By Carolyn Hax
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, August 3, 2007

Hi, Carolyn:

My boyfriend is excessively and unreasonably jealous, insecure and mistrustful of other men -- be they friends, exes or strangers on the street.

I'm wondering if it's okay to meet up with a (male) college friend without telling my boyfriend. When I made these plans, the relationship with my boyfriend was strained. Now that he and I seem to be on stronger ground (for the moment), I'm in the difficult situation of either dumping my friend or awkwardly inviting my boyfriend along. Contrary to my boyfriend's suspicions, my relationship with my friend always has been purely platonic.

Because I'm not technically doing anything wrong, does the adage "What they don't know won't hurt them" hold true? I just want to avoid fighting with my boyfriend about spending time with a friend, even if he is male.

Are There Any Little White Lies?

Curious. Do you enjoy having to build a little shield of rationalizations, omissions, justifications and defiance, just to do one innocent thing you have an absolute right to do?

And does your relationship offer anything that justifies the eggshell-walking required?

If yes, does your answer change if you're blunt about the cost? Because with every jealous flare-up, he's calling you cheap, dishonest, unworthy of his trust.

Your only defense against these attacks on you -- and make no mistake, his jealousy is an attack, of a kind known to escalate -- is your confidence in yourself. You feel like a good person. You know it's his insecurity, and that his fears are baseless.

So now you keep your secret date-that-isn't-a-date with your college friend, and what do you have? You have proof you're a sneak, and he has confirmation that you and other men are a combination not to be trusted.

Do you still have the facts of a platonic friendship and an innocent meeting to rest on? Sure.

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