to try to sell me anything.

And, say, you start talking about this problem you have with your friend that you're in love with or in lust with who keeps telling you about every sexual encounter she had with your ex. And you sigh and say you wish you could just have a normal relationship. And I sort of say yeah, I get it.

And before we get interrupted by a doctor soliciting funds for the new loony bin, which will have capabilities far beyond those of the old loony bin, I suggest one small thing really quickly: You can tell this woman that you really, really don't want to hear about her sex life with your ex. Just say that to her: With all due respect, please, I really don't want to hear about the sex with my ex.

Now, since you have been in the loony bin, I just have a few other concerns. I know how things can get when you're put in the loony bin, so: Are you safe? Do you have a roof over your head and a stable living situation? Are you having any hallucinations or anything like that? What did they tell you in the loony bin? Did they tell you that you are bipolar? I just want to make sure you're safe. OK. If there are meds and they are working, please keep taking them for now. OK? I just want you to be safe.

Oh, boy. I see my doctor coming. She's going to want to know about my moods. I will tell her my moods are markedly improved and it will be mostly true. And I will leave you with that, as my doctor is going to want to talk to me privately, in another corner, which will be boring, and I'd rather talk to you, and compare notes, but such is life. Good luck. Strive for stability. Life is long. Loony bins are no fun. Things get better slowly.

Cary Tennis

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