Dear Miss Emily:

I hae been seriously involved with a man for the past four and a half years. He had been living with a woman for nine years prior to me, but they had been apart (he ended it )for over six months when we started seeing one another. For the first few years she wasn't really in the picture (or at least, as far as I knew). She is in the picture all the time now.  She brings presents to his house, intimate cards, you name it. When I confront him with my discomfort, I am treated like the 'bad guy'. She is just such a good, nice person and it is completely harmless.  Well, it's not. I think she is still in love with him and he is still too emotionally connected to her.  But, he is not willing to to see it or admit it to himself.  I am supposed to sit back and just let them have this relationship.  He is not willing to hurt her feelings but he sure is willing to hurt mine, it seems.  I know he doesn't want to be with her again, and I don't think he is in love with her but this says to me that he cares for her more than he cares for me. Am I wrong?  Am I wrong to ask him to ask her to back off a bit?  He just thinks I am jealous and it is all my problem.  I think she should have better etiquette and not be doing this when he is involved seriously with another woman.  I don't know what to do.

--------------------------Miss Emily's advice------------------------

Somewhere on the planet, some woman might not see this as a problem or a threat to her relationship, but that wouldn't be me. I think you are absolutely right! His attitude is abysmal, and long ago he needed to set some boundaries with her. He doesn't get it, and whether the core of it is he's a gutless wonder, still feels bonded with her (sorry for her) or he's an insensitive jerk, you lose. If you put up with this behavior, but only complain about it, you are never going to solve the problem. If it were me, I'd tell him to make a choice -- you, or his misplaced obligation to his former partner. But be prepared for his answer. I hope you choose your integrity and a belief that you deserve better than, what I consider, a form of emotional abuse.