My good friend recently broke up with a long-term boyfriend, and she’s struck up a serious romance with a new guy. One day I saw her text one of her other friends saying that I hated her because of him—as in, I’m jealous of her new relationship.
I got very upset. Truth be told, I am envious that she found a new love right after a big breakup, when I’m still having a hard time meeting guys at all. I absolutely hate feeling jealousmaybe she hit a nerve when she depicted me to her friend as being this bitter person, which is the last thing I want to be seen as.
Basically, part of me wants to end the friendship in order to relay to her that she can’t treat me this way, but another part wants me to just get over it, as some people seem able to do (lucky them!).
The short answer is that both of your suspicions are correct: your jealousy is coming out in your friendship with her, and she shouldn’t have texted your friend about you. But you should not end this friendship.
Feeling jealous doesn’t make you a terrible person. I need you to really understand that.
Jealousy is not just wanting what you don’t have. It’s more complicated than you describe it. Our friends are barometers of our own lives: We look to our BFFs to better understand how we’re doing ourselves. Our friends help us make sense of what we have, what we aspire to, and what we truly long for. Sure, you could call that “comparing yourself” to others. Or you could accept that we are all trying to figure out who and how to be in the world, and that our peers’ experiences help us interpret our own.
Being jealous of a friend doesn’t mean you hate her or wish her ill. Do you hope this guy will send her a sociopathic breakup text? Do you pray that every time your phone rings, it’s her calling to tell you how awful he is? Do you own a voo-doo doll? I’m guessing not.
Your jealousy is about wanting something for yourself, not hating her. If you don’t understand the difference, you’ll start to be ashamed of your feelings. And when shame kicks in, so does secrecy and silence—which is exactly what eats away at close friendships.
This is why you’re freaking out about her text. It’s easier to get upset than to open up and share your vulnerability. But if you want to save this friendship, you’ve got to step up and come clean about what’s bothering you about yourself, not just what’s bothering you about her.
What if you said, “Look, I am genuinely happy for you about your new relationship. And (not “but!”) I need you to know that I feel really jealous of how you found a great guy right after breaking up with someone. I hate being jealous! But I think that might be affecting the way I talk with you about your relationships. I’m really sorry if I’ve come off that way—and I get why you sent the text you did—but can you talk with me about how you’re feeling next time instead of telling someone else?”
Jealousy is unavoidable—it’s part of the price we pay for intimacy. But hiding difficult feelings to try and save a relationship usually ends up destroying it.