Question:

I recently got engaged to an amazing girl. We have been dating for 10 months, and for the last couple of months she has been talking to her ex. It kind of bugs me.

They would write letters back and forth while he was in rehab. She says that she loves only me, but that he needs support. I agree, but in many of his letters he tells her he loves her, and that totally bugs me. She says that's just the way he is and she has no feelings for him.

I think he is trying to mess us up. She disagrees, and it has been putting a lot of strain on our relationship. On her own, she told him she didn't want to be friends anymore, but she didn't like it, and two days later she is back to talking to him.

I know I don't choose her friends. So the question is, can exes be friends, even though one wants more?

Answer:

Just about any type of friendship is possible, which I realize isn't the answer you were looking for.

Fortunately, yours isn't the question I was looking for. Here's the real issue: Does your future marriage stand a chance with someone else still pulling her strings?

Of course, this recently rehabbed man needs support. But it's a stretch to suggest the support has to come from the ex-girlfriend with whom he's still smitten.

No, wait, not

stretch

.

Howler

.

For these exchanges between addict and ex to be healthy, they would have to serve as a reward for his making productive choices and leaving old behaviors - the kind that landed him in rehab in the first place - behind.

Unless he and your fiancee are partners in some element of his logistical stability, such as running a business or raising a child together, she's "supportive" like a crutch. Her involvement could be giving him a neat little escape from the hard work of getting well. He plays to her sympathies, she says what he wants to hear, he avoids a difficult truth.

You can't make them stop. You can, however, call your fiancee's attention to the problem and hope she's ready to see. You can also direct your own attention to the prematurity of your engagement, wonderful though your fiancee may be.

Real intimacy means knowing where each other's soft spots and bad habits are. And maturity means dealing with these honestly - by staying together if it works, or splitting if you must. It's not a recurring fight.

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