Q: I’ve been with this girl for almost a year now. I love her and we are thinking about getting a place together. The other week I caught her texting her ex. I said that it made me uncomfortable, and she said that they had only been talking that day because of an inside joke that she was reminded of and texted him. Ever since I caught her I felt anxious when she was texting people. She left her phone open, and she’s been texting him for at least the past month. I let her know that I went through her phone and she got upset, but I said that she lied to me when telling me about texting her ex. She didn’t have much of a response. I told her that I don’t want her texting her ex anymore, but I just don’t know if I can trust her now that she lied.
A: First off I am sorry to hear that your girlfriend lied to you about this. I know that many people are not comfortable when the other talks to an ex, so don’t feel bad about setting this boundary. From your description I can’t tell if she is taking you seriously, but it’s important for you to explain why her texting her ex makes you feel uncomfortable. Everyone has every right to set boundaries within a relationship, and if the ex thing had never come up until now it’s a good time to talk about that boundary in an honest and open way. If she has been texting him for the past month, and you saw the texts I assume there was nothing that stood out to you suggesting there was cheating. Given I don’t know the current dynamic between you and your girlfriend, has there been any distancee within the past month, or prior? If so, that is something to address. You say you and her were thinking of getting a place together, and if that’s true, the best thing to do would be to work out any issues prior to moving in together. I understand that she lied and trust has been broken. You have every right to be upset. Ask her why she felt the need to not be honest with you? That would help you understand where she was coming from, not that lying is ever okay, it’s not, but then maybe you would hear that she was scared you’d be mad, or something along those lines.
Finding out why she lied is important. It might be as innocent as her not wanting to upset you, or it could be as damaging as feelings coming back, you don’t know until you ask. If I were in your shoes (which I have been in the past) I would make it clear it makes you feel uncomfortable for X, Y, and Z reasons. Explain that you want her to respect the boundary of not texting him, and if a text happens, if you want, that she lets you know. Trust is earned, not given. Trust takes time. Communication is key, and communicating in a non-threatening non-defensive way is the best. I hope all works out and you guys still get the chance to find a place to move into togehter!