My boyfriend cheated and I took him back. How can I get over my jealousy?
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Dear Miss Info,
I am a twenty-five-year-old female and I recently moved in with my boyfriend. We've been together for three years now and I love him very much. He's my first boyfriend and very important to me.
About two years ago I caught him making out with a girl, and ever since I've been extremely jealous. When that happened, we broke up; I eventually took him back because he was very sorry and really tried to convince me that things would be different. He has been very supportive and faithful ever since, even when I do something psycho-jealous like demanding prior authorization before he sees any female friends (oops — I am a bit controlling), etc.
I didn't use to be like this, and I really don't like it. I thought that with time things would get back to normal. Although things have improved, I have become bitter and can't help being mean to him sometimes. I always have the feeling that he "owes" me for something and that he doesn't value me and all the things that I've done for the relationship. As you can imagine, this makes him angry and very frustrated, and then I get angry too and all hell breaks loose. (We're Latin by the way, so on top of everything, we are really dramatic and there have been epic fights.)
Big issue number two: his crazy exes beg him to go back to them. Yes — exes, plural. For a while, both were calling constantly. One finally stopped, but the other continues. Although he only answers the calls to tell her to stop calling, I can't help but suspect that he still has feelings for her (although he swears he doesn't), or that he's hiding something from me. I can't get her out of my head. I think all of this is really messing with my mind, because I know that I shouldn't be so suspicious all the time and that it has bad consequences for the relationship, but I can't help it. I really want to improve things, but I don't know what to do with all this baggage and bad vibes.
— Jealous Mess
Dear Jealous Mess,
In many cases, "crazy" exes are created, not born. It looks like you're on track to be the next one.
First of all, I don't care if you're Latin, Martian, or Flame-Monster: don't be so quick to explain away this "fiery temper." There is no excuse to be having constant screaming matches with a partner. If you're screaming, you're not listening, and if you're not listening, nothing gets accomplished. And being "a bit controlling" isn't exactly an "oops" kind of deal. (It's not like you tripped on the sidewalk and went down crowing, "You can't see any other girls ever!") You can stop being mean to him. And you have to, because nobody needs a partner who lashes out.
But this isn't just you: it takes two to get into a screaming match. I have very little to go on about his behavior, but this whole situation seems pretty toxic. It's hijacking your thoughts and making you unable to vouch for your own behavior, and no relationship is worth that.
A break-up is a big deal and it should come from internal certainty, not from some mouthy broad on the internet. But you should get out while you still can tell which way is up, while you still have your wits about you, and while you still have the emotional resources to work on your own issues. Don't stick around to be the next ex he dismisses as "crazy" as he silences his phone.
Dear Miss Information,
I'm a nineteen-year-old girl midway through my sophomore year of college. I have a really hard time admitting this, because I make a point of being resolutely not boy-crazy, but the truth is that I really, really want a boyfriend. I didn't date much in high school, and I've barely even kissed a boy. I feel like I'm missing out on necessary social skills and that, if I don't get certain things out of the way now (certain sexual skills, long-term relationship experience), I'll be seen as freakish later in life, when I'm the hot twenty-something taking the world by storm. The thing is, I go to a tiny art school, and girls outnumber boys at an insane proportion — and straight boys? Without egos? Forget it. I tried hooking up here and there and got nowhere. It wasn't fun for me and I want to swear off. But I can't possibly handle three more years of loneliness and mounting anxiety. What's a girl to do?
— Blue Period
Dear Blue Period,
Isn't there a cliché along the lines of "the harder you grasp for something, the more it slips away?" There probably is, and here I am grasping for it, and failing. So meta it hurts! Regardless of the packaging, the point holds: just stop trying.
Let me put it this way. Have you ever had a conversation with someone who clearly had an endgame? Like ten minutes in: "Have you heard the truth about Jesus Christ?" or "Come to my stand-up comedy show!" The worst, right? Dating is somewhat the same. If you're desperate for a relationship, any relationship, people can read that on you, and you might as well be wearing a sandwich board that says "Ask me about the banal things I've done for Greenpeace!" (I was once followed for ten blocks by a monologuing Greenpeace employee. That was my problem, not yours.) You need to know at the core of your being that you're fine as a single girl. And you are. There is no graduation requirement for sexual prowess or relationship skills, and years spent in a relationship make you no more a "whole" person than years of dating casually or staying single do. If a relationship happens for you, great! But if not, work on laying the groundwork for that hot twenty-something who's going to take the world.
Personal and sexual development are totally individual, totally non-linear things. Unlike with almost anything else in the world, there's no way to measure achievement. It's not like you collect coins and then advance to the next level (thank God). You're on your own on this one, and that can either be terrifying or empowering. Consider it empowering. In the absence of worthwhile suitors, use this time to ground yourself and your value sets, make friends who regularly blow your mind, and embrace new experiences and challenges. These are the things that will serve you for the rest of your life; on that list, your ability to give a totally rightous blowjob doesn't even rank.