Trevor: My best friend is a girl. My wife, for the most part, is fine with this. There have never been any feelings beyond friendship. However, recently, I've found myself seething with jealousy over the guys my friend dates. Part of me feels that they're not good enough for her. Part of me doesn't want her to find someone in her life, because I know that when she does, no matter how selfish this may sound, I'll be replaced -- at least on an emotional level. Of course, I want her to be happy and to find someone special. How can I juggle the feelings of insecurity and remain her friend, even if she makes choices that I don't agree with?
Brooke: Trevor, first and foremost, I really want to acknowledge you for your self-awareness and being in touch with your emotions and feelings. I think a lot of married men and women have emotionally intimate relationships with members of the opposite sex (or same sex, if you are in a gay marriage!) and are not able to admit to their feelings of jealousy and insecurity. The second most important thing I want to touch upon in this Q&A conversation is absolute respect for your wife! I can feel my married readers (especially the women!) getting angry through the computer screen as they read your question. I am pleased that you stated in your question, "There have never been any feelings beyond friendship." Now, if I were in a full coaching session with you, I would ask a number of questions around that statement to make sure that it is genuinely true and accurate. So, for the sake of this advice column, I am going to accept what you state as truth and we are going to be certain that your wife has nothing to be concerned about and you are always putting your vow and commitment to her first with any of your outside friendships. We can now move on to what this is really about and that is you and your feelings that you have been generous and open enough to share with the world. No judgements here!
Now, Trevor, I don't think that you are "in love" with your best female friend, but I am hearing some serious anxiety, fears and control issues going on for you underneath this... and it is totally "normal!" When we care deeply for another person, whether it be a family member, friend or coworker (with whom we spend many hours throughout the day and why the terms "work husband" and "work wife" were invented!, it is normal to develop an emotionally intimate attachment to her/him and fear that it could be taken away!
Now, I want to remove the opposite sex part for a moment and look at life and relationships in general. Life happens, things change and we move forward every day! We all know that some things we can control by the choices we make, but controlling others and their choices is not one of them... and why would we want to? The reason is our own fear... fear of loss, fear of not being loved, fear of being "less than," fear of change and many others.
I had a best girlfriend who I was inseparable with from ages 17 to 25. We went clubbing together, shopping together, double-dated together, traveled together, laughed and cried together and did stupid things that young people do together! Then, she met him! Out of all the guys she dated, I never would have imagined she'd choose him to marry! He was so different than us in every way (including not having our fun and carefree personalities), but she married him and now has four kids with him. I mean, she and I were like two peas in a pod... how could she choose him and more importantly, why was I so upset?
I was upset because I was losing the past... "the way we were!" I feared the change in our dynamic and I felt an emptiness and aloneness deep inside. Well, things did change, but I accepted her choices and loved her still the same. We were never as close once they married, but I will cherish that friendship forever, because it was such a part of my life and growth.
I have another life experience to share about one of my best guy friends, right out of college, in New York City. I had just graduated from college and had moved into an actor's hotel residence in New York City. One day, I saw this cute guy walking into his room right next door to mine. I was instantly drawn to this guy and our lifelong friendship began! We were soon joined at the hip! We did everything together (not sexually!). As they say on one of my fave shows, Grey's Anatomy, he was my "person!" We were young and single and running around NYC, living our dream as actors. We shared the same taste in food, music, movies, clothes and were as close as a brother and sister could be! We went to dinner with each other's families when they came to town and we were each other's "plus one" to every event. He soon moved to Los Angeles to further pursue his career and I followed a year later. We started all over again and partied like rock stars with our new L.A. posse.
Then it happened! Before he had left New York City, he had met a beautiful Broadway dancer who was crazy about him and had been thinking of making the move as well. They stayed in touch and she eventually came out for a "visit," which turned into a permanent visit. Talk about being "replaced," Trevor! She quickly joined our posse and I felt confused, insecure and surely, at first, wasn't sure if she was "good enough" for him either (sounding familiar?).
Then, one night I took a step back and really observed the two of them together... they were happy, she adored him, he seemed to be really smitten with her, they worked and most importantly behaved like they were "best friends." So, I thought, "Well, if they are best friends and he is my best friend, maybe she could become one of my best friends too?" and the rest was history! I really gave her a chance and took the time to get to know her. She was not only beautiful, but talented, smart, classy, sweet and a good person. She loved my friend so much, he was happy, and how could that not make me happy? Isn't that what we want for the people we love? For them to find someone to love them and make them happy? (I bet your best girlfriend is happy that you have a wife who loves you so much.) That said, the story ends with me having been in their wedding party a few years back and I am still close with both of them!
Something I speak and coach about often is the theory that you cannot have love and fear in the same space! If you truly love your best friend, choose not to fear losing her or her friendship to another guy she might fall for. I get that this is not easy, but choose it anyway! Another thing I want to point out is that underneath all the yucky feelings of jealousy and insecurity that you mentioned, lies a lack of trust -- trust in yourself and trust in your friendship! We tend to lose trust in ourselves, others, God and the universe when we fear a loss of someone/something.
So rather than go to the negative emotions, I want you to get into a positive feeling space. Next time you feel this way, think about a wonderful, happy time/experience that you and your best friend had together. Remember and relay the details. Our positive thoughts create our positive feelings, so allow yourself to feel all that is precious and cherished in your friendship. I bet you will be feeling better about this in no time. And, I bet if you allow yourself to open up to the idea that your friendship is forever and true and no one can "replace" what you have (he can only add to it!), you might just end up with a really cool new best guy friend and have a blast double-dating with them and your wife one day!
-- Ask The Drama Queen, XO Brooke Lewis
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Be You... And, Be Fearless! Video Of The Week: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKa4uM41HoE