Bad fetishes

Joey Garcia

My boyfriend has a thing for blondes. He hasn’t really asked me directly, but I know he wants me to dye my hair. He has also dropped hints about the kind of clothing he prefers me in. I grew up with parents who dictated every part of my life, from what I wore to what I ate, to how long I could be in the bathroom. I am really sensitive to comments about the way I look or live. What do you think? Is he being controlling, or am I just overly sensitive?

Could both be true? While I understand that attraction works in mysterious ways, your boyfriend may be overly attached to appearance. If he allows his fetish to interrupt a growing affection for you or his commitment to you, beware. That dye job could evolve into exactly the type of demands you abhor. I suggest that you confront his hints and explain that you are comfortable with how you appear to him and the world. Doing so is a kind way to remind yourself of your worth and beauty. If your boyfriend begins dictating what you should wear or how you should spend your waking hours, leave. Yes, break up even if you think you love him. Ending the relationship will be easier if you accept this: His attempt to control your appearance is evidence of infatuation. Love embraces you as you are. That’s right, he does not truly love you, even if he says he does.

Let me also caution you to be gentle with yourself. Enduring an emotionally abusive childhood is difficult. Residual sensitivity is normal. Consider it a form of protection against repeating your childhood pattern. How? When sensitive feelings rise in you, it’s a warning that childhood wounds are being triggered. Don’t ride those feelings into drama or depression. Take responsibility for self-care. Remind yourself that you are no longer a child and can capably respond to the problem at hand.

That said, it’s time to evaluate whether your current relationship is an unconscious effort to heal old wounds. Sometimes, emotional patterns that are unresolved in childhood present themselves for attention in romantic connections. Your situation is an invitation to develop a voice that sets clear boundaries. Be willing to do now what you could not do as a child: Insist on being treated with love and respect. If it doesn’t happen, leave.

For two months I have been corresponding by email with a man I met online. We have a lot in common, but he has not asked me out. The other thing is that he emails me from about five completely different email accounts. When I asked about this he said one account was old and he wanted a cooler address. But that explains only two of the five addresses. Does this seem suspicious to you?

Yes, but so does your hesitancy about trusting your intuition. Why would you start a relationship with a man when the prevailing feeling is suspicion? Trust your inner voice. It is strange that he has not invited you to chat by phone or to meet face to face. Have you considered whether email is the highest level of social contact he can manage? His hoard of active email addresses is odd but could be the product of an unorganized mind. Then again, he might be a cheater. Either way, stop being patient. Invite him to meet for coffee. If he hesitates or cancels, don’t respond to future emails. You may like the attention you feel each time his email arrives, but without meeting, you’ll never know if you are corresponding with an available man. A precocious teenager, bored housewife or married man might be your real correspondent. Find out.

Meditation of the week
“Eternity is in love with the creations of time,” wrote the poet William Blake. Does your work bring God joy? How do you know?

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