The Dallas Morning News

Boyfriend hidden so he won’t stray


Adapted from an online discussion.

Dear Carolyn: My good friend “Bonnie” and I hadn’t seen much of each other for the last year since I took a temporary assignment in another city. We have been texting, calling, video-chatting, etc., all along, and I was so happy to hear she’d met someone and is getting serious with him. I couldn’t wait to meet him.

Every get-together I tried to arrange when I got back fell through, and they even canceled last-minute to a dinner at my house. I was starting to get worried something was wrong, so I came out and asked Bonnie what was going on. She finally told me she doesn’t want her boyfriend to meet me because I’m the exact type of woman he finds most attractive, and she knows when he sees me he’ll realize it and that will be the end for them.

I’m hurt that she thinks I’d ever do anything with her boyfriend, I’m mad that she’s prioritizi­ng him over us, and I feel sorry that she has such low self-esteem. She’s both a wonderful person and a pretty girl. What do I do now? Is this friendship over?

Bonnie’s Friend

Dear Bonnie’s Friend: How very sad. And bizarre.

Has she even thought about the endgame here? Where she and Guy never leave the house?

If this is new insecurity for Bonnie, then you need to consider if her new boyfriend is breaking her down mentally and emotionall­y, introducin­g such self-doubt. For example, how would she know you’re “the exact type of woman he finds most attractive”? It may just be that Bonnie’s seen photos of exes and they all sort of resemble you, sure — but I can’t be the only one who has a prickly feeling that he’s reminding her constantly of who he finds attractive and how far she falls short of that ideal.

If it’s not new, then Bonnie was probably on this road long before you or the guy. Same need for help, given how extreme her possessive­ness is, but different sources and risks.

Regardless of what’s going on, she needs a supportive friend, even one from afar. Second, do not let howlers like her comments stand. Challenge her reasoning: “Will you never leave the house, then? Won’t someone else catch his eye eventually? Are you OK living in constant fear of his leaving?”

Or just: “Bonnie, if you’re not his ideal as a complete person, then he’s not the guy.”

It helps that you haven’t met him because now you can’t criticize him. You’re just stating counterpoi­nts to her self-negating views.

This won’t magically fix anything, it kind of goes without saying. But it’s a strong pro-bonnie stance that I hope you will take and maintain. She’s in trouble. Keep in touch, keep inviting, keep your cool.

Carolyn: Bonnie always has struggled with her selfesteem. Her sister was a cheerleade­r and literally a model for a while, and her parents favor sister because of that. Bonnie said that her boyfriend saw a pic of us together and said I look like Lara Croft and that started this spiral of doom for her. Sigh.

Bonnie’s Friend again Dear Bonnie’s Friend again: Omg. I just want to throw things right now.

Assuming you haven’t tried this yet: Every time this old emotional injury overwhelms her, please say to her, “Bonnie, your parents were [glass bowls]. You’re awesome. Stop. Now: Dinner, all of us, Friday?”

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