DEAR HARRIETTE: I thought I was lucky when I met my girlfriend. We both work in the same field and are super-dedicated to our jobs. We are at the beginning of our careers, and we are both all-in on the hustle of making things work. This was great at first. Then I got a couple of gigs where I got some shine and some dollars. When I called to tell my girlfriend about it, she got her back up. She said she was proud of me, but I could tell she was jealous. Instead of asking me about what happened and how I got the gig, she started talking about something that she was working on. It was weird.
I’m a little older than my girlfriend, so I have a couple of years more time working. It’s probably just me working longer than got me a gig first. Who knows? What I don’t understand is why she wouldn’t be happy for me. This has happened more than once, and I'm not sure how to deal with it. When I ask her to be happy for me, she says I’m overreacting. How can I get her to lay off the jealous behavior? -- Jealous Girlfriend
DEAR JEALOUS GIRLFRIEND: Jealousy is extremely difficult to manage, mainly because it requires the one who is jealous to neutralize their feelings. There’s little that you can do to make things better. What you can try to do is to encourage your girlfriend by consistently celebrating the small steps that help to get her to her goals. She will probably like that.
This may not change how she feels about you and your successes. You deserve a girlfriend who wants you to fulfill your dreams as she works to fulfill hers. Pay attention to how things evolve. If she continues to exhibit jealous behavior, she is not the woman for you.
DEAR HARRIETTE: My teenage daughter told me something revealing about a couple of her friends at school. We have an excellent rapport, which is why she shared this with me. A week later, I was at a party with a group of friends, and, after a few drinks, I told one of the moms what my daughter had told me. I didn’t mean to share what turned out to be confidential information, but I did it, and now all hell has broken loose. It’s my fault. I apologized to my daughter for talking about something that she shared with me privately, but I feel horrible. I don’t want to lose my daughter’s trust. What can I do? -- Broken Confidence
DEAR BROKEN CONFIDENCE: Promise your daughter that you will never betray her trust again -- unless it is a life-or-death situation. The "life-or-death" caveat is important because you are still the parent. If a revelation is unsafe, you may need to address it. But generally, let your daughter know that you will agree to keep information private between you. This is the only way to get her to continue talking to you about her feelings and friend dynamics. It may take time for her to tell you more secrets. You need to be patient.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to email@example.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)