Dear Dr Nekia,
My man is really starting to get on my nerves. He is so paranoid about other men. We canít even go out and enjoy ourselves without him questioning me about every guy who I speak to or who looks at me for too long.
I know a lot of people and I canít help that. It is a real turn-off and I am starting to think that this will not work between us.
I cannot help that men admire me and I am not going to stop speaking to people because he is there.
Why should I have to act differently because I am in a relationship?
Iím not his wife and even if I was, he should trust me.
Trust Me Or Leave
Dear Trust Me Or Leave,
It is so easy to expect that our partner will trust us, but earning that trust is a whole other issue.
Whether or not you are his wife has nothing to do with it, unless you are implying youíre less obligated because you donít have a ring on your finger. If so, it shows a lack of relationship maturity on your part.
I can tell you that your frustration with him is part of the reason for his insecurities. He may not have a reason to be suspicious but your defensive reaction is triggering alarms. Try to understand why he might be feeling this way. Has he experienced cheating in past relationships?
Did his mom have multiple boyfriends while he was growing up?
Does he have a personality disorder?
Are your interactions with men suggestive?
Any of these could be reasons for his paranoia and, if you are committed to the relationship, you should be willing to find out what is really going on. It is so easy to throw people away when things get tough, but remember that you have played a part in his insecurities ó whether you realise it or not.
For example, while you cannot help that you know a lot of men, you can help how you interact with them. Sometimes our actions are flirty or overly friendly without us giving it a second thought, but to the observer it is very clear.
Make sure that your body language or tone of voice is not suggestive of inappropriate affection, and keep in mind that our facial expressions usually are what give us away.
Should you ignore males when your man is around? No. But you should be mindful of what you are doing. Keep conversations short, especially with guys you have a history with or those who you know are attracted to you, and always maintain your personal space.
These subtle changes can make all the difference to how your man perceives your socialising with the opposite sex.
Should you have to change because you are in a relationship?
You may think not, but the answer is yes. Never underestimate the importance of being mindful and respectful of your partner. Certain behaviours should stop not just out of obligation, but also because you no longer want to do them.
If you do not feel that your relationship is worth changing for, and if being with him does not make you want to show him how important he is to you by doing your part to address his insecurities, then end the relationship.
Some people are just paranoid and controlling ó even if this is the case you can choose to be understanding and supportive of his fears, while working through them, or end the relationship. A paranoid or untrusting mind is a restless mind that cannot focus on love.
Dear Dr Nekia,
I know for a fact that my dad is cheating on my mom. This surprised me because he always raised me to be an honest guy and has always showed strong family values. Plus, I think that he is too old to be running around.
My mother has been a good wife and mother and she doesnít deserve this from him. I donít know if I should keep quiet or if I should tell my mom.
I know it will hurt her and I do not want my parents to get a divorce, but I feel guilty for keeping my dadís secret.
My girlfriend thinks that I should mind my business and focus on my own family but I donít think that she understands how I feel since she never grew up with her mom in her life. Help Dr Nekia.
Keeping Dadís Secret
Dear Keeping Dadís Secret,
As your girlfriend didnít grow up with two parents, she might find it difficult to understand why youíd be upset if yours separated.
She sees the family that you created as your true family, because it may be that for her.
You have provided her with the stability that she was lacking growing up and so she, unintentionally, may be minimising the fact that your parents are still your family and a symbol of love and security for you.
This is why people of all ages find it difficult to accept divorce. However, you must remember that your parents are human too. I am not condoning your fatherís behaviour and I am not saying that you should accept it.
I am saying that no matter how much we want to believe in the morality of our parents, they too make mistakes and poor choices in life. It sounds like they did a pretty good job of raising you to be a man of integrity. Even if they canít live up to the moral code that they instilled in you, they did what parents are supposed to do ó create a safe and loving environment for their children.
Now that you are older, you may witness certain things about their marriage that you would not have as a child. This is all a part of growing up and you should try not to let it shake your belief in what is right and wrong. Nor should you judge so harshly.
Parents often shelter their children from their problems and the hurtful things that they have been through; they think that they are protecting them.
Try talking to your dad and revealing what you know. Share how it is making you feel and how it is affecting your life. He may explain what is going on or he may choose not to, but give him the opportunity to come clean with your mom first.
If your dad refuses to address the situation and it is eating you up inside, have a talk with your mom.
Find out how she would want you to handle the situation by asking her Ďwhat ifí questions. Some women would rather not know.
Gather more information before you make your decision but remember, you cannot control your dadís behaviour nor absorb your momís pain. There is no need for you to feel guilty so try not to become too obsessed with the situation.
In a way, your girlfriend is right. Show concern, but focus more on building your own family if you find yourself becoming too emotionally involved.
ē Want relationship advice? E-mail email@example.com