I need help reining in my jealousy.
I’ve been dating my current boyfriend for almost two years. We met at college in Chicago. He’s a filmmaker and I’m a composer who wants to do film scoring, so it was understood that we would move out to LA as soon as possible to begin our careers. He graduated last spring and agreed to wait for me in Chicago until I finished up this year. However, he was having trouble finding relevant work and we decided it would be best financially if he moved to California (side note: we’ve been living together for the last five months).
So, last week he and his best friend started their road trip to the West Coast. My boyfriend kept me updated with pictures and videos of their trip, and it looked like they were having a great time. On the third day, he called me just as they were nearing Las Vegas. He described everything he was seeing and I could hear the excitement he and his friend were sharing. I wanted to be happy and excited for him—but I just couldn’t fight the jealousy that grew in me.
I’ve always wanted to go on a road trip, and it has been my dream for a long time to travel with a significant other. Now it feels like he’s going on my dream trip with his best friend instead of me, and I wish that I was there with him. He’s on this huge adventure while I’m stuck trying to finish school and I hate how envious it makes me.
I don’t want to become resentful. I need to turn this around so that I can be supportive. And maybe this will all pass after a while, once we’re both settled into the long-distance aspect of our relationship. Do you have any advice?
—Overwhelmed With Jealousy and Emotions in Chicago, IL
You are having bad feelings about yourself for feeling bad. It’s basically what Buddhists call “the second arrow” —suffering that is self-inflicted in response to a painful situation. You don’t have to practice Buddhism or meditation for this to to be a helpful concept. Don’t beat yourself up for having feelings that aren’t completely rational and altruistic. Your feelings aren’t hurting anybody—the only person who hurts here is you.