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Relationships: Trust vs Boundaries Respect and Understanding vs Dismissal

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My girlfriend and I grew into a relationship that is very valued. I found us important and I believe she does as well. We both realized we had past relationships, but she mentioned that she had one that was a friends with benefits relationship. His name came up a few times. I found that she used to work with this guy and they remained friends. Up until right about here, I was not thinking much of anything about it. When I mentioned something about a “named guy” having a past with her and they still being friends, she replied “yeah, and I STILL friends with him…” (maybe red flag?). Anyways as time went on, there were get togethers at first with out me…then I asked if I could come to one where he’d be there. I went, and I really just got an entirely bad vibe. Long drawn out hugs followed by “I miss yous…”. I tried my best to voice my discomfort with the situation, but she was very defensive and dismissive, saying I have nothing to worry about and that it was just sex…(more than a few times). Needless to say, it has not been resolved. I feel resentful now of the entire scenario and worse, it seems like this guy just keep “showing up” places where either we or just her and her friends go. I’m losing patients, I don’t want to control her or somehow erase her past. I would like her to understand that I am uncomfortable with the whole thing and it has taken a life of its own in my head now. I can always break up with her to avoid feeling this way, but I love her. I just don’t feel like she cares. The only reason I can think of her dismissing it is because she is ok with it, there is no reason I shouldn’t be. I’m not sure she realizes that being defensive and dismissive makes it seem like there is something going on, or that she is saving. I try to stay calm, but I get very upset about it sometimes. She says she loves me and wants me, but this all makes it seem contradictory.

Relationships: Trust vs Boundaries Respect and Understanding vs Dismissal

Answered by on -


Overanalyzing something or ruminating about it, is often just a defense mechanism to delay our coming to the truth. You say that you do not want to control her but would just like her to understand that you are uncomfortable with the situation, the one between her and her ex-boyfriend. It appears to me that she already knows how uncomfortable this situation is for you. In all likelihood, she just doesn’t care. If I may quote you, from your last paragraph, “I just don’t feel like she cares.” And neither do I.

You are not the only boyfriend or husband, who would be upset seeing their girlfriend or wife, having frequent, long-lasting hugs with a former sexual partner. Many other men or perhaps even most would be equally upset. They would not be happy and they would find their wife’s or girlfriend’s behavior to be unacceptable. Not everyone of course but many, if not most.

It is important in a relationship for both people to love the other equally or as close to equally as is possible. When one person loves the other more, then they become the underdog. The more loved one in the relationship will quickly come to realize their status and recognize that a breakup would hurt their partner more than it would hurt them. Knowing this, many of the more loved will take advantage of the less loved. That is why it is so important to be loved as much as you do love. Then both parties would suffer equal pain as a result of a breakup. As Bonnie Rait pointed out “you can’t make someone love you if they don’t.” You can’t make your girlfriend love you more than she does. It may be time to move on and find that woman who will love you just as much as you love her. Good luck.

Dr. Kristina Randle

Relationships: Trust vs Boundaries Respect and Understanding vs Dismissal

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Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist and Assistant Professor of Social Work and Forensics with extensive experience in the field of mental health. She works in private practice with adults, adolescents and families. Kristina has worked in a large array of settings including community mental health, college counseling and university research centers.

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2018). Relationships: Trust vs Boundaries Respect and Understanding vs Dismissal. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 6, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 22 Jan 2017)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.