Have you ever gotten that look from one of your children, one of total disbelief and where they can’t grasp what is going on? I recently had one with my daughter. Let me explain.

We were shopping for something – don’t remember exactly what – and my mind drifted. My daughter noticed and asked what I was thinking about. Obviously, I was in deep thought. I told her – I was thinking about an ex-girlfriend of mine and what she was going through. That started that look. Then she asked if I still loved the girlfriend – to which I answered that I do still love and care about her. Her chin hit the ground, her eyes were about to water, and she somehow managed to say this somehow, “Does mom know about her?” “Mom does know about her, how I feel, and that we talk all the time,” I told her, and then continued with “and Mom has some of her ex-boyfriends that she stays in touch with and talks to frequently, too.” The expression and shock on her face surprising to me. As my daughter came out of her shock, she said, “I wouldn’t be allowed to with my boyfriend and it just isn’t right.You don’t do this kind of thing.” Keep in mind that my wife and I have been married for almost 19 years, and were engaged for another 3 years on top of our marriage. My daughter refers to my wife and I as geese because we are always together and it is her romantic vision of who we are. I went on to explain to daughter that I still love and care about all six of the women who I have loved in my life. It isn’t something that goes away or that you fall out of. Love is something that lasts through the rest of your life.

Therein lies what I think is a problem with the love and marriages today. Is it really love if you can’t give up control and trust your spouse? There is a saying and I don’t know who said it, but it goes like this: “If you love someone, set them free. If they come back, they are yours. If they don’t, they never were.” If you love someone, that person is there because they love and trust you. They don’t need to be controlled and manipulated to stay with you. My daughter’s boyfriend forbids her talking with ex-boyfriends because he doesn’t trust her boyfriends and what might possibly happen if their talking goes on for any amount of time. I know it isn’t my daughter that he doesn’t trust. But, still, I have to wonder if she gets married to him if he really loves her because there are trust issues.

I have also seen this happen to a few of my wife’s ex-boyfriends and even smaller number of male friends that I hang out – they get engaged, and all contact with previous lovers is to stop. My question: why did you say you would marry them if you don’t trust them? Controlling or manipulating someone isn’t love. Doing this is a lack of trust – one that makes me wonder why they want to be married in the first place. I would think that this thought – are they going to be there tomorrow? – would overwhelm and tear up a solid marriage.

Does this mean you will be together and everything will be wonderful if you do trust your spouse and let them talk with their exes? I can’t answer that. I can tell you that the ex-girlfriend we are talking about is someone who I let get away because I let her get away. I still have questions in my mind if I was wrong for not chasing after her, and pursuing her more than I did.

I can also say that love is something that lasts a lifetime. Just because your relationship is over with someone, it doesn’t mean that they haven’t become a part of your heart and that you won’t think about them anymore. You do think about them and you will care. Each person who you are or have been with will be special. They are a part of your heart. If you loved them, they will be with you the rest of your life.


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