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Iím dating a guy whose ex lives in my dorm. She calls him all the time, Iím really hurt. What should I do?

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Iím dating a guy whose ex lives in my dorm. She calls him all the time, and he accepts her calls. Iím really hurt, and my boyfriend wonít talk to me about this. What should I do? óHurting in Houston, 16, TX


Shayna Answers:

Dear Hurting in Houston,

Many people have difficulty severing ties with their ex-boyfriends or ex-girlfriends, especially if they attend the same boarding school or see each other every day. In some cases, being friendly and amicable with an ex is fine, but communicating too much can be detrimental to a new relationship. It sounds like this is happening in your situation.

You have a right to express your feelings about this situation to your boyfriend. Even though you’ve tried talking to him about this, try one more time. I suspect that in the past, you may have tried talking to him about this when you were especially upset. At that point he probably shut down.

This time plan a specific time when the two of you can talk without interruptions. Choose a neutral place to talk, such as a park or café, and don’t say something such as “We need to talk about your ex!” Just tell your boyfriend that you’d like to talk about something important. This will communicate that you’re really serious, and he won’t interpret it as nagging.

When the two of you talk, calmly and clearly say what you need to say. If you need to, make some notes so you won’t forget what you want to say. You may start by saying something such as “I know we’ve talked about this before, but I’m really bothered about . . .” Mention specific things that have hurt you and why; for example, “I feel like you’re ignoring me when you answer her calls.”

Give your boyfriend a chance to explain his side of the story without jumping in and getting upset. Really listen to what he says. After he finishes talking, you can respond to what he says. Maybe you’ll need to say, “I know you don’t see it as a problem, but it’s really hurting me.”

Since the three of you attend the same school, it’s unlikely that your boyfriend can simply start ignoring his ex. Instead, the two of you may have to come up with a compromise. For example, you might be OK with him talking to her, but not for hours at a time or every day. Or, your boyfriend may agree to talk to his ex in class or at church, but not on the phone. It’s important to choose a compromise that will work for you both.

Hopefully your boyfriend will be willing to talk with you about this. But if he isn’t, ask your youth pastor if he can talk to the two of you  together about this. He’ll be able to provide an unbiased perspective on the situation and help you both figure out what a relationship is all about.

One of the reasons I encourage you to wait to date until you’re in college or older is that dating can be a lot more complicated than you expect! As your situation demonstrates, ex-boyfriends and ex-girlfriends are a part of dating. Dealing with them appropriately is a learned skill that you need in order to date successfully.

If you’re unable to reconcile this situation, don’t be afraid to break up with your boyfriend. He may have his own issues that he needs to work through independently of you.

Next week we’ll talk about what to look for in a significant other.



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