I’ve been dating my boyfriend for seven months and we’re about to head off to college. He’s going two hours away from home and I’m going out of state. This relationship has been so incredible and I’m so excited to see where we go in the future. However, I have a really bad habit of getting jealous, even though he has given me no reason to be and has been nothing but reassuring, kind, and loyal to me. How do I allow him to make friends and stop being so clingy and smothering?
I feel for you: Dating someone who’s headed off to college sucks. You aren’t wrong to feel jealous. It’s normal to freak out and imagine he’s kissing some co-ed while you’re studying. It’s scary to send a boyfriend or girlfriend off to start a new phase of life. But extreme jealousy has a funny way of blowing up in your face, if not making all your worst fears come true. You’re smart to try and get ahead of this problem.
To help you deal with these inevitable feelings, first I think you have to accept a few lousy things about distance because they’re unavoidable. Here’s a random assortment of a few: 1. He’s not always going to text or call when you want. 2. He’s going to be busy when you’re not. 3. He’s going to make lots of new friends. 4. Some of them will be cute girls. 5. You’re going to see something on someone’s social media that bothers you. 6. Clueless friends are going to say insensitive things about how he’s definitely fooling around. 7. He’s going to want some space. 8. No matter what, you’re not going to be able to see or talk to him as much as you’d like. 9. Sometimes, his phone really is going to die. And all of the same things will be true for you as well when you’re settling into your new college routine.
I’m not trying to scare you. It’s just that there are dozens of ways in which this long-distance relationship is going to be hard—and if you start off hoping that it’s going to be smooth sailing, you’re bound to be disappointed and jealous when you discover it’s not so easy.
Then next year, be realistic and pick your moments. Think: quality phone calls and visits, not constant contact. Make a few reasonable plans in advance: In addition to regular check-ins, consider scheduling a standing phone call every Sunday night or a visit every other weekend. Sometimes, when things go wrong, you can help control your jealousy if you’ve got a plan on the books to look forward to. Remember that it’s healthy to talk about how much you miss him, but there are degrees: Be honest about your feelings, but don’t lay a guilt trip on him every time you say goodnight.
My big-picture advice: Take care of yourself first. The more you think about him than yourself, the more jealous you’ll be. Practice being alone a little bit before he goes. Don’t just think about missing him—think about all the new things you’ll do at your new school. Keep yourself busy with clubs, classes, meeting new people. If you’re happy and busy with your own life, you’ll be less likely to obsess over his and smother. Remember that obsessive jealousy is just never a good look, and there’s nothing more attractive than a woman who’s got her shit together.
My boyfriend and I have been dating for close to three years. He comes from a relatively strict Catholic family, and they are conservative pro-lifers. I, on the other hand, am very liberal and I do not hold back from making my feminist viewpoints known. My boyfriend however does not see the importance of feminism, and doesn’t find it necessary. He believes men and women already have completely equal rights. Every now and then I try to educate him a little, but he’s pretty firm in his beliefs and has “evidence” of his own to back up his viewpoints, so I usually let it go. Ultimately, his behavior never broaches sexist, and that’s the most important thing for me. I’ve been hearing about a 2018 Women’s March and I was unable to attend the first one, so attending the next one is incredibly important to me. I asked my boyfriend if he’d go with me, and he said he would, but then asked if I’d join him for the March for Life in January. As you can guess, this is not something I want to do at all. The two events stand for completely different things and even though I want to support him, I want to show no support for the pro-life movement. What do you think I should do?
This is a fascinating problem. If I’ve got this right, your boyfriend is a nice guy who treats you well. But he’s also willfully, extremely clueless: Every time anyone tells him about gender-based discrimination (the wage gap, sexual assault rates, domestic abuse stats, sexual harassment headlines, campus rape stories, etc.) he sticks his fingers in his ears and la-la-la’s or tosses out anecdotal counter-evidence because he is certain that everything is absolutely equal and fine and good. But it’s not.
My first thought is: As a woman, it’s going to be really hard to have a long relationship with a guy who denies the fundamental realities of your life. He doesn’t have to call himself a “feminist” and be woke on social media. But he does have to grapple with facts if he’s going to honestly engage with your life. I worry about what happens when he tells you that, no, you’re wrong about how you feel about your life, your experiences, and the forces that shape them.
But my answer to your question is actually quite simple:
Go to the Women’s March or any upcoming event you’d like, whether that’s with your boyfriend, your girl friends, or yourself. Do not cut a deal and agree to go to the March for Life, because you should not be strong-armed into supporting a cause you disagree with as part of some kind of 50/50 deal, regardless of the cause. Sure, if you’re interested in the March for Life, check it out. But if you fundamentally disagree with something, stand by your principles, and explain that you’d rather not lend your support to a movement you oppose.
All I’ll add to that is that I hope you spend some time thinking about what it means to be with a man with such strict conservative beliefs who refuses to see the discrimination all around him. I’ve known couples who got along fine before the big issues came up—but fought like hell when life got more serious and those fundamental disagreements started to have a bigger impact on everyday life. This is just one March, but if this relationship lasts, you’ll want a traveling partner you can trust on the long road ahead.
This weekend I got very drunk with a friend of mine. We ended up making out. I’m not sure what happened because I had blacked out. I feel bad since it was my friend’s first kiss. We’re both gay, I’m a lesbian and she’s bi. I tried telling her that I’m not interested in anything serious, especially with a friend. I just went through a rough breakup with someone I had lots of friends in common with. Ever since that weekend, I’ve noticed her looking at me a lot more and differently, like she’s in love with me. She talks to me that way too. How do I explain that I don’t have feelings for her and I’m not going to kiss her again, without hurting our friendship?
Look, you can’t help it if you’re an amazing catch (and, sounds like, an amazing kisser). Sometimes, people are just going to fall for you. Since this was your friend’s first kiss, it’s no wonder she’s crushing especially hard on you.
You’re on the right track and this is going to be fine: You’ve just got to figure out how to let this woman down easy. That begins with watching your behavior. It’s all fine and good to say, “I just want to be friends,” but if you start making out with her the next time you get drunk, she’s not going to believe you. And there’s a whole world of grey area in between. The best way to send a clear message is to stop sending mixed messages. Create some distance. Play it cool.
Most of all, if you don’t want to hook up with her, be clear about that. It sounds like you’ve almost said the right thing. You told her you’re not interested in “anything serious” with a friend. But that’s not the truth, is it? You don’t want to casually hook up again, do you? If you don’t want anything romantic or sexual with her—serious, casual, otherwise—tell her that. “I like you as a friend—but just as a friend. It was a mistake to hook up with you and I can’t do that again.” Don’t leave any wiggle room. Don’t make excuses or over-explain it. (If you blame it on your break-up, she might just think you need some more time before you make out again.) It might sound ten-percent more harsh to be clear, but it’s necessary. In love, as in home security, you’ve got to shut that door tight or someone will keep trying to pry it open.