I am in an almost 2 year relationship with my girlfriend. We have a great relationship that is based on a strong friendship, trust, and honesty. An issue that came up recently was something from my girlfriend’s past. It’s a long story, but I’ll try to summarize. She was in a 1-2 year relationship with a married man that was very painful for her and it all ended because he died. However, as it turns out — he didn’t. What she knew about her relationship and how it ended was based on a lie (told to her by her by the married man’s wife to essentially get her out of the picture). Anyway, recently she found out about this lie. The person who she was deeply in love with is in fact still living. What my issue is and what has been bothering me is that I have been feeling insecure about it all. Over the years that I’ve known her, she has talked about him on several occasions, even mentioning that if he was still alive that they might still be together and that she thinks about him everyday. I also found a few photos of them together. So, now that he has resurfaced — it is making me question my relationship and her commitment to me. My questions are — Should I be haunted by all of this from her past? Am I just thinking about it too much? Why is it making me feel so unsettled and insecure? Is it that I don’t trust her completely or is it my own issues from my own past with trust that is the root of it all? She has reassured me several times that her relationship with him was a part of her past, a part of her life that she has no interest in going back to and that she is only interested in moving forward with me. It’s such a weird situation and I’m not sure what to do with it. There is a part of me that trusts her and believes her since we have such a good relationship. However, there’s another part of me that is very bothered by all of this. Thanks for any advice on how to figure this out.
A: Yes, this is certainly a complicated scenario. I can understand why you are feeling a little insecure given all the information. However, you also state that she has been open and honest with you and that you have a great relationship. I would worry more if she seemed secretive about it all. I’m also wondering if part of your insecurity is about her sexuality, with her having been in a heterosexual relationship and now in a same-sex relationship.
It could be that she thinks about it daily because of how it ended. She probably feels like she didn’t have closure and sometimes that can lead to some obsessive thinking. Now that she found out he didn’t really die, I could also see how that would bring the whole issue to the surface again. But if you are the one she is talking it through with, it is a good sign of her trust and respect for you.
I think it is natural to have your guard up somewhat, but on the other hand you state that she reassures you that the past is the past and she wants her future to be with you. We can really only make decisions on the information we have at any given point in time. If she isn’t giving you any reason to distrust her right now, then be willing to give her your trust. As long as you both have an open dialogue about what you are feeling, chances are that you can move past this unusual situation and build a solid future together.
All the best,
Dr. Holly Counts
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 31 Jul 2014
Counts, H. (2014). I’m Insecure about My Girlfriend’s Past Relationship. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 6, 2015, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2014/07/31/im-insecure-about-my-girlfriends-past-relationship/