DEAR ABBY: I have been in two relationships. The first was with a girl a couple of years older than I am. We were together for several years before she cheated on me and dumped me. I was crushed. The next girl was a few years younger. She did the same thing after we were together a year.
What am I doing wrong? Fidelity is important to me, and they both knew it from the start. How can I avoid this in the future?
I have never been a controlling person. I was always fine with my girlfriends going out with their friends without me if I couldn't go for some reason. (That's how they ended up meeting the other guys.)
The people in lasting relationships I've seen watch each other like hawks, and never allow their significant other to be in the company of the opposite sex without them. Is this normal? Should I be like them? That seems controlling, but clearly, my "no boundaries" relationship style has backfired on me. -- CHEATED ON IN NEW YORK CITY
DEAR CHEATED ON: Few things can ruin a relationship or a marriage like obsessive jealousy can. Watching one's partner "like a hawk" is stifling. It will eventually drive the person away, as you will see as you continue to observe the couples you have mentioned. Please don't try to change the person you are because you are just fine.
I believe that in relationships there has to be a certain amount of responsibility. If someone is mature enough to be involved romantically, that person should be willing to admit if things aren't working out. Being cheated on is painful, and being dumped is equally so. Not every relationship leads to marriage, but rather than sneak around to avoid a frank conversation, it's better to practice the Golden Rule.