DEAR AMY: I am seeking advice on a very touchy subject between me and my boyfriend of two years.
I am 24 years old. When I was 21, I was living in a different town and had a sexual relationship with another female. This relationship did not last long, because I became conflicted and eventually determined I was just not interested in that lifestyle.
My boyfriend is everything to me! From our values to spirituality, he is my perfect match.
We have always been open and honest with each other. He has a daughter from a previous relationship, so he likes to make the point that he can’t hide his past.
I opened up about my past sexual history with the female. Now he seems to be struggling with a lot of insecurity. I’m not sure what else I can do to comfort him, in that I am NOT gay, I was a young lady in a weird spot in life and experimented (like a lot of us do at that age).
But he is taking this very hard. He has never lashed out at me, or said anything negative about me wanting to hook up with other women.
He has told me that he just has to work on his own insecurities.
It’s to the point that when we are in the same room and a TV show talks about lesbians or threesomes, the atmosphere just gets awkward. I hate it. His insecurity is making ME insecure.
Why can’t he forget something that happened before we even knew each other? Was I wrong to tell him? How do I help him? What approach should I take to help him get over his insecurities? I need advice, badly. I don’t want this to go on forever.
Awkward in MO
DEAR AWKWARD: You can’t put a qualification or a timeline on someone else’s discomfort. From what you report, your boyfriend is being respectful and honest about his struggle.
Some people are unilaterally insecure about their beloved partners’ sexual past. You, for instance, could react with tremendous insecurity about his previous relationship that resulted in the creation of a human being (but you don’t). Your sexual history is much lower-impact than his.
However, many people are simply bewildered by another person’s ability to enjoy a sexual relationship back and forth across gender lines. It is confusing. But he must move through this.
Your job is to accept your boyfriend’s discomfort without owning or appropriating his insecurity. Let him ask you questions and be transparent in your responses. Lighten up to defuse some of the awkwardness.
DEAR AMY: My sister-in-law is insisting that my wife, as well as their mother, purchase a wedding shower gift for HER sister-in-law. We are not planning to attend the shower or the wedding. We previously purchased a shower gift for the same woman who canceled an earlier engagement to another person and did not return the original gift.
We do not have a close relationship with the bride-to-be. She didn’t bother to RSVP to my wedding.
Initially the plan was not to give a gift, but suddenly there is peace to be kept. I do not feel we are responsible for giving another gift or to keep the peace in the family of an in-law of my sister-in-law’s. What do you think?
To Gift or Not
DEAR TO GIFT: You’ve probably already spent more time on this issue than it deserves.
It is not “keeping the peace” when someone basically demands that you do something and you give in to that demand. Keeping the peace implies a joint effort.
You can respond: “We already gave a shower gift to your sister-in-law. Please pass along our congratulations.”
DEAR AMY: “Bride” was upset because her wheelchair-bound father said he didn’t want to go to her wedding. I liked your suggestion to help him by getting a family member or friend to accompany him. My mother (also in a wheelchair) had a friend help her get to my wedding. I was so grateful.
DEAR BRIDE: I will be forever grateful to my mother’s friend, who did this for her when I got married.
Write Amy Dickinson at firstname.lastname@example.org.