Dear Miss Emily,

I just got out of a seven year relationship with my ex-fiance. It's been about 6 months now. Well I've started dating ,again, and I wasn't sure at first because I felt that it was to early. The person I'm with now is so different from my ex. A little past description of my ex and how our relationship was: We were high school sweethearts and we lived together. I did everything. I cooked, cleaned, washed clothes, etc. I mean I was doing everything a wife would be doing for her husband. But I made him aware that we were to help each other out with everything. We both had jobs. But to me, everything was changing. We both were growing apart and the love just wasn't there anymore. Everything I did for him wasn't right, and I wasn't appreciated for the things I did. With the guy I'm with, now, well he's the best boyfriend anyone could imagine. We've been together for almost 4 months, but recently we've been getting into a lot of fights. I have a problem with not letting him know what's wrong and with that comes attitude. I don't want to loose this person. I treat him like how my ex used to treat me! I need help and guidance. I'm not sure of what to do in the situation. Please help.
Repeat History

---------------------Miss Emily’s advice-------------------

Dear Repeat:

I think you have made a good point in your letter.  You have a problem with letting him know what’s wrong.  If you look closely at your past (most importantly, childhood) you can probably locate why you did so much for the ex-fiancé, and why you are unable to be open about what’s is on your mind in an honest, forthright manner.  It’s often so terribly knee-jerk – a program in our heads that go into automatic overdrive and we don’t even realize we are doing it.  Patterns are hard to break. In other words, you can blame it on the ex taking advantage, but even though you say you made him aware that you and he were supposed to help out with everything, you set no example for it by doing it all!   That said, it doesn’t mean you don’t have real issues with this new boyfriend.  I understand that you think he is “the best boyfriend that anyone can have,” but you must be able to distinguish between what is a legitimate issue with him, or your conditioned response.  Before you pick a fight, try your absolute level best to think about what you are feeling – if it’s legitimate and how you are going to present it.  Communication takes two, and you need to be insightful about how well this man can communicate and if he, too, has problems in this area.  I know you want to do your best to make this work if it can – to trust him, and get out of this relationship what you want and not settle for less.  Don’t repeat the past by setting yourself up as a victim.  This is a new relationship, and it can work if you don’t compare it to your past disappointments. Use judgment that comes from a secure, stable emotional center and you will be able to leave the past behind.  You are older, and wiser now.  Take your experience and knowledge and let it work for you in the positive.  Let me know how things go.  I’m pulling for you.