Dear Dr. Turndorf, I have been in a relationship for three years. I have a loving boyfriend but last week my boyfriend caught me looking at an old boyfriend profile online and now is mad at me. What can I do to make things better. It’s not like I have feeling for my ex-boyfriend. I love my boyfriend so much and our anniversary is coming up this month.
You say that your boyfriend is angry. I think that he is actually feeling threatened and hurt. For many men, it’s difficult to admit vulnerability. Instead they hide their hurt feelings and allow angry feelings to surface instead.When a person feels angry, he feels strong and powerful rather than weak and small. This is a far more preferable state for most men, and this explains why he’s letting you know that he’s angry instead of admitting that he’s hurt and scared.Before you talk to him, you need to understand why you were looking at your ex’s photo. You say that you don’t have feelings for the ex, so figure out why you were looking. Were you remembering old times? Were you comparing then and now and giving thanks for how much happier you are today?When you understand, you’ll be in a better position to explain your actions to your boyfriend. But before you explain your actions, you must first help him to speak about his feelings and fears.Your job is to listen and understand and not insert yourself at all.When he’s fully aired his side and he feels completely understood by you, then and only then is it time to ask him if he wants to know why you did what you did. If he says he’s ready to hear from you, tell him first that you understand why he might feel worried that you don’t love him; or he might feel concerned that you’re having second thoughts about the relationship. Tell him why you did what you did and reassure him.I’m sure that all will be fine when you have the discussion I describe above.Enjoy your anniversary!