"Dear Lou,

I am having a problem with a friend of mine and I was hoping you could point me in the right direction. We’re both female, in our 20s and single, although I just started dating someone recently who shows a lot of promise. But for the past year or so, neither of us has been really involved with anyone seriously, and we’ve always gone out together and spent many nights having cocktails and “talking about boys.”

The problem is that I think my friend is very jealous of me now because of this new man I’m seeing. My friend has told me she’s really happy for us. She has never once been mean or bitter about the fact that I’m seeing someone like him and she’s still looking, but I’ve noticed a trend lately that I don’t like, and I think it has something to do with me. She’s been meeting up with guys she talks to online or in bars and hooking up. She tells me about these guys she’s “dating,” but really they’re just one-night stands, about five or six of them now. And, these “dates” have been going on for a month or so, and I have yet to meet a single one of them! It’s her life, I know, but I can’t help but think she’s doing this at least in part to compete with me. I want to say something, but how do I go about it without making her upset? She’s a little insecure, so she’s liable to fly off if I bring this up.

Sincerely,

Concerned

Dear Concerned,

If your girlfriend’s recent flesh binge is indeed an envious retaliation to your new romance, she’s not liable to admit it. In fact, she may honestly not realize that’s the case. So, making this about you would not be constructive at this point. Instead, if you are indeed concerned enough to talk to her about it, keep the focus on her. First of all, make sure she’s using condoms, and preferably an additional method of birth control as well. Also, make sure she’s not doing anything to increase her chances of being a victim of crime, sexual or otherwise, such as going alone to unknown places with unknown men, particularly while heavily intoxicated. After covering those fundamentals, I think it’s perfectly appropriate to tell her you just wanted to “check in.” Be honest, tell her you’ve noticed she’s been more promiscuous and you just want to make sure everything is all right. Remember, it’s less common, but there is a chance she has no major issues and is just tramping it up a little and having some fun. But someone who is wrestling insecurities by having lots of sex with random people is more than likely going to give you lip service, say everything is great and be unwilling to discuss it further, and that’s OK. You’ve done your job of being a good friend and letting her know you care about her. Now, it’s up to her to conduct her life in the manner she feels she should. You’re both adults who are responsible for the choices you make, good and bad. You aren’t obligated to approve of her behavior, but once you’ve made your concerns known, it’s best to let it be and love your friend, even when you don’t love her actions.

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