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Controlling Men Turn Women Off


Dear Philippa,

I started seeing someone; just hanging out, bowling, having dinner, etc. It is very casual and I'd like it to be more but she doesn't respond. Then she asked me would I mind if my girlfriend went to a male strip club. I told her I didn't really agree with it, but I wouldn't try and stop her going if she wanted to. I got the feeling she was testing me because her last boyfriend was extremely controlling. She has a big problem with us not agreeing on this subject and I am not sure why. I can understand that she doesn't want a repeat of her last boyfriend, but trust and honesty are vital to a relationship, yet she thinks my opinion about the strip club implies I don't trust her. How do you see this situation?

�Bret, Sydney, Australia


Dear Bret,

Many women are very sensitive about the issue of being controlled. One reader, who I will call Sue, wrote me about an possessive boyfriend who started a fight with a guy he thought was dancing with her. The guy was actually dancing with a woman that looked like Sue. Sue is right to be concerned about her boyfriend's jealousy and violent behavior and I hope she gets away from him as fast as she can.

But Bret, you sound like a good guy who is just being open and honest about your feelings. You could be right; your lady friend may well be testing your trust in her because of her last boyfriend's behavior. But, there is a big difference between expressing an opinion and trying to control someone. You don't sound like you are the controlling type.

A sense of independence in a relationship is healthy. But some women may have trouble distinguishing the good guys who express concern from the controlling guys who may be dangerous.

Could it be that at some level you may enjoy being around a woman who is a bit of a challenge? If not, why are you hanging around with someone who is putting up so many roadblocks so early in the relationship? She is still deciding if she wants things to go to the next stage and if you are both compatible. It's too soon for you to be this serious.

You talk about trust being vital to a successful relationship. But Bret, trust is something that builds over time, not after a few weeks of knowing someone. Could your desire to take this relationship to the next step cause you to appear more serious than this woman thinks is appropriate? Your seriousness could come across as a bit stifling, which to a woman coming out of a possessive relationship, could be interpreted as controlling.

The strip club issue may be a red flag about different values. I wouldn't question your opinion or worry about it appearing too controlling. Be true to yourself and recognize that you and this woman may unfortunately not be compatible.



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