Thursday, June 21, 2018
Parenting & Relationships

Tell Me About It: Boyfriend's need to be together so much is cloying, not romantic

Q: My boyfriend of three months constantly wants to be together. We're still in high school, and see each other there every day. I appreciate that he likes hanging out with me so much, and I love hanging out with him. But he's insistent on my being with him whenever it's possible. I sometimes feel that I need a break.

When he's asking me to procrastinate on schoolwork or skimp on practice for an upcoming audition, I start to put my foot down, but it's difficult. He argues and begs to squeeze a few minutes (hours, a whole day) out of my schedule. Last night, we spent almost an hour confirming that I, in fact, could not go on a day trip with him today.

Am I avoiding him, or giving him too little time? Should I drop a few activities to be with him more? And how can I say "no" without being made to feel guilty or suffer for it every time?

Harried Sally

A: No. 3, easy: Date someone who won't pressure you. Nos. 1 and 2 are your call, but I can connect your letter's dots for you: Yes, you're avoiding him somewhat (understandably — he's being a pest); and no, you shouldn't "drop a few activities" because if you really wanted to you'd be doing it, not asking me.

Hectoring someone for togetherness is not romantic. It's needy, cloying, disrespectful. If he's trying to take you away from everything else you care about, then does he really like you? Or just your physical presence? Possessiveness, after all, is an abuse precursor. If he continues the pressure and disrespect, break up.

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