My Girlfriend Does Not Have Boundaries With an Ex

Carefully communicate that her ex interferes with your relationship.
... Jack Hollingsworth/Photodisc/Getty Images

Even though the two of you are officially an item, her ex keeps popping up everywhere. From texting her all night long to showing up at her house for an unannounced visit, your girlfriend's lack of boundaries with her ex can have a negative effect on your own relationship. If her ex's intrusions make spending time with your girl tough, open up and honestly communicate what you want and need her to do about the situation.

1 Trust in Her

If you take the lack of boundaries that your girlfriend has with her ex as a sign that she might resume her past relationship, it's likely that you don't trust her. Trust doesn't magically appear overnight. It takes time for each partner in a relationship to prove that they're trustworthy to the other. Allowing her past love to hang out at her house, call her or talk to her through technology such as texting or Facebook doesn't exactly give you cause to trust her. Instead of constantly worrying that her lack of boundaries equals a cheating heart, talk to her about how you feel. For example, say something like, "When you let your ex call you at all hours of the night it makes me not sure I should trust you."

2 Individual Identities

Did your girlfriend ask you to give up all of your friends when the two of you started dating? if so, run from the relationship. Chances are that she didn't ask that of you. Entering into a relationship means that each partner comes together, but also keeps their own separate identities, activities and friends. If her ex is a former flame turned completely platonic friend, her lack of boundaries may not differ from how she acts with her other pals. For example, she hangs out with her ex, going out to dinner or catching a movie together. While this might seem like a boundary violation when it comes to two people who have broken up, if she's honestly just friends with her ex it's acceptable behavior.

3 Your Own Boundaries

When it seems unlikely that your girlfriend is going to set boundaries with her ex, take the issue into your own hands and let her know what you want and expect. Sit her down and have a caring conversation, communicating your thoughts and opinions on the situation. Letting her know what your idea of boundaries are when it comes to her ex's involvement in your relationship can reduce the risk of disappointment and anger. For example, you tell your girlfriend that you understand she's still friends with her ex, but that you don't feel comfortable with this person intruding on your dates or calling her while the two of you are out together. Doing this lets her know what you do and don't expect and may even help her to set up her own boundaries with her ex.

4 Make it Work

The ex wants to go to dinner with the two of you or shows up at your girlfriend's family holiday party. These situations -- that evolve from your girl's lack of boundaries -- don't always have to end up as uncomfortable or awkward. If your girl absolutely refuses to set boundaries, and you still want to continue dating her, consider the possibility of befriending her ex. Get to know her ex and try becoming friendly with this person. This doesn't mean that the two of you have to become BFFs. Instead, strive for being civil enough with one another that the three of you can comfortably hang out in the same space -- such as her brother's birthday party -- without having any major issues.

Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.