For six months, I’ve been dating a woman I met last year.
She’s from Africa, divorced for five years (no kids). She says that her husband probably cheated on her.
We’ve had a great relationship, except for her hating my female friend of 14 years, who’s single, attractive, and currently dating no one.
We’ve never dated or had sexual relations. I don’t see any ex-girlfriends nor stay in touch with them.
Three months ago my friend came over late one evening for a glass of wine and conversation. We’ve done this randomly over the years. I now realize the optics weren’t very good.
After a fight with my girlfriend, I resolved not to see this friend one on one, out of respect for my girlfriend, and haven’t done so since.
I’ve been fully transparent with my girlfriend, showing her the one text message and one e-mail from this friend in the past two months.
I thought that one text came a month ago but it was actually two weeks ago. My girlfriend accused me of hiding it from her.
Recently, we met with friends and my girlfriend believes she was slighted by this woman, who, rushing, barely said ‘Hi’ to me, much less my girlfriend.
She later declared she’d never come out with my friends again if this woman were present.
She talked about needing “respect.” I said this wasn’t a long-term solution as this friend is intertwined with many others.
I believe my friend threatens her, even though she has male friends whom she’s said have shown attraction to her.
I cannot avoid my friend. What should I do?
Between Two Women
Take a closer look at your girlfriend’s jealous nature. She accuses her ex-husband of “probably” cheating, and you of dishonesty over a text.
If this comes from insecurity or any cultural differences, talk it out together and determine for yourself how deep they run. Otherwise, you could be facing years of accusations, and attempts to isolate you from any “threat.”
Meantime, stop bending over backwards to prove your innocence.
Yes, random nighttime drop-ins, once you have a girlfriend, are inappropriate. But do NOT stop seeing your friend socially.
If you stand firm on this, you might see very quickly whether your girlfriend can accept the truth, or her jealousy’s a long-term problem.
How do you know when you’re in love?
And how does one differentiate between a strong like, and love?
I’ve been dating a guy for four months and am wondering if there’s a time limit for when "falling in love" needs to happen. Is falling in love after dating for a year reasonable, or would you know beforehand?
I don't have deadlines about needing to get married or having kids, etc.
It’s an individual phenomenon, making it so special. Some couples, initially friends for even a year or more, eventually feel the sparks of romantic love.
For others, there’s an instant “thunderbolt” that’s really body chemistry at play. Timing may also play a part.
If the couple stay together and find they trust and respect each other, the deeper feelings of love develop.
“Falling in love” implies a time factor, whether speedily or slowly. The much-celebrated heady feeling, quickened pulse, and longing when apart, can come at any time.
But the word “love” should be reserved for when you know enough to join heart and soul with this person.
FEEDBACK Regarding controlling relationships (Jan. 27):
Reader – “I’m in a controlling relationship of under a year with a man ten years my senior.
“His treatment of me produces stress symptoms and fantasies of stealthily leaving him. His actions fall into the Emotional Abuse zone, plus some Using Male Privilege.
“I’m struggling with the question of why I stay. I even consulted a therapist to figure things out. His advice was the same as Ellie's in the Jan. 27 column, to stand up for myself more.
“I feel that what’s good in this flawed relationship can win out over the poor treatment that sometimes emerges, as long as I speak up and succeed in being heard.
“But if I speak up and get pushed down, or nothing changes, that’ll be my cue to leave.”
Ellie – You have a clear view of the situation, but are you realistic about its emotional impact on you? Continue with counselling.
Tip of the day:
Don’t let another’s jealousy dominate your relationships.