The heart’s risk

Joey Garcia

How would you ask your significant other about certain of his female friends that raise questions in your mind (with legitimate reasons behind those concerns)? Under what circumstances is it best to bring up a concern regarding another female? Is it better not to bring anything up? My boyfriend is friends with girls that he once had crushes on, but who weren’t interested in him until we got together. It makes me uncomfortable. He says he’s no longer interested in them and that I have nothing to worry about. Do I?

If you’re a worrier by nature, then yes, you’ll have something to worry about—if not this scenario, then another situation or person you can’t control. That’s how our worry muscle works. Don’t be offended; I have a worry muscle, too. The trick is not to exercise it often. Worry is a symptom that alerts us to the presence of anxiety. My definition of anxiety: internal energy that we build up as we prepare to tackle a personal problem, but—epic fail—that energy remains unused because instead of taking action, we freeze. So now we have anxious energy in storage that’s ready to attach itself to whatever unfolds in our lives. People say that exercising reduces anxiety. True. When we exercise, the brain is distracted while the body burns through anxiety’s skim layer. But anxiety returns like a boss because nothing really changed beyond that superficial skim. Ever scrape a fingernail across the wax of a pillar candle? You just scraped away the amount of anxiety that exercising removes. The rest of the candle is your remaining storehouse of anxiety. Yikes, is right.

You can reduce worry about the other women in your man’s life, by accepting reality: giving your heart to another always involves risk. Yes, always. But it’s a risk worth taking because learning how to love and be loved is our evolutionary work. So dig beneath anxiety’s foundation with these questions: What are you really afraid of? Losing a relationship you’ve invested in? Being the last to know that your boyfriend’s heart has landed elsewhere? Being alone? Suss it out and be free.

The other issue you face is communication. A good time to chat about a topic that creates relationship stress is when you’ve let go of getting your way. So be open to hearing your partner’s perspective without trying to defend your own. If he loves you, he’ll keep his female friends at arm’s length. Or he’ll have a serious convo with them to reaffirm the boundaries needed to protect his relationship with you. If you love him, you will own your insecurity (yes, even if there’s a legit reason you’re uncomfortable). If you love yourself, you will assess this relationship and decide if it’s right for you. Hey, we live in a big ol’ world of people looking for love. There are available men who don’t need to be friends with women they once had a crush on. Of course, those men will have other annoying issues. Let’s call that: New chances to learn and grow. It’s why relationships are a spiritual path.

Meditation of the week
“People will stare. Make it worth their while,” said jeweler Harry Winston. Let’s give them something (positive) to talk about. Ready, set, go!

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