I have been in a relationship for 9 months with a man I feel is the love of my life. He is 51 and I am 42. He has been divorced for 7 years, me for only 1 year. We were good friends before I was divorced, nothing more, although the attraction was there. My marriage was in the toilet.
The problem has been that he has a lot of female friends. Almost zero guy friends. He has had 7 intimate relationships in 7 years. He is still friends with some of these women. I came into a situation where he is still seeing some of them socially. Most of these women are dancers, he goes to dance every week.
The problem is, he is in Boston, I am in Atlanta. When he goes to dance class, he usually stays and parties with all of his friends. It makes me jealous. He has never given me any reason to not trust him, but there are two women in particular, one who he has admitted he has been attracted to
in the past and one who could not move on from their prior relationship. The first I feel is my friend as well, the second refuses to meet me. So, when he goes to class, these women are generally there. It makes me insane that he is dancing and partying with them.
Am I overreacting? I used to feel much more insecure than I do now, but being in an LDR (long distance relationship) has added definite challenges to the situation. We are talking engagement and marriage. I am so in love and he calls me five times a day saying the same thing. -- Nervous Naomi
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Long-distance relationships bring with them some measure of instability and insecurity, particularly if the greatest part of the relationship is spent or built while apart. We don't get the opportunity to build and demonstrate trust and connection in the ways we do on a daily basis, in a variety of situations. As several of his current classmates have become lovers (and then friends again), I believe your worries are only natural. Keeping those worries in perspective and working to prevent jealousy and fear from undermining the relationship will be your challenge, Naomi.
It sounds as if your boyfriend has been dating and exploring relationships with women since his divorce. This is what we do, how we refine and discover what we want in an intimate relationship, and dating is the means to learn these things. If you know him as an honest and respectful person, who values the women in his life and treats them respectfully, then I would ask you to have faith in what you know.
I think it would also be wise to have a very honest discussion with your boyfriend about your fears. While you've expressed your love and hopes for the future, I encourage you both to discuss how you think about commitment, monogamy, and handling attractions while you're apart. We must be wise in love, too, Naomi, while we remain open and hopeful. Before an engagement, I encourage you both to come to know each other well, over time in the same city, growing together while handling together the daily struggles and rewards of an intimate relationship.
For more help exploring your longer standing struggle with feelings of insecurity and jealousy, perhaps you might take a look at the book If This Is Love, Why Do I Feel So Insecure?