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My Guy Gets Angry When I Talk to Other Men

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Dear Athena,

My guy got so angry when I was talking to another guy about simple, polite stuff! I'm not allowed to say a thing to any of my exes, and if I talk to guys at all, I'm a slut who is obviously cheating and shouldn't be trusted. Look, I'm an adult. If I wanted something else, I would first end what I have. I tell him this. That's not what I'm in this relationship to do. But the constricting feeling of only being allowed to be friends with certain people — girls — is really kind of freaking me out. I get jealous, too — and, to a point, I find jealousy flattering — but where exactly is the line here?

Signed,

Always That Tomboy

Dear Tomboy,

Wait, I'm sorry. What did you say? I lost you at "I'm a slut who shouldn't be trusted."

If your guy is calling you a slut and forbidding you to make new friends — or have casual interactions with old ones — you need to peace out, pronto. It's a no-brainer.

A relationship's success depends largely — maybe even solely — on trust. Your boyfriend's need to control your social life is a product of his own serious self-esteem issues. It's completely unhealthy for you to tolerate that treatment. Controlling you or lashing out because he's jealous is neither cute nor flattering. We're all insecure in some ways and feel threatened sometimes, but if you're looking for a line to draw, it starts at his angry, possessive behavior.

You sound like you know your self-worth and what you want — so don't put up with this nonsense any longer. Unless he can cool it and communicate with the respect and kindness to which you're entitled, he's not worth it. It's time for you two to sit down and create boundaries you can both feel good about. Jealousy is closely linked to fear, so describe what you're afraid of, what makes you jealous. Then urge him to answer the same questions.

Sharing your vulnerabilities may be the gateway to trusting each other again. But if that language and restrictive behavior continues, say "No, thank you" and get out. You might love him, but that doesn't mean you should suffer under his baggage. Let a therapist teach him how to redistribute that load, 'cause it's certainly not your job.

Yours,

Athena