Everyone does it. We used to have a serious connection with someone, and then it flickers out. That doesn’t always destroy the friendship. Or sometimes it does, and then time passes and you find your way back to that friendship. The issue always seems to be that because that bond remains, there is always a question of boundaries. What is inappropriate to discuss? When is the line crossed from friendly to flirty? Do we need to set rules up front, or handle things as they come up?

Recently, my partner of two years had some serious reservations about me rekindling a friendship with a past fling. My ex had reached out to me in a time of need. She needed someone to talk to. And honestly, so did I. I was honest, and told my partner before any conversing began. My partner said she was uneasy about it but that it was a fair request. So I began texting my old friend, catching up and talking about other old friends.

But the inevitable happened. Not one day after the friendship started anew, my phone was secretly searched. Maybe it’s just me, but that invasion of privacy took on a whole new danger when it was done by someone you’ve been with for over two years. The automatic implication is that the trust was never there. After a lengthy blowout -ahem- conversation, the decision was made to halt the newly revived friendship and work on my current relationship.

Now, I must ask: How many times has this happened to everyone?

At what point does one look at their partner and decide that their jealousy is more important than their privacy? Is it reasonable to assume that because I had a history so many years ago that I must still have lingering feelings for my ex? These are questions I cannot seem to answer for my partner, but I wonder how many other times there has been this much doubt. I am having a difficult time reconciling the interaction, that despite her reasoning being sound, it was still a blatant message that my personal conversations were her right to read. I still am uncertain how to move past that.

Can two people who used to care deeply for one another then become ‘just friends’ or are they doomed to forever carry that past together? Why can’t two women just chit-chat and discuss life and love?

I have to believe, personally, that when we move on from past feelings, they always remain. But they change with the tide of your life. Just because you loved someone, even in the past, does not mean that you will continue to love them the same way forever. I do still love my ex but as a human being. As someone who shaped my past into the wonderful present. As a person who taught me what I was not seeking in a long-term relationship, and for that I will remain grateful.