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Doctor Blake
Doctor Blake, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 146
Experience:  Ph.D., Ed.S., NCSP Clinical Psychologist; 15+ years of experience; dual licensure
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I am a 62 yr old widower dating a 56 yr woman. She split from

Customer Question

I am a 62 yr old widower dating a 56 yr woman. She split from a fairly good 9 yr relationship about 2 months before we first met due to personal issues of her 58 yr old ex. About a month or so after that, her ex tried to get back with her...even to go so far as to try to give her an engagement ring. She refused and stayed with me. About 2 months after that, she subsequently went back with her ex, but only for a month. Then, she came back to me and we've been together for the past 16 months since then. In the meantime, her 62 yr old sister got into a relationship with her ex for a few months.This caused a lot of personal grief for my girlfriend. Subsequently, her sister and her ex broke up and she now says she forgives them both. She says her ex would take her back in a heartbeat, but she has no desire to go back with him. However, because of the 9 yr relationship she had, she wants to maintain a "good friendship" with him.....talk on the phone, texting, maybe lunch, etc. Because I know he still wants her back and what happened in the past, I'm against this 100%. This has caused some strain in our relationship. I don't want her to hate or dislike her ex, but I don't believe a "good friend" relationship as she would like makes for a healthy relationship between her and I. One thing will lead to another and he won't just be happy being "good friends". He has not moved on with anyone else after such a long time and I fear he will keep trying to get her back. It happened once.

Am I wrong to insist that a "good friendship", as she calls it, cannot be and still keep our relationship healthy ?? Please advise. Thanks

Wayne
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Doctor Blake replied 3 years ago.

Doctor Blake :

Good evening. Thanks for writing to JA.

Doctor Blake :

The question(s) you're asking are not really focused on your GF... they're focused on you. :)

Doctor Blake :

Can YOU allow someone you love to do what they want? To talk with others how they want, when they want? Do you trust her?

Doctor Blake :

I would challenge you to question your motives here and wonder if your beliefs are fueled by your fears about her commitment to you.

Doctor Blake :

I realize this is hard to hear (or in this case, read), but... you must recognize that your current GF has the right to talk to anyone she wants to at any time.

Doctor Blake :

Your fears may reflect your own fears about the status of your relationship - regardless of her behavior.

Doctor Blake :

This being the case, I would reframe your questions:

Doctor Blake :

Why am I uncomfortable with her communicating with this guy?

Doctor Blake :

I love this woman, but I don't seem to really trust her... what does that mean to our relationship?

Doctor Blake :

I think this woman is GREAT, but can't believe she can deal with this "other man" in a mature fashion. Is that fair to her?

Doctor Blake :

She has the choice to move in whatever direction she would like to. This is not a problem of her's or her prior BF's/husband's... it's really your problem.

Doctor Blake :

It is your decision about whether or not to discuss these insecurities with your GF... but the question about "insisting that a good friendship cannot be and still keep our relationship healthy" is problematic.

Doctor Blake :

Your relationship should be health regardless of her relationship(s) with other people.

Doctor Blake :

Thoughts?

Doctor Blake :

Oh, hi, Wayne... looks like you're typing right now. Cool. I'll stay on for a bit. :)

Customer:

I realize everything you say is true. However, had he not keep trying to get herr back for so long I would have concerns. She has stated he is her "rock".

Customer:

She is soft hearted and I she doesn't want to hurt his feelings. But he pushed her away initially and she found me.

Doctor Blake :

Hi, Wayne... Well, perhaps, if he is her "rock..." perhaps that means (I'm sorry to say this) that you're not.

Doctor Blake :

Perhaps you need to protect yourself somewhat for what may be, ultimately, a decisions entirely out of your control.

Doctor Blake :

You may be able to look back fondly XXXXX XXXXX time as her "rebound period" (Oooh, I hate to write this... sorry) but I'm concerned that you're so wrapped up in what you-think-is-best-for-her is also wrapped up with what you-think-is-best-for-her because you love her.

Doctor Blake :

If it's best for her, she'll let you know... and interfering will only result in heavy and hard feelings between you.

Customer:

Well, I have done an awful lot for her...both financially and emotionally. I have been pretty good to her and we have many things in common. She was actually living with me for awhile. Yes, I do love her. After i became a widower, I said I would never fall in love again. You know about "never say never" !! yes, it happened again.

Doctor Blake :

If this helps: think of letting her go (like when you let your son or daughter go with their own car)... and hope for the best. As a parent, you fear for the worst... but it might all work out just fine. Or it might be dreadful. But, you have to let her go in order for her to come back safely (or even not so safely) into the garage.

Doctor Blake :

I believe you, Wayne. Take a moment and look around... and question those around you. "Am I being taken advantage of here?" It's such a hard question to ask... because it makes us feel foolish and weak and vulnerable. But, given the recent loss of your partner... you ARE vulnerable. Ask your friends what they think. Your buddies love you and probably have a good sense of what's going on with you, too.

Customer:

You may be right about letting her go. I certainly don't want to try to hang on to her if she really wants back with her ex. That wouldn't be a good thing for either of us.

Doctor Blake :

I believe, what I'm ultimately saying here is, look for support within your immediate community to "check my back." They will have a better sense of where you are right now... and if they perceive you're setting yourself up for a fall... not only will they tell you the truth... they'll help to make the fall less painful.

Doctor Blake :

Frankly, Wayne... you might want to also consider having a chat with a local support group or senior center (you're not quite there, but they'd understand) or church group... I don't really think you need counseling... but I think you need to check in with the folks around you before you make any BIG CHANGES in your life...

Customer:

A lot of people know the both of us and her ex. They tell me that it is wrong for her to want to keep a close relationship with her ex under the circumstances that he wants her back

Doctor Blake :

Am I making any sense? I realize that, since I'm 15-20 years your junior, I don't have the life experience you have. But I do have that "clinical distance" to be able to look at things a little more objectively, perhaps.

Customer:

I told her i would get an opinion form someone who doesn't know either of us

Doctor Blake :

Well, if the people around you who know all of you way that "it is wrong for her to keep a close relationship with her ex" then you need to recognize that, if she intends to keep that relationship - then YOUR relationship needs to end.

Doctor Blake :

Others are telling you it's not OK, you feel like it's not OK...

Doctor Blake :

set some boundaries for yourself (which you deserve).

Customer:

I am a college grad and manager of Human Resources for nearly 40 yrs. I am able to help others with their problems ,but it's difficult to deal with my own.

Doctor Blake :

She will chose whether or not to cross those boundaries and respect your wishes. If she cannot, then... well... YOU CANNOT.

Doctor Blake :

right?

Doctor Blake :

LOL. Yup. I'm a Psychologist... and I got PLENTY of my own problems!

Doctor Blake :

:)

Doctor Blake :

Welcome to the club of being a human being! :)

Doctor Blake :

LOL.

Doctor Blake :

You might also need to take some time to resolve your own grief from your loss before you move on to another relationship. (I'm sorry that I don't know how long it has been since you lost your wife.)

Doctor Blake :

It's been a pleasure to chat with you some this evening. I hope this has helped to clarify some thoughts.

Customer:

I believe you are correct. I guess the possibility of losing another love is hard for me to comprehend. It will be 3 yrs this August that I lost my first "Janet"...yes "Janet" !!

Doctor Blake, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 146
Experience: Ph.D., Ed.S., NCSP Clinical Psychologist; 15+ years of experience; dual licensure
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