Girl­friend’s con­trol raises red flags

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - ENTERTAINM­ENT - [email protected]­dick­in­ Twit­ter @askamy

BY AMY DICK­IN­SON Dear Amy: I think my girl­friend is in touch with her ex quite a bit, via text, phone and so­cial me­dia. She does not want me to have an In­sta­gram ac­count, so I deleted the one I had. She blocked me on Twit­ter and said she would un­block me, but she never did. She is very se­cre­tive and pro­tec­tive of her phone and makes sure to hide it from me if I come in the room.

She re­cently at­tended an event that her ex was at. When I asked her in ad­vance if he was go­ing to be there, she said no. When she re­turned, I asked her about the event, and she got very an­gry and de­fen­sive. When she talks to him, she some­times tells me about it but most of­ten gets de­fen­sive and some­what hos­tile. She claims I am just try­ing to catch her do­ing some­thing wrong. I know she is talk­ing to him with some­what reg­u­lar fre­quency, but I do not want to bring it up. She is go­ing to another event in about a month and again will be see­ing him there.

I com­pletely un­der­stand if she is happy be­ing with her ex or if they are rekin­dling that old flame. I just don’t want to be a safety net while they light that fire again. Any in­put and/or ad­vice will be greatly ap­pre­ci­ated. Dear Boi: “She does not want me to have an In­sta­gram ac­count, so I deleted the one I had.” Whaaaaat?

Your girl­friend does not get to con­trol your so­cial me­dia pres­ence. Healthy cou­ples main­tain their own pub­lic iden­tity and don’t need per­mis­sion from their part­ner to do so. This is clas­sic abu­sive and iso­lat­ing be­hav­ior. How­ever, in your case, you seem to re­al­ize your girl­friend is do­ing this, and you are help­ing her.

There are a num­ber of red flags here. Your girl­friend seems to be in close touch with her ex. But even if she weren’t, her dic­tates would still be un­ac­cept­able. I think it’s time to part.

Dear Amy: My wife and I have been mar­ried for a lit­tle over a year. Un­for­tu­nately, I’ve been liv­ing over­seas for the last few months. Dur­ing this time, we’ve re­ally been think­ing about our fu­ture to­gether, since I’m close to be­ing back home for good.

We’ve come to what seems a huge road­block. She wants to move in and get a place with her close friends (they’re mar­ried with three kids), whereas I pre­fer us to have our own home. To­gether. And start our own fam­ily.

This is re­ally im­por­tant to me be­cause I just want to en­joy be­ing mar­ried and be­ing with her, and it seems this is some­thing we can’t agree on. What should I do? Dear Ex­pa­tri­ate: I agree with you that you and your wife should live to­gether in or­der to start your life as a mar­ried cou­ple with pri­vacy and in­ti­macy. How­ever, you haven’t been around dur­ing much of the du­ra­tion of your mar­riage. Dur­ing your ab­sence, I’m as­sum­ing that your wife has done what smart peo­ple do: She has found a tribe. She has found a surrogate fam­ily.

My in­stinct is that she is a lit­tle afraid. She knows that the pres­ence of this other fam­ily and this crowded house­hold will pro­vide a buffer for her.

You have to com­mu­ni­cate about this. When you talk to her, ask her to out­line her rea­son­ing, and lis­ten care­fully to what she tells you. A rea­son­able com­pro­mise might be for you two to rent a fur­nished apart­ment for three months or so while you sort out the par­tic­u­lars of your mar­riage, as well as your liv­ing sit­u­a­tion.

Dear Amy: “Cof­fee Shop Pa­tron” was sit­ting next to some loud girls. I was glad you pointed out that in­ter­ject­ing is typ­i­cally a use­less act and can also cre­ate blow­back. It’s best to move out of earshot or leave.

Per­son­ally, I have a nat­u­rally loud voice and can be quite an­i­mated when I am at restau­rants, and so oc­ca­sion­ally I get a per­son com­plain­ing to me directly. I feel I am more dis­tract­ing than dis­rup­tive.

Last time, a fel­low com­plained to me that he and his ta­ble couldn’t have a con­ver­sa­tion be­cause I was so an­i­mated and so I just looked at him and said, “Wow. That’s the first time I’ve been blamed for some­one else be­ing bor­ing!”

He should have taken a page from your book. Dear An­i­mated: I guess you can add rude­ness to your list of at­tributes.

Copy­right 2019 by Amy Dick­in­son

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