“Dear Brian…My boyfriend has a friend who is a girl, and she clearly has feelings for him. Everyone sees it but him, and he doesn’t understand why it bothers me that they spend so much time together. What should I do?”
This sounds exactly like that TV show Cheaters! I can see it now: a boyfriend has a friend who is a girl but that girl is not his girlfriend and the guy’s actual girlfriend is all suspicious and jealous and gets this stuffy old dude with slicked back hair to figure out what’s really going on. Ande finds the boyfriend and the non-girlfriend girl friend totally making out in a hot tub at some trashy roadside motel outside of Orlando and cameras are there and everyone cries. This is very exciting!
Except I guess that puts me in the role of the stuffy old dude? Oh, and it puts your boyfriend in the role of some creep and that girl in the role of some disrespectful jerk and I’m guessing none of that is actually true. Unless… wait, is that really what you’re worried about? I was totally joking about that Cheaters thing! Is that really why you don’t like them hanging out? Do you think he’s going to cheat on you? Wait, are you Carrie Underwood?!
Look, Carrie. If you think your boyfriend is awesome and cute and all that, chances are other people are going to think so, too. It’s inevitable unless you’re inclined to date disgusting jerks and it’s just something you’re going to have to accept. So the issue then becomes about trust. When you argue with your boyfriend about this, what you’re kind of telling him is that you don’t trust him to act appropriately around this girl. You’re telling him that you don’t believe he’ll be able to separate her feelings for him from their friendship. But guess what… he’s been doing that forever! You said yourself that he doesn’t even realize she has feelings for him. He doesn’t see this girl occupying the same space in his life that you do. This is a good thing!
But by wanting her to have an even smaller role in your boyfriend’s life, you’re implying this relationship is more about limiting outside temptations than it is about trusting his feelings for you. And nothing deteriorates a relationship faster and more effectively than a lack of trust. If you’re scared he’ll cheat, you’ll have to get over it and trust him. Giving him a hard time for hanging out with a friend will do nothing more than make him angry and frustrated. And it’ll give him plenty to talk about with this friend of his.
If cheating isn’t the issue and you’ve just got a raging case of jealousy, then you need to get over that, too, because it’ll also do a number on your relationship. Try hanging out with the two of them. It might put your mind at ease to see how they interact and how different it is from how he treats you. Or, heck… just fess up to your jealousy. If your boyfriend has a better understanding as to why you feel the way you do, he’ll likely be more inclined to work with you and help you through all that. Give him a chance to be there for you rather than making him the problem and arguing with him all the time and you may just feel a lot better about the whole thing.
Now, if your boyfriend actually is an Orlando hot tub type of creep, then you’ve got other issues. And you’re going to get exhausted trying to keep every woman out of his line of sight which is a dumb game to play anyway, right? At that point, you’ve just got to move on and resist the urge to key your name into his car. Or I’ve got an old guy in a shiny leather jacket you could call and we can turn all this frustration into some moderately compelling syndicated television…
Got a question for Brian? Submit it to firstname.lastname@example.org subject “Dear Brian.”