Sunday 20 January 2019

Dear Mary: Dream girlfriend was in touch with her ex, so should I end relationship?

Photo posed
Photo posed

Mary O’Conor

I'm in my early fifties, divorced and in a wonderful two-year relationship which has exceeded all my expectations.

The problem is that an issue arose which led me to look at my girlfriend's phone. I discovered that a few months into our relationship, which was long- distance at the time, she started to text and meet her ex, going to his house late at night on a few occasions.

Had I read these texts back then, I would have walked. However, she denied anything happened, insisted there was no issue and we are continuing with the relationship. However, I now have grave doubts as even if nothing physical happened (which I doubt) it still felt like a betrayal.

Basically all our texts, phone calls and time together during that time were meaningless if she was unfaithful.

Am I obsessing about something that happened 18 months ago? She says there is nothing to discuss and I have to trust her.

Mary replies: Yes, you are obsessing and the question is whether or not you want to get past this? For a moment let us look at this from your girlfriend's point of view.

She was a couple of months into a long-distance relationship with a divorced man and perhaps not quite sure where it was going. For whatever reason, she was in touch with her ex. Do you know why they finished their relationship? Perhaps he ended it, perhaps she did, and maybe one of them had second thoughts, or wanted to see if there was something salvageable between them.

If she went to his house on a couple of occasions, it doesn't follow that they had sex, because whichever one of them finished it may not have wanted to be sexual again. But perhaps they did have sex, in which case yes she was being unfaithful to you.

From what you say now - I've shortened your email somewhat - there is no communication between her and her ex and you are getting on very well in what is no longer a long-distance relationship, which is great.

You were married previously and I wonder if there were any trust issues in that relationship. If so it would more than likely have a bearing on what is going on for you now and you could benefit from speaking with somebody professionally about this.

If you keep on and on questioning your girlfriend about what happened 18 months ago, she may well get so tired of what might feel like an interrogation and end the relationship. How would you feel then?

If she were to tell you that yes, she had sex with this guy and didn't want to tell you because she was afraid you would react very badly, she would probably be right, because you say you would have ended it right there and then. However, you would then have deprived yourself of a relationship, which in every other respect, has been wonderful.

As in all cases, you have choices. You can continue to question what happened, continue to distrust her and her motives and be unhappy.

You can finish the relationship and start looking for somebody new. Or you can let it go and live in the now. Only you can decide, but I believe that the best thing you can do is to look forward, enjoy what you have, stop questioning what happened over a year ago and stop obsessing.

Life is short and no relationship is ever perfect.

You can contact Mary O’Conor anonymously by visiting or email her at or write c/o 27-32 Talbot Street, Dublin 1. All correspondence will be treated in confidence. Mary O’Conor regrets that she is unable to answer any questions privately.

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