Are we monogamous?
Q: I started dating “Gerald” almost four months ago. I have felt that things were going very well, but now I’m wondering what’s going on. Gerald left me a message on my voicemail that said that he “couldn’t make our date tonight.” He went on about the fact that he had been up skiing this past weekend and he hurt his knee and needed to keep off his knee as much as possible. Well, Jody, that’s true, but I was with him when he hurt his knee so I know all that. In fact, I took him to emergency room.
The second strange thing about that was that I didn’t have a date with him, so why would he be calling me to tell me that he couldn’t make it? On the voicemail, he didn’t specifically say my name, just his message of cancelling our supposed date. So, all I can think is that he has become senile at 38, or that he didn’t mean that message to come to me. So, I think that he had a date with someone else and was cancelling it with that person, but punched in my number by mistake.
This is disturbing to me because I thought that he was seeing only me, not that we talked about it, just that it seemed that way. I told him that I only date one guy at a time. And we have sex and I don’t like the thought that he’s having sex with another guy while having sex with me for two reasons: First, I want to be the only one, and secondly, I worry about AIDS and other communicable diseases.
I haven’t told him about this other call yet. I don’t want to seem possessive or anything like that. I know that I am disappointed in Gerald, not that he said that we were monogamous, but that I was led to think that…or maybe it was my imagination. Who knows. What do you think I should do?
Not the Only One
A: I think it is time for a talk with Gerald, certainly not in any accusing way. You could start out with the confusion over the voicemail message (again, no accusations – you haven’t as yet said that things were monogamous) and go on to talk about what you both want or need in a relationship. You can’t assume that Gerald feels the same as you, or that he has the same expectations as far as your relationship goes. It might be easier to sweep this under the rug, but that would be the beginning of a poor communication pattern. You’ve only been seeing each other for four month, if you want more of this relationship and want it to be healthy, you will need to base it in openness and honesty.
Making a to-‘do’ about nothing?
Q: I have been with “Samantha” for two years. We have a great relationship and I love her very much. I got a new haircut and went over to her place to show it to her. I asked her if she liked it. She hemmed and hawed and finally said that she liked it better the way I have been wearing it. Jody, that really hurt my feelings. I hadn’t been liking my hair and it was driving me crazy. I thought that my new haircut was really cute and I had been so excited to show her. I just felt like leaving so I did. Sam called me when I got home and said that she thought it looked good, but just that she like the old style better. Still, she should have been nicer about it and it hurt my feelings. Was I wrong to want her to like my hair?
A: From you e-mail, it didn’t sound like Sam was unkind, just truthful about liking one hairdo over another. But it seems that you didn’t really want her opinion, you wanted her to say what you wanted to hear. Therefore, maybe you need to tell Sam that whenever you get a haircut, you need her to tell you that it is wonderful, whether or not she thinks so. Of course, the downside of that is you’ll never know if she really thinks so or not, and that kind of setup could lead to a pattern of her just telling you what you want to hear in other areas of life – and that will lead to real disaster.