"What is very clear to me is that you do not feel secure in this relationship." (image credit: Mariah Aro Sharp)
She’s made all the mistakes, so you don’t have to… Ask Erin is a weekly advice column, in which Erin answers your burning questions about anything at all.
I hope you're doing good.
As my subject says, my boyfriend has had a bff since I don’t know when. They're extremely close friends, but I've always disliked him. Mainly because of his own relationship.
I feel like my boyfriend idolizes his friend and I just feel really very jealous of this whole arrangement. I can never say anything because I don't have a very sound basis for anything, do I?
I feel very intimidated by his best friend’s girlfriend. I just can't stop assuming that my boyfriend thinks she's prettier than me or better than me.
My heart is not at peace when my boyfriend and his friend are together. I don't know what to do.
And no, I can’t talk to him about it because I know this will only push him away.
When I first started reading your email, I thought your jealousy was centered on the best friend. But, you went on to explain that you are jealous of the best friend’s girlfriend. However, on a second read, your jealousy is a bit more layered.
There are a few issues at play here:
- You don’t like the way your boyfriend “idolizes” his best friend.
- You are jealous of the relationship you perceive the best friend and his girlfriend have, in comparison to yours.
- And, you are worried that your boyfriend secretly covets the best friend’s girlfriend and compares the two of you.
OOF. That’s a lot of icky feelings you are carrying around.
When cloudy feelings like this combine, it takes a minute to unravel them. What these jealousies have in common, separately and together, is you. And that's the first place you need to look when unpacking these feelings.
In your email, you didn’t give me any concrete examples of words or actions that match the level of your concern. Everything you have laid out is centered around feelings you have. And the details are a bit murky.
What is very clear to me is that you do not feel secure in this relationship.
One of the most important things I have learned in life is that our feelings are not facts. That’s not to say that we should ignore them, but they don’t always point us in the right direction, at first glance. Sometimes, we need to go a little deeper and get a little more honest with ourselves to confront what is really going on.
You have indicated that the main reason you dislike the friend is his own relationship and how that compares to yours. This doesn’t seem like a sound reason to create an issue here.
It is okay for your boyfriend to enjoy spending time with and look up to his best friend. There is room in one’s life to have all different sorts of relationships. It’s necessary because we can’t get all we need from our romantic partner alone.
This is why I have always been from the school of thought that I DO NOT want my partner to be my best friend. I cherish my friendships. And the relationships I have with my close friends are different than the one I have with my husband. Likewise, I want him to have those separate relationships with his friends, too. It’s important. And, I believe, indicative of a healthy relationship.
The truest thing you said in your email was this: “My heart is not at peace….”
I see that; I feel that. And you are right, making demands about limiting your boyfriend’s relationship with his best friend would likely push him away. It would push me away.
So, what to do?
I strongly suggest that you seek the help of a therapist. It’s important to get to the root of why you are feeling so insecure, comparing yourself to other women, and your relationship to other relationships. Please email me again with your location, and I can give you some resources in your area.
In the meantime, invest some time and energy with your friendships. The relationships you have with your own close friends may help you gain some perspective here.
Lastly, I encourage you to make a list of what you need/want that you feel your boyfriend is not giving you. In other words, what is missing from your relationship that is making you deflect the problem on these outside people?
It is okay to express this, and I would encourage you to talk to him about what you need.
Sometimes, when we are not getting our needs met in a relationship, it can distort things and place our focus in the wrong place.
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