He wants my attention 24-7

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I’ve been in a relationship with my boyfriend for six months now. During this time, he’s been through a lot – and it resulted in him ghosting me once. 

Even through all of that, I waited and stayed there for him, trying to be supportive. When we eventually got back together, we decided that we would be honest when we were both feeling insecure because of his past relationships and trauma. 

That’s a big step, but it doesn’t change the fact that all we ever do is fight. It’s always about the same thing – me having male friends and how I’m friendly to coworkers, etc. He said he’d prefer to have my attention 24/7. 

I don’t follow some people on my social media anymore because he didn’t like it. I’ve never cheated on him or given him reason to fear I want to leave him. 

Recently, he was going through my phone and deleted two of my contacts (both male friends) without acknowledging it to me. I confronted him because one is someone I need to talk to for practical reasons. He made it sound like it was my fault for allowing him to see my phone, and then proceeded to tell me that he won’t go on my phone anymore because it bothers me. I’ve told him I don’t mind as long as he tells me if he changes something. 

It seems like it’s a one-sided rule – he messages anyone he wants because I trust him. I’m just so tired of having to bring up the same issue and not getting any change. I don’t know what to do.

– Frustrated


This doesn’t sound healthy for you. Good romantic partners don’t isolate you from people you care about. They don’t try to control your access to the rest of the world. 

A podcast guest was recently explaining to me how she was helped by a tool called the “wheel of power,” which highlighted problems in her relationship that had been difficult to name.

That isolation part – it’s real and important. If your significant other wants your attention 24-7, your world is all about him … and way too small.

I understand how his behavior is related to trauma. Of course his past experiences have contributed to his insecurities. But that doesn’t mean he’s owed a partner who follows a bunch of rules to make him feel secure. All it means is that he has to help himself to be better.

I think it would be helpful to talk to someone about separating yourself from this relationship. Professionals can hear you out and assist you with next steps. They’ll understand that you still care about what happens to him, and that it’s complicated. This is a Massachusetts page, but I find it has great resources and links to services.

It would be easier if you and this man both decided you were incompatible and walked away, but that’s not how this is going. Start by holding on to your phone (it’s yours, after all) and getting the services you need. Then see what the world is like when you’re making decisions for yourself.

It’s only been six months. You can exit and reset. 

– Meredith

Readers? Does a difficult beginning – and discussion of trauma –sometimes make a person feel like a relationship is more important than it needs to be? How have you figured out when someone is asking too much of you?

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