Dear Dr. Romance:

I'm having major anxiety about the guy I'm dating. I wanted to talk with him, but I lost my strength when I asked about his ex and he gave me an answer like, "There are things you need to know and things you don't need to know and when things don't affect you, you don't need to know them."

The strange thing is, He feels like home and I feel safe when I'm with him, and I do love him :( However, when he was here, he went outside to call his ex when we were together, not one but both nights, and the second night he even covered it up (my gut knows this is what he did). The first time he called, I found out because I lost my phone and he let me borrow his. I saw he had called her, and he told me it was because they share a dog.

I don't think it's sexual, but I'm not sure it's not emotional. He told my friends he was a navy fighter pilot (he's told me this too) and even once proceeded to show me a picture of him flying in a plane. He also told me this weekend that he renews his license every six months to stay current. Tonight, a friend of mine went on the FAA website and found out that he was a student pilot and hasn't renewed any student license since 2000.

My question is, why the unimportant lies? If he's lying about this, is he lying about everything? He's out of town now for a few days. We're supposed to see each other in a couple of days and I'm concerned about how to handle this. I need to approach certain subjects, like his real relationship with his ex and although I don't care if he flies or not, the fact that he is lying to me (he told me he'd always tell me the truth when I ask things) makes me really cautious.

It hurts more because I know he has strong feelings for me, he even drove down to help me move despite being super sick. He came here because he said he didn't want to let me down. I feel torn. I'm a really honest person and need to talk with him about his secrets. I want to do it in a kind/loving way, even if it means he runs the other way. I know I can't change him, but I wonder if he can change. How can I try to talk with him so that I can trust him. Do you have any advice?

Dear Reader:

I think you're way ahead of yourself. If you feel safe with him, and he treats you well, those are good things. You should relax and just have a good time for a while. As far as whether he's telling the truth, I think you need to find out if he wants to be serious; because you're getting serious. If he's just having a good time, and not intending a commitment, then he's right that you don't need to know those things. You do need to know he's an honest, reliable guy before you make a commitment, but you will have trouble finding that out if you're too anxious and demanding.

I think he's not telling you all the truth, but I also think you're getting way more serious than he is. What you need to ask him is: "What kind of a relationship do we have, and what, if anything, can I count on?"

Then, any questions you ask, assume he's telling the truth and you're the one who's got bad information. You're acting as though he's asked to put a ring on your finger, and that's not the case. There's a long road of discovery between now and when you have a commitment. Back off, give him a chance to reveal himself naturally. You're trying to control everything. Instead, control yourself and your heart, and play it cool for a while. Don't get so committed to him until you see whether he's worth it, and allow time for that to happen.  Use this time while we're all sheltering in place to think about what you really want.

"10 Reasons for Not Falling in Love"  will help you understand what your fears are about.  "Keys to a Happy Relationship"  will help you have more confidence that you can make a relationship work.

Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences contains information and exercises which will help you communicate better with your guy, and find out more about what's going on.

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Author's Bio: 

Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. is a licensed psychotherapist in S. California since 1978 with over 30 years experience in counseling individuals and couples and author of 13 books in 17 languages, including It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction; The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again; Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting About the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage, The Commuter Marriage, and her newest, Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences. She writes the “Dr. Romance” blog, and the “Happiness Tips from Tina” email newsletter.