I love your site, and I couldn’t think of who else to ask. I don’t care if I’m in your column, I just want to know what you think about my relationship(s), if you don’t mind.
Jesse is my boyfriend. I found him on Bumble this past December, we started dating in January, and he’s just moved in with me while he shops for a house to buy and flip into a rental property. I’ll be deploying in January, and while I’m away, he will hopefully be selected for Special Forces. Our career timelines wouldn’t give me anxiety if it wasn’t for one other variable.
Her name is Laura, his childhood sweetheart and long-time best friend. I believe the people who have been and currently are important to you comprise a little bit of your identity, so of course we’ve talked about her and their relationship, just as I’ve told him about mine with other people. I felt like Jesse and I were open and very trusting of each other.
But things got shaky and Laura became “a variable” in my mind when Jesse took me to his home in New England and there was a big birthday party for him at his brother’s house. Laura introduced herself to me and said goodbye before she left which I thought was nice, but she said something very of- putting as she said goodbye: “Can’t wait to see you in a couple of weeks.”
Confused, I asked Jesse if he had plans in a couple of weeks, which loosely would also be when I was taking two weeks leave from my company. He said no and I felt like he was lying. It may have been immature, but privately I opened his phone to his text conversation with Laura and there it was: plans to visit him in the Midwestern city where Jesse and I lived. He even sent her screen shots of potential flight itineraries and offered use of his car because he said he could ride around with me.
It shouldn’t have bothered me that a friend of his planned to visit — my nearest, dearest friends from other countries have visited me before. However, it bothered me that I knew their history and he was being secretive about the visit, even when I straight up asked him if he had plans for the specific time window in which he had shared potential flights with Laura.
The confrontation was sad. I thought our relationship would end over it, but Jesse seemed understanding. I don’t know what he said to Laura about the visit and it never came up again between us, but she never showed in our part of the country.
Whatever happened, his response made me feel important, like he was choosing me over his past. But this girl keeps coming up. She keeps reaching out to him. She wants to know if I’m his best friend, and in the last message she sent to him she said, “I know we’re best friends but I get it now, bye dude.” He responded like he was trying to salvage their relationship, mentioning he heard a song on the radio they maybe once shared for some special reason.
First of all, I know it’s immature to read someone’s texts. It makes me feel like a jealous crazy person. However, Jesse has assuaged this by telling me he wants me to feel like I can because he has nothing to hide. Not that that makes me feel any less guilty, but their correspondence gives me this terrible gut-wrenching feeling that I am a phase and there is a reason Jesse can’t — or won’t — shake Laura.
I’ve felt this way once before, and not following that gut feeling led to a horrible disaster. “Jonathan” was my boyfriend at university. His “Laura” was a Hungarian exchange student named Zsofia whom he fell in love with at his high school boarding school. I was privy to their relationship and correspondence just like I am to Jesse and Laura, but I tolerated it because she was in Hungary while we were going to school in New York, what could possibly come of it? Come to find out, he flew to London while I was in England for training and didn’t tell me. He said he wanted to surprise me, but that didn’t make sense because I was in military training and he didn’t even know our training schedule. Turns out, he was campaigning for Zsofia to meet him in Europe somewhere, anywhere. When I dug deeper into his correspondences with other women I thought were his friends, I found disturbing things: lots of explicit reminiscing, from songs to sex, and queries to hook up should Jonathan and me ever “take a break.” Eventually, these correspondences that I thought were innocent due to the nature of their relationship, or implausible due to distance, inevitably realized themselves in plane tickets purchased and sex on the side. The end of our relationship culminated with my abortion of his baby and his having sex with our mutual friend, which I found out about by reading his texts.
So you could say I have been traumatized.
I feel like I was Jonathan’s place-holder while he entertained these deeper relationships with other woman, and I didn’t matter enough to him for him to tell me about a single one of them. I thought he would, but I got an abortion for extending him the benefit of the doubt.
I can’t say I’ve ever had a relationship with anyone outside my family that transcends time, distance, and other relationships. I’m jealous of Jesse and Laura for that. While Jesse’s good character and heart certainly make Jonathan look like he belongs in hell, I’m all too familiar with that wretched gut feeling telling me I’m a phase and that I should subtract myself from a relationship before I get hurt. Do you think I’m a phase for Jesse until January? — Fancifully Fretting