By Jody Valley
Don't doubt what you have
Q: I have a problem that I need help with, fast. I'm having a hard time accepting the idea that my partner, "Jenny," will be soon taking a new job. Up until this point, she has always worked in town and has been home every night. Now, her company is asking her to change jobs, which will mean quite a lot of traveling. I don't like the idea of her being gone a lot, though it won't be all that much, but what I really don't like is that I worry that she would cheat on me while she's out of town.
We have been together for almost four years, and I have never had any reason to believe that she has been unfaithful or, for that matter, would be. Jenny and I have a very good and close relationship. We enjoy each other tremendously; we have many things that we enjoy together. Our families are close to us; her mother loves me and calls me her daughter. Jenny has never looked at other women or flirted with them, at least since I have been with her. She is very attentive to me when we are together or out with friends. There is absolutely nothing that should make me feel this way. Nothing! That's what really upsets me, that all of a sudden I have these feelings. These feelings are like a stranger at my door, and I don't know what to do with them. But somehow, in my mind's eye, I see her lonely in a hotel room and going to a local lesbian bar and having a fling.
I have not told Jenny of my worry, mostly she just thinks that my distress about her new job is that she'll be gone more and I will miss her–which of course is also true.
Do you think I am being foolish in my concerns? I have read in your column in the past how people have fooled around, or even had another lover that they go to see when they are on business trips. I don't want to be writing to your about that, someday in the future.
A: If I were you, I'd focus on Jenny's track record, not your newfound fantasies of unfaithfulness. Her track record is far more reliable. Additionally, the quality of your relationship is a much better predictor of "faithfulness" or "unfaithfulness" than the physical distance between the two of you, especially a couple like you who have such a great relationship and support system.
Q: My boyfriend, "Jimmy," has made ten New Year's resolutions. He says that he does that every year. (This is the first year that I have been with him during the New Year.) The reason he makes ten, according to him, is that he's bound to keep a least one of them. If he were to make just one or two, he'd have less of a chance of keeping at least one, according to his thinking.
I think that this is really silly for him to do because he can't even remember them without pulling out his little sheet of paper hidden away in his wallet in order to recite his ten new "good behaviors." If he can't remember them, how's he supposed to work on them?
I find this pretty ridiculous and have told him so. He said that my making just two will condemn me to failure so that at the end of the year, I will end up not having improved myself with even one new positive in my life. What do you think?
A: I'm wondering why you are focusing on this issue with Jimmy; it seems a bit trivial. It would seem more productive to look at other aspects of Jimmy, like: How does he treat you and others? Is he fun to be with? Do you have things in common? Or even, is the sex good?