I’m a 19 year old girl that’s having one hell of a time with guys. I was with my ex for three years. He was controlling and possesive. Everyone else saw it, but I was a moron and stuck with him. Then after we went on vacation he got weird and said he needed space. He wouldn’t return my calls or anything. Then one night a few friends came over, one was this guy that I used to be interested in before my ex. I felt that both of us wanted something to happen that night. So after a few drinks I wasnt my usual shy self (I’m shy due to my ex constant undermining of my self-comfidence) and started cuddling with him. We started to kiss and make-out on the couch. During the past month, I have gone and visited him at school and he has came and stayed at my house. And about a week ago we started dating.

My problem is, everytime I’m with this new guy I feel I have to lie to my ex about where I’m going. I dont want to tell my ex I’ve been seeing someone else. I really like the new guy and I’m interested in seeing where it will go. But then I think to myself why am I not telling my ex these things. I do know that if my ex ever found out he would go after my new boyfriend.

Any suggestions?

Abusive Relationship

It sounds like your ex may have “issues” that need to be addressed by someone in a professional vein – specifically in anger management and with insecurity issues. Let me say that, if this is the case, you don’t have the skills necessary to help him and shouldn’t try.

Since we’re on the subject, let’s talk about mental health. First, everyone is at least a little crazy sometimes. Some people are down-right lunatics! However, when these bouts of the “crazies” start affecting a person’s (or someone else’s) life, it’s time to get “a check-up from the neck-up”! Problems like these are probably beyond your expertise, and I strongly recommend that you help your ex seek some counselling.

How about your mental health? You’ve been through some challenges with him, but remember – once you turn 18, you can no longer blame anyone else for your mental health issues. You have the ultimate responsibility for your own health.

It seems that deep-down; you’re trying to re-establish a relationship with your ex – perhaps you feel that you have unfinished business, or are still in love with him. Either way, you have no need to protect him, unless you wanted to try to get back together with him. Now, I have to ask, is this really healthy? As you’ve mentioned, you feel your shyness is a direct result of his abuse. If you’re going to take responsibility for your own mental health, you don’t want to put yourself back in an abusive situation.

In fact, it seems to me that the best thing you can do is to drop your association with this guy entirely. Just like cutting off a dog’s tail you don’t do it piece by piece – you do it all at once. Further, if I were your new boyfriend, I’d put my foot down and demand that you stop associating with him. Why should he (a presumably nice guy) have to deal with this competition? Answer: he shouldn’t!

I hope all this helps. Just remember – you are not responsible for anyone’s behaviour (or misbehaviour), but your own. You have a new, growing relationship that deserves your attention, and your abusive ex has set you free to explore it. Why not take advantage of this last gift of his?