Friday, January 24, 2014

Girlfriend Is "Too Hands On" For Her Partner

Dear Tazi:

I have been with my "lady friend" for several years now, and I enjoy her company. Although I can never marry her (I am legally separated but not divorced) I have no plans on leaving her for another woman - least of all my legal wife, whom I remain married to for financial reasons - and "Leona" says that she understands this and is content with our arrangement so long as I remain faithful to her.

My problem is that Leona does not seem to trust me around other women. If another woman so much as looks at me - for whatever reason - Leona will put her arm around me, nuzzle my neck, whisper in my hear, or grab my behind; basically claiming her territory. This behavior is embarrassing enough at parties and other social gatherings, but it is downright aggravating when it happens in line at the grocery store (Leona swears the cashier has a crush on me). The worst is when Leona starts pawing me in church.

There is a woman who goes to the same mass as me and I have a long but platonic history with her. She went to high school with my youngest sister and was even in her wedding party, which is how my family and I got to know her outside of church. My mother has always adored "Katrina" and her fondness shows. Mom made the mistake of giving Katrina a hug one morning after mass and asking about her relationship status within sight of Leona. This convinced Leona that my mother wants to push her out of my life in order to set her up with Katrina. Since that day (three years ago) Leona has made a point of draping herself all over me whenever she sees Katrina at mass.

Because Katrina sits in the choir, she sits off to the side of the main church and has a full view of the congregation. I know she sees Leona acting far too hands on for church (especially during the sign of peace) because she will rapidly look away, like she is embarrassed at witnessing a private moment, as soon as she sees Leona lick my ear or nibble my fingers. Leona is convinced that Katrina is starting at me (why else would she suddenly look away?) and uses this logic to further her physical attentions to me. I don't think Katrina is looking at us on purpose; I think it is just that we sit in her field of vision.

In order to accommodate Leona's insecurity I suggested we move to a different seat, which worked for a short while - until the ceiling over the choir's nook collapsed and they had to move to the other side of the church. Now Leona and I are once again in the direct view of Katrina and Leona's machinations are getting worse - so much so that the Pastor drew us aside after mass and asked us to conduct ourselves with "decorum appropriate to the venue". I was humiliated! Even worse, so was my mother.

Leona is now refusing to attend mass with me, saying she feels unwelcome. This is fine with me, since I am not at all comfortable with her behavior, but she wants me to stop attending mass, too, or at least switch parishes or masses. Tazi, I know this sounds like a small request, but isn't to me. I have been attending the same mass at the same church for more than 20 years and I enjoy the familiarity. I have gotten to know the people who attend this mass, which makes the celebration of mass more fulfilling to me. Plus the thought of not being able to see my friend Katrina does sadden me. Just because there is nothing romantic going on between us does not mean that I do not appreciate and enjoy her friendship. I know it sounds like I am trying to have it all - and maybe I am - but is it all too much to ask?

Wanting It All

P.S. I forgot to mention that Leona is several years younger than Katrina, who is ten years younger than me. Something tells me this may have something to do with my problem.

Dear Wanting It All:

If Leona is several years younger than Katrina, who is ten years younger than you, I am going to do the math and figure that there is a 15 - 20 year age difference between you and Leona, which could explain why she is acting so immature - it is because she is immature.

Leona's draping herself all over you at parties can be excused if alcohol is involved and can be understood if a cashier is flirting at you. But mauling you in church because she thinks a woman in the choir is gazing upon you from across the room? As Elvis Presley sang, "We can't go on together with suspicious minds"; this is a point you need to drive home to Leona.

Sparkly white jumpsuit not required!

Why your mother's affection for Katrina should set Leona off in a jealous rage is beyond me...unless there is something else you have failed to mention? Is it possible that Katrina does have a crush on you, and/or you on her? While this does not excuse Leona's behavior in church (nothing does) it may explain it. You need to be honest with yourself in order to be honest with your lady friend.

You briefly mention that you will never be able to marry Leona because you remain legally married for "financial reasons". How does this make Leona feel, that you are choosing to remain in a loveless marriage for the sake of money? Is she truly okay with remaining your girlfriend for the rest of her life or does she hope to someday marry you - with or without the money you would lose if you divorced your wife? What about children - does Leona want any? If so, this relationship is far more complicated than you realize. In your desire to have it all, you may be taking from others.

The time has come for you to have a serious talk with Leona about her insecurity - in general, and especially about Katrina, since her presence in church is driving you out of it. Ask Leona what solid evidence she has that Katrina is interested in you. Tell Leona that you love her, not Katrina, and that her immature behavior is upsetting you; that such physical expressions of affection are best expressed during private moments, not as witness to the entire church and community. Most importantly, ask Leona if she is happy with your current arrangement. It could be that in the "several years" since you started dating her wants and needs have changed, and her overbearing jealousy is her way of expressing this.

If you wish to continue going to the same church and the same mass as you have always attended, then do it. Leona has no right to dictate your religious observances. The same goes for your choice of friendships. If you wish to remain in contact with Katrina, Leona will have to learn to live with this if she cannot learn to like her. Nobody has the right to dictate whom their partners can have as friends.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with Bachelors degrees in Communications and in Gender and Women's Studies. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

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