RSalar

Girlfriend works for her ex-boyfriend

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My girlfriend works for her ex-boyfriend. To make matters worse they had a serious relationship for ten years prior to me. Now she says they are just friends but I keep thinking it wouldn't take much for them to end up back together. I keep thinking I should just back away and let her go but I really like her and we have a lot of fun together. It's hard for me to be objective. I'm thinking that I need an outside objective opinion. So please feel free to take a shot at helping me with this conundrum. Thanks, Ron

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My girlfriend works for her ex-boyfriend. To make matters worse they had a serious relationship for ten years prior to me. Now she says they are just friends but I keep thinking it wouldn't take much for them to end up back together. I keep thinking I should just back away and let her go but I really like her and we have a lot of fun together. It's hard for me to be objective.

It looks like you did a very good job of being objective when you communicated this to US. I suggest you communicate it to HER.

Sometime when you are alone and talking about how you feel about things just say: "There's something I'm concerned about. You say you're just good friends with ______, but you do work for him. I keep thinking it wouldn't take much for you to end up back together and that really worries me because I really like you and we have a lot of fun together."

Then see what she says and act accordingly.

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Thank you. I have taken your advice and discussed my concerns with her. She assured me that she no longer desires to have that kind of a relationship with him. I believe that she is being honest about her feelings and I do feel better. However I know that feelings can change. I question myself as to how far I should "allow" their friendship to go. Would it be appropriate, for example, for them to go out to lunch together? They used to hike together. Would it be appropriate for them to go hiking?

I have conflicting feelings. On the one hand I know she likes him as a friend and I don't want to tell her that she can't be friends with him. On the other hand I think that the only reason he would suggest these activities is that he is interested in reestablishing a relationship with her. Maybe with time and in the right circumstances her feelings could change. This is true in any relationship I suppose -- however this situation seems especially vulnerable to the possibility.

I asked her how she would feel if our circumstances were reversed and I was hanging out with an ex-girlfriend. She admitted that it would be difficult and it would bother her--but she would have to handle it. She also said that she understands my concerns and respects the way I am dealing with the situation.

I do feel much more secure now that I have discussed this with her--because I believe her. The unanswered question that remains in my mind is where to draw the line. What activities are objectively inappropriate for them? And what principle should be applied to determine this?

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I do feel much more secure now that I have discussed this with her--because I believe her. The unanswered question that remains in my mind is where to draw the line. What activities are objectively inappropriate for them? And what principle should be applied to determine this?

The best solution is to continue discussing these questions and your concerns with her especially seeing how well it has worked before. That's because the secret to a close, intimate, and satisfying long-term relationship is good communication. As someone who has been in such a relationship, I know this is a continual process as old issues are raised and resolved and new ones emerge.

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Thanks Betsy, I appreciate the advice. I suppose there are no "objective" limits in terms what they should or should not do together. It comes down to feelings -- how and why she feels about what they do and how I feel about it.

I understand that my feelings in this regard are the result of my value judgments. At this point I am trying to introspect and determine what my feelings are and what premises are responsible for them. One question I ask myself is: "What are my true values as opposed to those acquired unconsciously?"

The reason I posted my question here is that I presupposed that Objectivism offered some hard and fast rules in terms of acceptable behavior. I can see now that my assumption was wrong--I am the only one who can know what behavior I can accept and be ok with. It is definitely hard work—the introspection part and the honest communication part.

Thanks again for your thoughtful responses,

--Ron

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The reason I posted my question here is that I presupposed that Objectivism offered some hard and fast rules in terms of acceptable behavior. I can see now that my assumption was wrong--I am the only one who can know what behavior I can accept and be ok with.

That's because you are the only one who has introspective access to your own, unique, personal hierarchy of values.

It is definitely hard work—the introspection part and the honest communication part.

It sure is, but it is SO worth it.

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. . . some hard and fast rules in terms of acceptable behavior. I can see now that my assumption was wrong--I am the only one who can know what behavior I can accept and be ok with. It is definitely hard work—the introspection part and the honest communication part.

That is false. The question is one of trust and honesty.

Has person (x) lied?

Was it implicit or explicit?

On what issue did they do so?

Is that issue a fundamental issue, and at that one that would affect love?

Trust someone until you have reason to think that they would lie. If they do lie, as most people do occasionally, it is probably both implicit and localized to a particular issue. If they lie and the lie is either explicit or that issue is one of philosophy(or love): then be very aware of the situation.

If the person has a history of self-deception then it is only proper that you lay out, clearly, the conditions upon which you would continue the relationship.

I question myself as to how far I should "allow" their friendship to go. Would it be appropriate, for example, for them to go out to lunch together? They used to hike together. Would it be appropriate for them to go hiking?

As friends, yes. And so long as this is a clear possibility it is in your best interest, and I mean that, to let her have the space she wants.

Now, if she was to fall in love with him again, then that would be her decision and you would have to respect it. (So long as it was a rational decision. Though if it was irrational, you wouldn't probably want to speak her anyway.)

The unanswered question that remains in my mind is where to draw the line. What activities are objectively inappropriate for them? And what principle should be applied to determine this?

If she were to fall for him even partially, do you know that she would ask for a break to become clear with herself? If yes. Then there is no need for any extra conditions on the relationship.

I understand that my feelings in this regard are the result of my value judgments. At this point I am trying to introspect and determine what my feelings are and what premises are responsible for them. One question I ask myself is: "What are my true values as opposed to those acquired unconsciously?"

I hope that the above flushes out the conflict. But even above what I have said:

1. Conflict is superficial. > Benevolent-Universe Premise. > "If you want to be loved, love and be lovable." Benjamin Franklin

2. Anything that has an effect on you, can be understood. > Law of Causality, and the nature of the Scientific Method. > And that means understood through Objective principles.

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