DEAR AMY: I am a 26-year-old woman who bartends and is starting a career in real estate. I have been dating my boyfriend for more than three years now, and lived with him for most of that time. He is 13 years older than I am. He is very smart, financially successful, funny and sweet, generous, and charming. However, we have a huge problem in our relationship: his jealousy issues. At times it seems to consume him and always causes a fight. I love this man very much, but I don’t know how much longer I can deal with this. I would never cheat on him, and feel his suspicions are unwarranted. He is jealous of customers I talk to while bartending, as I am very friendly to people, which is part of my job. He hates when I hang out with guy friends, or send texts to guy friends. I have stopped doing this for the most part because I don’t want it to cause a fight. He knows it’s a problem and claims he’s working on it, but it seems to be the same, if not worse. He is not currently going to therapy, but keeps saying he will. An example: Tonight I went to the gym while he was taking a nap. Half an hour later, he calls me asking where I was, and why I left after getting a phone call. The phone call was from the veterinarian! He was clearly very suspicious and implied I was out with someone else. Amy, I really cannot live this way. It’s not healthy or right. What should I do?
Torn in Portland
DEAR TORN: You cannot live this way, and you should not live this way, so please do not live this way.
Jealousy is insidious; it is fueled by a person’s insecurity, and jealousy has a way of transmitting this insecurity from the host to the partner. It’s like a mad virus, and unless this dynamic is interrupted you could find your own sense of self seriously eroded.
Currently, you report that you have already changed your (trustworthy) behavior in order to avoid a fight. The slippery slope here is that you will start to limit yourself further and further, until your guy’s jealousy and anger controls your every move.
I hope you choose to exit from this relationship.
DEAR AMY: I have been living with my boyfriend for almost a year and a half. I recently discovered that he lied about his age by almost 12 years! At first I thought I could accept it, but I also recently learned that he was previously married. I haven’t confronted him about either of these facts, yet, because I am afraid. I cannot afford our place on my own and do not have enough money saved right now to start over. I believe he loves me, but I can’t understand why he lied. I also don’t know how to confront him.
Confused, Afraid and Betrayed
DEAR CONFUSED: I can understand why you might feel afraid. If this person (whom you believed you knew so intimately) has deceived you about these basic facts, you can only imagine what else he might be hiding.
I suggest you find someplace else to stay, in anticipation of a conversation that might turn into a confrontation, and/or a breakup. See if you can bunk in with a friend or family member for a short time.
I assume you intend to end the relationship. Put your plan in place, and then ask him to meet you in a public, neutral location, and, as calmly as possible, present him with what you’ve learned, and listen to his response.
If you hold the lease on your apartment, he should move out, and you will have to find a roommate to help share expenses. You need only be brave enough to take this one step at a time.
DEAR AMY: I was truly shocked by the letter from “Concerned Mother,” whose gay son was married to a trans man who had just become pregnant! I guess I had never thought about the idea that a person who transitioned from female to male can get pregnant. All the same, once I pondered this, I realized that I agreed with you! Babies do come into families in all sorts of ways. In the end, honoring the family is all that matters.
DEAR SURPRISED: I have been impressed by the response to this question: Mainly, it has been very supportive.