herald

Monday 18 December 2017

Must I tell boyfriend how many men I've slept with?

Q: WHYis my boyfriend pestering me to tell him how many men I've slept with? He says that if I trusted him, I would tell him the real number. I haven't told him any number as I find the question offensive. We're both 24 and work together, and he knows I dated another guy in the office which seems to stress him out. When the other guy comes into the pub after work my boyfriend gets loud and annoying. He says he's slept with more than 20 women. He is good looking and this could be true, or he could just be a moron. The jury is out as we've only been dating six weeks.

A: Personally, I think it's none of his business. I'm very much in favour of being open and honest about past relationships if it's information you're happy to share, but in this case you're not comfortable with telling him and he needs to respect that. The past is the past and he must understand that you're with him now for a reason and it's totally unnecessary to get boisterous in front of your ex.

It proves nothing, simply highlights his own weaknesses and makes it uncomfortable for everyone around. I would advise you to make an agreement that the past needs to be left alone, on both your parts. Explain that you have nothing to hide, but you don't think it's healthy. It solves nothing and only heightens jealousy and insecurity.

Q I'm 22 and have long black hair which is going grey. It's hereditary as my mum went grey young. I'm upset about this and could do without my boyfriend's bad jokes.

He calls me 'dye doll' and says he's afraid hair dye will get on his clothes. I thought he would stop, but his jeering is getting worse, and he jokes about my losing my teeth and needing dentures. He says I must be older and having Botox.

My best friend says he's doing this because he has a problem being with a girl who is going grey. We've been together over a year, what do you think?

A IT sounds as if he is being extremely insensitive towards a cosmetic problem that is beyond your control. It seems very shallow of him to zone in so much on your physical appearance, particularly as he must realise that you're conscious about it.

Generally, an individual's urge to criticise others originates from their own insecurities. My advice is to be tough on him. He needs to understand that you won't put up with his cruel taunts any more so don't let him get away with it.

It's also highlighting his own immaturity and inability to accept that we're all getting older and for some people, this affects them differently.

Come down hard on his bullying attitude and don't let him destroy your self-confidence.

He's your boyfriend and he should be being more supportive.

Q My boyfriend has announced he doesn't want children. He got really upset and said his childhood was rubbish, and that his dad cheated and his mum became depressed and drank. He said he would never risk doing to a child what was done to him. He's 25 and still very angry at his parents. I've met them and they seem normal, but he says that when you scratch the surface, they're both miserable and cruel.

I'm 24 and can't imagine life without babies. We've been together five months and I think I love my boyfriend. He has told me he'll never change, should I believe him or give him time?

A If you're happy together and in love, then my advice is to continue enjoying the relationship as it grows in strength.

It's understandable that he has grown up with issues from his childhood, and these sound like they need to be fairly urgently addressed with his parents if he continues to be so angry at them. Situations develop and people make mistakes, but it's so important to grow from them and learn forgiveness.

As you're both still young, he will hopefully move on from his bad childhood memories and begin to embrace the idea of having children of his own. Give him time and plenty of encouragement, there's no need to rush anything. Let it all happen when the time is right.

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