Unfamiliar with jealousy
July 12, 2011 10:51 AM   Subscribe

I'm not normally jealous, but one of my bf's female friends is making me feel a twinge of jealousy and I don't know if I should say something to him or not.

My boyfriend and I have been together for about 9 months now, known each other for a year and a half. I've got mostly guy friends, he seems to have mostly female friends. The way we see it, there's not really any reason to get jealous under normal circumstances because if something was likely to happen between one of our friends and us, it would have already happened. I'm not a huggy kind of girl with other guys usually, unless it's normal for that guy friend. He's a bit huggier, he hugs everyone - guys and girls alike. He's 30, and I'm his first long-term girlfriend because he has a weird way of reading girls' flirting, he won't clue in to it unless she's being very direct and obvious. And his immense loyalty to friends and family say to me that if I treat him well, he's mine for life. So this has usually been far more than enough reassurance that he won't stray, I have no reason to get jealous.

The first time I met S was at her wedding, we flew to Kelowna for it a couple weeks ago. I'd heard about her only on occasion, apparently she and my bf go to the same ass-kicking triathlon club workout on Saturdays while I'm at the farmer's market with my mom. She's also friends with L, a waitress at the bar where my BF used to be a bouncer. L and S would go to the bar to hang out on L's off-evenings and they'd visit with my BF while he worked. I can't recall them hanging out outside of the gym or the bar, there might have been an occasional coffee, but that would have been a long time ago at the beginning of our relationship.

I noticed it at the wedding and again last night, the 2nd time I've ever met her - she has these big doe eyes that easily seem full of love and affection, and her gaze seems to linger on him a little too long on occasion. She seems to be one of those people that's just so cuddly and touchy-feely with everyone. She sat on his lap while at the wedding, when coming to visit with our table. Yes they danced together a few times, but my bf's notorious for dancing all night long with a variety of girls at weddings, it's his favorite thing, and I usually get half the dances at least.

We've both been under a lot of stress lately, from being busy at work, my moving to a new apt soon, his moving to a new city 7 hours away, my looking for a new job in his city, and all of his friends wanting to get social time in before he goes. We had a sort of fight a few days ago from my wanting to take a break in the midst of rushing around and his unwillingness to let me have one because he wanted to just power through. Yesterday was a bad day due to several bits of bad luck that happened to my bf and I, and the last one was cleaning up a bucket of paint that got everywhere. It just so happens that S was there, wanting to visit, and while we were busy cleaning she left without a word, wanting to just let us have some time to ourselves.

I felt bad that she left, so my bf suggested we go over to see her instead, after we were cleaned up and wanting to just relax. Her husband was gone, he's a bush pilot apparently gone for a few weeks at a time, so she probably gets lonely. We had a nice evening over there, and then I hear about their triathlon club, how they became partners to save her from another creepy guy, how they've physically held eachother up after a particularly bad workout, and at the end she sneaks in an extra hug when we leave (him, me, him). On the way home, he suggested when I make my commutes out to see him, S would probably love to come along sometime. And well, at that point I was thinking to myself, uh, probably not. They seem awfully close for someone I've only met twice.

So maybe my jealousy stems from the fact they're a little too physically comfortable with each other, and that she is more of his type of athlete - I'm not really athletic at all in comparison, though I'm making an effort to keep us physically active together. I think he sees me as more of someone to relax and have fun with instead, not the intense workout buddy.

I don't know if I should talk to him about it though, given it just makes me look unusually insecure and the problem will basically go away because he's moving. I don't know if it's a lot of the stress talking either, and I wouldn't be bothered to this degree otherwise. This is the only girl I've met through him who makes me feel at all jealous though , the rest of them treat him in a more chummy kind of way.

I'd just like the mefites to weigh in with some perspective, before I create unwarranted turmoil with my bf over this.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (31 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
IMO: She's crossed a line, and so has your BF. You have every right to mention this to your boyfriend. The next time you notice touchy-feely behavior between the two of them, gently assert to your BF, "Hey, you may not be aware of this, but when you and S hug like that, it makes me really uncomfortable. I have noticed your connection before, and whether you mean to or not, the interactions I observe between the two of you communicate a level of attraction that makes me worried. I feel like she's encroaching on our relationship, and that you're letting her out of habit and affection. I would like you to please consider my feelings and set some boundaries between you and S. I recognize that this is a big request, and I am working to reconcile my reaction to seeing you two together with emotions that are fair, but I really need this from you."
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 10:57 AM on July 12, 2011 [12 favorites]

I don't know if I should talk to him about it though, given it just makes me look unusually insecure and the problem will basically go away because he's moving.

If it makes you uncomfortable, you should talk about it to him. He may be moving away from this incident, but that doesn't mean the real problem (his blindness to another girl's advances, his blindness to his attraction to her, your oversensitivity - whatever it is!) is going away.
posted by IAmBroom at 10:57 AM on July 12, 2011 [2 favorites]

Don't worry about saying what you're confortable with - you're going to have to be able to do that with him. However, since you're both under a lot of stress right now, you might want to wait until things have subsided then bring things up when you guys are calmer.
posted by ignignokt at 10:57 AM on July 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

I was in your bf's shoes once. Sweetykins brought it up along these lines: "Hey, I know you have a lot of female friends, and that's great. For whatever reason, I'm somewhat jealous of Triathelete. It doesn't mean that you can't hang out with her or anything, I just thought you would want to know."

And I did want to know. I'm still friends with Triathlete, and so is Sweetykins, but I do keep my radar up a bit more for unintentionally flirty behavior around Triathlete.
posted by craven_morhead at 11:04 AM on July 12, 2011 [17 favorites]

Sitting on his lap is unacceptable. not like, blow up like a crazy person unacceptable, but YEAH not cool. I think stuff like THAT is worth a mention. "hey dude, it makes me uncomfortable when she's hanging on you- i'd really apprecate it if you could make sure she doesn't do that anymore- just out of consideration for my feelings." something like that.

Her wanting to go with you to see him? that there is acceptable and dare i say incouraged? You're going to need to know her a little better to feel comfortable with her being alone with him (please keep that very last part to yourself).

it doesn't need to be all turmoily- but if you're getting weird vibes, you can ask him (casually and without any drama involved) to cut out some of the squishy stuff and for you to spend a little more time getting to know her so the crazy-pants in your head don't get reved up.

IF he flat out refuses to consider your feelings on the subject- that's when a fight would come in. A lot of dudes that were late bloomers just don't have the experence to know what bounderies need to be respected. He's never had a ladyfriend like you before- so give him a chance by explaining it, in a non condecending way (for the love of god).
posted by Blisterlips at 11:04 AM on July 12, 2011 [2 favorites]

If a woman over the age of 12 sits on my boyfriend’s LAP (!!!) (and in front of me!!!) things will be happening. Like, I will be frantically looking for the big red torpedo IN HER FACE button.

So just, I personally don’t think you’re overreacting.

I think you can think about what you’ve said here and say it to him. None of his other girl friends makes you jealous at all. But something about this girl’s behavior (and/or his behavior when she’s around?) makes you uncomfortable, makes you feel insecure, makes you jealous. I think if you target specific actions that make you feel uncomfortable and that he can choose to stop doing in order to make you feel better, that will be best (as opposed to like, general “I’m going to cut that bitch next time she looks at you funny” venting, which is I think totally reasonable). Like the “what seem to you” lingering hugging, or the lap-sitting (!!!). Be very careful of directly criticizing her.
posted by thebazilist at 11:11 AM on July 12, 2011 [2 favorites]

We've both been under a lot of stress lately, from being busy at work, my moving to a new apt soon, his moving to a new city 7 hours away, my looking for a new job in his city, and all of his friends wanting to get social time in before he goes.

Focus on this, and it's amazing how the other negative feelings (like jealousy) will probably go away.

She's married, your bf loves you, he's acting perfectly within the range of his usual behavior. He mentioned her accompanying you on a visit, and you said (or at least thought) "no." Here's a hint: if there was something to be jealous of, it would happen behind your back, not with you along for the ride. She wouldn't be hugging him an extra time in front of you, she'd be doing it behind your back.

I think he is maybe a little clueless about interacting with women, and this is maybe a teachable moment for him, but if you let your jealousy take over and guide the conversation, then neither of you are liable to learn much.
posted by hermitosis at 11:14 AM on July 12, 2011 [5 favorites]

If they had something to hide, I'd think they'd be doing a better job of hiding it.
posted by empath at 11:16 AM on July 12, 2011 [3 favorites]

I've been cheated on, I'm the jealous type, and I'm usually in the "yes, tell him you're uncomfortable" camp, but I'm going to break pattern with this one.

1. He doesn't sound like the cheating type.
2. Even if you weren't sure of that, as you say, he's moving. He's not going to have any opportunity to mess around with this person.
3. If he was going to mess around with S, it would have already happened.
4. In order for him to cheat on you, she also has to be willing to cheat on her husband.
5. If someone's cheating on you, or planning on it, they aren't overly affectionate with that person in front of you unless they're a total dumbass.
6. They also don't generally hang out with both of you at the same time and tell you what close running buddies they are.

So. You're under a lot of stress, you're likely anxious about him moving, and this is all getting focused on your feeling that he's too affectionate with S. Take some time to relax, let him get settled, and I'll bet this anxiety will go away.
posted by desjardins at 11:16 AM on July 12, 2011 [6 favorites]

I don't get the feeling that he's gunning for her.

But I do get the sense that either something did happen between them in the past before you came along, and maybe she's just not quite yet recalibrated her behavior yet, or that she wanted something to happen and he didn't and she hasn't quite let that go yet. I also think he's totally oblivious to that.

I think you are perfectly within your rights to say that she's making you a TOUCH uncomfortable -- not that he should stop hanging out with her, but the sitting-on-laps is a little...much.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:25 AM on July 12, 2011 [14 favorites]

I just want to tag on to what DesJardins is saying by saying that I really agree with her points, but also want to say that even if your BF isn't cheating on you, that doesn't mean that you should suddenly force yourself to re-frame his behavior and hers as nonthreatening. Sometimes you have to ask the people you love to set boundaries. That isn't a crime. Definitely give yourself some time to ruminate over this and the responses you'll get in this thread, but don't diminish your own needs. S may be trying to maintain some kind of emotional affair with your SO and that's not fair you to, your BF, or her husband.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 11:27 AM on July 12, 2011 [3 favorites]

One: no matter how much she wants to date him (assuming she does) he has to agree to it first, and so you shouldn't worry so much about her intentions. Focus on him.

And so, two: if he needs to be hit with a brick to see a girl flirting with him, perhaps he might have been interested in her but never read the signs, and so moved on. You should be able to mention that she seems a bit attracted to him, and has he ever been interested in her. His response -- the fact of it, and the apparent sincerity of it -- should tell you everything you need to know.

Once you know the fact of it, then you can see how you feel, and if it still bothers you, work from there.
posted by davejay at 11:31 AM on July 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

I think you can feel uncomfortable, insecure, and jealous without thinking that he's going to cheat on you. And if that's how you feel, and you do say something, make sure he understands that.
posted by thebazilist at 11:36 AM on July 12, 2011 [3 favorites]

I think this is less about whether your boyfriend and his friend are trying to do anything untoward, and more about asserting your boundaries so you both clearly understand them. The best and fairest thing you can do to build a strong foundation together is to be honest about what you need from each other. In this case, I think that saying something along the lines of what craven_morhead or These Birds of a Feather suggest would be totally reasonable. They key is to be non-confrontational and approach this from a desire to achieve 100% mutual understanding.

I think it's better to be straightforward about what's making you uncomfortable and what you need from him here in order to be comfortable with their friendship, then see how things go from there. If, after having that candid conversation with him and giving him a chance to adjust the things that you uncomfortable, their friendship continues to cross your boundaries--well, then you have something to be upset about.
posted by anonnymoose at 11:40 AM on July 12, 2011

I don't get the impression from what you said that he is interested in her, but that she might be interested in him. I'd definitely suggest having a conversation with him, but I'd think twice about making this conversation about him. I'd make it about your feelings about/towards her instead. That way, you won't come across as accusing him of being untoward, but you can make it clear that she's treading on your toes, as it were. I wouldn't worry about your boy as much as I'd worry about her.

It's bothering you, so your SO needs to know about it. If he's as unaware as you say, he quite possibly doesn't realise that this girl seems to be into him. He might even want to take steps himself to distance himself from her himself, when he realises that.
posted by Solomon at 11:47 AM on July 12, 2011

Some of my best, closest friends are female, and some people would be jealous of that to start with, which I think is unreasonable. But you are not being unreasonable. They sound really touchy-feely in general, and it's OK to say that makes you uncomfortable. Her sitting in his lap just is not on, as far as I'm concerned.

Tell him you don't want to get in the way of their friendship but the physical displays of affection make you incredibly uncomfortable.

I've been cheated on, I'm the jealous type, and I'm usually in the "yes, tell him you're uncomfortable" camp, but I'm going to break pattern with this one.

desjardins, your analysis seems to be all about whether he's going to cheat. It doesn't matter. Cheating has nothing to do with it. Anon's boyfriend is acting in a way that makes her uncomfortable, and it's not unreasonable to let him know about that.
posted by grouse at 11:52 AM on July 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

If it were me in this situation, I'd simply tell my husband that S was making me a leetle uncomfortable around the boundaries, just FYI.

I would especially do this if we were under an unusual amount of stress. Because that's when people do dumb shit they might not otherwise.

It's good to be able to have this kind of conversation. It's not just the slightly inappropriate friend (lap-sitting? no ma'am.). One day it may be the boss who doesn't understand that other people have lives, the in-law with inappropriate commentary on your reproductive life, a neighbor being weird about your fancy new lawnmower. Being able to say, "hey, doesn't it seem like X is kinda off?" is a really good thing. And it's not a conversation that says, "You make that skank stop acting like that" or "You tell your boss to shove it up his ass", it's just a conversation that says "are we on the same page about this?"

And sometimes these conversations are slow-release. You may point it out - about the boss or this girl or the neighbor - and a couple of weeks later he'll come back to you saying yes, he sees what you mean now. (This is very often how that conversation goes down with my husband, because he's just not as observant as I am about that kind of thing but is pretty quick to notice once I mention it, or provide information he's discovered that changes my perspective.) As long as you are fair and keep it in the realm of "I feel X" rather than "You fix X now" I don't think it can hurt.
posted by Lyn Never at 12:26 PM on July 12, 2011 [9 favorites]

One of the weirdest things that happens with a high degree of frequency between women is a sort of competitiveness for male attention. There are all sorts of reasons for this particular quirk of people but that doesn't make it attractive. They were friends before with a certain kind of bond, the kind of bond that not a lot of women get with men -- a competitive, athletic, brother/sister maybe, we're-on-the-same-team kind of bond. She may also find him attractive or at the very least probably appreciates his attraction to her. And it seems to me that this is manifesting itself in a bit of one-upsmanship on her part. It makes you uncomfortable because it is meant to.

I don't mean that she's doing this on purpose or that she's even gunning for him but she is sort of marking him. Sitting on his lap (at her own wedding?! sheesh!) in your presence is putting you outside the circle. It's rude and immature behavior.

Best case scenario is that the three of you allow your relationship to evolve. She takes a step back, you take a step forward and the only one who can make that happen seamlessly is your boyfriend. You have to mention (in the calm, rational way that others have outlined above) that this threesome is making you uncomfortable. Be specific that while you aren't actually threatened by her, the extra hugs, the lap-sitting, etc., makes you feel like a third wheel and you'd like for you all to move beyond that. Ask him to imagine himself in your shoes. It's going to be up to him to tactfully disentangle himself from her and be a little more standoffish. She will get the message, I bet, and eventually you can probably all be friends.

Remember: just because the worst case scenario (OMG! She's going to bone him the minute my back is turned!) is unlikely doesn't make all the other behavior okay. You're uncomfortable. Respect your own feelings about it and be reasonable in your expectations.

Good luck -- he sounds like a good, fun guy. I think you two can work beyond this and it's great practice for your future.
posted by amanda at 12:37 PM on July 12, 2011 [3 favorites]

She might be acting out of a weird territorial instinct. She may not have any intention of having an affair, but she knew your boyfriend first and she's trying to make sure you know that (and are thus a rung lower on the ladder). Maybe she doesn't have any idea why she's doing it. Thus the physical touching and the discussion of topics that are about her and him (triathalon). She might as well be a bird singing, "My tree! My tree! My tree!"

I don't think I'd take any action. It might amuse you to imagine her lifting her leg or doing some other territory marking behavior instead of giving him that extra hug. Kind of silly, really, that she has to make a gesture of dominance. Expect her to act out more in response when your territory and superior rank as girlfriend is on display.
posted by griselda at 12:38 PM on July 12, 2011 [2 favorites]

I'm a guy with lots of platonic female friends.

First, I don't think it's a terrible idea to mention it to him: "S makes me a little jealous with all that hugging". My last gf let that kind of jealousy simmer instead of bringing it up, and it really helped torpedo our relationship.

That said, I'll eat my shoe if there's any kind of romantic feelings between them. You're worried because they were acting flirty at her wedding? Also, organizing time for you two to get to know each other is the textbook way to diffuse feelings of jealousy between an SO and a platonic friend.

He has a close friend with whom he has different boundaries than you have with your close friends. I'm not saying this is your problem -- if it's an issue in the relationship it's both of your problem -- but I don't think he's doing anything objectively wrong, like some of the other posters seem to think.

She might be acting out of a weird territorial instinct. She may not have any intention of having an affair, but she knew your boyfriend first and she's trying to make sure you know that (and are thus a rung lower on the ladder). Maybe she doesn't have any idea why she's doing it. Thus the physical touching and the discussion of topics that are about her and him (triathalon). She might as well be a bird singing, "My tree! My tree! My tree!"

I think assuming things like this is not helpful. Just because they have a relationship that you don't entirely understand doesn't mean that it's about you.
posted by auto-correct at 12:46 PM on July 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

Go with craven_morhead's approach. And keep in mind that you are under extra stress right now, both of you - you have a lot of competing interests and different situations going on, and no matter how secure you are you're going to be a little off kilter. You should talk to him about it though, just straightforward and clearly not accusing him of anything.

For what it's worth, I don't think you have anything to worry about. I've got rational explanations for everything you described, and nothing is setting off my radar. And your description of your bf makes it sound like he's a good, stand up type of guy and I didn't even consider that in my "analysis".

You'll hate this idea, but it's not the worst idea to get to know her better (it might be a lot to make a seven hour drive with her, but maybe you could work up to that). Her husband is gone and she'll be lonely, your bf is gone and you'll be lonely. It may make you more comfortable with her as you understand her a little better. And if you have a more cynical view, you an keep your eye on her and the better she knows you the more any stray feelings would be held in check (not that I'm at all convinced she has any feelings like that).

The most important thing for you to remember is that you and your bf control what happens in your relationship. Friends (girls or boys) can get weird for all kinds of reasons. If you and your bf have a good solid relationship, that's what's the important bottom line.

(As an aside, your bf wouldn't be with you if you weren't his type. Who would want to date their intense workout buddy? My bf has all kinds of interests that I am not at all compatible with, and he loves that he can relax and have fun with me and we can just be "us".)
posted by mrs. taters at 1:00 PM on July 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

I feel about the same way as far as "yeah this doesn't look like the road to cheating" but also "it's totally fine to let your bf know it makes you feel weird" as well as "and he'll probably just handle it." I had a similar situation that worked out well. Once upon a time, my boyfriend had a son and he and the son's mom were close. Not romantic-close but close. She's also somewhat emotionally needy had boundary issues, whatever. It took me a long time to determine what were her boundary issues and what were his. She'd occasionally call while we were together, ostensibly to ask a question about their son (I often thought these calls were excessive, but not a major problem). She'd end conversations with "I love you" and so would he. This had been their pattern for forever, they were sort of hippies, a lot of other family members [brothers, parents, whatever] would do the same thing.

That said, my family didn't operate that way and this made me uncomfortable. I mentioned it to him "Hey I know there is nothing going on here, but I find this sort of thing unnerving since it's way outside of my experience and would you mind not doing it around me?" He said sure and dialled it back around me, no big deal. Except it was a big deal to her, became a thing, etc. This whole discussion with him and her was probably long overue, but allowed them to clarify what their real relationship was with each other and especially relative to other significant others they had [this was not a poly situation, she had a boyfriend as well, but I think he was a lot more of the belief that "we are not a couple" in all the ways that was true and she would say the same things but still expect some sort of "you are the father of my son" fealty]. He handled it totally appropriately and decently but I'm spelling it out for you for a few reasons

1. it's totally okay for you to feel "hey this is a little weird" and mention it without that making you a weirdo
2. it's a good idea to sort of think what you'd like to see out of this, concretely [better physical boundaries, your boyfriend being better about asserting them around you]
3. you will probably be able to tell from everyone's reactions whether this whole thing is just you feeling weird because you're stressed and all that is going on, or if there is something a little odd going on

I wish you luck with all of this. I've been really happy being in a situation where I've been able to be assertive without it being seen as being controlling or bitchy and I wish you the same luck.
posted by jessamyn at 1:08 PM on July 12, 2011 [7 favorites]

S sat on your boyfriend's lap at her own wedding? In front of you, her new husband & all her friends and family? That's... uncomfortable making, but it doesn't necessarily mean something shady's going on.

I know that sounds naive, but people have a lot of different comfort levels with how they express affection physically. And if you're a big flirt (for example) you don't worry about flirting in front of other people because there's no ulterior motive. The only way it makes sense to sit on someone else's lap at your own wedding is if it's no big deal, because cheating people don't call attention to themselves like that. So it could all be perfectly innocent.

But that doesn't matter if it makes you unhappy.

You have to discuss this with your boyfriend, because how can anything change if he doesn't know it bothers you? If he doesn't read flirting well, he's probably oblivious to your discomfort too. Tell him you're concerned about the way he and S interact. You know it might make you look insecure, but that it's really important to you that you discuss and clarify where your boundaries are as a couple. Whatever's going on - work on it together, so it's a known quantity & not a deep dark secret keeping you apart. Good luck!
posted by Space Kitty at 1:22 PM on July 12, 2011

I agree with Amanda. It sounds like this woman is acting in competition with you. I doubt she wants to take your man, but she wants to show she has power. She is acting disrespectfully towards you. I'll bet she plays this game with other couples. I wouldn't take it personally, but be wary of her.

This woman's behavior is very flattering to a man. I'll bet your boyfriend knows, on some level, that accepting her flirty advances is inconsiderate to you. If you say nothing, he will assume it's ok.

My advice: Tell your boyfriend about your feelings in a calm way. Don't apologize. Don't explain. "These are my feelings. I just wanted you to know." Don't ask him to change his behavior. Allow him to decide if and how he will change his behavior.

I treat women like S with extreme cordiality. But I am not friendly with them. I don't try to play their game. I don't try to make friends. If she knows you are upset, it will make her feel powerful.
posted by valannc at 1:36 PM on July 12, 2011 [2 favorites]

You mention here that he's moving 7 hours away. Could you have suppressed feelings about that which might be contributing to a sense of insecurity right now?
posted by gentian at 1:57 PM on July 12, 2011

As an addendum to my previous comment, I agree with some of the other comments that say that S's behavior is inappropriate and that she is probably being territorial about her relationship with your bf. I've known women like that and they tend to be insecure and base their self-esteem on how much attention a man pays to them. They don't really care what the man's partner thinks.

However, I still don't think that it needs to be addressed with him, because it's no ACTUAL threat to you. Furthermore, it brings you down to her level, because now you're "reclaiming" your dude. He's not an object and he has free agency.

If your bf wasn't moving, and this was going to be a weekly issue, I'd change my tune, because it'd be an ongoing disruption. But this is going to be a non-issue soon, and it's not worth the potential fallout of a confrontation right before he's going to move 7 hours away.
posted by desjardins at 2:04 PM on July 12, 2011

I would like to second what amanda and griselda in particular are saying; there are some people (women perhaps more noticeably because spontaneous touching is more accepted when coming from females) who enjoy stepping over boundaries of this kind, for a wide variety of reasons, and it flies under the radar of what many people notice. Those who say "if it were a problem, they'd be hiding it better" are correct in some cases, but for others, there's a thrill associated with behaving excessively affectionate or familiar in public and/or in front of the target's partner, family, or friends. Cheating doesn't necessarily follow this sort of behavior, but neither does the public aspect of what you're seeing mean that this girl doesn't also want to be inappropriate towards him in private.

The annoying thing is that you may encounter weird people like this throughout your relationship, but the great thing is that if you take it as an opportunity to discuss what you and your boyfriend both expect in terms of interactions with others, and both respect each other's requests in that regard, it doesn't have to be a problem.
posted by notquitemaryann at 2:05 PM on July 12, 2011 [2 favorites]

I've had some issues with this in the past from your end, and I didn't say anything and it bothered me more but then I felt like I had waited too long... anyway, that relationship lasted 14 years and it was a minor source of tension for me the whole time.

Now, I discuss what kind of physical affection I'm OK with seeing my SO engage in with others up front. If these requests are reasonable (and most people would agree that "no women sitting in your lap" is reasonable, I think) it shouldn't be a big deal. If you were saying like he couldn't even shake hands with women, it might be another matter.

But bringing it up early and as not a big deal (in other words, not as a "you've been doing this wrong!" but more as a "I would prefer...") is much easier than waiting until it bothers you more, and bringing it up will be even harder then (because you let it go so long).
posted by wildcrdj at 6:17 PM on July 12, 2011

Just as a data point: the last time I sat in the lap of a man I wasn't open to having sex with was when I was a child. I don't care if it was her wedding. She was probably drunk, in vino veritas, etc. Mention it for sure, and keep an eye on it.
posted by fingersandtoes at 8:58 PM on July 12, 2011 [2 favorites]

hermitosis: Here's a hint: if there was something to be jealous of, it would happen behind your back, not with you along for the ride. She wouldn't be hugging him an extra time in front of you, she'd be doing it behind your back.

Just want to say, in my own direct personal experience - ohhh no. This isn't true, not at all. Not to assume that this woman's behavior is actually malevolent, but of the women who get something out of turning the head of an attached guy, quite a few of them get even more out of doing it in the guy's partner's face.
posted by Ashley801 at 9:12 PM on July 12, 2011 [3 favorites]

I just want to put out there what is probably obvious, that being triathlete training buddies is a pretty intense physical relationship to begin with. Some degree of physicality between them would make total sense. I'm not saying it makes her behavior not boundary-crossing. Worth a conversation.
posted by salvia at 10:20 PM on July 12, 2011

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