From the U.S.: A few days ago I was on Facebook and an old friend saw me and struck up a conversation. I had not seen or talked to my friend for well over 40 years. We were neighbors growing up and when we were both about 18 we hung out together for a few months. We were never serious, just a couple of friends having a lot of fun. I was a musician and a biker and we partied together for a short period of time. When we were talking and talking about the old days, my old friend asked me if we’d ever slept together. I said that I had wanted to but no, we never did.

My girlfriend then came into the room and asked what I was doing. I told her I’d been contacted by an old friend and was happy to have talked to her. My girlfriend wanted to see what I’d written so I showed her. I don’t think we should have secrets from each other and since I’d done nothing wrong I had no problem showing her the conversation. My girlfriend then gets upset complaining I had disrespected her. Huh? I’m talking to someone about something that had happened 45 years ago, and my present girlfriend claims I disrespected her with my conversation. I know my girlfriend is the jealous type, but I just don’t get this. Now she doesn’t want to have sex until I apologize. I didn’t do anything wrong so why should I apologize for her jealous misinterpretations of something completely innocent?

A: I agree. Huh? And your girlfriend is punishing you by withholding sex?

The problem is not that you talked about the old days with an old friend. The problem is that the two of you aren’t talking about what you really need to be talking about.

It isn’t helpful to argue with her about whether you should or should not apologize. It would be much more useful to address the basis of her insecurity directly. I can’t tell from your letter if she is overly anxious and jealous or if there is something you may be doing, however unintentionally, that is making her feel vulnerable. On the face of it, this incident is innocent and she is over-reacting. But it may be that there has been a build up of incidents and that this one was some kind of “last straw.”

I am guessing you are in the early stages of a relationship. It’s important for the two of you to have a conversation about the basis of her concern and to work it through. You are setting the foundation for how you will relate to each other in the future.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie