I’m a male, 25, in a three-year relationship.
My girlfriend’s incredibly optimistic and we’ve frequently argued over how negative I become within repeatable/daily situations (bad drivers, ignorant people, etc.)
I’m being labeled an angry person even when I feel calm and am being my normal self.
I grew distant, we saw each other less, and she suggested a week’s break.
Meanwhile, a girl at work caught my attention. I swear she’s always looking at me.
I'm pretty shy but when I do end up talking to her, she's pretty cool. She laughs at my lame jokes.
I've been thinking about her for a couple of months now.
It feels wrong, so I’ve suggested to my girlfriend that we don’t see each other anymore.
I mention our personality differences but I don't admit that there’s someone else. I cowardly deny it even when questioned about it.
My girlfriend now wonders why we don't try again.
I haven't told anyone about us separating. But being single now, I feel like it's okay to ask about other women, and learned that the girl at work has a boyfriend!
My contact says that she’s thinking about living together with him.
Today she only glanced at me.
I feel terrible for breaking my girlfriend's heart, and like an idiot for thinking about something that might not even be there.
Do I talk to the girl at work? Do I go back to my girlfriend? I've let myself down and everyone involved, too.
Changing perceptions isn’t easy. But when everything you do with people you care about turns out badly, it’s an alert to look into your own thoughts and ways.
You leap to conclusions – drivers are bad, people are stupid, a co-worker’s interested in you.
You were wrong on that last one, and your frustrated girlfriend obviously thinks you’re wrong on many other negative attitudes.
Perhaps you have some deep-rooted reasons for feeling negative and angry. If so, personal counselling would benefit you and make your relationships smoother.
Apologize to your girlfriend but tell her you need some time to work on your own personality and attitudes.
My boyfriend of three years and I are mutually attentive and kind, and have highly active social and sexual lives together.
His ex-coworker/friend moved to our city last year. He’d meet her for dinner or coffee monthly, because she was "new" here. I had no problems with this.
He showed me some of her texts and they appear flirty - how cute he looks, how she wishes her dates were like him.
I suggested we all meet for dinner. She refused (through him), saying she'd feel uncomfortable.
I told him that this didn't feel appropriate, and I wanted him to be more on guard with her. He understood, and hasn't seen her since.
But she still sends him many texts, selfies, requests for help (her dog feels sick), etc.
She even appeared at an industry event on her own to seek him out.
He had a stern talk with her about how her actions are making me feel uncomfortable, but she still constantly communicates with him.
Is it reasonable for me to ask him to stop responding? I'm not a possessive person naturally.
She’s behaving like a predator, having ignored your discomfort and his, too.
You’re not being possessive, just alert to her obvious intent.
Ask him to stop responding.
He doesn’t owe her anything more as a “friend,” since she doesn’t care how she affects his relationship.
FEEDBACK Regarding the father’s views regarding his ex-wife’s fatal illness (Oct. 26):
Reader – “The manipulative manner in which he treats his teenage daughters indicated a profound lack of basic human decency.
“He gives his atrocious character away: "I could be making a mistake not being more proactive, but I’ve always respected my children's ability to summarize a situation and make their own decisions.”
“Yet he sadistically controls where they should be when they receive their mother’s sad news: “She wanted to tell our kids in her home. Instead, I thought it best for her to come to my home.”
“I've long worked in family law, and his controlling behaviour and sadistic “neutrality” indicates extreme parental alienation.
“His advising his daughters to seek counselling only when in their 20s and 30s - though their mother’s presently dying a painful and untimely death - will bring profound grief to these girls in their later years.”
Tip of the day:
When everything’s going “wrong,” probe your own attitudes.