I've been on and off with this guy for more than a year now, but the last six months we've been in a steady relationship. About a month ago he told me he loved me. He's only been in a committed relationship once before, which was about two years ago. The story of how they broke up is not exactly clear, but I know she cheated on him and broke his heart. He tried many times to win her back, but she wanted nothing to do with him, and is currently in a new relationship.
The problem is he talks about her all the time. At first I was very understanding, but now it's getting annoying. Within the first three months we were dating, I asked him if he was over her and he said that he was trying. Not long ago, I asked him again. He said, "I am. Before I wasn't sure, but now it's clear; I'm over her." And yet, he continually talks about her. When I mention that it bothers me he stops for a while, and then he's back at it again. I don't know what to do. I love him and I don't want to lose him, but I also don't want to be with someone who wishes they were with the one who got away, and not me! Is it time for me to move on? Or can I make this work?
— Over Being Understanding Beth
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Dear Over Being Understanding Beth,
I don't blame you for being tired of listening to your boyfriend talk about his ex; I wouldn't like it either! While I'm sure he truly loves you, it does sound like he has some pent-up issues about his ex, but unfortunately, that's something that only he has control over.
Open up to him and let him know that by continuously mentioning his ex, you're not sure he can truly let go and focus on what he has in front of him. Don't be shy about sharing your fears that he'll always wish he was with her instead of you; I think that's a truth he needs to hear. But do remember that a change like this doesn't happen over night. It's many small steps that happen over time, so be patient. However, if things stay the same you'll have to decide for yourself if this is something you can tolerate.