Why spy?

Joey Garcia

I became friends online with a Canadian man and with a female friend of his in our online community. She told me that they had a fantasy sexual relationship (she is married). At the time, I wasn’t interested in him romantically, but that has changed. He wants to meet. This is a huge step for me because in therapy I have been focusing on trusting him and my own instincts and getting the courage to visit. In the meantime, my friend’s interest in him waned.

Then he and I argued and had a “standoff.” I asked her to pick his brain and see if he would ask about me. She refused. I argued that if she doesn’t want to get involved, she is still emotionally invested in him. She said I want her to “fix” things.

I recently discovered something about him that could cause me to cancel the trip. My friend is in a good position to get more info out of him. (When I tried, he got defensive and said the problem was my trust issues.) She won’t help. Does she want my relationship with him to fail so she can have him? Isn’t what I’m asking normal between girlfriends?

In junior high and high school, yes, but adults should be direct. You clearly tried to do this by asking your man about the information you recently learned. When he blocked your inquiry and suggested that your trust issue was the real culprit, your internal alarms rang. If your goal is to gain confidence in your instincts, don’t dismiss that SOS. Sit quietly and discern its message. Eliminate the excessive voice of fear and focus on what you are responsible for and on what you have the power to change. If your instincts suggest you cancel the trip, do so with no regrets. If you’re uncertain, postpone travel until you can make a specific choice.

Your female friend established clear boundaries by refusing to choose sides. As a friend, she can listen to your thoughts, feelings and fears about the situation (if she wants to) and offer advice (if she so desires), or she can just listen and allow you (hopefully) to talk your way into a solution. She is in no way obligated to mediate the relationship back into your happy place or to spy on your behalf. Her rejection of your demand is good self-care on her part. But is she interested in your man? Don’t distract yourself with that worry. Stay true to the experience of love.

I have periodic doubts about my job. Sometimes I feel depressed and overwhelmed. My boyfriend listens and then criticizes me. It never fails. And this is a guy who says he screwed up every job he ever had. Last week, I was talking (again) about changing jobs, and he told me I was lazy and complacent, that I don’t stand up for myself, and a few other things I’ve now blocked. It was awful. I called him on it, and he apologized, but it’s painful to be kicked when I’m down. How can I make him understand?

He may not have the capacity to understand. His fearful projection of his own job failures blocks his view of reality. So he imagines that the problem is not your job, but you (because in his experience, it is him).

Considering that he is obviously incapable of compassion for you, why seek his support? The pattern is unhealthy: You attempt to secure validation from a source that insists what you do is not good enough and demands more from you while offering little in return. With the situation seen this way, it may be time to release your job and the relationship.

Meditation of the week
“What you think means more than anything else in your life. More than what you earn, more than where you live, more than your social position and more than what anyone else may think about you,” wrote George Matthew Adams. What do your thoughts tell you about yourself?

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