GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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March 16, 2013

Boyfriend's sense of ownership may extend beyond the mail

:Dear Abby: My boyfriend and I are in our 20s and have been dating for five years. We’re renovating a home that we will live in once it’s completed. We have never lived together before.

During the renovation, I have come to the house to find that he has opened packages that were addressed to me. The first time, I didn’t say anything because I thought he might have thought it was his. After the second and third times, I mentioned — nicely — that they weren’t his to open. He claims he “knew” they were things for the house, which is why he opened them.

I was raised that people’s mail and packages were theirs to open, and I would never think of opening anything sent to him. This is an issue for me, but he brushes it off. He feels entitled to open my packages since it is his home, too. How can I make it clear that I expect him to respect my personal mail when he thinks this is no big deal?

:No Respect In New York

Dear No Respect: If I were you, I’d be less concerned about his opening your packages and far more concerned that when you tell him something bothers you, he ignores it. His disregard for your feelings is a red flag.

Your boyfriend appears to think that what is yours is his. Is the reverse also true? (I’ll bet it’s not.) Does he also check your phone messages and email? Does this extend to any other areas of your relationship?

If this was only about his opening your mail, I would advise you to open a post office box in your name only. However, if the answer to any of my questions is yes, I think you should take a sober look at the entire relationship.

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Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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