Q: I'm 18 and have been going out with my girlfriend for about a year now and I love her. But she still likes to see her other boyfriends and just guy friends I have never heard of. She usually only sees them when I'm not around. Her online mailbox is filled with guys. I looked into some of the messages and saw that most of it was very serious flirting. I asked her about it and she says it's her girlfriends who are using her box when they're over. I try to give her space and not be as jealous as I feel. I don't want to lose her. How can I fix this? -- Chris
Dr. Susan: Poor Chris, you're being lied to and you can't "fix" that. Sure seems like your girlfriend is too young and frisky to confine herself to one guy. How can you BE less jealous than you FEEL? I'd say you're justified in being suspicious of her feeble excuses. You have a choice: you can allow her to have lots of male friends and to flirt openly with anyone she chooses, and keep your mouth shut; or you can let her know that you need to know she's yours alone, period. Right now you're trying hard to reconcile these two opposing behaviors. If you ask for excuses, she'll make them up on the spot. If you can bear to tolerate her spending time with old boyfriends, why should she change? The reality, Chris, is that you are not in control here. You have to accept her as she is, and stifle your jealousy, or you can decide to find another girlfriend who isn't so needy of reassurance from dozens of other males. You can't lose what you never had.
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.