The discussion and advice offered in their column is not offered as a clinical recommendation or as a substitute for clinical treatment. Rather, Doc Joe’s and Katy Ann’s comments are intended to stimulate thought, often with a sense of humor. Sometimes they agree; sometimes they don’t. So, read on…
Dear Doc Joe and Katy Ann,
I’m wondering if I am being unreasonable. I’m not sure if I am being jealous, possessive or paranoid, so I need your advice.
I’m a second-year student at a large university. I have a few close girlfriends and a boyfriend, “Sean.” I have been dating Sean since school started about a month ago. I think that our relationship has a lot of potential, even though it’s fairly new. We go out for dinner, movies and long walks two or three times per week.
Here’s the problem. Sean still sees his ex-girlfriend, “Anna.” They met in a class, and went out during most of last year. I know they still see each other in class and talk after class, as I have seen them together when I meet Sean at school. Sean tells me that they are “just friends.” He says that he has no romantic feelings for her, but I think she does, for him. I know they text each other, but he deletes his history, so I have never been able to read the texts.
I don’t think they are messing around, but I have seen her touch him on his arms and hands. She laughs a lot when she is talking to him. Yesterday, I told Sean he shouldn’t be hanging out with her. I told him that I think she still likes him. Sean, of course, denied this. He said: “You are just being paranoid, and there’s no reason to stop talking to her as a friend.” He looked really irritated.
I don’t trust Anna and I think she is trying to get him back. I want to protect this relationship, but I have only known him a month. Should I press the issue?
Sue, in California
Katy Ann: Trust your instincts.
Doc Joe: Warning! Warning! Girls know that guys like it when they laugh at their jokes. Laughing can be flirtatious. Touching him on the arm is a dead giveaway.
Katy Ann: Joe, we agree on what’s going on. Some guys are pretty oblivious to this stuff.
Doc Joe: So what now?
Katy Ann: Sue, watch it play out. You don’t want a guy who is hung up on someone else.
Doc Joe: Hmm. I think Sue should take a stand. Sometimes people in a relationship need to let go of relationships with their ex-mates.
Katy Ann: But the relationship is really new. It seems too early to give ultimatums.
Doc Joe: I do agree that ultimatums are risky. So, it’s watch and wait, or take a stand. It’s up to you. This one is a tough one, because the relationship is so new.
Take it home, Katy Ann.
Katy Ann: I still say trust your instincts. I don’t think that you are being possessive or paranoid. Press the issue when you think that it’s time.
If you’d like to get Ask Doc Joe & Katy Ann advice, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Include your name, state of residence and your question, along with a brief description of the situation.