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…
Dear Dr. Sherry,
I’m a 28-year-old woman who is engaged to the love of her life. My problem is my fiancé’s “friendship” with his ex. I know that he communicates with her from time-to-time. He says they are just friends, but a couple of the messages don’t seem platonic to me. He says she knows he’s just joking. Maybe I’m a prude or I’m too strict but I believe that when one is in a committed relationship, some jokes are just not appropriate to crack with the opposite sex. I mean, if I had a romantic dream about an ex, I wouldn’t share it with them as a joke because I’m engaged.
We’ve fought about this a lot lately, and now he expects me to be fine with it all because he said he would not encourage communication with her. In addition, he doesn’t trust me because I checked his Facebook and Yahoo mail account for evidence when he left them open. He has told me that he’ll make sure I have no access to any gadget of his – even a common laptop, which I use only when I don’t have mine.
Recently, I had a sleepless, panicky night all because of their friendship. My fiancé was very concerned and he suggested I seek counseling and put the wedding on hold until I overcome these feelings. I feel my reaction is normal and my request to either cut off all communication or to tell her to cool it because I’m not comfortable with the friendship isn’t really too much to ask.
Am I really overreacting?
The real problem is not your fiancé’s relationship with his ex. The real problem is your relationship with your fiancé. You are engaged to someone that does not hear your emotional needs, and someone whom you do not fully trust. Anytime you have a need or desire to check your loved ones’ Facebook and email account, there is already a problem with the relationship, and you know it. His ex is only a symptom or telltale sign of a bigger problem you’re both facing.
It sounds like your fiancé’s relationship with his ex is indeed inappropriate. It may not be sexual or romantic at this time but it’s still inappropriate. The fact that you are uncomfortable and have already discussed that with him is an opportunity for him to stop and really listen to you. But, his response has been to stop giving you access to his electronic gadgets, recommend counseling and delay the wedding. Really!? He did not even say that the two of you should go to counseling together to work out these issues. What he did say was something is wrong with you and you need go to counseling to “fix it” and get over it.
Are you overreacting? The answer is NO! Your fiancé is being disrespectful of your feelings and your needs. If he is not willing to take you seriously, you must take your own feelings seriously now. Maybe you should take him up on his suggestion of going to counseling. You may process issues and discover how much, if, any, of his disrespectful behavior you are willing to continue to accept. If you are unhappy with your fiancé ‘s behavior and attitude toward you and issues now, do not think that he is going to magically change just because you marry him. – Dr. Sherry
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