His Ex A Real Threat?
Q: Me and my boyfriend of a year and a half are extremely in love and have plans to move in together and even get married one day. I'm 22 and he's a few years older. But one of his ex-girlfriends worries me, as he is actually working with her now. A couple months ago when we got into a big argument about strange numbers being on my cell phone, he admitted that he actually had feelings for his ex. Supposedly these feelings came back when he began working with her. I can't describe how upset I was. When he would finally talk about it a few days later, he explained that he didn't know why he had those feelings for her but he doesn't even think about her anymore after he got this off his chest. How can he have feelings for his ex one day and by telling me this they disappear and everything's better? She still calls him frequently, but the few calls he doesn't ignore are less than a minute long. I think about this all the time. I feel betrayed and paranoid. I wonder if he loves me as much as he says he does. -- Jayne
Dr. Susan: It is so normal to still feel some sexual tension around an ex-lover. Your boyfriend is doing nothing wrong NOW, and in fact, by telling you about his feelings, he seems to have helped them disappear. Affairs are fueled by secrecy. He's being honest with you, and he isn't answering most of her calls. Probably he shouldn't answer any of them, since they're so disruptive to your fragile sense of trust, but all you can do is let him know you tense up every time she calls and you wish she'd just stop. And she won't stop if he responds intermittently. I suspect your boyfriend loves you as much as he says he does, but it also seems as though neither of you is quite ready to make a commitment to permanence. Still, by keeping the lines of communication open and not hassling him unduly, you've got a good chance of knowing what's going on. No need to be paranoid!
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.