I Text My Ex

After spending a better part a year of trying to get over a relationship that left me with both a broken heart and spirit, I have been dating a great girl who I am really happy with and love. However I haven't been fully honest about my interaction with my ex and I am struggling to find a way to tell her without it becoming a larger issue.

When we first started dating, my girlfriend expressed concern and discomfort over me talking to and texting my ex, so I cut her out of my life completely in order to show her how dedicated I was to us. However, after a quick and unexpected run-in, I have found myself missing my former friendship with my ex and have been texting very sparingly (in a non-flirtatious manner). I have no idea how to bring this up to my girlfriend without her feeling insecure and threatened by what this might mean for our future. I have no delusions about a romantic future, I simply miss her as a friend and feel that enough time (two-plus years) has passed for us to make the jump back to being friends without any lingering feelings.

Both my ex and I have discussed the desire to be friends with each other and our respective new significant others, but I keep avoiding her and can't stop feeling guilty for being dishonest to someone I truly love. Is it possible to be friends with an ex without your current significant other being jealous and insecure? Am I selfish for wanting both women to be part of my life? And how can I be honest about this without hurting my girlfriend's feelings and threatening the future of our relationship?

– Texting

Your current girlfriend is probably stressed about the ex because of the way you've framed that breakup. You mention that you had a "broken heart and spirit" after this woman was gone. She wasn't just an ex, she was an EX. Perhaps your girlfriend doesn't understand how your feelings have evolved. Two years is a long time, but you spent the better part of one of those years feeling bad about the breakup.

My philosophy about friendships with exes is that if it happens organically, great. If not, don't force it. That means the "desire to be friends with each other and our respective new significant others" shouldn't be high on your list of relationship priorities. You and your ex shouldn't plan to bring your new partners to awkward dinners and social outings. That's just weird and selfish.

Tell your girlfriend about the run-in, and explain that it resulted in some friendly, platonic texts. Tell her that it feels nice to be in a place where you can appreciate your history with this woman even though you've fallen in love with someone else. Answer your girlfriend's questions and listen to her concerns. And if she still feels threatened, consider what – and whom – you're willing to live without and why.

Readers? Does he have to tell her about the texts? Will this friendship work? What are the rules here?

– Meredith