Dear Thelma: Is my boyfriend possessive and sexually manipulative?

  • Family
  • Sunday, 23 Jun 2019

My boyfriend and I have been going out for almost seven months now. It's not a very long time but we have grown to love and support each other over the short time we've shared.

Our relationship isn't perfect; we fight every now and then but it was never anything serious, until this month. Once when I was getting my purse from the table, I looked over his shoulder to see what he was doing and I noticed that he was texting this girl.

Now, I obviously allow him to have female friends and I know that he talks to them, but not every day. I don't know if it was intuition but I felt in my gut that there was something more about this friendship that he had with this girl.

He and I always tend to talk about friends. I have male friends and he knows all about them. I have never heard him bring up her name and they have apparently been friends for about three months and texting for three weeks.

I asked him about it once and he said that they were just friends. I believed him. But still, even after being told by him that nothing was going on between them, I began to feel uneasy and restless about the whole situation.

The next day, I noticed that he was ignoring my texts and was obviously texting someone else over me. I confronted him about that girl once again, giving him a second chance to tell me if anything was going on. He said they were just friends once again. And I believed him again.

A week passed and he began to act distant and angry towards me. Then he told me that he has been losing interest in me and needed time to think about this relationship. I questioned if this had to do with another girl and he said no.

It took him three days to come back with a decision about our relationship and he told me that he still loved me and wanted to be with me. But he also told me that the reason why he needed to think was because he thought he had feelings for another girl. And I knew right away who it was, I didn't even question it.

So we're all good and then a few days later I found out that he was hanging out alone with that girl. Bear in mind that he got mad at me when my male friend gave me a ride home along with three other people. He would practically faint if he found out that I hung out with a guy alone.

So I was upset, but before saying anything about the whole situation, I asked him who was the girl that he thought he had feelings for. And he said the same girl he had hung out with alone.

I was super mad at him but he told me I was overreacting and going on about why I didn't trust him. And he just didn't seem to understand why I was so upset. I said things I didn't mean which led to us breaking up.

But an hour later, I apologised to him and we got back together. He said that he would like me to make it up to him because of what I said. I told him that I would do anything, and he said he wanted a threesome.

I finally obliged and then he told me that he wanted to do it with this girl he had feelings for. I almost lost it! That still hasn't happened but I constantly find him ignoring my texts. He'd say he was going to the gym and couldn’t talk and then I would see him being active online, like he was having other conversations. Should I be worried?


He’s jealous, controlling and he cheats on you, so you agree that the best way forward is for you to have sex with a stranger. Seriously? And you’re only worried? Girl, you haven’t just lost the plot, you’ve lost the book and the library it sits in!

Please, sit down and think. You say you had a good relationship until you discovered he was a cheat. I disagree. The first sign you had a problem were his jealous rages when you went out with friends.

Abusers establish control by isolating you from friends and family, frightening you with rages, and confusing you with false accusations. The man you describe had all the hallmarks of a violent, controlling abuser – and that was before you discovered he’s also a liar, a cheat and a sexual coercer.

Leave him. Do it now. You don’t need to talk to him. Just throw him out of your life. Nothing good can come of seeing more of that man.

Then sit down and work out what is going on in your head. I’m going to suggest a systematic approach.

First, you need some education. Read up on how abusive relationships work. Tip: a good start is to Google the Duluth Wheel of Power and Control. See how you were sucked into this and kept there. Also, read up on sexual coercion. Your goal is to understand how to spot and avoid abusers in the future.

Second, build up your self-esteem. Your initial reaction to your gut feeling he was cheating was excellent. You were open and honest. If you had been with a decent man, it might have been okay. Mistakes happen and a slip need not kill a relationship. But that can only happen when the cheater takes responsibility and makes amends.

You saw your ex couldn’t even man up to his behavior. Instead, he had the cheek to blame you for his acts. You were spot on when you kicked him out. If you stay with an unrepentant cheat, he will repeat his behaviour. It’s no way to live.

So why on earth did you immediately take him back? As for agreeing that you need to humiliate yourself with a sex act... what was going through your mind that you thought this was in any way okay?

These are important questions and I don’t think you can do this by yourself because you’re in too deep. I really think you could do with some professional help. I strongly suggest you pick a mental health professional who is experienced in helping victims of abuse.

While you figure all of this out, please stop dating. I am very concerned that you might fall into the hands of another abusive partner because you seem to be blind to very serious and obvious issues.

Take a break for a year. Build up your self-esteem, make lots of positive friendships, and learn how healthy relationships work before taking the plunge again. There are lots of decent men out there: and you deserve the best!

Is something bothering you? Do you need a listening ear or a shoulder to lean on? Thelma is here to help. Email or write to Dear Thelma, c/o StarLifestyle, Menara Star, 15, Jalan 16/11, 46350 Petaling Jaya, Selangor. Please include your full name and address, and a pseudonym. No private correspondence will be entertained. The Star does not give any warranty on accuracy, completeness, usefulness, fitness for any particular purpose or other assurances as to the opinions and views expressed in this column. The Star disclaims all responsibility for any losses suffered directly or indirectly arising from reliance on such opinions and views.

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