I need your advice about a man and his exes

by singlemomseeking on February 23, 2009


I recently went on a few dates with a guy whom I’d met at a party I’d attended with Depot Dad.

Everything about him looked good on paper: he’s my age, cute, professional, responsible, no kids, a dog owner, legally divorced. He came with good credentials — it turns out that he’s a friend of a friend — and he’s a good communicator (at least by texting).

Although the chemistry wasn’t instant, our conversations were easy and open. (I will add, however, that he’s very serious — I’m not sure if he gets my dry sense of humor.)

So, here’s my question:

This guy just bought a home, which he has been renovating like crazy. He called to let me know that he’s having a little going away dinner party at his condo before he officially moves out.

I was touched that he’d invited me, and I started to put in calls to find childcare.

But a few days later, he left a message saying that he’d like to chat with me about the party.

I called him back, and he explained that he wanted me to know who would be coming to the party. Yes, I’m listening.

As a preface, he explained that he once invited a date to a party, and his ex-wife was there, too. He went onto to say that his date hadn’t been too pleased about spontaneously meeting his ex-wife.

Anyway, he told me that this will be a small, intimate dinner party of eight, with the following guests:

1. His ex-wife (they got divorced two years ago, and have remained close friends)

2. Two women whom he briefly dated in the past year

3. A couple of neighbors

4. A couple of guy friends

5. And me

“Fun!” I said, flippantly. “Your exes and I can all sit around telling stories about you!”

He didn’t laugh.

Honestly, I have no issue with a man who remains friends with his exes.

As long as his boundaries are clear, remaining friends with one’s exes can be gratifying. (Feel free to tell me that I’m talking out of my tush and making excuses — because I’ve remained friends with some exes.)

Anyway, you can do the math: half of the women at this party have been intimately connected to him at some point.

To be honest, I’m not feeling too pumped about going to the party anymore. I don’t know him very well, and it might be awkward surrounded by all these exes.

Please be honest with me:

Am I being immature? Am I overreacting, as I’m known to do?

Should I just suck it up and go?


In the meantime, over at Singlemommyhood, we question how you know when you’re emotionally ready to date?

Read all about it here.

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Mary July 26, 2009 at 7:10 pm

RED FLAG RED FLAG> There are too many other fish in the sea. I think that is way too much for him to ask for. How insensitive…and awkward.


Anna February 27, 2009 at 10:59 am

Now you have to go….if nothing but to give us a good laugh and get a great blog out of it!! Sorry to say but it all sounds just odd. He sounds odd. If you do decide to go, go with humor and the idea of getting a funny blog from the experience. Otherwise, pass on the invite. It has already given much fun to us all so thanks!


molly February 26, 2009 at 8:53 pm

Sorry, it’s totally freakin’ weird he wants to have all those exes in one place. No way would I put myself in that situation.

If your instincts say no, then say no. It’s the drama lovin’ writer in you that wants to go. I’m the same way. But it is not a healthy situation.

I hope he is at least really hot and good in bed to make up for it.


Mama Dharma February 26, 2009 at 8:10 pm

As usual, I have no advice… only to trust your gut. The fact that your closing question involved “sucking it up” makes me think you already know the answer. In any case, it should be a very interesting evening. And perhaps over time, he’ll get your sense of humor 🙂

Mama Dharma´s last blog post…Creative Emergence


Alicia February 25, 2009 at 8:22 pm

Sorry Rachel! This is just plain weird. And this guy sounds like he is “socially delayed” (I made up that phrase-lol!) He doesn’t “get” you, AND why on earth would anyone who’s trying to get to know you, and put his best foot forward, want to put you in this ridculous & awkward situation? Pass!


SDMktg February 25, 2009 at 11:11 am

You really struck a chord with this one. I think this is the most comments I’ve ever seen on a post.

I have to join in with the others who think it’s strange. I’m friends with a couple people I dated but not close friends and they aren’t in the same circles. For the life of me I can’t understand why anyone would have an intimate dinner party with 3 exes and invite someone he just started dating. Initiation ritual or something?

You mentioned the chemistry not being instant but the kicker is his not getting your sense of humor. When that happens it’s time to go. I’ve been there & it usually gets worse not better.

SDMktg´s last blog post…Happy Fat Tuesday! Hurricanes, Jambalaya, and Hottness


Nikki February 25, 2009 at 9:49 am

Personally…I dont’ know how I’d be able to focus on getting to know the man if I was surrounded by his exes. I have my own opinions about how closely a man (or woman) should stay with their exes and they may be a little less than today’s ‘traditional standard’, but frankly, when dating someone new, those ‘friendships’ should find their way back to acquaintance level. When intimacy is shared with someone…it shouldn’t be shared with the rest. And really…that is what happens. There’s no way to keep the lines from being all gray and blurry and complicated when everyone is in the same room. Exclusivity is what brings a man and a woman together in a trustworthy manner. You can’t find exclusivity with anyone when three other people in the room have tried him on. Ew.

Nikki´s last blog post…This n That, Single Mama Ponderings


Kathy D February 25, 2009 at 6:11 am

wouldn’t go because the ex girlfriends… ex wife would be enough but if they are friends you have to meet her sometime but not the ex girlfriends to weird for me


Janet February 24, 2009 at 5:58 pm

I honestly would be uncomfortable with this for 2 reasons:
1. His ex-wife and other exes are there…and personally I’m not too keen on that.
2. It’s an intimate party and he’s inviting you even though you don’t know each other well. Could easily end up being one of those nights where everyone has private jokes and stories that they know about and you’re left out.

BUT…it could be a good opportunity to see how he interacts with others. Might learn some things about him.

Depends on how gutsy you are!

Janet´s last blog post…Hope is the thing with feathers…


GLSD February 24, 2009 at 4:46 pm

I’d go just to see how he acts around all these females and ex’s. If after a while you feel uncomfortable, you can bail out 🙂 Good Luck and I’d love to hear all about it 🙂


Crystal Monae February 24, 2009 at 4:37 pm

I say GO! If nothing else, it will be a hoot and you will have plenty to dish about when you get back! This guy seems like he is a character anyway. I mean you have to way your options here. Sit at home doing nothing or go to one of the most interesting dinner parties that I have heard of in a while. It isn’t like you are that into him yet so you should not have any jealousy or animosity. If you do, you may be more fond of him than you think. Besides, if he is comfortable with it, then you should have no worries. Unless, he was hoping that you would back out. In which case, I would still go, just because!

Crystal Monae´s last blog post…Be Mine


Mike February 24, 2009 at 2:28 pm

Like I tell my friend Paul. Yes you can date that person if you’re willing to put all that energy into dealing with all that.

Hey I’m all about staying friends with your exs. However there is a limit to how many I want to deal at one time. Many times at the singles events I’ll be sitting across from 2 of them as they chat back and forth.

If your ga-ga go for it. If not I’d pass.


MC February 24, 2009 at 2:26 pm

The whole things sounds pretty weird. I can’t think of a innocuous reason for this situation, sorry.

Let’s say he wants to invite you to a dinner party and impress you with his social and cooking skills. Wouldn’t he invite 6 friends who *aren’t* his ex’s? Wouldn’t that be more impressive and fun for you? Why subject you to all those ex’s (including what even someone brain dead would realize has got to be killer awkward for you to meet–the ex-wife)? Is he that socially clueless? Is it possible that he has no other friends? Is he dating you just because he’s hoping you’ll turn into another friend because he doesn’t have very many?

Or let’s say he remains very close friends with several of his ex’s including his ex-wife, because he’s such a totally great and social and loving guy. And he regularly invites them all to dinner parties that he regularly throws once a month, and they all come and have a great time (even though they apparently don’t bring their current SO’s), and he just happened to invite you along this once so you can get involved/accepted into this charmingly close social circle and become one of the gang like on “friends”. OK, I’m having trouble imagining this particular scenario actually happening. Why would his ex’s want to spend all that time with him? If I was an ex, I’d be making excuses for missing 4/5 party invitations from him, even if we were “still close friends”. Because you know, I have better things to do a lot of the time?)

OK, I’m stumped. You just *have* to go and tell us the gory details! I’m betting that it will be “interesting”!


jen February 24, 2009 at 2:25 pm

Maybe if it was just the ex wife I’d go, but to have all these exes there – nup. Too weird!

jen´s last blog post…Weekend o’ women


Kim Seymour February 24, 2009 at 2:21 pm

Hi Rachel,

I try to read your posts often.. and I think that maybe this gentleman’s realtionships with all of his exes may be a bit odd to have them all together and then invite the woman he is dating?? Why? so they can size you up and tell himw hat they think of you? My humble opinion…pass this opportunity off….


Sooz February 24, 2009 at 1:55 pm

A wise woman once said to me, “If it feels icky, it’s icky…”

This “feels” icky. I don’t understand the high exes ratio unless he is enjoying it on some level for whatever reason he enjoys it. My experience of men who keeps lots of ex girlfriends in their lives is that you will soon be moved down from the Majors to the Minors bench and be attending yet another dinner party of Exes…I say move him down to the Minors first. Any guy who doesn’t have liquid blowing out his nose laughing at your humor isn’t a keeper. Men without a sense of irony and humor? Not sexy…but everyone else’s milage may vary…love ya, Gyrrl!


animalsinboxes February 24, 2009 at 1:46 pm

I have been in this situation before myself. I’d be lying if I said my thoughts never crossed into a dark place of some insecurity on this one, or had some jealous thoughts, etc. but ultimately, I think it’s the sign of an OK guy. It’s mostly a good thing when a person stays on good terms with someone they’ve been intimate with (in both the physical and/or emotional sense) in the past. It shows that their relationship was multifaceted, and you’d want to achieve the same with them. The truth with all of these people is that it didn’t work out, possibly because he didn’t want it to. If that’s the case, they are likely less of a threat than women he doesn’t even know. People sometimes put too much stock into being around someone that someone has already been with. The person you’re with could be secretly fantasizing at any time about someone you know, they know, you both know, that is in the same room, or isn’t, etc. and we can’t hold them accountable or even know about this! Live it up, really. I think you should go to the party and be the star! Socialize with all those ladies and show them how great you are!


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