She's Got Flaws

Q: I've been going out with this woman for seven months. At first I wasn't sure if I wanted to develop a relationship with her, but my cousin set us up so I thought I'd give her a chance, and sure enough we've fallen in love. However I sometimes get the feeling she's too materialistic. She makes comments and I'm not sure if she's kidding or not, and she's still friends with her ex who is obviously still interested in her. After we talked about how it makes me feel uncomfortable, she's not sure if she should end this friendship. I sometimes wonder if she's the one or have I made a mistake. I love her but I'm not sure what to think anymore. -- Chris, 24

Dr. Susan: The sort of doubt you're describing is normal in the early stages of any relationship. To find out whether she's kidding or not when she makes money-grubbing comments, ask her. Let her know that you have some fears of being with someone who is "too materialistic," and talk with one another about how you'd each define that. Some people have a way of kidding but also meaning it, as you seem to suspect. They make jokes to gauge your reaction.

The fact that she's still friends with her ex can be a problem. You've told her it bothers you, and she's reluctant to end the friendship. She may find it titillating to feel his continued interest in her, or, just maybe, she's not noticing the same signs you are. For this one, though, you have to give her the freedom to make up her own mind. If you push too hard for her to drop the guy, she'll resent it and rebel. Stick with telling her, once in a while, that you're having a hard time with her hanging out with someone who's obviously interested in her sexually. Your relationship probably won't go any further until she makes up her mind as to how important your feelings are to her. Try to be patient and continue to get to know each other.

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