Her Possible Past
Q: I have been with my girlfriend for about 6 months now. At first, we had our troubles and broke up a lot but got back together soon after. But one thing bugs me. I'm just now finding out things she did when we first started going together. For example, at first she hid from me that she made out with one of my friends to get back at me for a pointless reason. I want to say she hasn't done anything else but that little voice inside me says there's so much more she has done behind my back. When we're in public with our friends, she tends to act differently, like I'm not around. Then when we're alone she is open to me fully or at least she says she is. We talk about everything. Yet I still think something else is going on behind my back. Am I just worrying too much? What should I do? -- Tom, 20
Dr. Susan: You do sound a little paranoid, Tom. Naturally she hid some of what she did when the two of you were breaking up all the time. But she's come clean now. Is she still holding back? Even if she keeps something private from when you weren't together, that doesn't have to mean you can't trust her now. You need to try to let go of your fears about her past, and give this relationship a good chance to succeed. The think about her acting like you're not around when you're with friends can mean a couple of things. Some people tend to focus on everyone but the one they came with, and though it's not a great habit, it doesn't mean they're looking for a replacement for you. However, sometimes it does mean something like that. Your girlfriend is young and not ready to settle down (all that breaking up meant something), and so she hates to seem "attached" when she's out in the world. I'd accept it for now, so long as when you're alone together, she continues to behave like the girl of your dreams.
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Advice for Her
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.