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Dear Christine, Concerned in Canton

  • Posted on March 20, 2017 at 7:50 am

Dear Christine,

I have a friend, no really! I have a friend who is driving me crazy. His new boyfriend is super jealous. Whenever they go out with friends in a group, this new boyfriend is always imagining flirtations and complaining about these. If my friend goes out with his own friends without the new boyfriend, when he gets home, there are a million questions. My friend keeps complaining that his new boyfriend keeps asking him who he talked to, who there did he think was hot, who hit on him, who did he wish would hit on him, and on and on and on. I can’t stand hearing about this new boyfriend anymore! But it can’t be much fun for my friend either. What do I do to keep my sanity? Is there anything I can tell my friend so that this new relationship goes better for him? Concerned in Canton

Dear Concerned: You’re not going to like my answer! There’s nothing you can do to help your friend and as long as you actively listen to his complaints about his sweetheart, if that drives you crazy, then you will go nuts! One of the hard truths in life is that we can’t change someone else. We many not like his behavior or the way he talks, but that’s who he is. He may change, but if he likes himself well enough, that’s just who he is and change won’t be happening anytime soon. Change requires realizing someone thing needs to be different. Then it takes commitment and constant focus to make that different.

Think about a change you’ve tried to make: losing 10 pounds, or flossing your teeth every night or quitting smoking. Not easy! If you try to lose that 10 pounds to please someone else, you are likely to become resentful of their expecting you do achieve something difficult like weight loss that might not be your top priority in your life. And if you do lose the weight, there’s the danger that you will give that person the credit for getting you to finally lose the weight. Personally, I don’t want the blame or the credit if a friend of mine has an issue I don’t like. If that person doesn’t like it, they get motivated to figure out how to accomplish it.

If your friend doesn’t feel that the relationship is worth the hassle of constant 20 questions, encourage him to think about his options. Be supportive. There are plenty of other datable guys out there. Maybe he’s ready to think about moving on, maybe not. If you really are saturated with the new guy, tell your friend gently that you really can’t keep hearing about the same complaint over and over. That’s playing the victim, not taking charge of his life. You take charge of your life by figuring out how close or distant a friend you can be. Good luck, and keep me posted! Christine Cantrell, PhD,