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Past Lover Haunting Current Relationship

Dear Eve,

I am writing to ask how common it is for people to encounter problems with old relationships interfering with new relationships. I am a woman in my late 40′s who was involved with a man who had recently ended a relationship with another woman. He had very little contact with her for six months before he started seeing me; however, shortly after, she began what seemed like a campaign to get back together with him. I did not realize she was asking him out and seeing him until about a month into my intimate relationship with him, and I was very upset when I found out.

He seemed to think it was not a problem because he wasn’t sexual with her, however I pointed out that he seemed to be in a private and intimate relationship with her, and the only thing missing was the sex, which he was getting from me. I also felt he was secretive and deceptive with me.

I told him that it was obvious to me that she was trying to get back together with him, to which he responded it didn’t matter what she wanted, it only mattered what he wanted, and he was not physically attracted to her and he had no desire to be in a romantic relationship with her again. They have a business relationship as well, so he needs to stay in touch.

My relationship with this man was doomed, and I feel that a lot of that had to do with his ex-girlfriend’s behavior; however, maybe it was doomed anyway due to other issues such as lack of trust.

I don’t know what to make of this man, and I certainly don’t know what to make of this woman who knew about my relationship with her ex. What do you think?

Hi,

First of all, old relationships interfere with new relationships all the time—just as new relationships interfere with old relationships all the time. Wouldn’t it be fabulous is we all respected each other’s relationships and backed off when we realized that someone was involved with someone else? Unfortunately it doesn’t often work like that. Rather, the human ego seems to think that there is nothing quite like a little competition to make an old sweetheart—or someone else’s sweetheart—look like a good idea.

However, the reality is that other people aren’t the ones who owe our relationships the honor and respect that we would appreciate; rather the people involved in the relationship are the ones we have to trust to honor, respect and protect the relationship—no matter who else wants in, or wants back in. Ultimately, your boyfriend was right about it not mattering what his ex wants; what he wants—as it relates to her— is what matters. So, with that said, it isn’t what this woman did or said that “doomed” your relationship, it is what you and your boyfriend did and said that doomed it.

However, what you want is also relevant here. It sounds like you want him to be honest with you about seeing her—as friends or business associates. It also sounds like you want the “best friend” and the “lover” to be the in same relationship, not a situation in which she gets the friendship and you get the sex. I am not sure, however, that you communicated all that to him in a clean way that he could hear. Ego can cloud communication, and jealousy, possessiveness and control are hard to listen to.

When you approach a relationship from a place of fear of loss, there is an entirely different energy than when you approach it from honoring what you treasure. Fear repels; honor attracts. When you communicate with others, make sure they know what you want and not just what you are afraid of, and make sure they feel your love and appreciation, not just your accusations. Let your heart do the talking instead of your ego.

With aloha,

Eve

Intellectual Foreplay Question: Who is responsible for your comfort?

Love Tip of the Week: When you believe in yourself more, and value yourself more, you’ll find that you trust others more. When you put your entire trust in yourself and in God, you’ll find that it no longer matters what others do, it only matters how you respond to what they do.


Eve Hogan

Eve Eschner Hogan is a relationship specialist, and author of several books including The EROS Equation: A SOUL-ution for Relationships. In Real Love with Eve, she shares skills, principles, and tools for creating healthy, harmonious relationships—with friends, family, lovers, co-workers, and the world at large. Her uncommon approach to common sense will help you sail away from ego battles and into the calmer waters of real love. Learn more about Eve's Heart Path retreats at sacredmauiretreats.com. She is the author of Way of the Winding Path: A Map for the Labyrinth of Life.

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