I have an issue. My boyfriend recently proposed to me in one of the most gorgeous and private proposals imaginable. Of course, being in love with him, I accepted and was thrilled to do so. Fast-forward three months later when we were sorting through boxes in our new shared apartment and one of my old diaries fell out. I thought nothing of it, but curiosity got the best of him and he wound up reading about my past relationship in full and sordid detail. There were some racy entries that left him feeling I had not been fully open with him about my past and he has asked to call off the engagement until he can get past what he “now knows.” I am floored. This is not a man who usually behaves like this, but he’s acting like I cheated on him, asking for details that seem inappropriate to share in order to build trust. I don’t know what to do. I never lied to him, but I may have downplayed certain parts of our relationship and my passion for ex, but don’t we all do that out of respect for our current relationships?
Dear Not Guilty:
Oh, love. This is a tough situation. I can fully understand a man or woman not wanting a play-by-play of relationships past, but the thing that popped out most to me in your letter was the line about building trust. You give your boyfriend/fiancé a pass by referencing his snooping as “curiosity getting the best” of him, a generous statement to be sure, but one might also question why he is not offering his bride-to-be the benefit of the doubt? In most cases I would think that, by the time he proposed and you accepted, trust had been built. I am sorry to be so candid, but it is my humble opinion that his decision to bring your past into this new chapter has distrust written all over it.
Here’s what I think you should do:
Focus less on dodging his questions and start asking a few of your own. Has he snooped before? Has he suggested that he isn’t comfortable with the statements you have made about your past and asked for more information? What made him want to read your diary instead of asking you permission, and does he think he has crossed a boundary or does he think all information becomes fair game once you’re engaged? Presenting these kinds of questions to him (and yourself) will not only get you to the heart of the matter faster, but it will also shed some light on where you both stand on a number of issues and how soon you should be standing together at the altar.
Good luck, love.