Dear Annie: I've never felt so strongly about anyone as I do about my girlfriend, "Angelina." She is warm and funny and makes me want to be my best self every day. The year that we've been dating has been the best of my life.
This is a great change from my previous girlfriend, who was from a well-to-do family and wasn't afraid to flaunt it. She was gorgeous but expected me to worship the ground she walked on because of that. She didn't like spending time with any of my friends. When she told me we couldn't go to my best friend's birthday party — because he's an "idiot," according to her — I decided to end it.
So it's no surprise that I'm thrilled Angelina clicks with my friends. She gets along so well with them, and they all think she's hilarious. I like going out with her and all my buds. I'm proud to show off what an awesome girlfriend I have.
The problem is that I feel as if she's getting along too well with some of them. I trust her (and them) completely and know I don't have to worry about infidelity. But I can't help but feel a little jealous when, for example, I realize my friends texted her about plans instead of me. When I've "jokingly" brought that up to her, she said it's because I'm bad about texting/calling people back and all my friends know it.
Another example: Recently, I was out of town for work for two weeks, and Angelina went out with my friends a few times. Sometimes I worry that she'll end up connecting better with one of my friends than with me. She and my best friend do click really well. As much as I don't want to be jealous, I feel that green monster sneaking up on me. Should I talk to her and/or my friends, or would I seem crazy? — Love-Struck
Dear Love: Your girlfriend loves your friends because she loves you, not the other way around — and don't you forget it. So often, jealousy is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Every time you indulge such a whim (telling your partner not to spend time with a certain person, asking for validation, etc.), you end up feeling even less secure and more in need of validation. Use positive self-talk ("My wonderful girlfriend loves me," "I love that my girlfriend cares about my friends," "What concrete facts are before me?") rather than positively talking yourself out of a happy relationship. It seems you've found a keeper, and I see no reason to goof things up by letting your insecurity call the shots.
Dear Annie: In responding to a distraught parent who was "Tired and Exhausted" because of her son's addiction, you suggested Al-Anon or Nar-Anon.
From my experience, another 12-step group has been invaluable: Families Anonymous. As with other 12-step groups, locations can be found online. — Stepfather of an Addict
Dear Stepfather: Thank you for recommending this great organization, which is for the friends and family members of those who suffer from addiction. Visit http://www.familiesanonymous.org for more information.
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