Question: Dear Luise: I am a 30 year old married man with children. I was raised in a single parent household by my mother who recently died 4 years ago. I have 2 sisters who live in another state and I have no contact with any other family members. I’ve always wanted a brother and a father figure in my life. I belong to a church and feel as if I have made invaluable friendships with some of the church members. I feel that I now have a mother and father figure in my life. Just recently I made friends with a young man who I feel connected to despite his flaws. He is not married and has no children and I view him as a brother. Although I am busy with my own family, work, other friends and school I still prefer to communicate with him and I feel a need to protect him and be around him all the time. He lives with his father, mother and brother and they appear to be very close. Although I am friends with his other family members I feel closer to him than any of the others. We often have long talks on the phone and exchange numerous text messages daily. I really don’t want to become clingy and insecure but I do feel a little envious when he is hanging out with some of his other friends. I never felt this way about anyone before and I really am uncomfortable at times. Should I ease back on the friendship or continue to nurture it? I have other friends even a best friend and I’m fine with having space in-between the relationship. With him I am not and I am not sexually attracted to him either. Please help me figure out with this is all about. G.
Answer: Dear G.: It is probably time to back off. What is being established between the two of you is out of balance for some reason. Jealousy is always about the person feeling it and not about what is actually going on.
Filling in the gaps of your life through new relationships can be very healthy. The parental figures you have selected offer that. The difference is the intensity. Let the young man go that is hanging out with his own friends. Create some distance. You may have paved the way for him to do that. If you find it painful, seek some counseling to help you through your own issues. You are an insightful person to have looked so closely at this. Blessings, Luise