Dear Annie: I have an absolutely wonderful boyfriend who I have been with for nearly two years. The only issue we have is regarding some of my exes. Although I have proven to him that I have no lingering feelings whatsoever, he has a hard time when they come up in anyone’s conversation, or if they contact me out of the blue.
Recently, one of my exes, “Josh,” was in a very bad place because of extensive drug use, overall recklessness, violence and possible attempted suicide. He did not have many people looking out for him, so I wanted to reach out to hear his side of things and see if I could help, because this was nothing like the person I knew. I was very worried. And for my sake, too, I wanted to know if I really dated someone who did the terrible things I was hearing, and I just wanted some closure. I wasn’t sure if being on his radar was the best thing, but my boyfriend especially did not want me to have any communication with him, partly out of concern for my safety.
Ultimately, I decided that my boyfriend is too important for me to make him uncomfortable, so I didn’t talk to Josh. Now I have gotten the news that Josh committed suicide, and I am absolutely crushed. I knew him as a great person with big dreams, but I ended things when I saw him going down a dark road with drug use. However, I always had hope that things would turn back around for him. I can’t help feeling some resentment toward my boyfriend.
Was my boyfriend justified in his hesitation? Do I need to just get over the guilt of not helping Josh and not blame my boyfriend or, under the circumstances, should my boyfriend have accepted me talking to him? Should I have contacted Josh anyway, knowing he needed help, regardless of my boyfriend’s feelings? — Not Sure How to Feel
Dear Not Sure How to Feel: I’m so sorry for your loss and that Josh could not reach out for professional help in time.
The key words in that sentence are “professional help.” While you sound like an amazing person, Josh needed to seek out professional help. You cannot blame yourself for his death, nor can you blame your boyfriend.
As for your boyfriend’s jealousy, that is a trust issue. Perhaps he needs more reassurance in your relationship. If you want to be a friend and keep in touch with your exes, by all means, do so. However, when you do, be open and honest about it. If that doesn’t work for you and your boyfriend, it is better to know now, not after he has become another ex.
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