Dear Kiki: My boyfriend has been extremely protective since I was attacked

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Questions about love and sex in the Iowa City/Cedar Rapids area can be sent to (queries can also be sent anonymously using this form). Questions may be edited for clarity and length, and may appear either in print or online.

Illustration by Jav Ducker

Dear Kiki,

I am a very independent, beautiful lady of 23, a teacher with a wonderful boyfriend, “Bill.” We occasionally discuss marriage but my independence is important to me. Bill is understanding and supportive, and we are both young so there is no rush. I have my own home and am quite happy with my life. Things got complicated a couple of weeks ago. I came home from work at 3 p.m. and was accosted by two young men burglarizing my house. They were obviously waiting for me because they had brought cords, duct tape and demanded my bank cards. I was not in a position to run, they bound me, taped my mouth and left me face down on the kitchen floor tightly hogtied.

Shortly after they left I began struggling furiously but could not get loose nor, with my ankles and wrists tied together, could I stand and attempt to go for help. Bill was due to stop by after work but that would not be for three hours! I continued struggling with no success and became very achy and quite exhausted. When I finally heard him knock and then enter I was still tightly bound, weeping, completely miserable. I “mmphed” as loudly as I could and was determined not to show my distress but I became wracked with sobs. He found me, untied me and was very comforting.

Since that moment when he found me tied up he has been extremely protective of me. I gradually regained my composure and confidence but he has been treating me as a permanent lady in distress. I really appreciate his concern and tenderness but I am fine, still very independent and in no need of protection. I don’t want to hurt his feelings and I want our relationship to continue but as it was before my ordeal. What do I do? Still feeling…

— Bound and Gagged

Dear B & G,

Hold up — less than a month ago, “things got complicated”? You were put through a terrorizing experience that could have resulted in being raped, kidnapped, tortured, injured, murdered, and you are irritated with your overprotective boyfriend? Please excuse my incredulousness at your nonchalant reaction to your ordeal. Thankfully, you were left mostly unharmed, but it’s difficult for me to think beyond my immediate questions: Did they forcibly break into your house? Did you call the police? Were the robbers caught? Are you having nightmares? Have you gone to therapy? Although I am not a young and beautiful lady as you describe yourself, I am very independent; I have lived alone for many years in a house that I own — and I would still be scared as hell.

It is great that besides this recent incident, you are happy and content with your life and are in love with “Bill.” Being only 23, I agree that there is no reason to rush into marriage and am impressed with your desire to maintain your independence — but I don’t think your boyfriend’s fear is unfounded. It would not be good for your relationship if he thought your experience was no big deal. His reaction to want to protect you is appropriate even if a little smothering. Keep talking about your feelings with him and others who you trust. You were traumatized and violated in your own home where you should feel safest. There is nothing to be ashamed of in admitting it has affected you beyond thinking it’s in the past and that you’re fine now. Please stay safe, and as soon as I finish typing this sentence, I’m double checking that all my doors are locked before going to sleep.

— xoxo, Kiki

This article was originally published in Little Village issue 251.

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  1. B&G, Your boyfriend has and is reacting in the way that honorable men do. It is in their nature to be protective of those they love and care for. Be careful of what you ask for; don’t ask him to stop caring for your well-being. As that might just be how he sees it. If he is the man he appears to be, he has always been protective of you but has held it back to please you. That all changed when he found you as he did and it may take some time for him to recover as well. Give him time and, as Kiki said, give yourself some time to recover as well. There is a difference between “need” and “want”. Make sure he always knows you want him, and sometimes you still need him too. I’m 62 now and have been married 32 years, but I can still remember how independent I was back then. I let my husband know that I needed him and wanted him, but that I still had my own mind and was independent but not too. Sometimes it’s okay for us women to give a little to get a lot in return. Thank God you were not hurt any worse than you were. Take care. Jan

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