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"My boyfriend is controlling"

My boyfriend and I have been going out for 10 months. I love him so much and he definitely loves me. We laugh and joke around all the time but thereís some things about him that I just donít know what to do about.

He HATES me talking to other guys or other guys talking to me. Even his friends!! Talking to guysí isnít something I need to do, and Iíve told him that a million times...but I just want to know that I have freedom to start a conversation in class.

I feel like Iím being controlled!! Iíve told him this so many times and he says heís trying to change but nothing has happened!! Help me. Iíve been told by other people to break up with him but I just canít do that. I love him way too much.

3 Mar 2006
Name: Alexandra
Age: 15

Dear Alexandra,

You feel like youíre being controlled because you are!

What I need you to realize is how unhealthy this dynamic is. It would be one thing if you were blatantly flirting with other guys right in front of your boyfriendís face, but that doesnít seem to be whatís going on here.In fact, the problem is on your boyfriendís side, not yours.

It seems to me your boyfriend has a case of low self-esteem and heís so threatened by other guys that when you so much as look at someone else, he freaks out. Sound about right?

Itís not that he doesnít trust you, and deep down he knows telling you not to talk to other guys is wrong, but his lack of confidence trumps all of that. In other words, he doesnít deem himself good enough to be with you, and when you look in another guyís direction (even though itís completely innocent Ė and hey, weíre all allowed to look!), he gets immediately anxious and takes that as you saying, ďhmm, that guyís better looking than my boyfriend!Ē And his biggest fear, my dear, is the day you finally realize what heís known all along Ė that heís not good enough for you!  And then, youíll move on, leaving him all alone. So, in the meantime, heís doing all he can to prevent that from happening.

The only problem? Aside from creating a terribly unhealthy relationship, heís literally driving you away from him! Itís a catch 22; the more he tries to hold onto you, the closer he gets to losing you!

I donít necessarily think your relationship is a lost cause Ė every relationship has its issues. But what does concern me is that youíve talked to your boyfriend about this issue, and nothing has changed. Thatís not okay. You are a human being, not a dog on a leash. You should be allowed to talk to whomever you want to Ė guy, girl, anyone! Youíre a big girl, and an independent, autonomous one at that, and youíre capable of making your own decisions. Your parents donít tell you who you can and cannot talk to, so why do you let your boyfriend?

If you really want to save the relationship, I would try talking to him about the issue again, but this time you need to come from a place of strength. If youíre boyfriend doesnít truly believe youíre going to leave if things donít get better, than whatís his incentive for changing? Simply stated, if he knows he can treat you however he wants to and get away with it, he will.

So, within yourself, even though you love him, you need to resolve to LEAVE the relationship if things donít change. Remember, you do not deserve to be treated this way Ė you are not an animal on a leash, you are a human being. And this jealous behavior, if your boyfriend doesnít change it (or if you donít get out should he refuse to work on it) is only going to get worse. Out of everything Iíve said, thatís the one thing I know for certain.

Good luck!


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