Wild with Jealousy
Q: Just recently my girlfriend of two years told me that a coworker asked her out to dinner. I don't know how I should feel about this. I have only met this person once and it was only for a few minutes. One night when my girlfriend and I were out for dinner, she asked me if she went to dinner with this guy how would I feel. I told her that I would not approve of them going out together, and truthfully I wouldn't know how I would feel about them being together alone especially when I don't even know the guy. My girlfriend and I have a very open relationship, she does what she wants and I do what I want. I feel like I can trust her, but lately she has not been including me in her agenda. It could be because she is still young, only 20, and wants to experience other things and people in life. She has told me that she wants space and when she turns 21 she doesn't know what will happen between us. My question is how should I feel about her wanting to go to dinner with her coworker and how can make us feel a little closer? Lately I feel like we've been drifting apart, and all I want to do is make her happy and trust her decisions.
Dr. Susan: I hate to break this to you, but the writing on the wall is awfully clear from this vantage point. Let me list the clues you've given me. Your girlfriend is very young. She has told you she wants space. You feel you've been drifting apart. She has stopped including you "in her agenda." She has announced that in a few months she doesn't know what will happen to you as a couple, which is the same as saying it's going to be "Bye-bye" right after she blows out the birthday candles. When you're crazy about someone, you don't announce that in a few months it's possible your feelings might suddenly change. She has already begun wanting to date other guys -- that's what this dinner out is all about.
How should you feel about her date with her coworker and all the rest? Do you really not know? Clearly, you're uneasy and feeling threatened, or you wouldn't be writing to an advice columnist. You have a choice. You can let her string you along for a few more months and suffer more and more as she drifts further and further away from intimacy with you. Or you can be direct and talk about her obviously changing feelings toward you. It's not enough that you only want her to be happy and that you wish you could trust her decisions. She has her own mind, and it sure sounds like she's already decided you're not going to be part of her future.
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.