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Ask a Therapist

3 months 3 weeks ago
Author: Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

I started dating my boyfriend almost 2 years ago. At that time, he was a student living in a student’s house of 6, and two of his housemates are his close friends(a guy and a girl. The girl is around my age while the guy is a lot younger). They liked to hang out together, especially my boyfriend and this girl whose rooms happened to be next to each other.

In the beginning, my relationship with these two friends was ok. The guy welcomed me with open arms to their circles, however, the girl was a bit distant. I noticed that she liked to ask my boyfriend to come to her room whenever she had problems (mostly family and relationship issues) to talk to him. She looked uncomfortable whenever I was around, which happened to be a lot.
After a few months coming there, she finally spoke to my boyfriend that she felt uneasy having us there. Since her room is next to my boyfriend, she could not find peace since we giggled and made jokes a lot in my boyfriend’s room. She also mentioned that it would be nice if I visit the house only a few times a week to give her “space”. I and my boyfriend understood and tried to facilitate the issue.

However, later on, I found from her (we did talk several times), that she actually missed my boyfriend and all the time they used to hang out together “as housemates” This talk, however, started to make me uneasy. I somehow felt that she wanted to maintain their friendship the same way before we dated.

Ok. Back today, now I’m in a long-distance relationship with my boyfriend. Recently, he and this girl made a plan to visit their friend (the guy that I mentioned) in another country together. I got jealous and told my boyfriend my concerns and he tried to figure out the best thing to do. In the end, he chose to go on the trip with her because she might return home and never see him again, also he said it’s good for us. He told me to trust him. I tried, but my concerns came from all the thoughts I have about her all these times. Now my boyfriend is kind of hurt from my response. I start to wonder if I have trust issues. How should I fix this? (From Indonesia)

Thank you for explaining this delicate situation for us. Your reactions are normal and not a “trust issue,” per se. They are, however, a very good reason to continue conversation, negotiation, and compromise with your boyfriend.

Be clear with him that it isn’t so much about trust as it is about her neediness and wanting of his time. This is real, quantifiable, and chronic—which makes it an important topic for discussion. Your uneasiness is about these very real things that demand his time. That isn’t about trust—it is about priority.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral