I’m dating this wonderful woman named Eve. She’s so beautiful and smart that sometimes I feel like I’m not good enough for her. I’ve loved Eve since the moment I laid eyes on her and I would never do anything to hurt her. That’s why I don’t understand why she doesn’t trust me. She seems to think that I’m cheating with my friend Jane. I’m not.
Jane and I have been friends since childhood. She was there for me when my parents got divorced in middle school, we went to the same college, and we lived together for a while after college until she moved in with her boyfriend. After Eve and I got serious, Eve moved into my apartment, but recently Eve discovered that Jane still has a key to our apartment because, when we couldn’t find ours, I suggested we call Jane. Eve and I got in a big fight about it and I told her that I would ask for Jane for the key back, but Eve said that the key wasn’t the issue.
She claims that Jane and I are more than friends and listed off things we do that make her uncomfortable, such as the fact that every time a superhero movie comes out from DC or Marvel we go see it together, and that we talk on the phone every Sunday to catch up because we’re busy the rest of the week with our respective partners. I don’t understand what her problem is. I invite her to the movies with us, but she always say no even though Jane’s boyfriend goes with us. It’s a tradition that we’ve kept since we were ten and my dad took us to see Tim Burton’s Batman. And I don’t hide when I’m on the phone; I’ll talk right in front of her.
Eve says that I’m disrespecting her by continuing to associate with Jane and that she feels like an outsider when the three of us are together. Jane and I are both in our thirties and nothing has ever happened between us. We’ve never dated or ever slept together. If we had wanted to be together, we would have gotten together years ago. We’ve had plenty of opportunities! But when I made this point to Eve, she got even angrier.
Now, she says that she doesn’t want me to talk to Jane anymore. Which is unfair. She has guy friends and I’ve never told her that she couldn’t hang out with them. I explained the situation to Jane and she gave me my key back and said that she understood. She’s going to back off for a few weeks and then talk to Eve if things haven’t calmed down.
Eve is the one for me. I couldn’t imagine being with anyone else, but Jane is like my sister. I’ve known Eve for two years; I’ve known Jane since I was five. Before all this, I was ready to propose, but now I’m having doubts. If I marry Eve, then maybe she’ll feel more secure in our relationship, but if she doesn’t, then I might never be allowed to see my friend again. Eve doesn’t even want me to talk to Jane on the phone. How can I convince her that there’s nothing going on between us, or am I the one in the wrong? — Just Friends with Jane
Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do to convince Eve that she has nothing to feel threatened by in your life-long friendship with Jane. She simply doesn’t seem willing to accept your friendship with her, the end. And, no, marriage is not going to make her feel more secure! If anything, it will give her even more leverage to control your social life. I think this comes down to making a choice between Eve and Jane. You already know what you get with Jane, your longtime friend who doesn’t seem to demand anything of you, and is understanding of your situation and what you are able to invest in your friendship (weekly phone calls, occasional movie dates that partners are invited to). You don’t know exactly what you’ll get with Eve, whom you’ve known for much less time, although you do have some idea. You know there will be jealousy, distrust, and some attempts to control your social life.
I’ve known women like Eve before. And I’ve known some men who marry women like Eve. Maybe you do, too. Their marriages don’t look like what I’d want for myself, though I can’t say that the men have seemed miserable. They seem… resigned. Do you want to resign yourself to a life of demands and control? It does seem to eliminate the need to think too much for one’s self, and I think for some people there’s a certain liberation in that, even as they sacrifice some of their personal freedom. You’ll have to decide if you’re that type of person or not. If you aren’t, I’d highly recommend moving on and finding someone who can make some room in her life and her heart for your longtime friend, Jane, and her partner.
Here’s the problem: He’s going through a really gnarly divorce. He has two children — one 17-year-old girl, one 10-year-old boy. The girl lives with him full time, and he has 50/50 custody of the boy. The girl and I get along well, but I’m not allowed to be around the boy. So my boyfriend and I get to spend about half of our time together. This seems fine for me, for now.
I do want to get married at some point in time, but my boyfriend is unsure if he will be able to marry me. He goes through periods of feeling extremely guilty about this, and he withdraws from the relationship. He stops communicating his feelings during that time. If I tell him I think we should break up, he says no, but he’s having trouble being in a relationship despite wanting to be in said relationship. It feels like he wants to break up without having to do it himself, but if I ask him if this is the case, he denies it.
I don’t know how long I’m supposed to give him to come around. Do I wait for his divorce to be final and see if his attitude changes? Do I split now and save myself the heartache? Do I give him a time limit for this behavior? — Ready to Move Forward
I mean, if a guy is still legally married and you aren’t allowed to ever be around his son, whom he has partial custody of, and he isn’t sure he’ll ever be able to marry you (whatever that means) despite your wanting to get married at some point, and he regularly withdraws from the relationship, stopping communication with you, and he seems to have trouble even being in the relationship, I wouldn’t be investing any more time or energy into this if I were you. He’s got some stuff he needs to settle (literally) and figure out, and it seems his being with you is distracting him from that. Certainly, his having unsettled affairs is distracting him from his relationship with you. I’d say adios for now and move on. Leave a window of opportunity cracked for the future if his situation and feelings ever change, but go live your life without waiting around for him to come around.
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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.