DEAR HARRIETTE: Why am I always so jealous? My boyfriend moved to Houston last November. I live in Boston, so we have been doing long-distance for some time. We visit each other every two to three weeks, so it’s not as bad as it could be.
Just last week, my boyfriend's company hired two new women to work alongside him. I don’t know why this bothers me and makes me jealous, but it does. Since last week, my boyfriend has gotten dinner and drinks with them to introduce and welcome them to the company. I know they are colleagues, so this shouldn’t upset me, but it does. One of them even asked if he would come to her birthday party with her friends. My boyfriend has done nothing to make me not trust him, so why does his hanging out with these women make me jealous? Am I crazy and possessive? -- Jealous Girlfriend, Boston
DEAR JEALOUS GIRLFRIEND: What you have described sounds like a normal working relationship with colleagues. If this is all that's going on with him and his co-workers, then it is you who have the problem. It is understandable that you feel insecure about being so far away from your boyfriend -- yes, it is possible that he could become attracted to someone else, but it is not a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Do a self-assessment. You need to figure out if you can handle your boyfriend living his life and interacting with co-workers and others without you assuming the worst about what might happen. If you are unable to accept his life as it is and you still want to be with him, you need to talk to your boyfriend about other options. Specifically, if both of you want to be together and commit to a joined life, you may need to move to the town where he lives and actively build a life together. You need his buy-in for this. If he does not agree, your choice will be to learn to trust him and accept the way he lives his life or step away.
DEAR HARRIETTE: Every year, I am invited to go to a summer party. It is hosted at a friend’s house on Long Island. This year, one of my girlfriends asked if she could come to the party as well. Although she is one of my best friends, I'm hesitant about inviting her because she always drinks too much at these events and makes a fool of herself, which, in turn, makes a fool of me. I don't think she fully understands that if I invite her, both of our reputations are on the line. I'm not sure what to do here. Do I tell my friend she can't come and risk creating drama between her and me, or should I invite her and risk her actions embarrassing me? -- Embarrassed Friend, Brooklyn, New York
DEAR EMBARRASSED FRIEND: It is time to draw that proverbial line in the sand. Contact your friend and schedule a get-together. Tell her that you will not be inviting her to the party this year because you cannot trust her behavior. Describe to her how she has acted in the past and how heartbreaking and embarrassing it has been for her and for you. Suggest that she get help. She can go to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, which is a free option. She can also consider a rehab treatment program, which can work if she has insurance. The point is to encourage her to get help now.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)