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My girlfriend and I have been dating for almost two years now, of which we’ve been living together for almost a year as well. We met through a mutual friend, and we’re both in our upper twenties, so we were completely aware of the fact that neither of us were, for lack of better words, “pure”.
Recently, my girlfriend inquired about a female friend of mine and whether or not we had a relationship before. As our relationship is open and honest, I told her, without going into detail, that we had a quick fling 4 years ago. Now, anytime this female friend is around my group of friends, she doesn’t want me to be hanging out with them. The female friend comes around once in a while, and I don’t want to miss out on fun activities because of something that’s happened in the past, especially since it happened so long before I ever met my girlfriend.
I am a very friendly person, and I hate breaking of friendships, even if they were at an intimate level at some point. I have issues letting go, but I maintain healthy friendships with exes, flings, and the such. Am I wrong for not cutting them out of my life? How can I avoid conflict when I’ve been faithful and honest for two years? Is it fair to be judged by your past? After all, aren’t the past’s mistakes what brought me to where I am today?
Man. I am on the fence with this one. Initially, I was with you. You live with your girlfriend so clearly you’ve committed to her, and presumably your relationship with her is solid. You’ve been honest with her about your past with your ex, and it sounds like you have mutual friends with your ex, so it’s sort of hard to avoid her.
But then I got to your last paragraph where you say that you have issues letting go. I’m not quite sure what this means. You’re not a great judge of when it’s appropriate to let relationships fizzle? I’m not a proponent of leaving friendships easily, but sometimes it becomes clear that the relationship is no longer healthy, beneficial, or mutual. For instance, I used to work in a small office, so everyone was very friendly with each other, and we knew the intricacies of each other’s personal lives simply because there were so few of us and we all worked so closely together. When I left that job, I attempted to maintain all of those friendships. Some worked because I had similar interests with those people, and I found that I genuinely cared about them, whether or not we were working together. Other friendships didn’t last because I found that our ties were only related to our being in the same physical space.
It’s natural for your girlfriend to be a little concerned about your relationship with this woman. Humans are inherently jealous. We are. I know there are idioms out there about how if you really trust someone, you shouldn’t feel jealousy or worry about them straying. That is such bunk. We’re all afraid of losing what we love. Sometimes it makes us act weird. So I get where your girlfriend is coming from. But, I don’t think you should have to go running from the room if this ex happens to be at the same bar or attends a mutual friend’s birthday party. That’s unreasonable.
Presumably, Tommy’s ex is cooler than Stacy.
Let me ask you this, do you talk to this ex independent of being at events with her? For instance, are you inviting her to meet everyone at the bar? Are you emailing her a funny link that reminded you of her? Because that’s a different story. I don’t want to tell you to stop contacting this woman if you really value her friendship, but I think you need to be honest with yourself about whether that’s true. Does your relationship with her give you something you can’t get from other people? Do you feel a strong connection that you think will last for years to come? If the answers to these questions are no, then I don’t see why you need to actively pursue a friendship with her. The nature of relationships is fluid. It’s supposed to be. Different people fulfill different needs at different times in your life. Don’t hang on to a relationship that’s not giving you anything, just because at one point in time you were intimate with this person.
Think about what’s behind the nature of your relationship with your ex, then have an honest conversation with your girlfriend.
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