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What is motive for drawing line?

Fri., Nov. 2, 2012

Dear Carolyn: I recently snooped in my girlfriend’s email and discovered she has contacted an ex-boyfriend who is a known sore spot in our relationship.

What contact there was doesn’t really amount to much, and I don’t think she is trying to rekindle anything.

I am at a loss, though, to understand why she would write to him when she knows the hurt it could cause me and the damage it could cause our relationship.

Also, I am reluctant to say anything to her, in part because of my own illicit action, but more so because I don’t know that it will do any good. As odd as this sounds in light of both of our recent actions, I do trust her. I also have no doubt she loves me. I just don’t want her talking to this guy on any level.

So what, if anything, should I do? And, what am I doing wrong? Thanks. – Snoop

Snooping, obviously. Serious boundary violation – which you must confess, yes?

What else you’re “doing wrong” depends on your reason for drawing an I-don’t-want-you- contacting-him line where a pragmatic soul – and one who has any business saying “I do trust her” – would stand back and let trust do its job.

A few possibilities of many: Maybe there’s a past cheating incident driving your no-contact request; maybe you just have a bad feeling about this guy.

Whatever it is, you need to know your motives. No rationalizing.

Then you need to be sure you actually have standing to draw lines. By that I mean, does your interest in keeping this man out of your orbit – do your feelings – trump her right to associate with anyone she pleases?

I see these exceptions as extremely rare.

Even if your reason is among those few valid, non-controlling ones, there’s still this: People show their affection most persuasively when you let them choose how to show it. Do you trust yourself enough for that?


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