Boyfriend Ashamed of Her?

Q: My boyfriend has a million and one excuses, including sometimes real reasons, why we can't go out to clubs or out in public at all except around a few people that we know. I'm older than he is but consider myself pretty. Do you think he is ashamed of me? This has been going on for 3 years. I feel as if he has painted some view of himself as single and if I'm with him he can't take the chance of blowing that image he has created. He swears he loves me and has never cheated, but come on, it's got to be something. If he's not trying to appear single, then he has to be ashamed of me. Please help me. -- Samantha, 39

Dr. Susan: I knew a guy like that once. He really liked me a lot but only wanted to spend our time together getting cozy. His outside life was separate from "us," no matter how much I asked to go out with him. Turns out he liked having other women in his life, and wanted to make the most efficient use of his time. Or something like that. It's impossible to read another person's mind, but you should be able by now to know if your boyfriend is someone you can trust to tell you the truth. I seriously doubt that it has anything to do with your age or how you look. You may be right about his wanting to continue to see himself as single and unencumbered by a girlfriend.

You've put up with this behavior for three whole years, which to my mind is a long time to accept being kept hidden. It's time to be more assertive about your needs, Samantha. Sit the fellow down and tell him his behavior makes you unhappy and anxious, and that you're missing the fun you could be having if he wasn't such a stick-in-the-mud (he'll prefer being called that to being called a probable liar). Choose a couple places you'd like to go, accept no more excuses, and tell him to pick a date. He may not like clubs, but surely there are things to do in public that would satisfy your needs and his too. Either that or plan to spend the next three years doing exactly what you've done for the past three. He has no reason to change unless you show him you mean business.

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