• Keeping Friends

Yikes, an unsettling friendship: Just found out my fiancé’s ex and his sister are friends

Published: May 9, 2011 | Last Updated: May 14, 2020 By | 1 Reply Continue Reading


Hi Irene,

My fiancé and I have been together for five years and are very close to each other’s families. My brother-in-law passed away earlier this week and one of my fiancé’s ex-girlfriends showed up at the funeral home and the funeral to pay her respects. They were together for a substantial period of time and broke up because they were better friends than partners; they still keep in touch from time to time over Facebook and email. It has never been an issue for me and I have always been accepting since the friendship is confined to just emails on the odd occasion.

When I met the ex at the funeral home she was very cold and exclusionary to me. She answered my questions but continually brought the conversation back to address my fiancé with reminders of their past and her previous relationship with my in-laws and the family. When she walked away, she walked over to my sister-in-law and began whispering in her ear – very inappropriate for a function like this and it also made me feel very uncomfortable.

My boyfriend is aware that I was not impressed with my meeting with her. I found out later that night that his sister and his ex are quite close and go out on occasion. I am also close with his sister and understand why she would feel uncomfortable telling me this but I can’t help but feel betrayed. Am I over-reacting? Is my sister-in-law being inappropriate or am I being overly sensitive?



Hi Jeannie,

Funerals and wakes tend to be uncomfortable, often setting the stage for people saying or doing the wrong things. Because of this, you should withhold judgment about your fiancés ex on the basis of this one awkward encounter. Hopefully, meetings like this will be a rare occurrence.

So let’s try to separate your feelings about how the ex acted and spoke to you at the funeral from: 1) your feelings about your fiancé’s relationship with her, and 2) your feelings about his sister’s relationship with her.

Seeing the ex in the flesh may have made you feel a bit shaky and insecure. (I’m sure that you were grieving, too, which can exacerbate emotions). Your fiancé must have been, and probably still is, under considerable stress from such a loss. Now is not the time to confront him about his ex’s behavior at the funeral unless you have more general concerns about their relationship. If so, find the right time to speak to your fiancé about your feelings so they are out in the open, reducing the likelihood of you freaking out when you find out about another email exchange.

I understand how you might feel betrayed by his sister hiding her relationship with the ex. Rightly or wrongly, she probably wasn’t comfortable telling you about it. It isn’t inappropriate for her to remain friends with the ex if it doesn’t bother her brother and perhaps now that you know of her relationship with the ex, it will make it more comfortable for her to be open with you.

Try to keep all this drama in perspective. Just as you have become close to your fiancé’s family, the ex may have been close with them as well and it’s normal that these relationships continued even after the breakup. Bottom line: This is probably an instance where you should choose your battles carefully, and especially consider the wisdom of your timing.

Hope this helps.

My best,


Prior posts on The Friendship Blog touching upon ex’s and in-laws

Managing relationships with friends-in-laws

My ex is still involved with my family

An emotionally drained newlywed


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  1. Anonymous says:

    Try reading I Hate His/Her Ex by Alex Cooper – a book for anyone who needs help and advice dealing with their partner’s past relationship(s) – brilliant read! Available on Amazon or most bookstores – Kindle or paperback!

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