Dear Feelings Doctor: How do you feel about people in committed relationships maintaining friendships with their exes? I have been living with my partner for three years. He still checks in with his ex-girlfriend every couple of weeks and sometimes drops over to her house for a visit.
I knew he was close to her when we first met, and I said maybe we can be friends, but they have chosen to keep their friendship separate. In fact, not only separate but a secret. And that's what bothers me.
— Susan in Santa Barbara
Dear Susan: It sounds like your partner is not only committed to you but to his ex-girlfriend as well! The huge, red flag here is that you say he is attempting to keep his relationship with her a secret. This is not the way a healthy relationship stays healthy. Maintaining a civil relationship with an ex is a nice idea when it works for everyone involved. Carrying on in a secretive way is unacceptable!
Dear Feelings Doctor: I have a dear friend who always — and I do mean always — takes advantage of my good nature. Whether it is about me driving to dinner or me paying for our fun trips we take, she never offers to pay for anything. We are both grown-ups and should not have this issue come up. Thanks.
— Taken Advantage in Goleta
Dear Taken: I am going to jump out on a limb here and ask how often this issue comes up in your life. If you as an adult are not setting your boundaries and showing people how you prefer to be treated, they will probably continue to behave selfishly, and this person really knows how to take advantage of your kindness.
It’s time for you to put your grown-up hat on and tell your friend exactly what’s up. Hopefully she will acknowledge your concern and start meeting you halfway. If not, is that the kind of friend you are truly seeking?
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