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Hi Captain!

Thanks for your awesome blog. It helped me through a Darth Vader boyfriend break-up.

Now I’m dating a guy who is super lovely, like a beam of sunshine whose patronus is a golden retriever. The thing that sometimes overwhelms me is his enthusiasm, actually, maybe because he’s Australian and I’m an American whose been living in Britain for 10 years, who knows.

We’ve been dating for four months, and it’s been smooth and lovely sailing. We had our first point of conflict recently when a friend of mine came to visit.

My boyfriend didn’t go out with us because he didn’t like this friend from the get-go, and later he said he was baffled as to why I would spend time with this friend (who is a casual friend; I see him maybe once every 6 months or so, we go out for drinks with other friends). The friend, let’s call him Steve, is – to me – an over-the-top guy who is a bit of a mess, but we get on well and I don’t take him too seriously. He drinks too much and does drugs, and I don’t partake in the latter but am happy to go out for a pint with him and other friends.

It’s probably important to note that Steve and I had a very casual fling last summer and then it settled into a friendship by my choosing, a year before I started dating my boyfriend, and my boyfriend knows this and claims that it’s not a problem. (Steve is 28, my boyfriend is 29 and I’m 32.)

My boyfriend wasn’t concerned about me going out, and he bowed out because he didn’t like Steve, but later expressed a lot of concern about me having such a toxic and awful person in my life. I felt like it was an overreaction – I don’t really think much about Steve, he’s fun for a brief catch-up, tea or lunch, but I don’t feel he deserves that much energy, whereas my boyfriend went so far as to suggest that Steve – being a student-party-type – was really bad for me, and, quote ‘it was a red flag’, and he couldn’t understand why I would hang out with a potentially toxic person when I clearly was so otherwise good in my judgement of people.

We talked it out pretty well, but it left me feeling uneasy.

I admitted I didn’t want to NOT see Steve just because BF didn’t like it, and he acknowledged that it wasn’t intended to be a controlling thing, more that he (BF) was baffled because Steve is so unlike my other friends. (In general me and BF get on so well because we’re pretty straight-laced, non-party-types, and until Steve, we’ve each really loved and got on with one another’s friends.)

However, I wonder if BF is idolising me and thinking I can Do No Wrong and is a bit shocked that I do have friends who like to get drunk, or that I do occasionally stay up late drinking cocktails, and he hasn’t seen me do this much because we don’t like to do that and we don’t bring it out in one another. (One of the reasons I’m so enjoying BF is that he encourages the healthier preferences of my personality.)

BF is intensely into self-improvement and not having anyone Toxic in his life. We both came out of very difficult relationships where we were the ‘Carer’ for a really emotionally troubled partner, so I get the feeling he is anxious about me going off the rails, perhaps.

I felt able to assert that I needed to make my own decisions about my friends, and who I spend time with, but also that I respect his discomfort in this issue, so I think we reached a good conclusion, but I still feel a bit unsettled. Am I being silly – is he just plain jealous?

Thanks for your thoughts.

Sincerely,
Enjoying chilling out and would like BF to be able to chill out as well.

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Greetings, Captain Awkward!

To get to the point, I keep getting inklings that my boyfriend isn’t as loyal as I would like but I’d love your perspective and any advice you might have.

My boyfriend has a couple of female friends who are not friendly to me, and he doesn’t seem to mind this.

For instance, after Boyfriend and I spent time with some of his friends, I said something kind about “Alice” (I can’t remember what it was) and he said he was impressed by how I rise above her, because “she sure isn’t kind to you.” Alice flirts with him and is mean or dismissive of me. It’s textbook boring high school stuff (we’re in our late 30s, for Christ sake!) and she’s kind of flighty and blabby, so I just roll my eyes inwardly and move on. But I didn’t realize that he sees how rude she is to me. He flirts right back with her and gives her big hugs and kisses, which is pretty gross to me since he’s aware of her rudeness.

It would be great to have a game plan and/or script for the next time this person is around and decides to avoid making eye contact with me and ignore what I say while flirting with him.

There’s another female friend with whom he has a brief physical past, has known for many years, and wanted to be in a relationship with not long before he met me. She flaked on him then, not responding to letters or texts, and she only came back into the picture after he and I started dating.

All throughout our 4-year relationship, “Sue” has sent him little texty-texts saying she misses him and “How long is it going to be before I can see you again?” They get together every now and then. He’s always said she’s a very good and close friend, but that it would be “weird” for she and I to meet. Two years into our relationship, I had to insist that she and I meet. However, Sue backed out of meeting me at that point saying (via text) that she’d have to put their friendship on hold while she searched her heart…but a few months later she was back to her little texty-texts and wanting to see him.

More than three years into our relationship, he wanted to see her and I again said, wait, if you have this supposedly close friend who lives in the same city as us and is so important to you, then she and I need to meet. It’s so fucking basic. But she became angry and spouted something about prudes and Catholics, and that she’s known him for so many years that she shouldn’t have to meet me in order to see him…before finally agreeing to meet me (with him). She then flaked a few hours before we were supposed to get together, and didn’t respond to his follow-up text to pick another day. Now it’s been another few months and he wants to see her and tells me that he knows she needs to be willing to meet me and acknowledge our relationship, but I don’t feel like she’s ever going to be someone I can trust even if she does put on her big girl pants and actually meet me.

I have a lot of other things in my life to think about and focus on, and these women are like annoying flies buzzing around in the background. But when I focus on them, I doubt my relationship. When my boyfriend and I talk about them, he tends to say that I’m making a bigger deal of it than it is and that Sue is just a good friend and that Alice is kind of gross. I think he’s mostly innocent but likes their attention, the thrill of the non-girlfriend and all that.

Do you have any thoughts on these situations, or talking points to help me feel empowered?

Thank you!

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Dear Captain,

I am a (female) musician just starting out on a new duo project with a fellow (male) musician, and we’re just about heading for our first gigs and things. We’re both really excited — we get on well musically and personally, and we’re enjoying what we do and looking forward to sharing it with people. However, he has a girlfriend, who is (perhaps inevitably) insecure in one way or another about him playing music with “pretty young women” (she’s a fair bit older than us two, hence the inclusion of “young”). They have their own conversations to have about all sorts of things (not my business, of course), but the nub of it is that it makes him uncomfortable having to tell her about this new duo with me. He and I are both on the autistic spectrum, and established in a beautifully blunt moment that neither of us was interested in the other for the sake of getting the conversation out of the way, and he’s since referred to me as a “top bloke”, which to me makes the distinction perfectly clear. While it’s that simple for us, it’s not that simple for her, and I totally see where she’s coming from having been in her position previously.

My question is what can I do to help the situation? He said he will talk to her about the duo at some point soon when he can find a good moment (they live quite far away from each other so it’s not 100% simple), but in the mean time, it means that I can’t get excited in public too much about it because he thinks she shouldn’t find out from me or by seeing a random Facebook post (far from unreasonable). He’s already asked me not to tag him in posts about being excited about making music together for her sake, and while I can see that it’s a small gesture towards keeping things OK from his side (he’s my friend, why the hell shouldn’t I?), I worry that I’m going to do or say something stupid that’s going to cause problems for them or for us. He says it’s not going to get in the way of the duo working and being successful, but I can’t help feeling there’s an inevitable sticking point if his girlfriend is uncomfortable with him hanging around with me at the close quarters necessary to work in such a small ensemble. I haven’t met her yet, though our paths are due to cross in the coming months, but I’m nervous of making some mistake that means that her insecurities come out and cause problems.

In short, I play music with a guy in whom I’m not remotely romantically interested, but I think my being female and apparently not bad looking (who am I to judge?) might cause a problem, and I want to know what I can do to avoid sticking my boot in it. She sounds nice, and they are basically happy, and he and I are very happy with the music we make, and I don’t want it to get any more complex than that.

Yours,
Over-Optimistic Aspie Musician

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Beyonce asking" Why are you so jealous?"

We haven’t had a gif party or a “Yo, maybe you are way cooler than that person you are dating” thread in a while, so, here you go.

Dear Captain Awkward:

My partner of 5 years moved 200 miles away last week for a job. I’m sad he’s gone and I’m missing him, but I really support what he’s doing —  he was having a hard and stressful time finding work in his field in our city and has been unhappy for some time. We agreed that, for now, we want to keep our relationship exclusive and revisit that decision in a few months. 

On Saturday, I went to the corner store and one of the workers — I’ve seen him many times, but we’ve never really talked — initiated a conversation with me. I felt a little forced into it (“Hi there, lady who never talks to me when she comes in to buy cigarettes”) but he’s a part of my neighborhood and I wanted to be polite. He turned out to be a big talker and amusing storyteller, and we had a 15-minute conversation about his family, his country, and so on. Very innocuous and kind of sweet; I tend to be reserved and don’t necessarily get to know people I see daily. He asked about my partner, and I told him that he’d moved.

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Dear Captain Awkward,

My friend N alternately acts like she feels threatened by me and like she wants to be me. It’s really creepy but I don’t know how to address it without sounding jealous and paranoid.

I met her three years ago. We became close quickly, and she had a crush on me, which I suspect was a nice distraction from the awful breakup she was going through. She invited me on a camping trip hoping to hook up with me, but was surprised that bringing a second woman along meant she was no longer the only woman in an otherwise all-male group, and she was no longer the group’s tomboy because I have more camping experience. Several guys hit on me, including her ex. She spent the whole weekend sulking and making passive aggressive comments.

I thought her resentment would subside when I started dating someone, but she became really possessive of my boyfriend. They’ve never dated, but sometimes play-fight when they drink. My boyfriend and I both practice martial arts, and our rather hilarious how-did-you-two-meet story involves a fight club. Often when N and I are meeting someone new, I mention my boyfriend’s name. The other person asks, “Oh, who’s that?” Before I can answer, much less tell our story, N interrupts me with, “That’s her boyfriend, who ***I*** introduced her to, who I fight in the street! I’m a street fighter!” and she tells the story of that time she tried to fight my boyfriend, but fell and twisted her ankle and he carried her home. Then she talks about herself at length. If this new person is male, she doesn’t let me get a single word in edgewise. If a guy hits on me, she pouts and starts up the passive-aggression. She also tries to one-up me on comics trivia, which she only got into after meeting me.

I’ve tolerated this because she’s a great friend when sober. But lately, we only see each other at parties, and her behavior is getting more obnoxious. Recently she interrupted me talking about work to tell the “street fighting” story to people who had already heard it a million times, while positioning her chair in front of me so that her back was to me and I was physically excluded from the group. Later she glared at me, sat on my boyfriend’s lap, and talked about how great he is.

I’ve asked my boyfriend to deliberately invite me back into conversations when she excludes me, and to not make physical contact with her. I don’t know what to say to her though, and our once-close friendship is becoming a sad competition where no one wins.

–Not-Single, Not-White Female

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Hello, everyone! I ducked out to South Carolina for a few days to see family. Regular computer access is now restored.

Two links today:

Dear Captain Awkward:

I am a 14 year old and am a freshman in high school. I’m a guy by the way. There’s this other guy that keeps flirting with the girl I like. He’s kind of my friend but since he’s not in my grade, we don’t really talk much or hang out much. After school, I keep seeing him flirting with her and she talks to him and laughs with him occasionally. It gets on my nerves so bad! I really like her and I don’t like the fact that he likes her and is always flirting with her.

I’m jealous because he gets to spend more time with her than I do. I’m a freshmen and she’s a junior. We’re both in band together and that’s practically the only time I get to see her except in between classes, before and after school. I don’t think she likes me and I also don’t think she likes him. What should I do? I want her and I can’t stand to see him always talking to her and her talking to him. I’m jealous. What do I do and how to I get her away from him? She doesn’t really flirt back with him nor does she flirt with me. 

Jealous Guy

Dear Jealous Guy:

This is hard, painful, visceral stuff, but I’m glad you wrote in.

If you want to go out with this girl, ask her.

 

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Dear Captain Awkward,

So, this friend is someone I’ve known for nearly a decade. We went to college together, we were roommates during and after college together, we’ve collaborated on work together, we hang out weekly, we have certain holidays we spend with each other . . . that sort of thing. We’ve had our ups and downs, but arguably our relationship with each other is the best it’s ever been.

Problem is this: friend is very unhappy about her dating life. She has never had a significant other in all the time I’ve known her and has barely gone on dates — not for lack of interest in having either, but from a seeming dearth of potential partners. This is inexplicable to me, as she’s not a bad catch in many departments and can be a very likable, funny, cool person with undeniable talent, but the fact remains that she has been unhappily single in all the time I’ve known her. And yes, “unhappily single” are her own words, not mine.

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