What to do when your boyfriend or girlfriend is jealous of your friends

aarya asks: I’m a female in a relationship. Now I have a past – my ex used to abuse me if I ever committed a mistake. My present boyfriend and I have dated 10 months, and now since i study abroad we are in a long distance relationship. He has issues with a male friend of mine. This guy was my good friend, but since my boyfriend did not like him I stopped talking to him. But here I have no friends. Last month that friend of mine said sorry, and asked me to a movie with a female friend to join us. I was alone there, and my guy has no time for me. I had no friends and so if anyone and asked to be my friend, without a second thought I’d said yes. So when my boyfriend came to know, he humiliated me. I begged his forgiveness, but he said such wrong things. This was a month ago. Till yesterday he did not say a word to me, but yesterday he again started to curse me for lying. I know I made a mistake, but this is not the way. I don’t know how to handle this. It is affecting my studies. Please help. I’m tired of handling it all alone.

Hi aarya –

I know it’s spelled differently, but I find it interesting that I’ve been writing often lately about my friend Aria, a wonderful dog whose life is good now, but who has such trouble trusting and judging correctly, because of all the abuse she’s suffered in her past.

I think she’d relate to your situation very much.  But I don’t.  And that’s because I’ve been way luckier than you two – I’ve never been abused by anyone (though I have accused my human friend Handsome of it when he’s cutting my toenails!).

I understand jealousy, and understand that there’s a sort of compliment in it – “I’m so crazy about you I can’t stand you being with someone else!”  But it’s also selfish – “You can’t live your life because of my insecurities.” 

Now don’t get me wrong, if your boyfriend were upset because you were getting romantically involved with this friend, I’d be saying very different things here.

But my point is this: you’re lonely and bored, and had a chance to get together with some friends.  And this guy made that all about himself, and has since then cut you off, and then come back at you with angry accusations.

My friend, you’re being abused again. 

And you don’t deserve it.

Now here’s my big question to you.  Let’s say you get through this

study abroad, and move back home, and you two stay together, and get married, have kids, all that.  He’s showing you right now what kind of boyfriend and husband – and father – he’d be.  There’s no reason to think he’d get kinder or more thoughtful.  Currently you’re too far away for him to do anything physical to hurt you; but are you sure he wouldn’t if you were close enough? 

In his mind, you’ve done something wrong and betraying.  But in my mind, HE has!  You went to a movie with some friends, making sure it was clearly innocent, and told him about it.  HE is the one who’s playing games, pulling back, lashing out…   And he’s the one who’s making this relationship unbearable.

I’m not there, and you may well have reasons to disagree with me.  But my sense is to let him go.  You have a whole new world in front of you – and a couple of nice friends there it seems.  You’ll meet more people, make more friends, maybe have the chance for a delightful international romance!

Like my friend Aria, you’ve suffered abuse and have trouble owning your right to never do that again.

But you can start owning that right…



All my best,


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