Mirror Image

27 Feb

Letterbalm Worried Woman in MirrorDear LetterBalm: I’m 29 and seeing a 40-year-old man who owns his own business and moves in high-powered circles. He’s wealthy, but money isn’t what drew me to him. He a wonderful person with two terrific, well-adjusted kids – we all love each other very much, and we hang out all the time. So, why am I so insecure around my boyfriend’s employee, when I’m not ordinarily jealous? She’s the comptroller of his company. She’s also 27, gorgeous, ambitious and majorly accomplished. They speak French together (a lot of the business is in France) and travel with other employees. I’m petrified that he’ll leave me or cheat on me, although he’s given me no reason to think this. I feel that I’m not good enough for him, and it’s all I can do to keep these insecurities from spilling over to poison our relationship. What can I tell him? Should I even say anything?

–Jealous Jinx

Ms. L.B. confesses she has been in your position back in the old days – except her boyfriend really was cheating on her with his secretary (and any woman with a pulse). So, she knows first-hand how toxic and all-consuming jealousy can be. It can drive your crazy and, in your case, drive away a perfectly good guy. Take some quiet time to reflect on why you’re so jealous. Did you grow up in a household where your dad or a male relative cheated? Did good friends’ boyfriends cheat on them? Examine why you feel the way you do. (Some private sessions with a cognitive behaviorist can help.) Your boyfriend has certainly shown he values the relationship because he spends lots of time with you and has introduced you to his children. One way to mute your jealousy is to carve out an area of expertise as an important hobby – ballet? sculpture? Mandarin? archeological digs? kickboxing? – that is yours alone. This can give a feeling of empowerment, even as you love doing it and become proficient. Meanwhile, to face your jealousy jitters, run the idea by your therapist first to see if you can lovingly talk with your boyfriend when you have a quiet moment together:

Jessie, we have such a wonderful time together that I have to pinch myself to make sure it’s real. You know I adore the kids – I’m lucky to have all of you in my life. Sometimes I feel that I don’t deserve all this, especially when I see how effortlessly you move in so many areas of your world. But then I calm down and realize that you and I are very good together. I’m one of the best things in your life, and we love each other like crazy. C’mon, you big goof, give this fabulous woman a kiss.

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