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Jealousy, anxiety/low self esteem
Ironically I joined this forum to seek help about my long term partners depression and how I could help him. Now I find myself admitting that I have been trying to deal with mental health problems most of my adult life and mostly just burying them. My boyfriend has found a work colleague that has similar mental health concerns to him and they are helping each other, a lot. Messaging each other a lot in the evening after working together all day. To the point that I feel it is too much. I don't know anyone that isn't in a romantic relationship that texts that much. On one hand I am happy for him as it helps him and he doesn't have a lot of friends, if any most of the time, usually just one good friend. They are usually male but this new friend is female, a lot younger, pretty and understands him. She does have a long term boyfriend. They seem to have a lot in common and he has mentioned on a few occasions that he doesn't think we have much in common anymore. So I feel very uncomfortable about this relationship and have done for over a year. My lack of dealing with things has meant I've let it fester and turn in to an awful amount of anxiety.

Our relationship and my self esteem are poor, although improving, as otherwise perhaps I wouldn't be feeling this way about their friendship. My partner is awful at talking about his feelings and partly as a result of this I've become bad at it too, at least really bad with him. I've also isolated myself from my friends as I didn't want to bother talking about my anxieties. I know this isn't healthy and have opened up to one friend and started to be more sociable, well a little but it is a start. My partner and I are talking more and he has apologised (in a way) for his intense relationship with his new friend. He says they are just friends and I do trust him but wouldn't blame him for looking elsewhere as I'm not a great person to be around, have little confidence (although apparently that isn't obvious as I've learnt I'm a master at putting on a confident front) and that is never attractive. I've put on weight since we met and apparently am not interested in the same things as when we met. We used to do everything together, which isn't healthy I don't think but it was the way it was. I think it is healthy to have different interests.

I suppose my question is how to deal with the awful anxiety I have around their friendship? We've talked about it and he knows how I feel now. Initially the conversation didn't go well as I approached it when I was so anxious I was a wreck and probably came across aggressively, so naturally he acted defensively. He did go away and modify his texting behaviour but then some weeks later asked if I minded if they started texting in the evenings again as it helps her with her mental health to talk to him. Faced with that I didn't feel I could say no as what sort of monster would that make me? 

What has prompted me to ask is this morning they met outside of work just the two of them. He asked me before hand. He said if it would going to cause me distress then he wouldn't meet her. I said I couldn't lie, it did make me very uncomfortable but that I wouldn't stop him seeing his friends. So today I've been an anxious mess. We are currently apart as I'm working away, which doesn't help. This is something I'm hoping to change as I currently work away a lot. He feels abandoned. He doesn't text me half the amount he texts her. Which is upsetting and I have expressed this. Things have improved on that front. I have admitted to myself and him that I have anxiety and depression and that I would like his support. I felt like I was trying to compete with his friend and her health problems. Well I don't mean that as it sounds. I wasn't trying to compete but worried he would think I was. I just wanted him to know that I need him too and I'm not as well as I may appear. I've been putting on a front and can come across as cold I think. I suppose all this has got us talking more and we are trying to improve our relationship. Perhaps I should be thankful to this woman. He does say talking to her has helped him to talk more to me.

I don't know anyone that wouldn't feel threatened by the intensity of their friendship. He has even said that the amount of attention she requires is as if they are in a relationship together (i.e. more than a friendship). So my concerns aren't unfounded. She is demanding a lot of his attention and he is happy to give it. He said I could read some of their messages and I did. She sounds very demanding, asking if he will miss her when she is on holiday repeatedly. I said as much to my partner and he brushed it off as just the way she is. He has low self esteem and I wonder if he just isn't reading the signs? Or is she just a needy friend? She suffers from severe anxiety so does need a lot of reassurance. I just don't know how to balance this. I don't want to be the jealous girlfriend that stops him seeing his friend. I don't want to feel like this. I just don't know how to stop feeling like this. 

Sorry for the essay. I should read it back and cut out some of the waffle but it has taken a lot to write this and post it so I don't want to dwell over it even more than I have. Thank you to anyone that has taken the time to read it. Perhaps it should have gone in the relationships subforum but I decided that most of this was down to my own low self esteem.
Maybe if you met her, your anxiety wouldn't be so great. Have you met his other friends? Perhaps you three could go out and have dinner or she could visit for dinner?  Just a thought.

I don’t think it’s all down to low self esteem. Even in the strongest of relationships between very confident people a “friend” like this would cause some friction.

I don’t have any advice.
(07-29-2019, 08:22 AM)Naleena Wrote: Maybe if you met her, your anxiety wouldn't be so great. Have you met his other friends? Perhaps you three could go out and have dinner or she could visit for dinner?  Just a thought.

Thank you Naleena. I have thought of this but I am not sure feel ready to meet her yet, especially not in an engineered situation. I know she knows how I feel, as my partner told her not to message when I was home after we had a big and somewhat heated discussion about it before we started talking properly. He did ask if I wanted to go for a meal with his small work group this week but due to my work I couldn't make it. It might have been a good opportunity, although I would have been the only partner there so I would have felt extra awkward on top of my own general anxiety and jealousy concerns. 

He doesn't have other friends at the moment but I have met his previous friends. So it is perhaps odd that I haven't met this one. Although as we aren't that sociable either together or separately perhaps not so odd. We are working on getting out more together and separately. It is just a bit unfortunate that his only friend happens to be this one I am uncomfortable with!

(07-30-2019, 01:05 PM)Bored Wrote: I don’t think it’s all down to low self esteem. Even in the strongest of relationships between very confident people a “friend” like this would cause some friction.

I don’t have any advice.

Thank you for your reassurance. I have felt that I'm going a bit mad with the way I feel. What I mean is that I wasn't sure if it is all in my head that I feel this way or if perhaps my concerns are somewhat valid. I find myself dismissing how I feel even to myself and also when talking to my partner. So it is good to know that I'm not being totally irrational. Thank you.

My partner did admit that he would perhaps feel jealous if I had a new male friend. Generally I don't have close male friends. It is good that he acknowledges that. It is perhaps how we balance things going forward. I do think there has been a lack of respect for each others feelings that has in part lead to this situation. I am just so hypersensitive to anything to do with his friend that it is hard to be rational about it. When he asked if he was ok to meet her it put me on such high alert that my anxiety was though the roof for the evening/night and the next day that they were meeting. I couldn't even really speak to him about it I was so wired. And after all I had said it was ok. That was only on the weekend and I'm still struggling with it now. He said it was just two friends meeting. I tried to say that it isn't that simple but words failed me. I don't want to stop him having a friend, there just need to be some limits - not sure if that is the correct term. It is just so frustrating and debilitating feeling like this. I think I need to be stronger and express that it isn't just me that needs to work on my jealousy, that he needs to work to modify the friendship somewhat too. He has hinted towards this himself but he has to want to do that. Me forcing him isn't going to work. I am wondering if some sort of couples counseling might be a good idea. He would hate the idea but I think we need help. I need some back up. Although I am sure there are things I do that I need to change too and that will be hard to hear. So I am a bit reluctant too.
Just found out they are going on a work trip overnight this week. Think I might lose my mind that night.
(07-31-2019, 05:56 AM)feline Wrote: Just found out they are going on a work trip overnight this week. Think I might lose my mind that night.

Feline, from the get-go this sounds like an improper relationship to me since both the gal and your boyfriend have significant others already; maybe the four of you should socialize?  Me, I’m way too jealous to allow my other to be another’s confidant and since she has anxiety issues, I’m a little surprised that she doesn’t understand the position she’s putting you in.  Without further ado, I, personally, would ask that the relationship be ended, period.  Does that make me a monster?  Could be, but then what would she do if the shoe were on the other foot?
The way I see it... it almost has to be one relationship ends in order for the other to continue. Your partner can’t have his cake and eat it too. Unfortunately, I don’t think he realizes this. It comes down to what YOU can live with or without. Can you live with him (and in effect her)? Or can you live without either of them? It’s not an easy decision to make by any means. I think YOU talking to a counselor is a good step towards trying to find YOUR way. 

[Editor’s Note: This is entirely my POV.]
(07-31-2019, 05:56 AM)feline Wrote: Just found out they are going on a work trip overnight this week. Think I might lose my mind that night.

Before anyone jumps to conclusions, is this a normal thing for him to leave and go on a work trip overnight? If not, it's a red flag. I would encourage you to meet up for dinner with her and her partner in order to get a better idea of what is going on. You can get a feel for what's really going on. If she is really trying to get your guy, I doubt she will want to meet you or take her partner around him. Vice versa.  As you said, you have met his other friends. No harm in dinner. It might not be anything at all. You might even like her? Or she might be going for your guy. Remember, you can tell more by people's non-verbal cues. Good luck, Feline. I hate this is worrying you so.

(07-31-2019, 03:00 PM)Naleena Wrote:
(07-31-2019, 05:56 AM)feline Wrote: Just found out they are going on a work trip overnight this week. Think I might lose my mind that night.

Before anyone jumps to conclusions, is this a normal thing for him to leave and go on a work trip overnight? 

Good point.
Yes, he does have to go away with work from time to time. Sometimes just for one night but not often. I used to work at the same place and I know they can be last minute about these things. He even said it might not be happening due to other work needs but it is and he, the both of them have gone today. I am still working away until later today but will be going home to an empty house. I expressed how this is really making me incredibly anxious and was such a mess on the phone that instead of going for a meal with the people from his small work group, including this friend, I think there are 4 of them in total, he came to see me as I'm about an hour away from home. We talked a lot and I expressed that I wasn't happy with this friendship and not happy he didn't think to tell me it was just the two of them going on this work trip. It was only because I asked who was going that I found out. He said it was just work so he didn't think it was of note but does see how I might see it now I've pointed it out. I don't think until last night I've truly expressed how badly this is getting to me. Or at least I had done but as we were talking more and are closer her assumed I was feeling more secure and therefore better about her. Now I feel awful as I ruined his meal out with his colleagues and I'm worried he will think I'm trying to ruin his friendship. Plus of course they are away together in the same hotel tonight. I didn't ask him to visit me. He said he wouldn't enjoy the meal worrying about me. I do feel better now we've talked and it meant a lot he visited me. I really wasn't expecting him to. I did ask him if he could dial back the intensity of the friendship and he said he thought he had. Perhaps he has but I've been away am not there to see this. Them meeting up outside of work and then going away together (I know it is for work) are huge to me and certainly don't feel like dialing it back. The way it felt he had concealed it from me too. He says the way he feels about it all changes a lot but I think I put words in his mouth by saying I could understand it making him angry sometimes. He did say he worries he will resent me for the impact on his friendship, especially as she is his only friend.

I mentioned again about meeting her, which would be awkward and he said as much. I agree but we seemed to think that there was an opportunity to go for a meal with his work team and partners so it wouldn't be so engineered. I would find it incredibly tough. I struggle in social situations with people I don't know enough without the added inclusion of this woman.

I'm trying to be more positive about the situation. Worried I'm pushing him away though.

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