I occasionally suffer from bouts of extreme paranoia where M is concerned. The rational side of me knows there is nothing to worry about—he’s a good guy, we’re so good together, and he wouldn’t be marrying me if he were exploring other options. But sometimes it’s hard to shut down the little voices.
Even the best relationships have gray areas—that’s why communication and well-defined boundaries are important! While I despise the fact that I am sometimes overwhelmed by feelings of jealousy and insecurity, it’s not something that I can fully control. I’m never going to love the fact that M was with his ex for almost a decade, while my relationship with him is the longest I’ve ever had. I can only hope I’ll someday be less insecure when he has female friends who are prettier, smarter, and more out-going than me. Sometimes I need reassurance.
It’s taken me a long time to get over my fear of being “that girl” and just tell him when I’m having these paranoid thoughts. And while I feel ashamed of these negative thoughts and feelings, the conversations we have always make me feel better. Even though it feels like I’m questioning his commitment and testing the security of our relationship (a scary thing to do when that paranoid voice in your head is telling you that you might find out something you don’t like and can never unlearn), talking allows us to clarify things that would otherwise fester. At its core, the issue is not about whether I trust him, but about how to navigate the complicated situations that life throws at us.
Such as this one. M met her at around the same time he met me. They met through a local pick-up soccer group. He was single, she was single, they had the same hobby—in a parallel universe, he might have dated her instead of me. But that’s not how things worked out. His first impression of her was very negative, and by the time she’d won him over and become his friend, he and I were already solidly together.
At first, I didn’t have a problem with her… sure, she seemed overly interested in M, but she’s an intense person. She’s just overenthusiastic about everything, right? But something felt off. It was mostly small things that could have been misunderstandings, if they weren’t so frequent. And things stayed like that for a long time, until a party one night, when her comments and jokes really crossed the line into blatantly inappropriate territory. From then on, I’ve always been on edge around her. Even when she had a boyfriend. Even after she moved away.
M has remained friends with her mainly because of their large, overlapping group of soccer friends. Although they were never on the same team, they play in a league in which all of the teams know each other and invite each other to parties and barbecues. It would be awkward to cut her out completely, and difficult to do without creating a lot of drama. According to him. And I don’t press this issue. Because I don’t want to be “that girl.”
So when she came back to town for the weekend, I hadn’t quite figured out how to navigate the situation…Which brings us to “The Dinner from Hell”–but since this post has already gotten so long, that event will be described in full horrific detail in part 2!