Hi, Carolyn:

I recently became very interested in a woman. The problem: I find myself becoming threatened and jealous when she -- well, when she seems to be making good friends with other attractive guys.

I don't like this about myself and know it is not a healthy reaction. Also, her outgoing nature is one of the things I admire about her. I don't want to reduce her circle of friends or change the way she socializes. I simply want to crush the jealousy.

I've started to realize it's liberating to accept that there will always be people to whom one's partner will be attracted. In fact, I don't even know if she's attracted to these people romantically.

I also think, even if she is attracted to some of them, there's no reason she might not still choose me.

Umm . . . my question: Am I way out on the insecure fringe? Or do relatively secure people sometimes wrestle with jealousy? I feel like I'm "relatively" secure . . . but, damn, I could be wrong.

Former D.C. Resident

You met her only recently, so you don't have anything close to the kind of intimate history that would make you feel sure of her feelings for you. And you don't want to lose her -- so, of course, you're afraid she'll take her affections elsewhere. That's all jealousy is.

But you fit another definition just as neatly. Your second paragraph is a blueprint for "relatively secure."

Which has me wondering. Is she really just outgoing?

Then wait to see if your jealousy fades as your relationship, and therefore your trust, strengthens.

Or is she actively sucking up any and all guy attention?

I don't know enough to have a bias, truly. But you do: If you normally never get jealous, then you need to be careful you're not so biased -- against your own jealous feelings -- that you tune out what they're trying to tell you.

Dear Carolyn:

In May, I met a man and we dated five or six times. He called me frequently during that time . . . until he just disappeared! I tried once to reach him but he didn't respond. I accepted that to mean he didn't want to see me again. Four months later, he called and apologized, telling me he got scared about his feelings for me. He seemed so genuine I decided to trust his explanation. We had a lovely, long evening together and when we said goodbye, he said he'd call. That was two weeks ago!! I called him after the first week. He said he would call me later. Of course, he never called. I'm left now to feel very stupid. Please give me your take on this guy's motivation for doing such a mean thing.

G.

"Mean" makes it sound personal, and I doubt he knew you well enough for this to be personal. He could be wracked with guilt, opportunistic, confused, cowardly, whatever; the problem's his.

The word I'd use is "erratic," and the only way to get tipped off to erratic behavior is to get burned more than once.

Plus, the only way to get tipped off to being guy-stupid is to get burned by a lot more than one stupid guy. Write this one off and get some sleep.

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