Dear Charles:

My girlfriend and I have been going out for a year now and I know she is the one that I will marry in the future. But whenever she goes out with others, I always have that feeling that she is going to do something wrong. How do I get rid of this feeling and just trust her in general?
—A

Dear A:

I know that feeling. It comes from two related places: A lack of control, and complete vulnerability. Here's how that breaks down: You have put your heart out and now you are afraid it will be hurt. But you can't control if it DOES get hurt. As such, you are vulnerable.

The bad news: All these things are your issues to sort through.

The good news: As all these things are your issues, you are in control of how you act moving forward — instead of reacting to your fear.

My advice: If you trust her, work on letting go of your fear. You won't have a future without trust. If you DON'T trust her, then you need to have a different conversation.

-- Charles

Dear Charles:

I am currently in a "casual relationship" with someone (no sex, though). This has been going on for two months. The issue I find myself in is when we got together, he had recently gotten out of a seven-year relationship. He has told me he doesn't want a relationship at the moment and I completely understand that.

My issue is that he gets jealous and I get jealous when other people give attention. He got obscenely jealous when I received flowers and cupcakes on Valentine’s Day from someone else and we seem to be in a constant competition to make the other person jealous. I'm unsure what I should do, do I carry on the way we are (which isn't heartbreaking or soul destroying but just a bit confusing) hoping he will realize that I'm worth settling down for or do I just cut loose now and save the potential heartache in the long run? Could he even change?

—P

Dear P:

For any long-term relationship, he needs time to adjust to a single, "new normal." If he were the one writing in to me, I would be telling him to relax, let life unfold and get back to SELF before getting into something new.

That said, he can't have it both ways. If he wants a committed/exclusive relationship, then he needs to be IN one. However, I would caution you that he needs time to get past a [very] recent break-up. Otherwise, you will be his official rebound.

My gut: Don't worry – relax. If you have fun together and things are good, don't put the additional pressure of "we need to be in a relationship now" come into play. Let things unfold, but let him know that non-exclusive is just that: NON-EXCLUSIVE – for both of you.

– Charles

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