Hurdling the Holidays
My girlfriend of a year and I are at odds because her daughters father came for xmas and I told my girl that it seems that she is acting different around me. So I asked her if she still has any feelings for him. She tells me that I am insecure and that is why she was single for a long time because she didn’t want to deal with those issues. Now I want to say that months ago I questioned her about some texts she got on her phone from 3 other guys. She tells me they are just friends and that she is with me all the time so there is no way anything there. I tell her that I feel that there may be more to it because my ex wife said the same thing and was sleeping with those so called "friends". Am I off on this? We live together and I love her I just want her to be real with me. Even her mom tells her yesterday in joking hey how come you cant sit closer to Rob, me.
Trust is a big issue here. You’re carrying some major baggage from your previous marriage into this relationship and that’s bound to cause some problems. Sometimes things trigger responses from us that are tied to something else. Your girlfriend’s texts are triggering jealousy and insecurity tied to your previous relationship but recognizing those feelings is the first step toward working through them. You’re going to have to learn to trust your current girlfriend. In love, there’s always the possibility of getting hurt but you can’t have a lasting relationship without trust and communication so try to recognize your feelings as what they are…leftovers from things that happened between you and your ex. Take your girlfriend at her word unless she gives you a reason not to.
Now, let’s talk about Christmas and blended families. Holidays can be a real mess when you’re trying to include everyone. I can tell you from personal experience that having your old life and your new life all in one room can be extremely stressful and can cause you to act all kinds of weird. There’s a lot of juggling being done. Your girlfriend is including her ex presumably to allow her daughter to celebrate with both her parents. That’s very admirable but it comes with its own set of issues and her behavior is one of them. Imagine being in the most awkward possible situation where you want to show affection to your current partner but feel the need to keep things very even keel for the sake of sanity. It’s easy to imagine your girlfriend keeping things cool and professional in order to keep the peace in a somewhat precarious situation. Is it fair? Maybe not. But you have to consider that this is a new experience for you all and that it may take a few tries before you all start to feel calm and normal.
And, of course, since Christmas only comes once a year you don’t get a lot of chances for practice.
My suggestion for you is to try and stay calm. You and your girlfriend should be able to debrief about the holidays. She can tell you how the situation made her feel. And you should be able to do the same. Remember, you’re on the same team even when things are tense. Keep the conversation about how things made you feel. And remember that feelings are not fact. Give them the proper perspective. No personal attacks.
Your feelings are real and they are understandable. This is a tricky situation and if you stay together, its one you’re going to have to deal with again next year so make sure you’re communicating with one another. And I’m going to ask you right now to just come to terms with the fact that your girlfriend is always going to have weird feelings about her ex. She doesn’t ever have to want to be with him again…but he’s still the father of her child. That gives him a strange and permanent place in her life. Get over it (and I mean that with all kindness). Once you accept that he’s going to be in and out of your lives, you take away the power he has to affect your feelings.
Don’t let the stress of the holidays come between you and the girl you love.
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