I have a long-distance relationship with my boyfriend.
He happens to have an annoying female friend living in his home and taking care of his daughter when he’s at work-related events. From what he’s said, I believe she has feelings for him.
I’ve asked him to choose between me or her, but he’s so reliant on her financially that he didn’t answer me.
Should I break up with him? Or should I demand an answer from him to choose between us?
We only have two options here? Break up or tell him to choose between the woman he cares about and the woman who’s making his life work? These are not great options. Let’s look at all the paths available to you instead.
If you’re looking for someone to tell you to dump him, I’m not your girl. Go ask Dan Savage. He’ll be happy to say “DTMFA.” And while that’s a funny answer—and he’s often right—it’s not my style. Mine is to guide you with information so you can be accountable for your relationship carrying on or ending. So, dump him? Only you get to say.
Give Him an Ultimatum
Ultimatums are one of the least effective relationship strategies out there, and can sometimes be the reason a relationship breaks up. Even if you get your way, you’ve now set the grounds for an adversarial relationship with your boyfriend moving forward.
Would you like to know what to do instead?
Have a Conversation
The place to start with your guy is sharing what you want in your relationship that you’re currently not getting. Don’t blame him for not giving it to you—instead, come at it from a place of honesty. “Hey, can I tell you something I need?” is a great opener, and after that, speak from the “I” and not from the “you.”
Here’s an example of what to say after starting the conversation off: “What I really miss is the time we used to spend on the phone every night. We don’t do that anymore. Are you interested in picking that back up? I only need about ten minutes to feel connected to you.”
Here’s an example of what NOT to say: “You never call me anymore! It’s your roommate, isn’t it? You’re such a jerk.”
Which leads me to my next question…
Is it Him?
Is he being a jerk to you because of this woman? If he’s being frustrating or neglectful, then it’s not a roommate problem, it’s a boyfriend problem. It’s not her, it’s him. Try to think hard about wanting to stay with someone who’s choosing to act that way.
Is it Her?
Is she always around when you two are trying to spend quality time together? If this is the case, then you two need to set some boundaries. You could lead into this conversation with something like, “I value our relationship and the time we spend together. Since our time is precious and limited, I need it to be just us. Can you make sure we spend our time alone together away from your roommate?” In the “maybe she likes him” department, as long as your boyfriend is committed to you and you two reach a mutual agreement about exclusivity (if that’s what you both want), then this shouldn’t be an issue. It’s up to your boyfriend to set clear boundaries with his roommate. And I imagine you want to choose to be with someone who can be clear in his communication and boundaries, right?
Is it You?
If your boyfriend isn’t doing anything wrong, and you’re getting your needs met by him in terms of time and attention, then I’d like you to consider the possibility that it’s not them, it’s you.
You’re jealous. And hey, it’s okay that you haven’t learned how to deal with your jealous feelings yet. Our culture does a piss-poor job of teaching us how to overcome jealousy, but there’s no time like the present to start.
Jealousy over the time and attention your boyfriend spends with other people is not okay. We don’t get to own people. They get to have friends. Regardless of her intentions, it’s not healthy for you to try and manage his relationships with his friends.
Start tackling the jealousy challenge today with my 28-minute audio, Overcoming Jealousy, so you can start moving through this relationship and any of the ones that might come after it with confidence and grace. Because if he’s a good guy who gives you what you need, and you’re feeling this way, this is bound to come up in your romantic life over and over again. It happens to a lot of people, but you can break this cycle before it becomes one.
And if you want my opinion on long-distance relationships, read this.
Good luck out there!
Wendy Newman is the author of 121 First Dates. She’s a dating, sex, and relationship expert who’s led hundreds of workshops and revolutionized the lives of over 70,000+ women internationally.
To submit a relationship, dating, or sex question, email [email protected] — Subject line: Ask Wendy Column
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