Worried About Her Exes

Q: I am involved in a serious relationship in which we're planning to get engaged. I'm bothered, though, because she is still close to two ex-boyfriends that go to the same college as her. She and I attend separate colleges an hour and a half apart. She was sexually involved with both of them, one of whom she told me she would never think of talking to again after the way he treated her, and the other week she went to visit him at his apartment. She told me that it was good to see him and to talk to him again. Total 180 that surprised me. I trust her, but I feel like both guys are still clinging to her. I have an ex at my school also, and she's still very clingy to me. She asks if she can come back to my place so we can "hang out" on a constant basis, but I don't go out of my way to see her. The trust issue has been very hard with me because of past relationships where I've been physically and emotionally cheated on. My present girlfriend has never given me any reason not to trust her, but I've never been involved with someone who is still close to their exes this way. Let me know if I have anything to worry about. -- Kyle, 20

Dr. Susan: I would love to tell you to relax, but I can't. Simply the fact that your girlfriend went to visit her abusive ex and said it was good to see him again: what's THAT about? Of course you're right about exes taking every opportunity to cling and try to get back together, whether it's your ex or her exes. My impulse is to say you're both still too young and unsure of yourselves to get engaged. It's just so impossibly hard to remain utterly faithful when you're so young, not together very often, and there are so many temptations. It's fair of you to ask your girlfriend to completely avoid her exes for your peace of mind, but of course it does come down to trust. When she's more sure of her feelings for you, then she'll be more willing to drop the exes completely, and when you're more sure of her, you won't need to be writing me anymore. You don't need to walk around in a knot of anxiety, but keep an eye out.

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