19 October 2010, 11:33
Sophia Loren & Jayne Mansfield.
Two women wrote to me with different problems — but they both stem from the same place. Here’s my take on girl jealousy.
I have been in a relationship with my best friend for some time (almost 2 years). I am still very in love with her, (we give each other space). Until now. I’m so jealous of her best friend. I’m so afraid that they’ll fall in love. They have so much in common and spend so much time together.They have so many common interests. It seems like she’d much rather spend time with her. We’ve fought about it so many times. My girlfriend likes to be alone and likes to have the freedom to be with whom she wishes without anyone trying to control her. We almost broke up because I was so insecure about this and wanted her to be more into ME. Give ME more attention. ... I know this feeling comes from insecurity and not feeling like I have anything special to offer. I wonder whats the best way to go forth. How do I go about trying to capture her heart and attention and still give her what she needs? How do I feel good about myself when I’m alone while she’s out with her new best friend?
Ouch. Okay, firstly, you need to be aware that whatever will be will be. Que sera sera, baby. It might make you gasp & gulp to realise this, but you can’t control what happens between your girlfriend & her best friend — it is entirely out of your grasp. You’re just going to have to let go of the reins. Having said that, 99% of the things we worry about never come to fruition! It is such a waste of energy!
Maybe it would help you to really come to grips with the fact that we all have lots of different people in our lives, all who serve a different kind of purpose. I have some friends who can instantly lighten the mood & make me feel good, some who are perfect adventure partners, some who are wonderful to travel with & others who inspire & encourage me to go further than I thought possible. While I love ALL of my friends, there are reasons why I’m not involved with them romantically!
My boyfriend is very different to my friends. I appreciate my friends for who they are, but the criteria for friendship & lovers is poles apart! So try not to feel threatened by their closeness.
The second point I want to make is about your insecurity & the cause of that.
It sounds like you give each other a lot of space, but that your inner life is lacking a bit. There’s no reason why you need to be alone when she’s out with her friend, & honestly, given how insecure you are about the situation, being by yourself with only your thoughts for company is going to be akin to torture — at least until you feel better about things.
When she goes out with her new best friend, find something to do: something that has nothing to do with your girlfriend. What do you like to do in your spare time? What are your passions? What are your goals? Why not get working on some of those things, instead?
I feel like often we peg all our “stuff” on a lover when we don’t have much else going on in our lives. I know I mentioned Tim Ferriss recently, but I watched this great talk where he made a lot of points that are relevant to a lot of things! One thing he said was that when you’re a business-person, it’s really easy to attach your ego to your work. This means that when your work isn’t going well, it feels like your entire life is in ruins. You need other activities & interests so that you can gain some perspective. He said that when he’s having a tough time with his business, he goes & works out — that feeling of lifting an additional 10lbs or whatever makes him feel really good & lifts him out of the funk. I think this is true for some of us in relationships, too. If you’re so focussed on your partner that the slightest disturbance rips your world asunder, it might be a sign that you need to expand your life a little bit.
The other benefit of having your own life is that it makes you much more attractive to your lover! While there is probably a small part of them that wishes you were always home, waiting for them to call, there is a much larger part of them that loves the fact that you have your own friends, your own interests & your own thing going on! Nothing is sexier than independence!
Maybe when your girlfriend sees you out there doing your own thing, having fun & kicking ass & progressing & changing without her, she’ll remember how amazing you are & it’ll make her want to spend more time with you. You’ll be inadvertently showing her a side of you that she’s not familiar with. Seeing a new side to someone you’re dating is hot. Predictability is… not so much!
I have my fingers crossed that your girlfriend & her BFF are purely platonic. But if they’re not, & you have your own life, it will make it that much easier to deal with & get over.
Photo by Alex Prager.
My boyfriend is in touch with some of his ex-girlfriends and it makes me feel freaked out and paranoid! That’s not all though, he is also friends with a lot of women that he works with and has many female friends. I know I am being SO STUPID by being jealous and insecure about it but I don’t know how to stop those feelings. Any ideas?
Well my sweet. Until you learn to stop viewing other women as competition, you’re never going to feel comfortable with him having female friends.
Jealousy of other women manifests itself in a variety of ways. It can make you feel possessive of your lover, it can bait you into talking endless smack about other women, or it can just make you angry & suspicious of female motives. All of those things are pretty sucky for everyone involved!
In your case, I’ve noticed that some women take the route of “banning” communication between their beloved & their exes. I think ultimately this is a mistake. The forbidden is always more tempting, after all, & while you may cut some women out of the equation, there are always more of them. Half the world is made up of women! You cannot stop them from existing!
As long as your boyfriend isn’t behaving in a shady manner, I think this situation is really about you & your own level of self-esteem & how much radical self-love is taking place. Women who love themselves are more than happy for their partners to have friends, regardless of the sex. (Not to mention, the time they spend with their friends frees you up to do your own thing!)
Really, it’s an excellent sign that he has so many female friends. If he was a horrible misogynistic pig, women wouldn’t want to go anywhere near him, & if he was a creep, they wouldn’t either. Clearly, he is kind to women & treats them with respect. You have a formidable man on your hands!
If you’re feeling unsure of yourself or of his commitment to you, you need to do some intensive soul-searching & work out whether it’s your own insecurity which is tripping you up. It could be something which only requires a simple tweak, like for example that you need your boyfriend to be more demonstrative (or vocal) in his adoration of you. Some guys are not naturally very good at this, & may need encouragement!
While some will think that requesting more loving attention from your partner shows a character flaw or defect, I don’t think it does. It’s important that you are able to communicate your emotional needs without fear of judgment or retribution. We need to have our emotional needs met in a relationship. Otherwise, there’s no point. If they’re not, you’re definitely going to get fed up & you’ll probably leave him. Both those things can be avoided by clear, effective communication!
Back to the issue at hand. When you feel jealous of another woman, it can help to really sit down with those feelings & go through them. It might be painful, but it’s a process that is worth persisting with.
Gay & Katie Hendricks say, “You are never upset for the reason you think.” They’re so right! The only way to decipher your emotions is to sit with them & sort through the detritus.
When it comes to jealousy, it can help to ask yourself ‘What qualities do these women have that make me feel inadequate, small or “not good enough”?’
Maybe your best friend & your boyfriend get along like a house on fire, & share many similar interests. Perhaps one of these women is super-confident about her body. Maybe she is brave about speaking her mind, & is vocal with her opinions. Perhaps she just knows more about politics than you! If you can sit down & really be HONEST with yourself about the root cause of your jealousy, you’ll be empowered to do something about it.
What you do with your discoveries is entirely up to you. Maybe you’ll decide to become more educated about world affairs or decide to love your body more. Or maybe you’ll just sit with that information, soak it in, accept it, & continue with your life.
Knowledge (especially of yourself) is power. The worst thing you can do with a strong feeling or emotion is deny it & push it down to the bottom of your stomach. Learn to become comfortable with the things your mind is telling you, no matter how painful or awkward, & it will teach you so much about yourself.
If you can push aside the women-must-compete mindset — which is extremely pervasive — & begin to view women as fantastic friends, mentors & allies, you’ll feel so much more relaxed in yourself. Furthermore, you’ll attract a whole host of incredible women into your world, which can be so enriching to your life! (Great friends also last much longer than most of our boyfriends!)