Q: I have been with my girlfriend for almost two years and she is wonderful, funny, makes me happy, and I love her very much. We had a blip last winter where she was toying with the idea of being with someone else when things were bad between the two of us (just fighting a lot, not seeing eye-to-eye, and then not communicating about our needs and problems). I found out that she had gone on a date or two with this guy, they had kissed, and that was it. She suggested couples therapy, which we did a few times. She really came around. I would say it helped our relationship.
However, I find myself STILL not fully trusting her. I have resisted the strong temptation to snoop through her e-mail/Facebook when she steps out and leaves her computer on. But the other day I gave in. I checked her Facebook messages when her account was left open and she was in the shower. I saw a message she had written to her ex-boyfriend only a few weeks back when things were amazing and wonderful (or so I thought). She had written that they hadn't talked in a while and she really wanted to see him. He had written back that he would be in town around the holidays with his new girlfriend, that he hoped she was well, and that maybe they could catch up soon. She wrote back "no big deal."
Do I bring this up with her -- and if so, how? Do I actually mention I was snooping? If so, how can I be trusted?
She has several male friends and is always on her phone texting and sending messages through Facebook. I just don't know if I am becoming paranoid and need to chill and trust her, or if I am right to still feel uncomfortable so many months later.
– Paranoid, Boston
A: You're not being paranoid, Paranoid. I mean, you are, but the Facebook message confirmed your fears. I'm not saying that there's anything going on with your girlfriend and her ex, but her desire to see him was news to you. It made you feel bad. That's not good.
You can confront your girlfriend about what you saw, but I don't think she can answer your big questions. Only you know why you don't feel safe in the relationship. Only you know whether you want to be with a woman who seeks attention from other men, including friends and exes. You might prefer a fresh start -- or a girlfriend who's less social and more of an open book. I don't know.
What I do know is that counseling helped. You said you went a few times. Perhaps you weren't finished.
My advice is to go back, whether it's with her or alone. You're not done talking. The more you come clean about these fears and what you need to feel secure in a relationship (with anyone, not just her), the easier it will be to decide if your girlfriend is the right partner.
Stopping therapy too soon is like not finishing a prescription of antibiotics. You just wind up sick again.
Readers? Is there hope here? How can he get over the past? Is the note to the ex cause for concern or was it a simple catch-up? Am I right about him having his own answers? Discuss. (And yes, that was really Rico in the chat yesterday.)
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Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.