Did I Over-React?
(St. Louis, MO, USA)
We went out on New Year's Eve, and I'd made a real effort with how I looked. Despite my looking fine in my boyfriend's eyes, he could not help making comments about a particular woman that was also out. He even got as far as talking and holding hands with her. I exploded. Was I right to do so?...
QUESTION: Did I Over-React To The Following Scenario?...MORE FROM Hope...
On New Year's Eve, after I got dressed to go out, I asked my boyfriend how I looked. He replied, "You look fine." We went to a local club with another couple.
There was a female there (total stranger) dressed in a short black skirt, pink sweater and a black sequin beret. My boyfriend commented to me that it was a cute outfit, which I was fine with.
Then, on three more separate occasions, he said how she "rocked the black and pink"
I just disregarded the comments. So later, me and my girlfriend left the table for about 10 minutes. when we got back, the "black/pink" girl was sitting across from my boyfriend (my friend's boyfriend was also waiting at the table for us) but MY boyfriend
had his arm reached across the table to her side and was holding her hand
when I arrived at the table.
I said a few expletives and she left.
He actually denied holding her hand, at first, but all three of us saw it, so he really only looked guiltier, in my opinion. If he was just talking to her, I would not have been so upset.
He told me he didn't mean anything by it and that I made too much of an issue over it. But I was hurt.
Did I overreact, or should he have kept his hands to himself....
STEVE'S ANSWER"A loving person lives in a loving world; a hostile person lives in a hostile world. Each person is your mirror."
-- Ken Keyes, Jr.
We often get questions like this at the Relationship Advice Forum
, somebody did something and I feel angry or suspicious or worried about it, am I right to do so? The thinking being, that if we agree with you then you'll feel okay about your feelings.
The thing is, though, this is how you feel - you actually feel hurt by this man's behaviour, you feel he should have kept his hands to himself
. We have no right to tell you that you're right or wrong to feel this way - these are your feelings, and this is your life that you're living.So, you are right to feel how you feel.
Now on the face of it, I'd say that this man's behaviour was out of line, and you're right to be a little concerned. But I'd also say that if you had 100% belief in your man, and the love you have for each other, that you could actually ignore this behaviour as some kind of feeble ego-stroking on his behalf.
It wouldn't bother you, though - his touching this woman's hand - as you believed fully in your relationship, you recognise that he really finds you attractive and loves the clothes that you wear; you might even be flattered that he could interest another attractive woman so easily.
Do you see what I'm trying to say here? It's not what's happened that's the problem, but how you're thinking about it. And you're thinking about it this way as perhaps you're feeling insecure with the relationship in some way - perhaps you don't believe this man loves you as much as you'd like him to, or something.
Now I'm not trying to blow off your boyfriend's behaviour as being okay. I'm just saying it could be okay, and no threat to you, or it could actually be his way of saying he's losing interest in you (a guess).
It really all depends on how you think about this relationship, and no one can help you with that, as they're your feelings and yours alone.
So, what to do about this situation, then?
Perhaps you could actually tell him how this particular situation made you feel, especially with the effort you made to look good that night, and perhaps you could tell him how you're feeling about your relationship in general - a little bit of openness, and honesty. And hopefully this openness and honesty would be returned in kind, as it doesn't appear to have been done so far by his blatant denials of what went on.
Try and express your feelings, rather than tell him that he's behaved badly, and see what communication results.
Good luck, and thank you for asking your question here
PS This focus on thinking is something I'm learning to explore much more at Michael Neill's Supercoach website
. The site basically explores, via free tips and videos and various paid-for programs, the notion that it isn't what happens to us that matters but how we think about what happens to us.
Life IS about our thinking, as I've tried to illustrate above...