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CounselorJules, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 781
Experience:  Licensed Professional Counselor
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My boyfriend and I have been saying 1/2 years. A year ago I

Customer Question

My boyfriend and I have been saying for 2 1/2 years. A year ago I found out that he was still in contact with his ex girlfriend. He had always told me they were still in touch but he downplayed it and I never really believed his description. It seemed like he was lying about the frequency and content of their contact. He said they only texted once in a while. He was really in love with her and they only broke up when they each had to mice far away from where they met. I snooped through his phone one day because I never believed what he was telling me and I couldn't stand it anymore. I saw numerous and frequent texts talking with each other about how they were meant for each other loved each other and fantasizing about being together happily forever. I confronted him and he said he was confused about feelings he had for her in the past. That when she found out he had a new girlfriend she was angry and suddenly wanted to be back with him and it made him confused because he had been in love with her once but now he was in love with me and wanted to be with me. But in their texts he had offered to buy her a ticket to meet him somewhere if I wasn't able to go with him. He said he didn't mean it and wouldn't have followed through. In the end after a lot of crying and hurt and fighting I decided to try to forgive him and stay together. He wrote her a letter that he shared with me telling her he has moved on and is in love with me and wants a new life with me.
That was a year ago. Now we are living together and I'm pregnant. He's very loving towards me but this issue will not go away. They still have what he says is sporadic and brief contact with each other. Things like happy birthday and happy holidays. Or how are you doing. A few months ago he texted her to see how she was and to congratulate her on a new job he noticed on linked in. He said they texted a bit and he said maybe they could talk (phone call) soon. She then started to talk about how they care for each other a lot and he says he ended the conversation with a smiley face. And then deleted the entire conversation. He says because he felt bad and nervous and didn't want to return to what had happened before. I was devastated but he again said it would stop and he only wanted to talk because it had been a long time and he was over it and thought they could be friendly. Since then she was texted him a couple of times to update him on her life. He told her I'm pregnant. She has moved back to the place they first met. He never tells me if they had contact. I always have to ask and he usually tries to lie and eventually comes clean. I end up crying and hurt and angry. He thinks I overreact. He says now he only responds if she texts him and he thinks any normal person would respond.
He doesn't understand why this continued contact is ruining our relationship and why I can't just trust that he loves me and wants to be with me. I've tried to understand and move on but I can't be comfortable with even sporadic light texts. Am I missing something? I don't know what to do. I've given up on trying to make him understand my perspective. I guess my questions are: is he right? Should this continued contact be okay with me? I don't see how I can continue a relationship like this.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  CounselorJules replied 1 year ago.

Good morning. I am happy to assist you. Would you mind if after I get my children off to their destinations this morning that I return to the question? At approximately 8:30 this morning I will be available to assist you as thoroughly as needed :)

Expert:  CounselorJules replied 1 year ago.

Honestly, I think that right now anyone would be upset about the communication. I think that you have talked to him at great lengths about what has occurred in the past and he understands that trust was affected. He has to understand that you have been very forgiving and trusting. It seems that there is a breakdown in his ability to recognize how hurt you are. Your approach with him may have to be very vulnerable rather than reactive. You may have to let him know more about the insecurity that you feel so that he understands that this is not about being demanding, but about protecting your relationship. Boundaries being set are a very genuine sign of love and his communication with her is upsetting because it seems to always leave the door cracked open, causing problems in the foundation. Honestly, he does not need to respond to her texts and although he is with you now and you are expecting a child, it seems that there is a chance that she will ease her presence into the relationship. I would suggest to him that it does not feel that the commitment is as strong because the relationship with her seems to meet some emotional need and that this causes problems for you and your growing family. My suggestion is that you go with a method of affirmation, suggest change, affirmation followed by empowering him with change-- it seems to work better than an ultimatum. Something like this, "I want you to know that I love you very much, I care deeply about our relationship and our growing family. I am ecstatic about the baby, but I am also feeling threatened and afraid. I have tried so hard to be understanding and secure about the nature of the relationship that you have with this person, but I feel more hurt and afraid at her seemingly looming presence. I need something more from you. I feel that I have asked you to cease communication, but it almost feels as if you choose her feelings over mine. I have told you it hurts me, but it feels that there is greater concern about hurting hers if you don't text back. I guess I am asking you to help me with feeling more secure and establishing boundaries to protect our relationship. I would like your feedback and energy. I am not trying to create conflict, but more or less an opportunity for us to fix or change what is occurring now. I love you and I want our family of three to be secure without concern of extraneous people affecting this...."

Expert:  CounselorJules replied 1 year ago.

I just wanted to follow back up and make sure that you were able to process the response given. Please let me know if I can be of further assistance :)

Thanks, Jules