You've seen celebrity clinical psychologist Dr. Sherry Blake, author of The Single Married Woman: True Stories of Why Women Feel All Alone in Their Marriages, keep the Braxton sisters calm on the hit show Braxton Family Values. Now it's your turn to sit in her chair...
I'm writing this email in regard to my boyfriend and his ex girlfriends. For the past two years, I have been dating a man who is 44-years-old. Throughout the relationship, he has been texting multiple ex girlfriends and saying they’re “just friends.” Recently, one of the so-called friends was flirting with him via text and he did not seem to mind, as he continued to engage her with conversation. I told him in the beginning of our relationship that ex's are off limits when you have a new significant other. One year goes by and he still allows an ex girlfriend to text him, in which he never answers in front of me. We recently argued about this situation and he told me “you can't have the relationship your way." I was simply explaining to him my concerns and how he has no boundaries with his ex girlfriends. My question is, am I overreacting or is he not respecting our relationship? Looking forward to reading your response.
No, you are not overreacting. You may be underreacting! He has multiple exes that are "just friends"? Really? If they are indeed only friends, why doesn’t he respond to them when you are around? I am sure you are feeling disrespected and "fed up" with your boyfriend texting his ex girlfriends. While you told your boyfriend that exes are off limits when you have a significant other, maybe he understood that to mean that you were only referring to yourself. Or better yet, you may have assumed that you are his significant other. You set a rule or expectation that apparently was not discussed or agreed on by your boyfriend. Given this, your boyfriend continues his communications with his exes. I am always suspicious when a person maintains their relationship with an ex without their current "significant other" being aware and knowledgeable of the nature of the relationship. It is clear that you are not comfortable with his behavior. That should be enough for your boyfriend to stop and be concerned with your feelings. The fact that he has not is his way of saying "just deal with it.” You have the ultimate choice to deal with it, or not. You should carefully look at his response to your concern as a lens into how he will deal with other concerns that you have. I recommend that you seek individual therapy to take a hard look at your role in the relationship. You may also consider couples therapy once you are clear about your feelings after individual therapy. If you want more, why settle for less? – Dr. Sherry
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