What should I do to make my jealous boyfriend trust me?

Dear Sherry:

My boyfriend of 16 months says he trusts me, but he's way too possessive. He hates it when I go out with my friends and claims I want "more out of" my guy friends than just friendship. He doesn't even like it when I talk on the phone with my girlfriends. He swears to me that he trusts me but I don't see it. He goes out with his friends and I don't mind. What should I do?
A

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Sherry Amatenstein

Sherry is the author of The Q&A Dating Book and Love Lessons from Bad Breakups. She has taught dating seminars, appeared as an expert... Read more

Dear A:

Yow! This guy should have a big "J" stenciled on his forehead -- or at least a warning label. He's WAY too jealous for comfort. If this is how he acts when he trusts you, I'd hate to see him in non-trust mode.

Maybe I'm being overly cautious, but I don't think so. Your boyfriend is showing classic first signs of a batterer. He's trying to keep you in a jail cell without the bars; he wants to own your time so exclusively that he's even threatened by your talking on the phone with your girlfriends. What's next, not letting you out alone after dark?

I would tread carefully here. Ask him in a non-hostile, non-defensive manner why he's uncomfortable with your being around other people. Was he betrayed by an ex? If he can't see that he has a problem that needs to be addressed, and quick -- or, worse, sees YOU as the one with the problem -- I'd suggest cutting the cord. In a public setting, tell him that while you care for him and you've never betrayed him, you're too scared and uncomfortable being in a relationship with someone who wants to control you. Wish him luck, say you have no hard feelings, but make it clear that it's over and you should go your separate ways. It's better to mourn a relationship than the loss of your safety and freedom.

Please write back and let us know how you are. Best of luck.

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