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People will never stop debating whether or not you can be friends with your exes. Straight people, anyway. If you end up in a relationship where the two of you disagree, there’s going to be friction, but one man recently took it too far with a bit of “newspeak” that wouldn’t be out of place in a George Orwell text. Apparently, the man needs his partner to “unlove” her exes.
Everything was going fine until he told her he loved her and that she was the first person he’d said those words to. The problem began when he asked her if he was her first and she said no.
Writing on subreddit r/relationships, user “big_platypus” said:
Mark knows that I’m still occasionally in contact with one of my exes (Eli) and it has never been an issue for Mark. However, after our conversation, Mark asked me if Eli was the ex that I had said I love you to. I was honest and said yes. Background: Eli and I grew up together and dated from when we were 15 to 22. We broke up when I got accepted to grad school and found out I’d have to move across the country, because we realized that we had grown into different people and weren’t going to spend our lives together. The breakup was extremely amicable and we remained close friends while I was [in] town before I moved, and we talk maybe once a week currently—just basic “how are you” texts.
While it’s easy to see how this might make her boyfriend feel insecure, Eli was a huge part of her life and they’re still close now. Her current boyfriend’s response was right off the deep end. After nagging and pressing her to tell him she still had feelings for Eli, which, yes, she does, but only as a friend, he came out with this:
Mark told me that he doesn’t think that I can truly love him unless I learn to “unlove” the men from my past. I asked what he meant—and again clarified that I am not in love with Eli—and he said that I should retain no love in any form for any other guys I’ve been with. I was, quite honestly, shocked and tried to explain to him that me loving someone as a friend is totally and completely different than being romantically in love with someone, and that he is the only one I have those feelings for. He insisted that I need to change my feelings about Eli. He almost seemed mad that I’m not resentful over the breakup.
Someone needs to tell Mark that “unlove” is not a thing. OP goes on to say that the whole thing is making her feel like she’s taking crazy pills, and who can blame her? Mark is clearly way out of line and, unsurprisingly, Reddit came through to tell her that.
People found it creepy that he wants to erase her past.
And user BalancetheMirror neatly summed up the utter bullshit of the situation.
Beyond the mockery and assuring OP that she wasn’t crazy, people pointed out the seriousness and potential dangers of this kind of attitude.
But hidden down in the comments is potential insight into what’s really going on with Mark.
As user lydocia points out, Mark’s issue with his girlfriend’s ex isn’t a “side note”—its the whole note.
It’s pretty clear that not only is Mark a controlling weirdo, he’s also still got the hots for his ex.
As with all bad Reddit Relationships posts, this one has now made it to Twitter. And the users are not any more forgiving.
Mark needs extensive therapy.— Lee BlackBolt (@LeeCasebolt) July 13, 2019
Which cult does he lead?— 𝕎𝕚𝕤𝕡🗡️ (@manywisps) July 13, 2019
Boyfriend's needs to go to therapy for his insecurities and leave her alone— SamAntifa Dalglish (@SamDalglish) July 13, 2019
He kept pestering until he got the answer he wanted, then got upset because of it. Too insecure and delusional to believe the truth bc he had his own version in his head.— 𝐿✧ (@rozsaszine) July 13, 2019
With a rightful focus on his frankly bizarre wording.
That's not good. But, and I can't stress this enough, it's also super fucking weird phrasing.— The Wyzard 📚💖 (@WiseWyzard) July 13, 2019
Guy: does or says completely whackadoodle thing that defies any standards of normal behaviour— jen 🦋 (@ms_jenniferanne) July 13, 2019
Girl: maybe I’m overreacting I mean tons of people like lamps made from human skin
Your boyfriend has control issues. It's time to "unlove" the new BF and move on.— jackie ♥♥♥ (@jackieonl) July 13, 2019
In the end, Twitter user Daniel Farnitano said it best with a picture showing a box of red flags:
Siobhan Ball is a historian, archivist, and journalist. She also writes for Autostraddle and bi.org