Dear Catherine and Adam, Even before my boyfriend, Jeremy, and I started dating, he was friends with a lot of girls. I never minded this while we weren’t going out, but now it makes me insane with jealousy. Recently, I blew up and told him that as far as I was concerned, it was inappropriate for him to go out alone with them to movies or anywhere else for that matter. Am I being absurd?
Danny S. Taylor, Dickson
Catherine: I’m pretty sure Jason wouldn’t have asked you to be his girlfriend unless he liked you more than these other “girl friends.” So, on a rational level, no, you shouldn’t be jealous.
However, any girl is aware of the hormone level of the average teenage boy, as well as their questionable moral judgment. Like the former, the latter is a genetic problem. Factor in the normal amount of jealousy that will inevitably arise when your boyfriend is hanging out with a cute girl (read: without you) and I for one am woman enough to admit that I’d feel threatened.
So the real question is whether or not he has more than an innocent interest in these girls he calls friends.
A good way to solve this problem would be to force yourself into his plans every time he mentions he’s going to do something with one of them. Then check out his reaction. Another option would be to spy on him. You might also consider using some of the new advances in surveillance technology. You could, say, plant a hidden camera in his room.
All right, maybe forcing yourself into his plans isn’t the right way to go about it, and maybe the other ideas are a little extremebut if you’re uncomfortable with him being alone with other girls, then he should respect that. You can’t tell him not to be friends with people he was friends with before the two of you even started dating, but you can tell him that now that you’re together, he might have to get used to a few changes.
If that doesn’t work, you’re forced to do it the immature way.
For instance: Suddenly acquire new male friends. (Bonus points if they’re more attractive than him.) Then, whenever he has plans with Tiffany you can say, “No prob. Steve wants to take me out to dinner tonight, anyway.” (This plan is guaranteed to at least get a rise out of him.) I don’t advise actually cheating on Jasonthat would be wrong. In most cases. But if he’s really stuck in his ways, giving him a taste of his own medicine might be just what the boy needs.
Of course, if any of these girls are interested in your boyfriend or happened to have dated him some time in the recent past, then your jealously is completely warranted, because I sometimes wonder if girls can be trusted too. And let’s face it: If Jason’s committed to you now, he doesn’t need to be spending time with anyone else who’s interested in him. He needs to be spending time with you only. Always. Same goes for anyone for whom he might have, at some point in the recent past, had romantic feelings. We all know how it goessometimes one cheesy love song on the radio is all it takes to create that “Let’s be more than friends” or “Let’s rekindle that old flame” kind of feeling. It can keep you awake at night thinking about it.
Look, I don’t know Jason. Maybe he wouldn’t cheat on you if he had the chance. Maybe you should just trust him and not worry about it. Maybe if all else fails, you can set his friend Tiffany up with your friend Steve.
Adam: I’m of the school that believes it takes a certain sexual chemistry for men and women to be friends in the first place. So when it comes to Jason having friends of the opposite sex, Danny, you need to be afraidvery afraid.
Advice-wise, I agree with Catherine: The first thing you should do to address this problem is to subtly insert yourself into his plans with these other people. Any hesitation on his part should be a dead giveaway that something squirrelly is going on.
If that doesn’t work, you might try hanging out with these girls alone or even becoming friends with them. Knowing you will make it more difficult for them to attempt anything with your boyfriend without suffering feelings of extreme guilt. The beauty of this method is that you’ll get to meet their boyfriends, and if they insist on going out with Jason on dates, then you can turn around, go on dates with their boyfriends, and give them a taste of their own medicine.
Should you decide to give Jason a taste of his own medicine, I recommend you call me. I am listed in the phone book.
What I wouldn’t recommend is that you restrict him from seeing these girls. Not only does this raise trust issues and reveal an off-putting bossiness on your part, but the fact is that men like forbidden fruit, and the more forbidden, the more they like it.
So, in answer to your question of whether you’re being absurd, no. You’re not. Jealousy alone isn’t absurd. But you’re also not trusting your boyfriend. A relationship without trust is absurd. So, you can do one of two things: Trust him; let him go out with other girls and don’t think about it. Or, don’t trust him and play the ridiculous games we’ve outlined.
I think the choice is obvious.
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