What to do when your boyfriend’s or girlfriend’s ex is hurting themselves to win them back

Quirkymesss asks: I was in relationship with a guy for a year and a half. I then came to know that he was already dating someone, and had been for three years. So his girlfriend found out about me one day and threatened me to stay away from that guy. But this guy comes again in my life and apologizes for everything, and says he wants a relationship with me too. I also can’t refuse to accept his proposal because I love him and he told me that he also loves me. And again his girlfriend found out everything (I know I wasn’t doing right thing but I can’t forget him), and still he came back to me. This actually happened three times and I am not a girl who is so strong or fights with people. But the girl threatened to come find me at my college, and I have to leave that guy because I don’t want any big issue. She says they’re committed to each other, but he was saying that she is blackmailing him by cutting her wrist (and he show me that too). And that she is not ready to leave him, and that he wanted to broke up with her, but he is not doing this because he’s afraid she’d do something to me if he did. So I just want to know how to solve this situation, in a way that nothing bad wouldn’t happen to any of us.

Hi Quirkymesss –

I have two very different answers for you.  One is how to deal with her, and the other is with him.

I’m feeling pretty bad for her.  He may say she’s blackmailing him, but it sounds to me like she’s an emotional mess (which is very different from being a Quirkymesss!).  If she really is threatening suicide, she needs some psychiatric help, and now!  She’s in great danger – and as you point out, you might be too.  Whether he stays with her or not, he needs to help her find someone who can help her deal with her fears and her pain.  Even if she was doing this just to manipulate him… would you  have cut your wrist to keep him?  Clearly not!  So I’m saying, she’s got issues and needs some help right away.

Okay, but now to the other question: Him.  I know you started the relationship not knowing about her, but he didn’t!  He knew perfectly well that he had been with another woman for a year and a half, and started dating you, not telling either of you about the other one. 

What does that say about him?

And even though she’s been manipulative, the fact that he kept you both around for another year and a half makes me worry a LOT about your relationship.  Let’s say he gets her some mental health, and is able to leave her, without her hurting herself or you.  Great.  But will you be able to trust him then?  What’s going to go through your mind when he’s away for a number of hours, or on a trip for his work?

And here’s my biggest question – has his behavior somewhat CAUSED her pain and craziness?

When I lived in the dog pound, I saw a lot of older dogs who were really messed up.  Chewing their paws till they bled, running in circles, all sorts of odd behaviors in their cages.  And I don’t think they were like that as puppies.  I think they were a lot like me originally.  But tough lives, and abuse and abandonment, and being locked up in pounds – all of those things sent them kind of mad.

So maybe this guy is great – but I’m not seeing it right now.  And I don’t want you turning into her! 

So while I’m very eager for her to get the help she needs, I also want to give you just a little nip on the ankle, to say “Hey Quirkymesss, be sure to notice this.  The hair on my back is up a little bit.”

With all my best,


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