What is it about relationships that can make an otherwise sensible, even-tempered, reasonable creature alternately spit venom or fairy dust? Are we so hypnotized by the presence of another that we become deranged, one minute spontaneously rearranging our values, morals and boundaries in the name of Happily Ever After (or FABULOUS sex), the next searching feverishly for where we may have misplaced ourselves. If you’re like most two-leggeds, while this is fascinating coffee talk, you’re likely much busier trying to figure out how to pay your mortgage and buy back some of your freedom, so then you can feel good about yourself, so then you can get in a good or better relationship with someone who you will then enjoy this better, more peaceful life with. In the meantime, here is some advice on how to have a greater tomorrow right now! Dear Maryanne,
My girlfriend and I have a serious relationship together. She thinks I’m cheating on her even though I am not cheating on her. She also has been trying to find ways to track my cell phone or track my text messages. She’s now questioning if I am bi or not. She did all this without talking to me as I found this out. What do I do and why is she doing this? I am not cheating on her, nor am I bi and I have nothing to hide. I love her very much. - Robert (30, Lakewood, CO, USA)
I smell a rat…a girl one. Usually when someone accuses their serious, non- cheating, straight partner of being bi and cheating they are projecting a smoke-and-mirrors distraction to cover up their own behavior. In other words, me thinkst your girlfriend is cheating on you, with perhaps another woman, my dear.
If I am wrong and she is having a torrential bout of insecurity (it does happen), I think you may want to sit down with your girlfriend and ask her what evidence she has of the said indiscretions. If the answer is “None,” then you ought to set some clear personal boundaries. Given that relationships thrive on trust, she needs to cease forensic investigations of your phone and texts. And if your relationship is as serious as you say, and she still cannot trust you given your word, having pledged your love, you are better off dealing with this issue now than married with children!
Should I just give up on him? My best friend and I have always been close. We always opened up to each other, and the way we act towards each other is, well, different. But there’s one catch–he’s gay. I decided to tell him how I felt, anyways. And guess what! He loves me too, "so much,’"and he couldn’t imagine never talking to me ever again. I’m his best friend.
So I realized he didn’t understand that much yet, so I decided to wait. But then one night came and something happened, he felt like no one loved or cared about him, so I opened up fully to him. I guess my friend talked to him, too, since he told me that she said we should both be together. I replied back telling him whatever he wants to do, it’s his choice. His answer was, "But I have a boyfriend."
As long as he’s happy…I guess I’m happy too, right? I don’t want to be selfish. I always helped them whenever they had troubles, and not once did I ever tell his boyfriend what he did (he cheats).
Now…I don’t know anymore. Like I said, he was gay. But later on, he said he’s getting to the point where it seems like gender doesn’t matter anymore. Today, he told me about this girl. And how he felt like he caused her brain cancer, and that he loved her. I didn’t know what to say, I wanted to help…but I was too depressed. Lately I’ve been having no feelings whatsoever. If I smile, it only lasts for a couple of minutes. I barely laugh anymore. The only emotions I receive are depression and anger.
I just don’t really know what to do. At times he would say the most sweetest stuff… Like how most guys would tell the girls they love most? But then later it’s as if that never happened. I’m starting to believe he doesn’t understand, and he doesn’t feel the same exact way. And me holding onto him is just hurting me even more. I don’t know what to do anymore. - Julie (15, Denton, Texas, USA)
My answer is yes, my unrequited lovely. Give up. NOW. It seems you are deluding yourself. Unless you like the idea of spending your days feeling inadequate, insecure, apathetic, and trying to change someone into something they will never be. In this case, a straight guy. And you’re right, you are hurting you and your friend both. Teenage years are a particularly difficult and fragile time with regard to your developing identity and sexuality. Choices you make now often leave a strong, lasting impression and pave the way for future relationship behavior. I say, be strong, call a spade a spade and move on. Learn to love your friend for who and what he is, not who you want him to be, while at the same time recognizing that this person cannot fulfill your needs and desires. Your grief will pass, as it is a natural part of letting go. And you will love again. Except next time you will make certain that anyone you choose to love will be able to return it in kind; the essence and expression of loving yourself! In the meantime, pick up a copy of my book, Hindsight, What You Need to Know Before You Drop Your Drawers (or break your heart).
Hello! I (age 30) broke up with my ex-girlfriend (age 30) almost 2 months ago. We were together for a year. She really loves me and she wanted to marry me. I just wasn’t that warm because of some personal things. When she asked me to break up, I agreed but we still had contact. She broke up with me because I was not as warm as she was. I was wrong not to ask her to wait and open up and tell her I’m just not myself now because of some problems. Very fast she got involved with a new guy (maybe a rebound?) and made it clear to me it’s over. Anyway, I told her how I feel about her and showed her my love, told her I’m ok now (she sees that also) and we can be everything we wanted to be. I even showed her the ring I bought her and was planning to give to her. And that was all. I didn’t pursue her at all.
We met a few days ago and spent 5 hours together doing silly things and having fun. We spoke a bit about us, but she says she is now somewhere else and the usual that she loves me and all. I encouraged her relationship, telling her I want her to be happy. We met again today for an hour and I flirted a tiny little bit with her, and she did seem open to it. I can tell she loves me and still is attracted to me. She even tells me I look handsome. She now thinks I am getting into something new and I can tell she is a bit jealous. I love this girl and I am ready to give her what she wants. I just don’t know how to act now. We do have fun together—a lot—but should I keep meeting with her and flirt with her or shall I maybe go "no contact" for a bit and make her miss "us"? I do make her laugh a lot and that makes me happy! Thanks a lot!” - Leo (30, Greece)
Funny how some of us come around when people leave—we could have been warm, or more loving or more giving, but we weren’t. Why now? Is it the chase, or the old “You don’t know what you had until it’s gone” song? For now, my advice to you is: you had your chance, now behave yourself. Not because she’ll see how much she missed you, but because it’s the right thing to do, and what mature, loving people do when they truly want someone else to be happy. So be a real friend and gentleman, as you said you were, and let her enjoy the relationship she is in. Should it end, then take that opportunity to tell her how you feel (if you still do). For now, any act on your part to play games is out of integrity and manipulative, not a great way to rekindle love—never mind how will you be able to trust her or yourself again?
I left my boyfriend for someone else I thought I was in love with. I told my ex to stay away from me but now I miss him. Is it normal? I’m ok in my new relationship but I feel that he won’t do as much for me as my ex would! I love my ex and I am feeling confused! - Joanna (31, USA)
It’s tough, as you are now experiencing grieving the loss of one relationship while in another. When we don’t give ourselves time to go through this healthy and necessary process alone, it can and often does get confusing. Grief includes longing, missing, and recounting all the time you had with that other person. It can be a veritable rollercoaster, depending how long you were together, what kind of commitment you had, and what your reasons were for parting. That said, if you feel confident you have made the right choice and are not just experiencing the natural waves of loss, the thing to remember is why you left. There must have been a compelling enough reason to choose to move on. Stay mindful of that as well, as you continue to grieve.
Also, you may want to let your current partner know what you are going through: you may even want to seek some outside support so it doesn’t wreak havoc on your new love. While it’s not an ideal scenario, talking about it could bring you closer together if done with sincerity and heart (and some great tools and skills). To re-cap: I wouldn’t be overly concerned unless it is your pattern to hop from relationship to relationship, yearning each time for what you left behind. In that case, you may want to look deeper!