‘I’m uncomfortable’ (Picture: Neil Webb)
I’m feeling insecure about my partner’s ex, who has come back into our lives like a speeding train.
She’s going through a difficult time and had a genuine reason to get in touch but she’s now leaning on my boyfriend for support and I’m uncomfortable.
When I mentioned how I felt, though, he got irritated and said ‘jealousy isn’t attractive’.
So my choice is either being honest or being attractive. I can’t be both.
They went out for about a year and he always seemed fairly indifferent about their breakup.
What do you make of this?
We don’t agree that your choice is between being honest or attractive. It’s between being treated with consideration or with contempt.
‘Being attractive isn’t ever something you should have to perform for him,’ says James McConnachie. ‘Don’t ask yourself if your behaviour is attractive. Ask if his is.’
Only your boyfriend knows if you have reason to be jealous and only you know if you can trust him.
‘But I can tell you that it’s reasonable for you to find this unsettling and it’s unreasonable of him not to see that,’ adds McConnachie.
There are two interpretations of this situation, says Rupert Smith.
‘Your boyfriend is helping out an old friend who he has appropriate feelings of loyalty and affection for, and he would do the same for any friend, regardless of whether they had been lovers,’ says Rupert Smith.
Alternatively, your boyfriend is allowing himself to be drawn into a complicated, emotional and, potentially, sexual relationship.
‘He realises what’s going on, he’s doing nothing to prevent it happening and he’s accusing you of jealousy as a smokescreen,’ says Smith.
So based on the evidence you have of his character, is he a loyal pal or a liar?
‘Or are there complicated shades of grey?’ asks Smith.
An unwanted event can cause a little inconvenience or total ruin.
‘It’s the same event, it just falls on different ground,’ says Dr Angharad Rudkin. ‘What relationship has this ex staggered into? Were the two of you secure and happy before she arrived? If so, this storm will pass.’
We never escape the ghosts of exes.
‘Talk to him when you’re calm, always ensure you expect of him what you would of yourself,’ says Rudkin.
You have every right to ask him how long she will be present in your lives.
‘I also expect this will pass,’ says McConnachie. ‘But he needs to reassure, not insult.’
Rupert Smith is an author and counsellor
James McConnachie is the author of Sex (Rough Guides)
Dr Angharad Rudkin is a clinical psychologist
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