Is your girlfriend too close to her ex or are you just jealous?

I’ve been dating my girlfriend for a year now, but in the past few months she’s been getting a lot of text messages and sometimes phone calls from her ex boyfriend. She says that they’re just good friends but I’m not so sure. I trust her, but it makes me incredibly uncomfortable that he’s contacting her so much and every time I bring it up she gets furious. And that makes me wonder how much they talk when I’m not around. Am I just being crazy? Or is there something to this?

-Ex-man troubles

Dear EMT,

There’s not entirely enough information here to spell out whether you’ve been taking crazy pills just yet so I can’t quite answer that one, but there’s definitely something you can do here.

While you might be pretty calm now, it sounds like you haven’t exactly been the coolest of cucumbers when addressing this issue with your girlfriend. The next time you want to bring it up, don’t make accusatory statements toward her or her ex and don’t raise your voice. Simply let her know that you understand that her ex is now her friend, and that you understand that your jealousy is potentially unreasonable so you’d like to talk about how you two can work together to resolve it.

Starting off the discussion by putting the issue at hand in your reaction to the problem rather than what you’ve identified as the problem itself will help to keep the situation under control. If, even after starting the conversation calmly, she reacts angrily, do your best to not feed into it. It takes two to keep an argument burning and it’ll cool quickly if you’re not adding to the fuel. The best thing to keep in mind in that situation is that (whether it’s sex or just flirting) you’re essentially hinting at infidelity and that’s an incredibly offensive accusation for someone who’s been faithful. So, it’s entirely possible that her reaction to being attacked is justified here.

On the other side of the coin is the fact that you’re uncomfortable with what’s going on. One way to deal with this is laying out a policy of full disclosure. She has every right to hang out with her ex boyfriend, but, since she’s got a sexual history with this guy, you have every right to know when they’re spending time together. She’ll tell you every time they text, call or hang out and you won’t have to ponder jealously about what’s going on without your knowledge.

This is something that you two will have to mutually agree upon and it will ONLY apply to the interaction that she has with THIS particular guy. If you’re starting to find that your jealousy is spreading so far that she can’t send her male cousin a birthday card without you knowing about it, we’ve got a problem. And that problem is you, my friend, not her.

Test out the full-disclosure policy and get back to me with more details on what’s really going on if it doesn’t work out!