Dear Annie: I’m a middle-aged man who has been divorced for four years. I am currently a caregiver for my mother, so I don’t get out much. I’ve taken to many social media sites as a way to meet people with similar interests and have developed several relationships, purely platonic, with women I’ve met online. I also started an on-again, off-again romance with an old flame. We live two hours apart. Six months ago, we decided to become exclusive and work on a future together.

The problem started when one of my female Facebook friends posted on my page and my girlfriend wanted to know who she was. From there, the floodgates opened. When I told her that many of my Facebook friends are women, she flipped out and said it was inappropriate for a guy in a committed relationship to have female Facebook friends. I tried to reassure her that she had nothing to worry about, and frankly, I resent being told who my friends can be. After several days of this endless argument, I tried to be more sensitive to her needs and unfriended several of these women, hoping that would be the end of it. It wasn’t.

The other day, I greeted a lady friend with the nickname “Sunshine.” It’s a name I use frequently, and it has no romantic overtones. We’ve been fighting about it ever since. She says she should be the only female friend I need. When I suggest this is about her insecurities, she says I’m seeking attention from other women.

She’s a great girl, but I’m having serious reservations about committing to someone who is determined to find smoke so she can accuse me of starting fires. I have no history of cheating and zero interest. Any advice? — Faithful and Upset

Dear Faithful: We agree that your girlfriend seems insecure and controlling and will likely demand that you give up all of your female friends at some point. However, we believe she also is responding to the apparent fact that the majority of your friends are women. Your girlfriend attributes it to your desire for female attention. Please examine your behavior and ask yourself whether she has a point.

Dear Annie: I would like to ask some questions of married women. What makes you think that your family is more important than your husband’s? Why do you want him to ignore his family and “cleave unto yours”? How did you convince him that his mother isn’t hurt by this?

My son has been married for 30 years, and in all that time, he’s ignored me and spent time with his in-laws. I hold my tongue because it would make things worse if I did not. Everyone thinks my son and his family are the greatest. She and her family are shrewd, and my son is spineless and blind. Worse, the grandchildren think I do not deserve to be treated any better.

My son has siblings, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles and cousins who are all ignored. Of course, they know where we are when they want a gift. — Venting

Dear Venting: The best way to make sure you stay close to your children is to ingratiate yourself with their spouses. We are so sorry you’ve had such a bitter experience, and we hope your words will mean something to our married readers.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.