I'm dating a girl, we're in love, and we have both stated that we want to be married and that we have never felt a love like this in our lives. We have talked extensively about marriage, our futures, and how strong our love is for each other. Now, we were moving forward with engagement (ring purchasing, talking to parents) and out of the blue, she told me that she has feelings for her ex-boyfriend and she doesn't know what that means.
She said it may be nothing, but she misses him and doesn't know if that means she cares for him or just that she misses something comfortable. She said she wants to talk with him, and I don't like that idea. He has stated many times that he wants her back, but we can’t just ignore this. Two questions:
1. Are these thoughts normal for a girl to have before she gets engaged or married (she's been in some bad relationships)?
2. What do we do?
Marci's Take: It sounds to me like your girlfriend has a case of “cold feet,” which is pretty normal for men and women alike before entering into a huge commitment like marriage. However, I find it concerning that she admits she still has feelings for her ex-boyfriend and misses him. It also concerns me that she stated that she isn’t sure if she loves her ex or just that she misses something comfortable. I consider that a huge red flag.
I understand that you do not want your girlfriend to talk with her ex about these feelings, but it is important to your relationship (and possibly one day, marriage) that she explore and resolve these feelings for him. I know this isn’t what you want and I understand it will be very stressful. And I agree, he is going to say that he has changed and will never return to his behaviors that probably contributed to the demise of their relationship. Truthfully, though, people rarely change for the long run. He may initially change if they were to get back together, but more than likely, he will soon return to his old self. If you don’t support your girlfriend and allow her to resolve her feelings for him, she may end up resenting you for it. On the positive side, you should score some major points for trusting her and stepping aside so she can talk with her ex about her feelings, even though there is a possibility you may lose her. It is better for both of you to figure this out now rather than when you’re planning a wedding or already married.
To answer your first question, “cold feet” are normal, but wanting to explore feelings for an ex before getting engaged or married is not, in my opinion. I also had some bad relationships before I met my husband, and I can tell you that my ex-boyfriends did not cross my mind when we were talking about engagement, marriage, and our future together. They were exes for a reason, and they proved that they were not willing to change during our relationship when they had plenty of opportunity to do so. My husband and I will soon celebrate 15 years of marriage, and he is my best friend, the love of my life, and my rock. No regrets here.
In regards to your second question, stop all talks of engagement, ring shopping, etc. until your girlfriend resolves her feelings for her ex-boyfriend. If she decides to talk with her ex, make sure she knows exactly how you feel about her, and why you are supporting her while she sorts through everything. If you are patient, understanding, and supportive, she will probably love you more for it. Hopefully, she will realize that she deserves better than her ex and will move forward in her relationship with you.
I wish you the absolute best and hope that everything works out for you and your girlfriend.
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