Dear Amy: Around two years ago, after I had broken up with my girlfriend, I started going by myself to a live music venue. I started running into a woman I used to know. (Years ago, I had been interested in her, but she had a boyfriend, and I dropped it.)
She and I got along well. Her boyfriend was still in the picture, but he was never present. I developed feelings for her. Although nothing took place physically, we would meet up two or three times a week, and we texted constantly.
Long story short, after a few months of this, I realized that she had no intention of changing her situation and that the relationship with her would never be more than a friendship.
While this had been going on, another woman expressed interest in me. I began dating this other woman. We’ve now been together for 18 months. We frequent many of the same venues and encounter this other woman regularly.
For whatever reason (maybe feeling that she was my second choice), my girlfriend cannot get past it.
At first, she badgered me to give up the friendship and to only greet the first woman with “hello and goodbye.” Now she tries to steer us away from venues where we are likely to encounter her. If by chance we run into this other woman, my girlfriend’s demeanor changes.
I am at a loss here. I don’t tell her who she can talk to or who she can be friends with. It’s not like we are talking about a former girlfriend. Nothing happened. It was essentially a crush.
I’ve never had a problem being platonic friends with women I once had a romantic interest in. I understand that you can’t tell a person how they’re supposed to feel. How can this be resolved?
Dear Confused: You don’t mention if you continue to maintain close and frequent contact with this first woman. I can understand why she is perceived as a threat -- not necessarily because of your behavior, but because of hers. According to you, she has had a boyfriend for many years, but has engaged in a lengthy private and emotional connection with you. She is a boundary-crosser.
You seem to believe that this is fine, but I believe that her behavior was manipulative (toward you) and unethical (toward her boyfriend).
If this is the only one of your female friends your girlfriend reacts negatively toward, then it would be respectful of you to try to see this from her point of view.
You could be helpful regarding her insecurity if you continue to reassure her, and also offer to include her in your social interactions with this person. Where is this woman’s boyfriend? Could you ask the two of them to have drinks with the two of you?
Dear Amy: I recently went to the movies with my daughter. It was stadium-style seating, where you pick assigned seats. The young couple to our immediate right was talking throughout the previews. Not a problem.
They continued talking when the movie started.
I waited a few minutes, then leaned over and politely asked them to “please stop talking during the movie,” to which the young man replied, “No.”
They then continued to whisper during the movie.
What else could I have done? To find an usher, I would have had to climb across the row, past 10 other people.
The only other available seats were in the first three rows.
It was a distraction for the entire movie. Outside of raising my voice to tell them to stop (so others could hear), what should I have done?
Dear Angry: Despite multiple “official” entreaties during the trailers for people to be quiet and not use their phones during a film, some people continue to behave as if they are in their living rooms.
If you didn’t want to raise your voice to shush these people, then yes – you should have worked your way past 10 people to get an usher.
I assume you would have gotten a round of applause.
Dear Amy: Like “Sad and Mad in California,” my husband and I have wrestled with the heartbreak of addiction with one of our children. After many failed attempts to force him into recovery, we have had to preserve our own sanity by detaching from our son’s addiction, and basically leave it up to the Lord.
Dear Been There: Admitting your own powerlessness is tough. I’m sorry.
Email Amy at firstname.lastname@example.org.