I couldn’t help but share in the excitement and bliss when my nephew had his first serious girlfriend about a year ago.
We’re pretty close in age and grew up more as cousins, so he doesn’t feel as awkward sharing the secrets, funny stories, and frustrations that came with his turning into a young adult. So anyway, the girl was gorgeous, they were happy, and I saw how he was beginning to mature, and I was glad.
A year later, our family was struck with the passing of one of our great-uncles, so of course it called for a lot of family time during the wake, as it was our custom. It was on one of these nights, while we were helping to clean up some dishes after the guests had left, that my nephew gingerly brought out the topic of him and his girlfriend.
‘Hey, are you tired? Can I tell you something. It’s about my girl,’ he started.
Of course I had the time to catch up.
He started by telling me that while he still loved the girl, there were some things about her that bothered him, foremost of which was her jealousy.
‘I had to keep my data off while going around today because we got so busy with the guests and everything, but I left her a text saying I’d be busy and probably won’t be near my phone for most of the day. She said Okay, that she understood, but would you believe it when I got back to my phone upstairs and turned on my data, she flooded me with all this cheating crap?’
He handed me his phone, and sure enough there were his texts to her from that morning, and below it, a flood of texts that steadily went from one-liner sentences to lengthy paragraphs, from small case letters to all-caps. Then the social media inboxes, and when we checked all her profiles, it was rife with mystery posts about cheating and faithfulness, and of course, her friends were all in the comments asking what was wrong.
I was confused. Her initial heart emoji laden reply of ‘It’s okay babyyyy, I understand, please focus on your family’ progressed to ‘YOU HEARTLESS ASSHOLE, IM SURE THERE’S A GIRL THERE AT THE WAKE!! YOU ARENT ANSWERING YOUR PHONE STOP HIDING FROM ME’.
I wanted to call that girl up right away, but my nephew just shook his head. He confided that he thought it was cute at the start that she was jealous of any and every girl he knew or would meet inevitably because of his job, but admitted that a year on, despite all his assurances and evidences that he was faithful (passwords to everything, deleting some girls off his social media, etc), he was getting wary of her ways.
‘Sometimes I feel like she’s just pushing me to be the one to break up with her so that I can be the bad guy and be all over her social media; get shit talked by her friends or whatever. I keep telling her nothing is wrong. But this is just crazy. We’re at a freaking wake and she knows I’m with family! I told her she could come over if she wanted to, but she said it wasn’t her practice to attend wakes of people she didn’t know. I just don’t know anymore. I haven’t answered any of her messages yet because I’m so mad,’ he said, and I could see the young man was distraught.
‘If you’re asking for my advice, of course I would keep telling you that you have to keep talking to her and teach her that she shouldn’t feed her jealousy or paranoia with all this crap on the Internet. I can see you’re serious about her. But my guy, if it doesn’t change, I have only this to tell you: a relationship shouldn’t feel like a chokehold.’