Dear Straight Up!
I’ve been dating my boyfriend for about 8 months now and although he was really great in the beginning, I’m starting to see a change in him. He is starting to boss me around more and is always asking me where I’m going. Whenever we go out partying, he wants to make sure that I’m not wearing anything too revealing. All of this is really making me mad. I really like him and we get along great for the most part. But I also need a bit of space to make my own choices and it’s really getting on my nerves when he acts like my dad and wants me to obey whatever he says. When I confront him about it, he tells me he’s only saying it because he cares and is afraid of losing me. It’s really sweet but how much more can a girl take? What do I do to get my old boyfriend back?
Dear Extremely Frustrated,
Leave! Your boyfriend is controlling every aspect of your life and it will continue to get worse as your relationship progresses. I understand that you really like him, but if his behaviour is changing to having a say in what you wear, where you go and who you hang out with then carrying on with something like this will be detrimental to your happiness and independence. Trust me – you will not be happy later on down the road.
If you’re adamant about sticking with him, then you can add little changes in your relationship to help him feel more confident in the relationship. Introduce him to your friends (guys and girls) and slowly involve him in group activities while making sure he doesn’t feel left out. Let your male friends get to know him so that your boyfriend can establish a level of comfort and trust in them.
Assure him that there is no need to be jealous or possessive. Those behaviours are deeply rooted in insecurity. He might think for whatever reason that he’s not good enough for you and is jealous and possessive because he doesn’t want to lose you. When you spend time together, don’t feed into his insecurity by being distracted with other things. Try your best to give him your undivided attention.
If all that fails to curb his negative behaviour then you need to put your foot down. If you dressed the way you did and hung out with these same friends when you met him, then why should that change once you are with him? These are factors that should not dictate the presence or absence of a man in your life and he needs to know that. He is insecure and although you can do what you can to reassure him, it’s not your duty to constantly put up with this kind of behaviour.
And if all of that doesn’t work and he continues to act in a controlling manner then you should leave. Otherwise you are setting yourself up to be in a potentially abusive relationship. Take a long hard look at your relationship and find out if you feel afraid or stifled or get the feeling that you’re walking on eggshells. If that’s the case, then you really need to leave. Otherwise, staying on this road will be detrimental to your happiness and sense of freedom.
Dear Straight Up!
I did the worst thing a guy can possibly do while in a relationship. I cheated on my girlfriend. She’s flipping out and I don’t know what to do. I love my girlfriend but what can I do to fix this? I know I screwed up but our parents already know of each other and are expecting us to get married. If we break up now, they will want to know why and I know she is going to tell them if it ever comes to that. I’ve tried saying sorry many times and I’ve promised that I wouldn’t do it again but she keeps getting more and more angry. I’ve bought her gift after gift but it doesn’t seem to be working. I don’t know what else to do. How can I fix this?
Dear Screwed Up,
It sounds to me like you’re trying to salvage this relationship because you don’t want your parents or her parents to find out what you’ve done – and not because you actually care about your girlfriend. What you should realize is that when you cheat no amount of apologies will fix it. After a while the amount of repeatedly saying sorry is going to sound superficial and lacking in depth and sincerity.
Having said that, when you’ve been caught cheating your whole world will seem to come crashing down around you. Your girlfriend is going to be surrounded by this whirlwind of pain, confusion and anger and there is nothing you can really do except stand there and say you are sorry. Unfortunately, that doesn’t work and by trying to buy her forgiveness, you’re actually making it worse for yourself.
First, analyze the reason why you cheated on her. Is it because there is something lacking in your relationship with her? Or are you just a commitmentphobe? If it’s the former, then once your girlfriend has cooled down and is willing to talk to you tell her openly why you did it. Don’t offer any excuses because there is no amount of justification for cheating. That is one of the worst things you can do and in a situation like this, she’s only concerned about her own emotions. The last thing she wants to hear about is how “sorry” you are or how “badly” you feel. If she really meant something to you then you should burden yourself with some of the pain and guilt.
Once that has been discussed, work towards fixing it as well as gaining her trust back. If it’s the latter, then you have no business being in a relationship. It doesn’t matter whose going to find out or judge you – it’s simply not fair on your girlfriend to put her through that. My guess is that if that’s the reason, then you will most likely cheat on her again. Save yourself and her the trouble and heartache and let this relationship go.
Whatever it is, give her the space to decide what she wants about the future of this relationship. If she has the capacity to forgive you and still stick through then you have a lot to prove and redeem yourself. If she chooses to not forgive you and walk away then let her go. She has every right and reason to. And if your families end up knowing, you have to understand that every action has a reaction. You will just have to own up to your mistakes and face the consequences. Hopefully, you will learn a valuable lesson.
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Check out our previous Straight Up! advice columns:
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Dear Straight Up! My Best Friends are Dating and I Feel Like a Third Wheel
Dear Straight Up! My Fiance is Demanding a Dowry
Dear Straight Up! My Parents Don’t Approve of My Interracial Relationship
Dear Straight Up! I Cheated on My Girlfriend
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Dear Straight Up! I’m Not Attracted to My Boyfriend
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