Also, I have a best female friend who recently got out of an engagement, whom I talk to occasionally, and for a long time, we have traded semi-raunchy sexual comments. It has ceased in recent years, but has re-surfaced, mostly by my doing, as I feel bad that she lost her engagement and I am trying to make her feel better about herself. My girlfriend saw the messages and needless to say, she was not happy, but indicated that she trusted me, loved me, and knew I would never cheat on her. I confirmed the same and told her that I did it to make my friend feel better. I told her that I would stop it altogether because nothing to me is worth losing her.
My questions are: (1) what can I do to approach her about her temper and her acting out without her freaking out; (2) although she says it is OK, do you think there is anything more I can do to repair the damage done by the texts she saw? – Tired and Stressed Lover
I’m just going to say it: you two moved WAY too fast considering there was a child involved. Moving in together after knowing each other only two months could be romantic in a sort of “whirlwind” way, but when one of you has a child, it’s just irresponsible. When you don’t know each other very well and your relationship is so new and you haven’t yet figured out how to work together to overcome challenges — because you haven’t been together long enough to face challenges — there are just so many ways the child’s life, not to mention your relationship, can get fucked up. And now you’re seeing firsthand exactly how that can happen.
It was no coincidence that your raunchy exchanges with your female friend resurfaced at exactly the same time you began to see a side of your girlfriend you don’t like. It doesn’t take a genius to understand how sending raunchy texts to another woman might jeopardize his relationship with his girlfriend. At the very least, you must have known on some level it could very well create some tension between you. And I wonder if that’s what you wanted to do — create a distraction from the real issue at hand: that you and your girlfriend moved too fast, and that her behavior and short temper upset you. But instead of dealing with the latter issue, you created a new one. Now, not only do you still have concerns about your girlfriend’s acting out, she has concerns about your relationship with your friend, and you both are worried about trust.
How do you fix this mess? I would first admit that perhaps you made a mistake in moving in together so quickly and maybe need to back up, move into separate homes, and get to know each other and nurture your relationship a bit more before sharing a living space. If you don’t want to do it for the good of your relationship and your mental health, do it for your girlfriend’s child who didn’t ask to be put in the middle of what could very well become a volatile, unhealthy home if things continue as they have been. Next, you need to discuss what it is about your girlfriend’s behavior — especially the way she swore in front of (to?) your apartment staff — that bothers you. You can’t change her behavior — that’s up to her — but you can discuss your feelings surrounding it and how her behavior affects you and impacts your life. Once your girlfriend understands how and why her behavior directly affects you and your relationship and she still doesn’t work on changing it, then you know where you stand with her and you need to MOA if her behavior is a deal-breaker.
As for the damage done by the texts your girlfriend saw, you should apologize for being a bonehead, first and foremost, if you haven’t already. If she says she’s “OK,” then drop it. Obviously, quit sending raunchy texts to your friend, quit being sneaky, and quit secretly doing anything you know your girlfriend wouldn’t approve of. Put the friendship with this other woman on the back burner for now. Your focus right now should be on your own personal life, which is kind of messy at the moment, and not on your female friend’s broken engagement. But if you ever find yourself in a position again of wanting to make a woman feel better about herself, especially in the wake of a breakup, know that there are much better ways to do so than sending “semi-raunchy” text messages. You can be a good listener, invite her to join you and some friends for a fun night out, drop by with some take-out, bring her some magazines from the bookstore, send her a funny postcard in the mail. Be creative! And whatever you do, if you’re in a relationship with another woman — especially a new relationship where you’re still building trust — clue your girlfriend in on your friendship with this other woman and let her know your feelings are strictly platonic and your intentions are good-natured and sincere.