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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Ex is pulling his strings; cue jealousy

Washington Post

Hi, Carolyn: So, I am dating this guy and I’m in love with him and I know he loves me back.

But I can’t stop getting jealous of his ex-girlfriend. He still talks to her, because she has problems and he helps her through them.

I’m jealous because she met him first, she always gets his attention when she’s in distress.

We plan to spend our lives together, and to move back to her city. Once we do, I’m scared she’ll go after him.

I don’t know what to do if that happens, nor do I know how to get over this jealousy, which will last until he proposes. What do I do? – Keep getting jealous

Do I even need to say that proposals don’t magically render couples impervious to outside attractions?

If you’re jealous of any attractive woman within 10 feet of your husband, your trigger problem is your own profound insecurity.

If you’re not otherwise jealous, then please respect your warning system enough to consider that she does pose a threat.

Why? You listed four reasons, but there is only one: She always gets his attention when she’s in distress.

Meaning, she’s in control.

If they were actually friends, giving and taking, and including you in their friendship, then you’d have nothing to fear from her.

But you’re talking about puppetry: There is no reason your boyfriend has to coach his ex, except as a means for her to tug the string.

Please operate on the assumption that he consents to remain strung, and point this out to him. As in: “I think we both realize your ex has plenty of places she can go with her problems, and that her choosing you is a form of manipulation.”

Then listen carefully to the way he responds, since you’re presenting him with a clear choice: your truth, or her fiction. If he gets defensive or angry or tries to turn it on you, then please don’t lie to yourself that he has your back.