The Hook Up: The Jealousy Trap and Finding a Work/Boo Balance

Photo: (Everyone Is Gay)

The Hook Up is a weekly relationship advice column from MTV Act and the It’s Your (Sex) Life campaign, written by the very talented Kristin Russo and Dannielle Owens-Reid.

From the awkward to the complicated to the down-right-adorable, these girls have you covered. To submit your question about love, lust or anything in between, get the full details below. We’d love to hear from you, and your question could be chosen for a future column! Plus, the first 30 people get free MTV Act shirts. FYI, in case you’re a little shy, all questions can be anonymous.

Q: “How can you keep a job from interfering in a relationship?”

Dannielle Says: 

Oh man, let me tell you IT’S HARD (thatswhatshesaid). It’s especially hard when you love your job more than anything on earth. HOWEVZ, this is a relationship and every relationship requires compromise.

I suggest the two of you sit down and come up with a schedule. The only time I’ve ever had to do this, it literally took me MONTHS to sink into a comfortable routine, but once I got there I was so happy and so was my boo. Give yourself specific time slots where you absolutely WILL NOT work. Even if it’s just an hour every night, or you decide during every meal you won’t look at your phone, or you pick on day on the weekend where you aren’t checking emails. Come up with a slot of time that is for you and your boo ONLY.

And… communicate. If your boo says “i feel like your job is more important to you than I am…” don’t say ‘DO YOU SERIOUSLY THINK I’M THAT MUCH OF A D-BAG!!’ Explain to your boo that you love them soooo much and you love spending time with them and sometimes you just get caught up in work and apologize…I know we hate apologizing, but your boo has valid feelings. You getting caught up in work does not make you a d-bag, but it does require some rearranging, so figure it out together! AND AND AND if you have to break a rule (i.e. you have a late meeting on a date night or your’e waiting for an important call during dinner) YOU CAN ALWAYS BUY YOUR BOO SOME I’M SORRY FLOWERS OR CANDY.

Kristin Says:

Set expectations for yourself, and work to meet those expectations.

Some of us work 30 hours a week, other work 60; some of us leave our job at the office, and others of us have a constant whir of ideas happening at all times in our brains. I happen to occupy the sixty-hour work week / constant brain-whir combination, so I understand how difficult it can be to manage that while also trying to make a life with someone that you love.

Here is a simple list that will break down all of the most important parts of keeping your relationship in check:

1. Schedule: Just like Dannielle said, actual work needs to happen within set hours, except for in extreme circumstances. No emails during dinner, no phone calls when you are having date night, your work needs to occupy a set time in your day, and so does your relationship.

2. Date night: Have at least one date night a week where work is not allowed, in any form.

3. Check In and Reconnect: If you are eating dinner with your boo on a non-date night and you find that you haven’t spoken much in the past twenty minutes because you are thinking about your latest work-project, speak up. Say “hey, I am realizing that I am super distracted thinking about work and I want you to know that it means a lot to me to be sitting her eating dinner with you. Can I talk to you about some of my thoughts so that I can try to reconnect?”

4. Shared goals: Your work is important. You have every right to treat it as such, so don’t beat yourself up over being true to those commitments. Your relationship is also extremely important. Work to find a balance, and make sure that your view of balance aligns with your partner’s… if you aren’t working toward the same end goal, ain’t nothing good gonna happen.

Q: “My girlfriend has major jealousy issues but I’ve never done anything to make her not trust me. I’m getting really tired of having to explain myself, any advice?

Dannielle Says: 

Here is the thing about the thing.

Your girlfriend’s jealousy has NOTHING to do with you and everything to do with her own insecurities. So, you can’t really battle any of that by explaining yourself. Believe you me, I have had a number of conversations where I’m all ‘I’M NOT CHEATING ON YOU GET OVER YOURSELF’ and that helps no one.

If you can step back from the conversations slash yellversation (yelling conversation) and say ‘hey, is there something I’m specifically doing that makes you feel uncomfortable?’ If she says ‘yes, you tell your friends you love them’ then you can say ‘oh, ok, well we just have always said that, we’re best friends there are no feelings there I promise’ you have said your piece and we can move on to the next step (ALSO, if you ask her the above and she says ‘not really, i’m just nervous about us and I get freaked out that you might like someone more than me’ YOU CAN STILL MOVE ON TO THE NEXT STEP)…which is as follows: explain to her that it’s okay to be jealous and it’s okay to talk about the jealousy.

A lot of times, when we feel jealous we also feel stupid / like we’re not supposed to feel jealous so we don’t say anything until we’ve obsessed over the situation for 3 weeks, then we explode. If she knows that you understand everyone gets jealous and we all just need to talk about it, it’ll make her feel a little better. AND when she does flip out, don’t flip back, simply say ‘hey, i promise you have nothing to worry about, but also if you wanna talk about how that girl just hit on me and it was really rude and gross, we can do that.’ Generally, people just want you to understand where they’re coming from, if she feels understood she’ll feel a lot more comfy.

Kristin Says:

BIG UPS FOR VALIDATING PEOPLE’S FEELINGS.

You guys… remember when people used to say “big ups”? Am I four hundred years old? What’s going on? WHERE ARE WE?

Anyway… the short answer here is: Stop explaining yourself.

The best thing you can do in this situation is to do the things you would normally do (ie: sleep over a friend’s house or go to the movies with your besties), and when boobear shouts and/or pouts, you need to say, “Okay, let’s talk about these feelings. I know that having a sleep over is a fun thing that I like to do, I know it’s important to me to share experiences with my friends, and I understand that sometimes that is hard for you. I am absolutely here to listen, but I am not going to give you excuses, and I am not going to change my plans, because I know that in doing that I am going to hurt us as a couple, and I love you to much to let that happen.”

You don’t have to use those EXACT words, but the fact of the matter is: NO ONE should change their behavior or feel that they have to ‘answer to’ anyone or ‘explain themselves’ unless they are rolling around naked with their friends. You have to be firm in what you believe to be right, and let your boo know that you are always there for her to help her explore those feelings.

Do not make her feel stupid or childish for feeling jealous.
Do be strong in your needs as her partner and facilitate conversations.

If she cannot have a conversation with you when you are adhering to the above, and still continues to make you feel less-than, it might be worth considering leaving the relationship. Sometimes there are really great boobears who need a little more time to grow themselves before they are ready to be a true partner to someone else.

Kristin Russo and Dannielle Owens-Reid are the co-creators of Everyone is Gay, a website and organization promoting kindness between all people, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity. The views expressed in these blog posts are the viewsof the authors alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views of MTV, KFF or the It’s Your Sex Life campaign.

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