Auntie Janey’s Old-Fashioned Agony Column No. 57: The Ever Present Ex

The illustration is a prediction as to what will happen if the relationship turns into a marriage

Note: All letters published in this site are in their original and unedited form.

Dear Auntie Janey,

I found a picture of his ex girlfriend in his old Hickok wallet. The wallet is slightly tattered, but it is something I would still use compared to the black one he had when we went steady. This black wallet can be folded in three, like the brown Hickok and the Seiko he just bought. But it was coming apart in all sides, looking out of place amid my smiling graduation photo.

I found the old Hickok in a box, presumably the one that came with it when it was bought. There were two pictures, old cards and an old bill. One of the pictures was that of our friend. The other, the ex girlfriend. Also a graduation photo. A few months back, I had seen the photo. He had kept it in his wallet with my pictures, and I had expressed displeasure, something along the lines of “It’s disgusting how you keep your dirty old clothes with your new ones.” My mother thinks I am too obvious when being sarcastic.

Once we fought about her, because I looked at his phone and found out he had been texting her, all the while referring to her in our conversations as “basta.” Like when I ask him who said the stuff he’s been telling me (about school), he would answer: “basta.” I was curious. I hate it when he texts and he can’t seem to put down the phone even if we’re together, so one day I went over his messages. It was early in our relationship, and whenever I asked him who he was texting it was either his mimi (Mom) or some random friend back home.

I was furious. If he’s already over it, why won’t he tell me who he’s really texting? I wanted to be a cool girlfriend and a great best friend. I’m not sure if he understood that. We fought over the text message and his effort over hiding the conversations from me, but it made me feel awful. Here I am, upset over someone I don’t even know. Pity, she looks nice, I think we can even be friends. He must have thought I would get jealous when I found out. Well, I got jealous all right, because he hid it from me. Why all the fuss? I’ve asked about his exes before, and I’ve always been open about my past.

We’re already through one year and five months together, but when I saw that photo in his old Hickok wallet, I got really upset. I was visiting his grandma where he stayed before he went home to the province. I needed to use the john, and on my way out I saw his room. It was open, so I let myself in. He knew I was there, I had said loudly “so this is where you sleep.” Then I saw the box on a night stand beside the bed. I told you before I’m too curious, it would probably kill me someday. When I saw the photo in the wallet, he was already in the room. I pointed it out to him. The anger came slowly. I was upset first, so I flung the wallet away but he hurriedly picked it up. I went out to finish the movie we were watching, and there I got all depressed. I told him before to get rid of that picture. When he brought me home, I was boiling with anger.

Before I met him, they’ve been over for two years. So it is mind boggling how he answers “wala lang” when I ask him why he still keeps her picture. Over and over again. “Wala lang,” he would answer when we lengthily talked about it. Going in circles. I got all Hulk when he assured me he’s going to bring the picture home and keep it there.

Keep it there?!!!

Here I am, green and sad and a mess, and he’s telling me he’ll keep it there? With the other photo of another ex??? I couldn’t help but remark, “So you’re going to keep them all in a nice wooden chest, and then what, marry me and have kids?” He didn’t say anything.

I want to leave him. Part of me says I am being unreasonable. But he had already upset me with that girl in the past, so why does he seem unwilling to appease me? When he brought me back to my place, he stayed for a while because he didn’t want to leave without talking about it. And we did. But he couldn’t answer when I asked him why didn’t he just trashed the photo in front of me so it will be over.

He simply said he’ll get rid of it right away, that night, when he goes back to his room in his grandma’s place.

I was pretty sure he’s the perfect guy. He had expressed desire to marry me when our finances are stable. Now I’m no longer sure if I want to be with him. Mainly because I have to ask, nay, instruct him about everything that would make me happy. We didn’t go through courtship, because our relationship just happened. Good friends falling in love. He never said sorry in arguments until I pointed that out to him, and he’s learned since. He used a curse word once, but I showed him how upset I got when he said it. It’s unfortunate that he said it again when we had one of our arguments, so I had to explicitly instruct him to never say it ever, because the word hurts me a lot. He never sent me flowers, but I never mentioned that. Flowers are impractical, and I’m ashamed to admit I still want one, just one pretty bouquet. He never buys me gifts, but our relationship is abundant with hugs, kisses, and small notes. Money does not seem to be a problem because he brings me on dates when I ask him to.

This letter was supposed to be a blog post but I’ve decided to send it to you (halfway through writing) so I can get reasonable feedback from my misery. I’ve never been this pathetic in a relationship. And I have never met someone like him. Now I understood what mom said before, “makakahanap ka din ng katapat mo.” I love him, but is it time to salvage myself? What should I do? I am tired of talking, and talking, because he does not seem to take it to heart.

Thank you for your time.

Just Sad

Dear Just Sad,

Yeah, the two of you should just call it quits. Totally unrelated comment: Lately, the letters in the mail all have aspirations of creative writing. Maybe all of you letter-writers should join the Lit Wit Challenges and have a professional critique them.

Where was I? Ah yes, your boyfriend is not over his ex-girlfriend and the fact that you have to instruct him on how to handle and treat you does not speak well of your relationship. End it quickly and spare yourself from more aggravation.

You know, I have this sneaking suspicion that it was not the guy who initiated this relationship. If he was really interested in the first place, he would have been more enthusiastic in being with you. I have a feeling it was you who did the nudging from the friendship stage to the lovers stage. You did mention there was no courtship. It just happened. Are you one of those domineering go-getter types of women? This I-want-it-I-can-have-it attitude will serve you well in crushing the competition in the workplace or at school but it has no place in a relationship.

This is also a case of two people having two different sets of standards and ideas on what a relationship should be. You want open communication, honesty, displays of affection, quality time, etcetera. He probably is the let’s-respect-each-other’s-space type who wants to hang out at most twice a week. This won’t do. Just set yourselves free and be happy with your respective lives.

Lastly, darling, do not make this a blog post. You would be a terrible bitch if you do that. It is not classy. Deal with this drama discreetly. Let him save face and spare yourself from more enmity.

Truly Yours,

Auntie Janey


Facebook Page: The Old-Fashioned Auntie Janey


4 thoughts on “Auntie Janey’s Old-Fashioned Agony Column No. 57: The Ever Present Ex

  1. I keep a photo of my ex in my wallet for the simple reason that I haven’t gotten around to removing it. I hardly know it’s there. My advice, stop being such a control freak and let loose a little.

  2. ^ What he said. Now that you mention it, I’m clearing out my wallet and putting them pics in a wooden chest. Best be safe than sorry.

  3. People in relationships should respect the other party’s personal space.. that includes wallets, emails, and text messages. Speaking from experience – had a super possessive ex. Ugh!

  4. My friend had the exact same ex-boyfriend, I would even think it was the same person except that that guy got married. Just dump him. The picture thing is no big deal, but the other things are more material. He doesn’t like you that much, you’re just friends with benefits, and if he treats you like this while you’re not married, he’ll be worse once you’re stuck with him for life. You don’t want to spend the rest of your life with someone like that.

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