Between lovers

Dear Jody

Q: I'm so upset that I hope I can write this letter to you. Hopefully, it will make sense. "Ron," my partner of 13 years, announced to me that his first love had come to town. Now understand, his first love was 20 years ago when he was 17 years old. His relationship with this guy "George" was for only 10 months. It ended when they graduated from high school and went to different colleges.

Back to George coming to town. When Ron told me that he was coming, I was OK with it. I figured we'd all go out to eat and Ron and George would talk about old times in high school. And that would be it. Good ol' George would go back to Oklahoma and we'd go on with our lives.

Speaking of our lives, Ron and I have been very happy. This isn't just my idea of our relationship, Ron would have said that too, along with all our friends.

Well, what Ron had in mind was that he and George would go out and sort through the good old days, and I could stay home and feel insecure. I know that I just said that we have a great relationship, but when Ron didn't want me part of the dinner out, I got really nervous. Well, tell me, wouldn't anyone? What does Ron have to hide, anyway? When he said that he didn't want me there, I figured that he must have something to hide. So, I asked him what they did back then that I couldn't hear about. Ron said that he had nothing to hide about what they did then, but that he wanted to find out if he (Ron) still had feelings for George, and that he couldn't really figure that out if I were going to be there.

I have to tell you that when he said that, it sent me to the moon, emotionally! Here I thought that we had a great relationship, and he says that!

I didn't tell him how upset I was about it all, but when we went to bed that night, he couldn't understand why he didn't get any. (Talk about numb nuts!). The next morning, he was upset with me! Get that, he was upset! He acted like he had gotten offended, hurt and betrayed - instead of me.

Well, they did go out, two days after he announced his plan to me. I had a horrible night, but I did go over to a friend's house for support. By the way, my friend was horrified about what Ron was doing. He thought I ought to pack up that night and just leave Ron. Believe me, Jody, I felt like doing just that. I did go home that night because I wanted to see what time Ron came home. It was 3:12 a.m. I pretended I was sleeping. I didn't want him to know that he was getting to me or that I was awake until he opened the door.

So, the next morning I coolly asked him how it went. He just said that it was fine. Nothing more. Now, I don't know what to think. Do I ask him if he's still in love with me or George? Is he going to stay with me? Like what do I do now?


A: First, I can certainly understand how horrifying all this is to you. Ron's insensitivity is mind boggling. Having said that, I'm also horrified at your and Ron's communication skills. It sounds like you could use more communication, to put in mildly. I'm amazed that your relationship has lasted 13 years and has been a happy one, given how you communicate with each other. I think what you do now is run (not walk) to a good mental-health therapist for couples' counseling. If Ron is not willing to do it, you go. Being a doormat is no way to live life.

Jody Valley spent 12 years as a clinical social worker. She worked with the LGBT community both as a counselor and a workshop leader in the areas of coming out, self-esteem and relationship issues. Reach Jody at The Dear Jody column appears weekly. Letters may be edited.

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