After six happy months with Mr. Right, I discovered that one of his neighbors is pursuing him. I’ve never been jealous, but I went berserk. This man is a keeper; the thought of losing him made me violently ill. He says she is a friend and he is a one-woman man, attached to me. I made it clear that she makes me uncomfortable. He has told her about me and about our relationship. We discussed the dangers of spending quality time with another person. I told him that he was a free man. I said I wish he had friends we could share. He promised I would never suffer because of her. Still, I resent the insistence with which she pursues him. If he has made it clear that he is not available, why doesn’t she go look for her own boyfriend? He gave me her e-mail address and told me to write her. I find the idea appalling, but when I feel too sad or too threatened, I draft angry, teary, pathetic e-mails that I invariably discard. Is there a decent message I could write to send her on her way? Or should I let this thing run its natural course?
Oh, honey! By revealing your jealousy, this situation is running its natural course. Although you claim jealousy is new for you, is that true? If you’ve ever looked at a woman and compiled a mental list of the reasons she’s more likely than you to catch a fabulous man, you’ve been jealous. And, if your wait for Mr. Right was packed with tortuous forced connections with Mr. Nevah Gonna B. Rite, jealousy was probably simmering on a back burner of your mind. Remember, though: Jealousy is a normal human experience. It’s how we cope with it that reveals whether we are evolving spiritually or not.
You call your boyfriend a free man, yet you are clearly trapped. Why? Your belief that he is a keeper propels you into trying to control him. If his neighbor does not try to control him, which one of you is more appealing? By the way, have you noticed that you blame her 100 percent? I think it’s curious that your boyfriend says he’s fully committed to you, yet nourishes a friendship with a woman he knows is intimately interested in him. In any friendship, when one person desires more, the connection is not platonic. However, that’s none of your business. Your work is to lean away from the situation. Don’t send this woman an e-mail warning her to stay away from your man. He’s not your pet, your child or your property. And don’t send her an e-mail demanding that she find her own guy. That assumes she is stealing him, and that can’t happen without his consent. If you are correct and she wants more than a friendship, it’s his responsibility to end the relationship. But don’t put that on his “to do” list and don’t drop hints. It’s a decision he needs to arrive at on his own.
If you walk backward into your personal history, perhaps all the way back into your childhood, you will likely discover another love triangle. Given your behavior now, it’s likely that your prior experience ended when you were abandoned, despite having received assurances otherwise. Your current situation encourages you to relive that old pain and attach it to the present. That’s partly the reason for your extravagant physical response. It’s time to direct your energy into healing yourself with help from a good psychotherapist. Doing so will ensure that you look back at this drama with gratitude for your growth, not regret for lack of it.