Steph & Dom solve your sex, love & life troubles

Steph & Dom solve your sex, love & life troubles: My best friend’s a man – and my boyfriend’s jealous

  • An anonymous reader asked Steph and Dom Parker for advice on jealousy 
  • She says her boyfriend of one year doesn’t buy her friendship with another man
  • Dom advised the reader to have a sit down conversation with her boyfriend  

TV’s Steph and Dom Parker, 51 and 54, draw on their 20 years of marriage to solve your relationship problems . . .

Q: I’m 51 and recently started dating a lovely new man, having been single for many years. We just had our one-year anniversary. I can’t believe my luck.

However, he seems to have taken issue with one of my oldest friends — who is also a man. This has put me in a difficult position. I’ve known him since university and we’re still close. He helped me through some difficult periods of my life.

We don’t see each other a huge amount, but we email and speak on the phone regularly. It is true that we once dated, but that was a long time ago. We’ve been nothing more than friends for more than 20 years now and he’s happily married with a child.

But my boyfriend just won’t buy it! In his mind, a man and woman simply can’t be ‘just friends’. He makes horrible digs every time I go for a drink with him, which makes me feel so guilty . . . even though I don’t think I have a reason to be.

An anonymous reader asked TV’s Steph and Dom Parker for advice on her boyfriend feeling uncomfortable with her having a male friend (file image)

It’s creating tension between us. Why is he being so childish? Please tell me how to handle this!

STEPH SAYS: The alarm bells aren’t just ringing on this one — they’re screaming at me! Honestly, if you were both 19 or 20 and he was struggling with jealousy I’d have a lot more sympathy, but you’re in your 50s!

If he hasn’t worked out how to handle feeling threatened by another man by now, then I’m not sure he’s going to be able to do so in the future.

This is not a terribly healthy situation in terms of building the foundations of a relationship. It’s having a damaging impact on you — and on your wider social life. Your friendships are important. Very important. You need to nip this in the bud — and quickly.

The first thing to do is nothing. Don’t change your behaviour towards your friend. You should continue to meet up with him, chat on the phone, text, whatever. Not doing so will not only deprive you of his company — and he of yours — but it will also send the message to your boyfriend that he is right to be jealous.

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Cut your friend out of your life and you’re just feeding your boyfriend’s insecurity.

Then, sit him down and tell him, in no uncertain terms, that if you had wanted to be with the other guy, you would be. You must point out that your friend’s wife is completely accepting of your friendship with her husband. (At this point, you might want to resist the temptation to tell him that that’s because she’s behaving with maturity and clearly has nothing to fear!)

Remind him that, yes, you may have dated in the past — but it was the very dim past — and it didn’t work. You decided you were better off as friends. And so it has proved, for 20 years.

Thing is, we all inherit friends when we meet someone, and start to share their lives — and some of them we wouldn’t necessarily choose.

Steph and Dom Parker (pictured) advised the reader to speak to her boyfriend about his insecurities directly 

Some may very well be exes, yes, and, in time, we all get over it. In the end the past is irrelevant and, let’s face it, he’s had a year to deal with his insecurities. It’s high time he let it go!

Today, it’s perfectly normal to have close friends of the opposite sex. And while When Harry Met Sally wasn’t necessarily inaccurate — there’s always a hint of sexual attraction in every friendship between the sexes — you have both dealt with that and come out the other side decades ago.

I would then point out that by holding on to his insecurity he is damaging your relationship.

Finally, tell him the man you really want to be with now is sitting in front of you — you can give him no clearer message than that.

The next bit is up him: his time would be better spent loving you, rather than obsessing over your past!

DOM SAYS: Hmm, I have a sneaking suspicion you’re not going to like my answer. I’m delighted you’ve found love and are happy with your new man, but while a year feels significant enough to celebrate, it is also just a year.

I don’t want to burst your bubble, but it really isn’t such a long time. Your relationship is still new, and sometimes problems take a while to rear their ugly heads. I fear your boyfriend is starting to show his true colours.

There could be several reasons for his reaction to your friendship. The first is insecurity. He’s worried you might find someone else and leave him. Well, we all have these kinds of worries from time to time.

You can respect these feelings — and he can manage them. But if he can’t, then it may be he’s suffering from the green-eyed monster. Jealousy is an altogether different beast and a jealous partner can become a real problem long term. Is he bothered that someone else is giving you attention? Might this in turn extend to other friends, too?

Or, worse, is this a trust issue — the biggest problem of the lot. All of the above are quite dangerous signals because they can indicate a man who is controlling. If he’s insecure and jealous and doesn’t trust you, well, the next step is acting like a total control freak. Will he want to dictate how you dress? What you eat? Who you see? Who you talk to?

You need to sit down and have a grown-up conversation with him. Spell out, in detail, your concerns. If it’s just insecurity you’re dealing with, then fine. Insecurity you can handle.

But any more than that and you’re getting into deep waters. He’s not jealous of another man because he thinks you’re wonderful. He’s jealous because he has a flaw in his character, and one that can be destructive.

It’s vital to remember that this is his problem not yours; nor is it your fault.

I sincerely hope for you that he is able to change his ways, but if there’s no movement from him, there should be from you — out the door.

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