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Parallax - Advice            July 31, 2000

   He's driving her crazy with his possessiveness

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My boyfriend is so possessive, it's become irritating. I know he loves me and is only looking out for me, but he needs to know every little thing I do. I'm only twenty too and not sure I want to be in such a serious relationship. He hates all my guy friends. I feel like he thinks we're married or something. I love him but I don't want it to be so intense. I'm thinking maybe I should break up with him. It's gotten to the point where he listens to my answering machine to see which guys are calling. And now he wants to coordinate grad schools and talks about getting married. I'm really not ready for all this.

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Her view:

Dear Possessed,

Doesn't sound like the two of you are very well aligned. I'm sure he senses this, making him more clingy, which in turn makes you recoil, and then the cycle begins all over. It's certainly not a recipe for a healthy long-term relationship. From the sound of it you're only heading toward further disagreement. Plus, I'm a believer in choosing the grad school that you want. It's important for you to decide you own career and associated schooling. It's too early for you to tie yourself to him on such issues.

Here's a possible approach. Take a breather. Don't see each other for a couple of months but don't see other guys either. Give yourself some time with the girls and your buddies. That will make things clearer for you. It sounds like you need some space and he needs to calm down and understand what's realistic from your view. He's too intense, which is off-putting. Your phone messages should be your own - it's a little intrusive to have someone else listening to them (or maybe that's just me). And this could be only the beginning of some very unattractive behavior on his part. Take some time, get some perspective and enjoy being twenty. I think it's best in the long run - I have a feeling you'll go through a few more boyfriends before settling on one.

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His view:

Dear Possessed,

I'm not sure what needs clarifying here: the speed with which you should break up with this guy, or the manner in which to do it.

I'm guessing, the sooner the better - though perhaps you need a bit more time to think about this...?

Breaking-up will actually be helpful to him. He obviously needs some kind of assistance to show him the unfortunate consequences of irrational possessiveness. You may want to consider this three step program:

1) Before breaking up, ask your male friends to leave twenty messages a day on your machine, asking for a date.

2) When he demands you change your number, do so, but don't give him the new one. Break-up with him when he finally finds you.

3) A few weeks later, send him a care package with a copy of Sting's 'If You Love Somebody, Set Them Free,' plus the book 'Improving Your Self-Esteem,' and the 30-minute video, 'Why Possessive Guys are Losers.'

Seriously though, if you do break up, be firm, otherwise he'll eat you up with reverse psychology and maybe even more aggressive tactics. Ask your guy and girl friends for support.

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You Vote! 22% of Women agree with HER VIEW and 78% with HIS VIEW.

36% of Men agree with HER VIEW and 64% with HIS VIEW.

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