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QUESTIONS & ANSWERS:
Relationships Department

Please remember, this column is designed to help the consumer seeking behavioral-health information, and not intended to be any form of psychotherapy or a replacement for professional, individualized services. Opinions expressed in the column are those of the columnist and do not represent the position of other SelfhelpMagazine.com staff.

Question

I divorced my husband several months ago. It was a long and painful process. I am now involved with someone else who has recently gone through something similar. Though I still care for my ex-husband as a person, I have told him that maintaining contact with him seems detrimental to us both. My current beau threatens to leave if he finds out that my ex has contacted me. Is this unreasonable? Is it appropriate to have any contact with one's ex after a divorce?

Answer

Clearly there are two different questions here. One has to do with your relationship with your ex-husband and the other has to do with your relationship to your current lover. While there is nothing that is inherently wrong with having contact with an ex-spouse, it often can cause problems with a new relationship, especially if the new lover is threatened and insecure.

The question that you have to ask yourself is how important is your friendship with your ex compared to your relationship with your new lover. Is your lover generally insecure about your relationships with other people, men and women, or are his insecurities specific to your ex? If he tends to become jealous and threatened by others in your life, and tends to become controlling, you might want to re-think the relationship. You state that he has threatened to leave if your ex contact you. You have no control over whether your ex calls you. On that score, he is being unreasonable, unless, of course you are encouraging the calls. His threats to leave, rather than discussing his feelings with you, may suggest how will deal with other situations where he feels insecure. If your ex is calling you despite your requests that he refrain, then he is not respecting your wishes. You might want to use this time to re-evaluate both relationships.

3/5/98

Dr. Edward A. Dreyfus is a Clinical Psychologist, Marriage, Family, Child Therapist, and Sex Therapist. Dr. Dreyfus has been providing psychological services in the Los Angeles-Santa Monica area for over 30 years. He offers individual psychotherapy to adolescents and adults, divorce mediation, couples counseling, group therapy, and career and vocational counseling and assessment.His book, Someone Right For You, is available in the Amazing Bookstore Catalog.

Dr. Dreyfus can be reached at: (310) 208-5700.

 

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