Catherine asks :

Hi Lucy,

Am I being controlling? My partner wants to be friends with a sort of ex she was on off seeing a few years ago. This person has caused a lot of trouble between us when we first got together telling lies about me. My girlfriend then forgave her and decided to give their friendship another go. Obviously I hated it but had to accept. She then did something again and my girlfriend finally saw her for what she was.

Two years have passed and they recently talked which I don't really have a problem with/can't have. It's just the fact I don't want them to meet up again and I've got go through it again. I'm scared in case she's playing nicey nicey to manipulate her.

My girlfriend says she loves me and as soon as she said something she would not forgive her. But how many more times? She claims they were good friends before they started seeing each other but when they were seeing each other she would play games so to speak. The person also had an on off partner at the time so in my eyes she just "picks and chooses" she claims they will just catch up by talking occasionally and she says she won't meet up because of my feelings but she's done this a couple of times before I don't know what to do please help.

Hi Catherine, 

 My partner is back in touch with her ex

My partner is back in touch with her ex

It is understandable that you are uneasy about your partner meeting up with her ex, but even more so when she has caused some upset in your relationship in the past. Anything that poses a potential threat to your partnership will naturally cause you worry.

Perhaps your partner simply wants to prove that her ex and her can be friends without there being any repercussions- she might miss talking to her. That said, if she can’t talk to you about most things- then this may say more about your relationship than anything else- which is worth exploring. Maybe she needs to prove to herself that her ex isn’t a bad person anymore and that you can all get along.

That said- why does she want to keep going back to her past? Why not just keep moving forward with you and put it all behind her?  It seems that there might be some unfinished business here. It might be worth talking to her and asking her for her honesty to find out what that could be. 

Have you talked to her about if the roles were reversed? How she would react? It is often helpful to ask partners if they could put themselves in your shoes for a moment and think about how they would feel given the same situation. Bringing an ex back into any relationship is always going to be a challenge so maybe she needs to think about how it affects not only her but you too.  

It may be that your girlfriend simply wants to make amends and does not recognise when her ex is manipulating her. However if you tell her not to see her, she might rebel against this because she may see it as controlling. It sounds like you are perhaps being more protective of her than controlling- but only you know which.  

You could sit back and wait for this person to hurt your partner again, which could be the most likely scenario and comfort her when she comes back to you. Perhaps the best way she will learn is to let her find out on her own. Maybe this is the last time she will let this person into her life.

Alternatively, you could be open with her and tell her that you are not comfortable with this. You might need to talk to her about why she feels the need to keep going back there. It might be more than just for friendship- in which case- you need to know as this impacts your relationship with her. 

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