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Dear Fiona: My Boyfriend Is Friends With His Exes – Am I Wasting My Time With Him?

Woman sitting at the end of a bed, with boyfriend in the background
Can I trust him? (Alamy/PA)

The problem…

“My boyfriend and I have been living together for the last nine months. We’ve been seeing each other for about two years, and I’ve grown to love him very much. We had our ups and downs to begin with, but we’ve worked our way through them and we’re now very close.

“However, I’ve always been an anxious person and there is something that really bothers me, in spite of his reassurances. The thing is that he has several female friends, some of whom are ex-girlfriends. What’s more, he sees them regularly and without me.

“I’ve told him that I am worried about this, but he has assured me they’re only friends and that it’s me he cares about. He’s also said he’s happy for me to mix with any of my friends, male or female, if that’s what I want to do.

I find it hard to believe that he sees these girls so often, yet nothing is going on between them. If he was attracted to them once, surely he can’t just have a friendship with them now.

“I really want this relationship to work and am ready to settle down, but it seems he’s not ready. Am I wasting my time?”

Fiona says…

“Your boyfriend has made it clear that he wants the freedom to see his friends and is perfectly willing for you to do the same. Whilst that’s honest, I think it suggests that he’s not quite ready to settle down yet, and perhaps wants much more freedom in your relationship.

Having said that, there’s every indication that he genuinely cares for you and, as such, I don’t think you’re wasting your time either.

“There’s no reason why, in time, this can’t grow into a meaningful, committed relationship. There is an element of uncertainty in this arrangement currently though, and I can understand why you might be concerned.

If you pressure him now to settle, this might simply force him away, so perhaps your best approach might be to test his friendships.

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“If they’re as innocent as he claims, he should have no objection to you, as his girlfriend, going with him when he meets these friends. It is, after all, the normal way a relationship develops – you get to know his friends, he gets to know yours.

If he resists the idea, then perhaps there is some basis for your doubts, and you’ll have to decide whether you’re prepared to live with these.

“If he knows and accepts that you’re a nervous person then he should be prepared to find better ways to reassure you than he is presently.

The fact he’s not doing so doesn’t make him a bad person, just one that’s not fully considered you and your feelings just yet.

“I would encourage you to take him up on the suggestion that you continue to meet with your old friends though. Just in case things do go wrong and you need to fall back on them for support.”

If you have a problem you need help with, email Fiona by writing to help@askfiona.net for advice.

All letters are treated in complete confidence and, to protect this privacy, Fiona is unable to pass on your messages to other readers. Fiona regrets that she cannot enter into personal correspondence.