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You Asked: He Doesn't Have Boundaries

You Asked: He Doesn't Have Boundaries


Dear Sugar,

My boyfriend of three years supervises around 25 women. About eight months ago, we were out of town and he received a text message, which I picked up since he wasn't around. It was a very sexual joke from one of his employees, whom I already have issues with since she's constantly telling my boyfriend how she wants to leave her husband, which I find totally inappropriate.

I didn't say anything, but I checked his phone bills later and found that for the past year, he's been texting her 20 to 30 times a month! I confronted him and he assured me that they were all work related — even though some were in the middle of the night. I knew he was lying so I kept pressing him and went so far as to tell him that I had requested the transcripts from our provider. He went nuts, but admitted they were sexual jokes and comments. I was devastated. She's married; he's her supervisor and he was deleting them from his phone so that I wouldn't see them.

I told him to stop or I was leaving him. He told her that she could only contact him via cell if it were work related — there are office and lab phones and he has voicemail so there's no need to use the cell at all. She stopped contact for eight months, until finally she started up again. My boyfriend won't say anything else to her; she is very manipulative. I'm concerned they're going to fall back into the same pattern. We've talked about getting married, but honestly I don't think I want to continue with this man if he won't put up boundaries that make me feel safe. Am I wrong to feel this way?

— In Need of Boundaries Beth

To see DearSugar's answer, read more.

Dear In Need of Boundaries Beth,

Your boyfriend has been exchanging sexual innuendos with a married employee, so I think it's quite normal to feel uncomfortable by the situation. Although it's easy to mark this other woman as manipulative, keep in mind that your boyfriend is a grown man, and perfectly capable of putting an end to these texts. Needless to say, there are some deep trust issues in your relationship, and until your boyfriend can acknowledge your concerns, I doubt that they can be fixed.

Don't let him make you think that your concerns are irrational; you have every right to feel the way that you do. But likewise, don't allow yourself to continue your paranoid snooping. If you feel yourself wanting to check his phone bills again then, to me, that's a signal that your relationship isn't healthy. Since you know that you can't maintain a relationship without appropriate boundaries, then if this continues, I think you know what you need to do.

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