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February 23, 1998   CONTINUED e-mail e-mail to a friend in need


Dear Breakup Girl,

I've been going out with my boyfriend for five months; he's 17, I'm 16. Things were giong really well until I noticed how "friendly" he is with other girls. He says he loves me,and I truly know that he does, it's just that he cannot seem to stop "flirting" with other girls. I am his first serious relationship and he was used to having a lot of close friends, but whenever I am present or not, he playfully frolics around with their hair and their clothes and I don't think it is appropriate! Maybe he just likes attention, but it drives me insane! I don't want to have to break up with him over it, but he also creates these double standards where he gets jealous if I even receive e-mail from another guy. What should I do?

-- Feeling Betrayed

Dear Betrayed,

Jealousy is a weird thing. Breakup Girl used to get fist-clenchingly jealous of her old boyfriend's crush on Benazir Bhutto, when in fact, she knew she should have been thrilled to pieces by his admiration of strong women and knowledge of current events. So do you think she actually made it, like, an issue? Of course not. She's Breakup Girl! But seriously, that's the key: Breakup Girl, and other people who have experienced similar ridiculous twinges, know they are being ridiculous. Dumb petty jealousies are one of the reflexes of love; the idea is to laugh at and ignore them.

So if your boyfriend's like, "Oh, muffin, wanna hear something funny? I actually get jealous when that guy, whoever he is, sends you those emails like MAKE $1,000'S RIGHT AT HOME and that Neiman Marcus cookie recipe! Isn't that nuts? Ha, ha. I'm weird. Here, let me massage your feet!" that would be one thing. But if the vibe you get from your guy is more like, "Hey, you know, you need to quit reading emails from your platonic boy-friends so you can spend more time watching me play with your friends' hair," well, that's entirely another.

In that case, what should you do with him and his two standards? Three guesses.

Breakup Girl



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