:Dear Abby: My partner, “Kevin,” and I have been together for 12 years. Although we have a close and loving relationship, one major sticking point has dogged us from early on.
I am 19 years younger than Kevin and very outgoing. I enjoy spending time with friends and socializing. I understand that when one is in a relationship, time spent with friends is reduced. However, if I become friends with someone, Kevin will find something wrong with the person, make unkind comments about them to me and make me feel guilty for wanting to be with them. It could be the person is too loud, too opinionated, has different eating habits than his, etc.
The friend’s gender or sexual orientation has no bearing. I have had to forgo friendships over the years because it’s just easier to do that than to argue. I love being with Kevin, but I’m not sure what I can do to resolve this challenge. He doesn’t feel a need to change. What should I do?
:“Dan” In Pittsburgh
:Dear “Dan”: Start by recognizing that what Kevin is doing may be a reflection of his insecurity. The more time you spend with someone else, the less you spend with him. He doesn’t feel a need to change because his nitpicking has been successful in diverting you from these friendships.
Try this: The next time you become friendly with someone and Kevin starts putting the person down, don’t take the bait. Tell him he’s entitled to his opinion and if he’d like to join you, he is welcome. If not, you’ll see him later. It may help you to establish some independence. Mature adults can do that and still have a healthy relationship.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.