Dating and Relationship Advice

Dear iris,

I have really bad anxiety, and started dating someone I care about a lot, but I feel like I could push them away with all the baggage I’ve been trying to deal with. Recently something was brought up in our relationship, and I just want to know your honest opinion. I trust my partner, but he still has contact through Snapchat/social media with females he has a sexual past with, and it makes me uncomfortable. It feels like it could be a potential problem in the relationship in the future. Am I overthinking too much? I’m curious what your thoughts are and what I should do when my boyfriend is still friends with someone he slept with.

Signed, Insecure

Dear,  Insecure

There are several things I want to unpack here. Significant others staying friends with people they slept with is definitely an awkward situation. I know it feels uncomfortable for you. And the answer to “Am I overthinking this?” is much more complicated than a yes or no.

First off, you have every right to your feelings. You’d either have to be emotionless or extremely secure (which many people aren’t) to not feel any reaction to finding out your boo is still in contact with someone they had sex, with even more so if it’s multiple people.

But I’ll get back to your feelings about this situation at the end of my answer. First, the nature of your boyfriend’s friendship with these women is vital to discuss. Do they hang out in person or do they just follow each other on social media? Does your boyfriend frequently message them? And more importantly, what was their relationship like before they slept together? Were they friends? Or was it a random hook up?

It’s one thing to be drunk with your friend and sleep together; it’s a whole other to pick someone up at a bar, go home with them, and make them your fuck buddy. Sure, your boyfriend might be 100% committed to you, but if that person isn’t actually a friend, I’d say it’s more than okay to draw a boundary. His friendships should be respected, but chatting with girls on social media just because they once hooked up, is disrespectful. I’d even venture to wonder why he keeps the line of communication open if sex is now off the table, and that’s all they ever did.

On the other hand, if your boyfriend was friends with these women before the two of you dated, then that’s different. And I’m talking friend friends; like they hung out many times without hooking up. Because the fact is people sleep with their friends all the time. It doesn’t mean it meant anything. Your boyfriend is choosing to date you, not them. Dating and sleeping together are a lot different. It’s a lot to ask someone to give up a friendship because they hooked up with that person when they were both single.

Now, back to your feelings around all of this. I understand why you feel insecure and why it’s making you overthink this situation. Your best bet is to have another conversation with your boyfriend, and how you handle it depends on how you answer my question about the nature of their friendship.

If they genuinely are friends, don’t be afraid to draw boundaries. Maybe that means asking him to only hang out with them in group settings. Or perhaps that could look like you meeting them so you can at least know who they are. But I also want to caution you that it’s important to have trust in your relationship. Figure out what you need to be able to trust your boyfriend and also remind yourself that he’s given you no reason not to trust him.

It’s a tough situation to be in, but I promise things will feel a lot better with a few boundaries and honesty.

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