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TherapistMaryAnn
TherapistMaryAnn, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1678
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues
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I am in a slightly tough situation and I would love some

Customer Question

I am in a slightly tough situation and I would love some objective opinions.
Let me start by saying that I am slightly jealous by nature and I have a past of cheating exes, which might make me more sensitive towards this subject.
I am now in a two year relationship with my (since recent) husband. He has always stayed close friends with his very needy ex girlfriend with whom he ended his relationship two years prior before he met me. I feel that he has been TOO close friends with her without putting any boundaries, feeding the fact that she was still in love with him and it that this is almost insulting to our relationship. They basically still had a relationship but without the sexual part.
Shortly, in the beginning of our relationship, after we made it "official" I witnessed him lying to her on the phone about with who and where he was. He clearly had not told her that he was dating and now in a relationship. He did fix his mistake the next day by telling her the truth, but this still stings. He told me he had done this because he knew it would upset her knowing they were really over.
The last two years she has been in extremely frequent contact with him. Up to 4 mails per day, text messages and phone calls. Even though she knew we had fights about this. She still used the cute nickname (he gave the exact same one to me) he gave her in their relationship. They always kept each others house keys, which I only found out about Months after I moved in with him.
When I met her, she was extremely sweet and personal towards him but quite cold towards me. The second I went to the bathroom she questioned my motives. I accidentally found out (very late in our relationship) that she has always been negative about me behind my back, partly because of our age difference. He never took it serious enough to stand up for me more until we were engaged.
In the beginning, I would always ask him to say "hi" and I tried to be interested in her. She has never done this.
As much as I love my husband and his soft character, this situation has literally ruined my engagement period. Only a week before our wedding, which he did not invite her to because it would be too hard for her according to him, he finally told her that the frequency of contact was currently not appropriate.
They now have contact only every two to three weeks but he tells me he misses her, her dog and talking to her. And how good of a person she is. She is, according to him, his only true friend. And he is her only true friend.
Even though they say it purely platonic, she still has a hard time with me and told him she is envious of me and our marriage.
Just hearing her name and thinking of her literally makes me sick. I can not sleep at night and get very emotional if I think about the fact she will always play a part in our life. By him continuing his friendship with someone, that has clearly been very negative towards me from the start and still has feelings for him, I feel as if he is picking her feelings above mine.
He makes me feel like the crazy woman that does not understand everything is better and solved now because the last two Months contact has been less, but I can simply not forget about the past and how she behaved.
I know I can not forbid him to be in contact with her and that is not the kind of wife I want to be but I feel as if this might ruin my marriage. I love him more than I can express on here.
Please give me your thoughts.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  DrJackiePhD replied 1 year ago.

Hi,

I'm Dr. Jackie, an interpersonal communication researcher/professor and relationship expert. And first, congrats on your marriage! Second, I am sorry you are going through this conflict. Perhaps I can give an objective view on this; and hopefully, your new husband will be willing to read my response and reflect on this also.

The most disconcerting part to me about the entire post is that your husband says that she is his only true friend and vice versa. This saddens me, and I hope it is not true--You and your husband should be best friends. If he truly feels that way about her, then I do believe emotionally he certainly has "cheated" on you. And while he may not have romantic feelings toward her at all but friendship only, I'm fairly certain this is not the case for his ex-girlfriend. Her behaviors and attitude definitely seem to reflect differently.

When your husband took his wedding vows, he promised to put you above all others, and this wedding vow does not make an exception for an ex-girlfriend. So the fact that he did cut the contact considerably is definitely a move in the right direction. But if this is still causing friction between the two of you, his loyalty needs to be to YOU. He married YOU. So you and your feelings need to come before hers. If you don't get this resolved now, it is going to continue to haunt you like it is by keeping you awake at night.

I do want to point out something, and I want you to understand I will always be forthright and direct and tell you my opinion based on experience with doing this for a long time as well as based on what research studies reveal. And so I do want to mention something, and I hope it will make sense. You say that, "He makes [you] feel like the crazy woman..." Think about the wording if you will. Short of extreme examples where someone truly is forced (by real threat), in most instances, we must take ownership of our feelings. No one else can really MAKE us feel something. In fact, we can't even control our feelings. They are emotions inside us. What we CAN control is our REACTIONS to our feelings and REACTIONS to others' actions. I think if you think about this notion, it truly is empowering that while you can't control feelings, you DO have the power to control how you react. And exercising self-control and gaining control over feeling resentment toward this woman should be somewhat empowering to you. That may be helpful. Obviously, I am not dismissing your husband's role in putting you and your feelings above the ex. That remains very important as well.

Finally, talk to your husband. Be honest with him about how this is really hard to get past. The more open and direct you are, at least you are not "pretending," and it shows you trust him that you are sharing it. Most often when one person in a relationship is very honest and direct and it shows, the other person also tends to be more direct and open. This is one way to prevent any secret texting, calls, etc.

What do you think so far? Would he be willing to talk to a third party (ex: counselor) about this? Everyone can use some good guidance and counseling at some point and time. And if you would like to discuss this via the phone or Skype, I'll send you the JUST ANSWER form with my information on it so that you have it.

Please take care. I hope to hear back soon.

--Dr. Jackie