Of all the ugly emotions out there, jealousy has to be one of the worst. It can feel childish, petty and almost like a primal rage. But it’s also inescapable; jealousy is almost like an epic equalizer, because everybody feels it now and then. On the path toward emotional growth, jealousy is one of the hardest hurdles to take on because it seem like such an out-of-control, counterproductive emotion, but it can be used for good. Whether it’s competitive jealousy with friends and acquaintances or the kind of jealousy that inches its way into monogamous relationships, this crummy feeling can take us to the emotional maturity level of a 7th grader with the snap of a finger. We can’t just make it disappear, but we can find ways to handle it like (semi) grown-ups. Keep reading »
He seemed sweet at first. In fact, he had many sweet moments. But then there was the other stuff …
Abusive behavior isn’t as simple as we, as a society, want it to be. We often think that the kinds of signs that tell you a man could be abusive are very obvious. We imagine monsters, overtly misogynist thugs. We think of extreme physical violence as being the key – or the only – signifier. But often the violence doesn’t start until a relationship is already established – sometimes not until after a woman has moved in with her boyfriend, marries him, or becomes pregnant. In fact, the leading cause of death in pregnant women is domestic homicide, which is to say they are killed by their intimate partners. If we limit our understanding of abusive behavior to physical violence, we risk ignoring other red flags we should be heeding. Keep reading »
I’ve been dating this guy for a while now and last night he called me while he was with his friends. Our conversation was normal until he suddenly asked, “Did you hook up with one of my friends?” I tried to deny it, but after he asked me several times, I just finally said “Yes.” It happened a long time ago before I even met my boyfriend. I didn’t tell him because I even forgot I had hooked up with his friend. It was that meaningless and suck-ish. He was completely upset, especially since he was out with that specific friend. He kept telling me he had a right to know about it and that he was so hurt. All I want to know is, should I have told him about it? And will he eventually get over it? – J.
Oh, the fragile male ego.
First things first. You were under no obligation to tell this guy you hooked up with his friend, unless you were asked point-blank. The “prior relationships” conversation is an emotional minefield, and if either (or both) of you have avoided that whole subject during your relationship, I 100 percent support that choice. Of course, he’s freaking out and being a bit ridiculous. Keep reading »
It’s been a month to the day since I met Andrew, my surprisingly charming OKCupid run-in who recognized me and introduced himself out at a bar. We’ve been hanging out pretty consistently over the last few weeks, going on dates every few days, and continuing to get to know each other. I can honestly say that the hesitations I had about his height when we first started seeing each other have subsided, and I’ve been able to tap into the real Andrew: his hopes, his dreams, his demons … and unfortunately, his ex-girlfriend.
Andrew and I were talking on the phone one night last week when his most recent ex casually came up in conversation. Without hesitation, I blurted out: “What happened between you two, by the way?” Upon realizing what I’d just asked him, I apologized for my bluntness and told him that I totally understood if he didn’t want to go into the story of his failed relationship. To my surprise, he wasn’t offended at all and gladly told me the tale of their fallout. In a nutshell, after several years of dating, Andrew and his ex moved in together and hit a rough patch when their dynamic completely changed. They went from a happily-in-love duo to bickering strangers in a matter of months. I’ve heard about couples who move in together and pretty quickly realize that they’re not as compatible as they thought, but I’ve never actually known anyone it’s happened to. Apparently, despite all of their efforts to work through their problems, they’d hit a point of no return. He ultimately ended things with her, leaving both of them understandably devastated. Apparently, he’d even set aside money for an engagement ring.
“But that’s the past, and I’m ready for the future now,” he told me. I was so grateful that Andrew felt comfortable enough to open up to me about his ex, and I recognized that my curiosity about it in the first place meant only one thing: I’m really starting to like this guy. But there was one problem… Keep reading »
I remember the very first time that I felt jealous and possessive of my husband. It was back when we were still dating. One weekend, he and his friends did a Bloody Mary bar crawl; I abstained because I’ve never been a big fan of Bloody Marys, but I was happy to look through the pictures Kale posted later that night on Facebook. Between all the tomato juice and the celery sticks, though, I found something I was not happy about: two pictures of him giving big smooches to a female friend on the cheek.
I really liked his female friend. In fact, she’s a friend of mine now, too. But at the time, I didn’t know her well at all and Kale and I were a fairly new couple. All I could see was my boyfriend, who was in love with me, being affectionate with another woman — who happens to be strikingly beautiful, hilarious and smart. I must have turned the brightest shade of emerald green.
I called up one of my girl friend’s to commiserate. Surely she would agree that not only kissing another woman on the cheek but posting the photos on Facebook for all to see was rude at best and troublesome at worst? Grab the pitchforks! Let’s storm the castle together!
But she didn’t say that. She said friends kissing opposite-sex friends on the cheek isn’t a big deal. She and her long-term partner do it all the time. She said I was overreacting. And, most cuttingly, she said my response to Kale’s photos said more about my insecurity than it did anything about him. Keep reading »
I recognized her immediately: the soft, brown golden retriever-like eyes that turned down at the corners, the blonde, slightly over-processed hair and tan skin with a smattering of freckles that betrayed her Southern sorority girl roots despite her New York fashion girl get-up.
It was 2010 and I was working behind the cheese counter at a shop in the Chelsea Market. And she was … well, obviously doing well enough to spend $30 a pound on farmstead cheese. As I stumbled to weigh out her dainty wedge of artisan sheep’s milk, flustered and flushed, I felt a strange surge of vindication that twisted and wrapped around a twin, slightly nauseating feeling of anxious jealousy like some cruel double helix.
We had never met in person but I could have spotted her a mile away. And here she was, smiling obliviously at me across the refrigerated case as I swaddled her Manchego in butcher paper. Her credit card confirmed the name I had come to know and agonize over for months upon months of my life. She was The Ex. Keep reading »