Me and my girlfriend started dating about four months ago. We're really happy in the relationship and it's been a lot of fun, but there's been a feeling of jealousy that's been bothering me lately. When i say jealousy i don't mean in terms of unfaithfulness. I mean i am literally jealous of her life. I like her a lot, and i want her, but often i find myself wanting to be her. Her life is almost everything I've ever wanted out of mine, and she's a year younger than me. I come from a largely dysfunctional divorced family, that used to be my whole life before it shattered. I defined myself on being the introverted dorky kid who liked science and music and math, and she surpasses me in all of those. Her family is unbelievably close and amazing. She's already surpassed me by several levels in math science and music, and has more of a connection with them and mastery of them than i do. I want to jump in and live her life that her family has set up for her and supported her with. It must sound odd for me to say I feel frustrated getting so close to a person who's like this, but i just feel overwhelmed sometimes. Everyone has their "thing", their passion. But she dwarfs me in my own and has several others too. I feel like my life just disappears in hers. I find myself spending all the time i can with her family, and sometimes forget that i'm there to be with her. I think she's been very happy to see me jumping into my passions with what iv'e learned from her and her family, and is always happy to bring me along and help me get involved. I haven't really vented to her about this because I just didn't feel like it, but i needed to get it out somewhere.
Posts: 16 | From: Massachusetts | Registered: Sep 2011
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I'm sorry that what you're feeling here is so difficult; when we're young, it's very easy to feel a loss of identity, because we're still creating our unique selves. When I was younger, I didn't even like other feminists because I felt that I was the feminist; and without that, who was I? However, as I've grown, I've seen that we all have different approaches to things, and my feminism is drastically different and unique to me as an individual. However, when I was younger; I felt boring and like a copy of other people - but I realise now that I was young then, and still creating who I was. Life is often presented as a journey to 'find ourselves' when really, it's about building and creating who we are. Does that make sense?
Later in life, you might be creating folk music and cultivating a passion for biology; and she might be into geometry and classical music. Music, maths and science are wide, wide fields - with millions of people who love them; but no two of these people are the same.
It must be especially difficult because you're having these feelings of being lost in a relationship with someone you obviously really respect and care about. A couple of things you said have given me a bit of a clue of what the problem might be.
I think what is important is to realise what you have learnt and are learning about life no-one else can learn. Overcoming a difficult home-life is really worth something; especially to you - and it's an achievement that counts for something that other people just don't have. There are unique things you've learnt from everything in your life and that becomes the thing people like about you, whether it's as a friend or a partner. Our trials, struggles and survival journeys often make us who we are, and show us deeper things about other peoples' lives we might not have seen or understood otherwise - giving us an unqiue empathy and grasp of the bigger pictures in life.
With music, math and science, because we're all unique, diverse people, we all have individual ways of looking at things. I know the school system teaches these things as something we can mesaure and get scores on; but later in life, we get to work with our own approaches a lot more. Your methods and creative art will probably be radically different from your partner's - because you're different people.
I don't think it's odd at all, and I know it's more common than I ever thought for people like us (myself and Scarleteen volunteer Jacob wrote this reply together)- and yourself - who have found life harder, to feel envious of people we care about for appearing to have things easier. Even if it's true (and it's honestly perhaps not really the case, everybody experiences all of there emotions privately, so we really can't say how bad it is!), then really it's important that someone else's happiness is theirs... But also remember that your happiness with her, and her family and whoever else makes you happy to be around, is yours. It's possible you're appreciating some of this stuff even more, simply because of how much this hasn't been available to you. These aren't feelings you're borrowing from anyone, or that you could ever dream of getting from someone in the same way you might want a cake of someone who you're jealous of. In this case her "cake" would taste completely different to her than it would to you, and visa versa. Because the great thing about both of your cakes is that they get their flavour from you...know what I mean?
I think it could really help you to completely separate your achievements and qualities from hers, they might look like they can be compared, but really to do that 100% erases the link between those things and who you both are.
Your difficult home life is a part of your whole life. Working on yourself and growing out of a difficult time is a project that no-one else is or could be undertaking. I sometimes find myself wishing that I hadn't gone through the things I have but then; I wouldn't be me.
I think it's great that you like her family so much, but it might be a good thing to find others to support you as well as her parents. Is there anyone in your family you can rely on for support? do you have any hobbies or interests that don't involve your partner or her family?
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