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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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My girlfriend and I are in an argument about something and

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My girlfriend and I are in an argument about something and I'm hoping you can give me some advice on whether my feelings are justified or if I need to just accept certain things. So, here it is:
Her name is Tiffany. Tiffany lived in Florida for about 1 1/2 years at a condo her family owns, even though they all live in Minnesota. She moved back to Minnesota almost two years ago.
She dated a man throughout her stay in Florida and they continued their relationship after she moved back to Minnesota. Apparently he was and still may be married.
Tiffany and I have been dating for about 4 months. When we first met, we didn't know where our relationship would go, so, we talked openly about our past and she told me that she was still in love with the man in Florida, that she would visit him, but that he was married, etc. So, she was essentially still in a "relationship" with him right up to the point that she and I became a couple.
Yesterday Tiffany asked me, "do you think you could take some time off from work because my brother and I were talking about taking a short trip to Florida and stay at the condo, would you like to come with us?" This caught me completely off guard and I felt very hurt.
I was hurt that she would think about taking a trip with or without me, and especially hurt that she would be going to that particular place. I know that the man in Florida still contacts her so they would undoubtedly meet up if I weren't there.
I went from being hurt to getting upset. We argued briefly and I just hung up because I didn't want to say anything that I would regret. She now says that she did not intend to take the trip without me and that she just brought it up as a suggestion.
Here is the message she sent me today:
"I am on very little sleep because of this. Considering you didn't answer your phone last night and talk to me about it, I am resulting to writing you an e-mail. This needs to stop. Please. Its sabotaging our relationship. Look at the facts. I have 4 full weeks off with nothing to do. Doesn't it sound nice to take some time to lay out on a beach? And why not at my family's condo that is ON the beach and we can stay at for free? 1 week ticket is $230. Sounds pretty fantastic to me. My brother doesn't have anything going on either and he said it would be nice if we could all take the time to go considering it's so cheap. So I said that I would talk to you to see if you could possibly get work off. I wasn't planning anything without you. We JUST talked about it last night hours prior to me talking to you.
I can't change what happened in the past. That's not even on my mind, but obviously it consumes yours. And that's not fair. And I'm not going to never go to Sanibel again because of it. Sanibel has been in my family my entire life and you either have to accept that, or don't. I'm not going to let my past prevent me from enjoying an opportunity at laying out on a beach with you, my family, or myself.
I love you completely and you know that. And I don't need to let go of my past, YOU need to let go of my past. I have moved on from it and it would be nice if you did too. My life is HERE in MINNESOTA with you. I would like it if you stopped creating these ideas in your head about reasons why I want to go to Sanibel. I want to go because its A. Winter and cold as hell up here. B. I have 3 more weeks off of NO school and very little work. C. I just finished my last semester at Normandale and it would be nice to take a little bit of a vacation (with you). D. Tickets are $230 for 1 week. E. There is a fabulous FREE condo ON the beach that I know of that we could stay at."
I truly believe that if I had not gotten upset and simply said that I can't take work off, so go ahead with your brother, she would have started planning her trip. And this really hurts me. She knows my feelings about it yet I believe that she would do it any way. Part of my issue with it is that it's not like she is returning to a place where she dated someone years ago or anything like that, she is going back to a place where she was in a relationship with another man just months ago.
I don't know how else to describe my feelings and thoughts on this, so, I hope you can help me deal with this situation. I love her, but sometimes when she does things like this, I feel like we are in two different places in our relationship and that she doesn't really know me the way I thought she did.
Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.
This is a difficult situation you are in. You are in a relationship with someone who seems to love you very much, but that is still involved in her past and won't let go of it. Yet she accuses you of being the one with the problem with her past, which puts you on the defensive and hurts you.
When your girlfriend wanted to go to Florida, it was a with or without you offer. That leaves you to feel insecure because she is still in contact with the married man she was dating before and is still in love with. No matter what, no one in a relationship is going to feel secure with their partner going to a place where a former partner, who they are still in love with, still lives. So your girlfriend's offer basically corners you into making a choice about letting her go and trying to trust her against impossible odds or going with her in order to "protect" your relationship. That is a very difficult situation.
What needs to occur instead is that your girlfriend ends it once and for all with the married man. She needs to draw boundaries with this man and end the relationship with him and be with you. If not, then she is not ready to commit to your relationship and you need to consider whether or not you are willing to be in the relationship while she is in contact with a former boyfriend.
I hope this has helped you,
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