DEAR AMY: I have been dating my boyfriend “William” for 2.5 years. We are both divorced with children. William’s ex-wife had a horrible two-year affair that hurt him deeply. Knowing this, I have always tried to assure him that he is the only man in my life and I make sure to go above and beyond to reassure him that I am thinking about him whenever we are apart. However, in the past six months, William has become extremely jealous of my very dear gay friend of many years “Kevin” (who also happens to be an important client of mine). It started out with snide comments and then recently escalated to him accusing me of having an “inappropriate intimate relationship” with Kevin. He says Kevin is a bad influence, he is inappropriate and most recently, he feels like I am having an emotional affair. I have made it very clear that we are just friends — exactly like all of my female friends — but William refuses to accept this. William has gone so far as to create secret social media accounts to monitor my daily activity. He also monitors Kevin’s. It became somewhat of an obsession. He has been checking several times a day and screen captures anything he deems inappropriate with any of my friends, but is focused specifically on Kevin. This volatile situation had been building in the past six months. We have been arguing a lot without my full understanding as to what was going on behind the scenes. I have been unjustly accused of many completely fabricated scenarios. Apparently I spent too long in the ladies room at a restaurant several months ago, and now I’m being accused of conspiring with Kevin to get together without William knowing. One Friday night I fell asleep and didn’t text William to say goodnight. This caused a week-long argument. William would not take my calls, cancelled our plans for the weekend and refused to believe that I didn’t sneak away to New York to see my friend. I also have a female friend who William has decided is “undermining” our relationship and frowns on me seeing her as well. This man is wonderful in so many ways, but I can’t seem to fix my relationship and keep my friends in the process!
Heartsick in PA
DEAR HEARTSICK: I’m not a therapist. But I can see a pattern building. Even if you are not telling me an objective version of this story, it seems like a bad situation for you.
Anyone who sets up secret accounts to monitor you — and also friends of yours — is not someone who respects your right to have relationships and friendships with other people. I don’t believe you should try to “fix” this relationship.
And I hope you don’t expose your children to this craziness.
DEAR AMY: One of my bachelor friends has run into a problem that has me stumped. He is into online dating and seems to run into the same situation with many of his dates. They meet up for drinks or dinner, and he is happy and prepared to foot the bill. Though by date six or seven, after dinners, plays, movies, etc., none of these women have ever offered to split the check or pay for one thing. I personally find that appalling, but we can’t think of a tactful way to handle this. Suggestions?
DEAR STUMPED: One way around this is to plan low-cost outings, such as walks, hikes, or museum visits. Your friend might be initiating all of these dates, which would make the woman more likely to assume he is treating.
But this is also the ideal situation to test a couple’s ability to communicate. By the sixth or seventh date, your friend should be brave enough to say, “I notice you seem to expect me to always pick up the check. Are you willing to share the costs when we do something together?
DEAR AMY: “Protective” was wondering how to exclude her aunt’s racist boyfriend from this year’s Thanksgiving dinner. I liked your recommendation, but perhaps something more blunt is called for: “Your boyfriend is a jerk. We’re all tired of him and don’t want to share our holiday with him. He needs to stay home.”
DEAR BLUNT: Excluding this family member’s romantic partner will likely lead to the aunt’s exclusion, too. If family members are willing to deal with this drama, then yes — they could definitely choose the more blunt statement.