Q. Hi Mere,
I live with my boyfriend of three years. He’s divorced with a child (I am 10 years his junior and do not have kids). This has been my most serious relationship and I moved to be with him. Most of the time things are great.
But . . . we have a recurring issue, one that is admittedly of my own making. I am crippled by self-doubt and insecurity. Sometimes I’m insecure about his ex-wife, other times it is a woman my boyfriend dated while he was still married, before he met me (he was very open with me about his infidelity).
He says he has no lingering feelings for this woman, and I know I am important to him. And yet, I cave to my insecurities constantly and snoop on his phone and computer. He looks at her social media pages regularly, which confuses me. Is that really ever innocent? Is it just curiosity?
I know that snooping only feeds the crazy fire. I just don’t know how to feel more confident in my relationship. I see a therapist weekly, but it hasn’t really helped, and I fear that my boyfriend is at a breaking point with me. I truly feel uncertain about my boyfriend’s feelings for me. Any advice? – Snooping
A.You have to stop it with the all-or-nothing talk. He can have weird, complicated thoughts about this woman and still be thrilled that he’s in your relationship. Accept that your boyfriend does have feelings for this other woman (sorry). He has history with her — she changed his life — and that’s not something that goes away. He checks her social media accounts because he still cares.
But . . . many people have feelings for exes and manage not to act on them. Sometimes exes can seem like mythical, perfect beings — then we run into them and remember they’re exes for a reason. Isn’t it possible, despite these old feelings, your boyfriend wakes up every day and would rather be with you?
Your biggest problem right now — the fuel for this fire — is the snooping. It’s making all of this worse, and it’s big-time self-sabotage. Please come up with a plan for when you want to snoop. Ask a friend to talk you down when you’re feeling weak. Go online and play a game. Sometimes the brain just needs somewhere else to go.
He looked at an ex-GF’s Instagram? You do know that’s pretty much the whole idea of social media, right? It’s there for people to post random stuff and for others to look at. I think you’re making a big deal out of nothing. BOSTONSWEETS21
When you snoop on his phone, is that really ever innocent? Is it just curiosity?
The snooping is bad, but it tells you loud and clear you don’t trust him. Why are you ignoring that? Listen to your gut and end things.
JUST-ANOTHER-BOSTONIANMeredith Goldstein’s memoir, “Can’t Help Myself,” will be published April 3 by Grand Central/Hachette.