Accept (quietly) or exit (quietly)

Joey is crazy about the pulled-pork sandwich at Slow in Berkeley.

Before I met my boyfriend, he dated “Sandi” (they were never intimate), and they remain friends. Sandi calls my boyfriend nearly every night when she gets off work, whenever she needs support (they are in a 12-step program together), and he is her go-to guy for fun group activities. I hate her. She ignores me when I talk to her, and when I told my boyfriend about it, he said she is shy. When I pointed out that she checks in like a girlfriend, he said she’s his friend and can call anytime she wants. The other night, he and I were getting busy on the couch when he took her call. She was crying and he raced to her side. He isn’t her sponsor, either. Am I crazy? I don’t think that they are physically involved, but I feel like the third wheel. What am I missing?

Emotional intimacy. You believe he cares more about her feelings than he does about yours. That belief is fed by the fact that they dated, she broke it off and he acts like a man who hopes he still has a chance. Where does that leave you? Completely free to make a decision grounded in love for who you are.

Right now, you are attempting to force your boyfriend to choose you over his friend. Reality check: It won’t happen until she finds another guy to rescue her from her feelings or learns to dial her sobriety sponsor instead. So stop pretending you must put up with your man. Admit that your relationship is not working according to your ideal.

Then, get a backbone: Accept the threesome you are in (yes, that means no more complaining) or exit quietly (no accusations or blaming). If you choose life option No. 2, be grateful that you are saving yourself from more drama.

Leaving an unsatisfying dating relationship ensures you have lots of extra time to excavate your rage. That’s what “I hate her” means—you have generous amounts of unresolved anger that has inflated to monstrous proportions. It’s probably as old as you are (rage is said to be related to the pre-verbal infant stage), but you have unconsciously attached it to this situation. When you begin to heal your past, transformation will occur. It will happen like this: You will recognize a man capable of triggering your insecurity before committing to an exclusive relationship with him. You may even find that such guys are no longer arriving in your life. Isn’t that exciting?

My boyfriend asked me to marry him and gave me his grandmother’s ring. It’s gorgeous. Last weekend, his mother admired the ring, saying it looks like her mother’s. Yeah, he took the ring, meant for his sister when she wed, and gave it to me. He’s a great guy and wanted to give me a really nice ring but couldn’t afford it. His parents are furious and want the ring back. His sister never liked it and wants me to have it. My boyfriend is acting like the victim here and I’m not sure what to do.

Respect the family heirloom. Chat with your sister-in-law-to-be. Tell her that if you divorce, you will return the ring to her so that it stays in the family. Then hand her a note with that promise in writing. Ask her to write your soon-to-be-in-laws a letter surrendering the ring to her brother and noting your promise. Then tell your fiancé he blew it. Say you love his desire to give you something beautiful that has meaning in his family, but remind him it was not his to give. Insist that he apologize to his parents. If he refuses and if you can recall other similar behaviors, postpone the wedding. Pre-marital counseling is imperative.

Meditation of the Week

Many years ago, I decided that if love is infinite and eternal, I would choose “the world as my soul mate™.” I founded a nonprofit—Rise Up Belize!—to serve children and teachers in my native country. Are you ready for a higher love? Join me at our fundraiser on March 26, from 6 to 10 p.m., at 2791 24th Street. Details at <a href="http://www.sierra2.org/">www.sierra2.org</a>.