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I'm going on a trip with an old flame, and my boyfriend's freaking out.
By Cait Robinson
Have a question for Miss Information? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dear Miss Information,
I've been with my current boyfriend for around eight months. He knows I have quite a history. A few days before I got together with him, I slept with one of my close guy friends who later admitted to having feelings for me. This summer, I'm going traveling with a group of friends, including that guy friend but not including my boyfriend.
Although I booked this trip way before we started dating, I do feel guilty, and my current boyfriend is uncomfortable with the situation. He's gone from being incredibly laid back to dictating what I wear and how I behave while on vacation. He claims to trust me, but, obviously, I doubt this.
I'm beginning to get frustrated, and even though the rest of the relationship should be great, it isn't. We're constantly fighting over this issue and others that stem from it. I'm also now worried he'll go out of his way to spite me while I'm away. I don't know how to deal with this. Should I continue this relationship? And if so, how can I make him feel more comfortable?
— Soon to Snap
Dear Soon to Snap,
It sounds like there's a serious Cold War going on between you two, and a house divided against itself cannot stand. (These metaphors aren't going to mix themselves, people.) First, let's clear up a few things. He's dictating what you wear and how you behave? You think he's going to do something to "spite" you while you're away? If these things are actually going on, shut it down. This crosses the line from "insecure boyfriend" to "desperate and controlling." You've been dating a relatively short time. Is it possible that this trip is just the first catalyst to bring out some ugly truths about his personality?
Of course, a letter is a two-dimensional format. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt. Let's say there's nothing insidious about his nervousness; let's say his reactions as you reported them are some combination of his insecurity and your fears about his insecurity. If this is the case, sit him down for a tough-but-compassionate talk on acceptable boundaries. "I will email or call every other day, wi-fi permitting" is a reasonable agreement; "I will wear a muumuu covered in a parka" is not.
He needs to know that he can't keep you in a jar. Just as importantly, you need to trust that he will not do anything hurtful while you are gone. If you can't both come to this neutral place, you'll have to ask yourself: why fight to keep someone whom you suspect wants to undermine you?