DEAR ABBY: I have been in two relationships. The first was with a girl a couple of years older than I am. We were together for several years before she cheated on me and dumped me. I was crushed. The next girl was a few years younger. She did the same thing after we were together a year.
What am I doing wrong? Fidelity is important to me, and they both knew it from the start. How can I avoid this in the future?
I have never been a controlling person. I was always fine with my girlfriends' going out with their friends without me if I couldn't go for some reason. (That's how they ended up meeting the other guys.)
The people in lasting relationships I've seen watch each other like hawks and never allow their significant other to be in the company of the opposite sex without them. Is this normal? Should I be like them? That seems controlling, but clearly, my "no boundaries" relationship style has backfired on me.
- Cheated on in New York City
DEAR CHEATED ON: Few things can ruin a relationship or a marriage like obsessive jealousy. Watching one's partner "like a hawk" is stifling. It will eventually drive the person away, as you will see as you continue to observe the couples you have mentioned. Please don't try to change the person you are because you are just fine.
I believe that in relationships, there has to be a certain amount of responsibility. If someone is mature enough to be involved romantically, that person should be willing to admit if things aren't working out. Being cheated on is painful, and being dumped is equally so. Not every relationship leads to marriage, but rather than sneak around to avoid a frank conversation, it's better to practice the Golden Rule.
Uncomfortable breach of therapy boundaries
DEAR ABBY: I am in a predicament. My therapist is great, but sometimes I think she shares too much. Last time I went, she was running late. When I finally got into her office, she told me the previous patient was nonverbal and had painted her nails during the session. Later in the session, she confided that years ago, she had been date raped.
Abby, I am in counseling because my father raped me when I was 15 (I am now 24). Her sharing has me worried because I don't want her telling others what I say or do during counseling. Further, her story of the date rape scared me. She described a situation that is not uncommon for me to be in, and it caused something almost like a flashback in me. I think what she did was insensitive, to say the least.
I have nobody else to ask, so what should I do? I'm getting counseling for free now due to my income, and it took months to get set up with a counselor. Should I report her or accept that this was a mistake and say nothing? If I need to report her, how would I go about doing that?
- Conflicted About It
DEAR CONFLICTED: You should change therapists because it appears this one has more problems than you do. As to what agency you should report her breach of professional ethics to, contact the state organization that has licensed her to practice.