I recently started dating a guy whom I adore. We have great chemistry. I can see the relationship blossoming into a serious, loving one.
But I’m bothered whenever he brings up his ex-girlfriend. Their long-term relationship ended two years ago.
I understand that they’ve shared a lot together, but I feel jealousy whenever he brings her up, directly or indirectly.
I’m reluctant to say don’t mention her ever again because I want him to share his past experiences with me without having to filter his story.
Still, I’m bothered. Am I wrong to feel this way? Is this something I should accept?
These are early days, too soon for you to tell him what he can say or not say, about almost anything.
As for anyone’s past stories, they’re hard to share without ever mentioning who was with you.
Give this time. You’ll soon know much of where he’s travelled, had various interesting experiences, etc.
If, within say, three months, every account still includes the ex, smile and say, “Yes, I know you were together then.”
If you don’t overreact (that’s how ordering a change of references comes across), this phase of “and then we went to…” will pass.
Commentary – “I’m 51, and have been my live-in girlfriend’s caregiver for over a decade, all during which the relationship’s been sexless.
“She’s 51, suffers from concurrent disorders, some mental, some physical, stemming from severe childhood trauma of the worst sort.
“We’ve also been tackling addiction issues, and detoxed her from cocaine (started at 16). That’s led to an expected crushing depression.
“I’m now only working half the year and spending more time helping her get out of bed, out for walks, taking her to doctors’ appointments, etc.
“Because of the trauma, she’s become entirely celibate (separate beds).
“Our only physical contact is when I hold her, hug her, or kiss her goodnight.
“While our sex life was great initially, it was also short-lived. Just having sex was bringing back flashbacks and trauma memories.
“Years ago she gave me “permission” to see someone to have my physical needs met, but tell her I was doing it.
“My own sexual experience was very limited, I started late. But my girlfriend had been sexually adventurous in her youth and 20’s.
“I didn’t act on my girlfriend's offer for years because I couldn’t find someone suitable. I wasn’t going to do anything with a co-worker or anyone where things could get messy.
“Now I’ve found someone, an independent escort. So I know that no relationship will ever come of it.
“I also told my girlfriend. It was a difficult conversation, but it got us talking about the “Elephant in the Room” - zero intimacy.
“We listen to each other and fully respect each other’s feelings and thoughts. And yes, she’s ok with it, but despite her permission she was initially hurt, and I was hurt because I’d hurt her.
“Now she understands that this isn’t something that’ll go anywhere and that she’s still – and always will be – my one true love.
“Also, I’ll be completely discreet. She’ll never know it’s even going on.
“I’m much happier for finding this woman. And much happier at home. This rubs off on my girlfriend.
“When she decides she’s ready to be intimate again, I’ll be there happily.
“Relationships can take all kinds of forms if both parties are loving and respectful of each other and their wants and needs. Normal is many, many things.”
FEEDBACK Regarding the “conservative” man who’s considering leaving his wife of four years, because he was shocked to find sex toys and “stripper” shoes, in her bedside table (Feb. 19):
Reader – “I couldn't believe that a man was considering leaving his wife because she has a sexy side to her.
“Most men would love those attributes. Having sex toys in a woman's bedside table is normal… I repeat, "Normal!"
“I’m 65, long-time married, and have my own "toys" which I reach for frequently when my husband’s too tired, busy, or "whatever" his excuse of the day is.
“This man sounds totally unimaginative and uneducated about women in the bedroom.
“He should thank his lucky stars that his wife has this sexy side rather than wondering if he should consider leaving her because of this.
“Perhaps she’ll leave him one day when she's sick and tired of him being a stick-in-the-mud.”
Tip of the day:
In early relationships, showing jealousy when an ex is mentioned in accounts of someone’s past, is a red flag.