Q. Dear Meredith,
My boyfriend and I have been dating for four months. He’s a photographer, so naturally he interacts with a lot of people. The profession also means he has a lot of female friends. In fact, all of his close friends are women. He has no friends who are guys.
To make matters worse, almost every friend has had a short relationship with him — a fling, a one-night stand, cuddled, or been generally more intimate with him than I would be with any of my friends.
I have told him that I don’t like him hanging around these women because it makes me uncomfortable, but he continues to reassure me that it’s fine and that I need to trust him. I don’t want to break up with him, because I love him dearly. I just want to know if I need to learn to trust him or if he needs to change some of his ways.
A. Let’s start with the part of the letter where you say you love him dearly. That’s serious talk about someone you’ve only been dating for four months. A more accurate assessment might be: “I’m super into him and hope this works.”
It’s very possible — and probable — that your boyfriend’s relationships with these women are all platonic. You have good reason to believe him because he’s been transparent with you about his history. Even if that’s true, this relationship might not be a good fit. Not everyone can be super cool about a partner spending time with exes. That’s why the four months thing is so important; you need to think about the life you might build with this man and whether you can be comfortable with his community.
My thought is: If you’re asking someone to change fundamental parts of his personality this early in a relationship, it isn’t a match. Maybe this will all make more sense to you — and feel safer to you — at six months. But if it doesn’t, it’s time to go.
“He doesn’t see a reason to change.” And there is your answer. Don’t waste your time trying to change him. He’s flirty and he has all-female friends. That’s him. If you can’t get on board, then leave. BOSTONSWEETS21
Photographer, bartender, drummer. Young ladies: For your sanity, avoid these men. RED-SPECK
I’ve been a bartender and professional photographer in earlier phases of my life. It doesn’t mean I didn’t “settle down” when the right one came along. THATGUYINRI
This sounds eerily similar to my own dating experience three years ago with a Cambridge-based photographer. Same story. Everywhere we went, we ran into a girl he had a history with or was actively engaged in some kind of flirtation with. He expected me to “understand” that it was pure show. What ended up being pure show, six months and a lot of anguish later, was our relationship. Letter writer, don’t try to be someone that you’re not. As Mere says, not everyone is OK with that kind of behavior from their significant other. My advice to you is to break it off before you become more emotionally invested. ADRIANALCMeredith Goldstein’s novel “Chemistry Lessons” is now available. Column and comments are edited and reprinted from boston.com/loveletters. Send letters to firstname.lastname@example.org.