Dear Dr. Darcy, I am in a relationship with my boyfriend of 2 years and have known him since we were teenagers. During lockdown we started our relationship. Quickly my intuition told me that he is drawn to other women and I would see him flirt a lot which made me anxious and jealous and I started controlling him, which I hate!
My question is:
Should I ignore or respect his flirting behavior, as he says it’s important for him to get attention from other women — but where’s the boundary?
I’m scratching my head. Which I rarely do. And I’m doing it because I feel like I must be missing something…
Unless you’re outright neglecting your boyfriend in some fundamental way (you’re refusing to have sex with him, you withhold basic expressions of desire such as compliments or affection), I can’t imagine a scenario under which it would be appropriate for him to feel entitled to seek attention from other women. Unless you’re in a non-monogamous relationship? Which doesn’t seem like a good fit for someone who struggles with jealousy, as you’ve acknowledged you do.
Assuming you’re doing the bare minimum to fulfill the obligations in your relationship, I’m 100% on your team.
His expectations aren’t anchored in any reality I’m familiar with. He seems willing to risk the safety of the relationship to get his own needs met without much concern for how it impacts you.
If I’m right and the issue is that he is an empty vessel that nothing will ever fill — and you are someone who responds to jealousy by trying to control her partner — this is a bad fit.
I’d suggest that you set some crystal clear boundaries and when he fails to adhere to them, wish him well and end the relationship.
Bottom line: If he’s going to cheat, you can’t build a fence high enough to stop him. The only thing you can control is the impact he has on your sanity.
Sexual Orientation: Straight