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His ex is back in town

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  December 18, 2013 08:33 AM

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Q: Hi Meredith,

I've been dating a great guy since early spring. We want the same things in life and have had some amazing times together.

He's an extrovert and I'm an introvert, and he surrounds himself with friends, whereas I have a handful of very close friends. One thing I love about him is that he reaches out to friends and family and is a very generous, thoughtful person.

The thing is, his ex recently moved to town and she is part of his tight-knit group of friends from back in college. I have expressed jealousy and concern over her presence in his life. She is engaged but my worry isn't about her doing anything. My deepest fear is that he is fooling himself and he has a special feelings for her that will keep us from being able to forge something new. Maybe this is because I have never remained good friends with an ex and need to be more open-minded. Maybe it is because this is an especially close group of friends and I don't feel like I fit in.

Should I just work to get over my jealousy since he has assured me again and again that I have nothing to worry about? Or, since the jealousy really stems from my insecurities, is this something that will be impossible for me to get past until I take time to be by myself? Some people say that it is OK to be friends with an ex, others say it can't be done without there being some kind of intimate feelings there. What do you think? Can I get past my jealousy? Do I have something legitimate to worry about?

Thanks.

– Getting jealous


A: "Should I just work to get over my jealousy since he has assured me again and again that I have nothing to worry about?"

Yes. That's exactly what you should do.

This woman is engaged. And you have been with your boyfriend for months, so you've already forged something new. Sure, he'll always have special feelings for her because she's a part of his history, but he has special feelings for you, too -- and he's with you now. Exes can be friends. Not always, but sometimes. It doesn't sound like you have much to worry about here.

Your real issue is his community, and yes, hanging out with a significant other's friends can be intimidating. Maybe you can try to get to know these people at small dinners, in groups of twos and threes. Also, feel free to bring one of your own friends when you're invited out with your boyfriend's clique. Having a familiar face by your side might make it easier to get social with others.

Readers? Does she have anything to worry about? Does she have to take time by herself? How can she get over this? Help.

– Meredith



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ABOUT LOVE LETTERS: Welcome to Love Letters, the place for love advice (giving and getting). Globe relationship columnist Meredith Goldstein and Boston.com readers are ready to take your letters and tell you what's what. Have a question? Click here to submit or email us at loveletters@boston.com.
Blogger Meredith Goldstein

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.

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