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Dr Robert,

I have been dating a girl for 9 months and I have a problem. Let me give you some background. I met her through a friend of mine who I knew from high school (I am now a junior in college). We were friends for about 4 or 5 months and eventually she went away to college. It is now three years later and she has broken up with her ex. She pursued me and wanted to date, but i was reluctant about the fact that her ex was a friend, albeit not a very good friend, but a friend nonetheless.

In the beginning of our "courtship" i asked him if this was alright, and he went crazy on me. He said i should have asked earlier and made up many excuses as to why we should not date, but never directly came out to say it. He started being very threatening, so i eventually said forget him and ended up asking this girl out. It is now 9 months later. In the past nine months he has pulled some very disrespectful "stunts." I have gotten verbal threats and other indirect forms of his disapproval. He has slandered my name and reputation at the college to which i attend and has pretty much alienated me from the group I used to hang out with. I'm not sure how he did it, but he's quite the brainwasher.

My girlfriend still hangs out with him on occasion and still text messages and chats with him online, much to my dismay. I have explained to her a hundred times why I don't like her talking to him, but it still continues. What should I do?

Thanks so much

Fred, from Alaska

Hello, Fred--

I often receive this kind of question. In fact, I have a dozen or so of them waiting in my inbox for my attention (and sorry I cannot get to them all). The basic theme goes something like this:

My girlfriend (or boyfriend) is not treating me right, or not treating me as I wish she (or he) would. What should I do?

I always know the correct answer right away, but usually feel reluctant to give it because I believe that most of the people who ask this kind of question don't really want me to answer it candidly. I think that what they often want is not an answer to that question at all, but rather that I tell them is how to control the girlfriend so as to make her do what they want her to do or make her stop doing what they do not want her to do (as in your case in which you want your girlfriend to stop having any relationship with her ex). But this is a foolish idea. One person should not be trying to control another when their so-called "relationship" (or "dating" as it now often is called) is supposed to be based on love and affection. Obviously!

However, Fred, I'll take a chance here and answer your question as if you really do want it answered properly:

Fred: "What should I do?"

Dr. Robert: "Simple. Find a new girlfriend. One whose way of being feels good to you."

Be well.

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page last modified August 12, 2006

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