Sunday 18 November 2018

Dear Mary: My new girlfriend's colourful past is making me have second thoughts

Mary O’Conor

I have recently become involved in a relationship with a new woman. We have a very strong physical and mental connection.

The only problem is that she seems to have history with so many men. Conversations are usually peppered with references to those encounters, many of which seem to have led to her being dumped after these lads had their fun.

I find the frequent references most unladylike and I have never dated a woman who spent so much time talking about such nonsense.

Is she immature or insecure? It's like something you would hear in a Junior Cert class - who was with who, etc.

Due to the strong connection we have, I have tried hard to see her in the best light possible but a recent gathering underlined how little I probably value her. One of her many exes could be overheard making a laugh of her looks and boasting that despite these drawbacks he had been with her anyway.

Much as we get on and much as I get the impression that she would really like the relationship with me to work, I just don't believe I can take her seriously enough to bring our relationship to the next level as I don't really wish to live my life being embarrassed by clowns like the one mentioned above.

I don't want to hurt her, but what can I do?

I'd like to stay friends partly out of pity as with all the dumping she has had a tough life.

But I don't think pity is enough for a relationship. Should I just draw a complete line under this and move on?

Mary replies:  It seems to me that you have two separate problems with this lady. Firstly she talks constantly about her previous relationships, and secondly you get embarrassed when you overhear some of these men talking about her in less than flattering terms.

You can of course surmount the first problem by telling her that you don't like hearing about her previous experiences and ask her to stop, but I am more concerned about the second problem.

You made a reference to a Junior Cert class, but if she is an immature student then you come across as being a somewhat disapproving and critical teacher.

If, as you say, you have a strong connection with her, then I would have expected you to stand up for her when you heard the man putting her down. That is what friends do, they speak up for one another and let others know that they are not going to stand by while their friends are spoken badly of.

Admittedly it takes courage to speak up but on the other hand it would be cowardly not to.

You may disagree with me and feel that you didn't need to say anything, and that is your prerogative.

But it shouldn't really matter what other people think or say about her. What you think is what counts.

But you don't seem to have many positive thoughts about her, which is what I find so worrying. In fact she seems more a cause of anxiety for you rather than a source of joy and what is the point in that?

I feel there is no question of you continuing on with this particular relationship.

I am sure she would be appalled if she knew how you were thinking and indeed how you view her, and it is much better that you finish with her now rather than continuing on and then ultimately hurting her by being yet another man who ends a relationship with her.

In fact, you may be doing her a service as she may meet somebody new with whom she can find happiness.

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.

Sunday Independent

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