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Green Tea With Envy

My boyfriend of 10 months has had a female best friend for six years. They’ve never dated, but they share many interests. She’s a warm, friendly person, and I like her, so the three of us hang out occasionally. My boyfriend also spends a lot of time alone with her, and although he never hides this, I feel threatened by their relationship. I’ve tried to get into the stuff they’re interested in -- herbal medicine and crystals and things -- but really, it would be a feigned interest on my part. I feel they’re soulmates, and any day, will profess their undying love for each other -- even though my boyfriend has professed his undying love for me, and goes on and on about wanting to marry me. Still, last week, when I watched those two talk at a party, it took everything I had not to leave in a total rage. Do I tell him how jealous and angry I feel? Or do I go with my fear that they’ll someday realize they love each other and break up with him before our relationship goes any further?

--Friend Forecaster

It’s the rare dermatologist who throws in a heart transplant with every blackhead extraction. Few car mechanics offer a seaweed facial and a leg wax with every tune-up. Meter maids never wash your car and vacuum the floor mats before they give you a ticket. And, the next time you’re in the emergency room, just try to buy drapes and a coffee table. Sure, they’ll save your sorry life, but they won’t even sell you a plastic pool chair.

Welcome to The Age Of Specialization. These days, it takes more than one person to meet another person’s needs -- unless that person has only one need: to sit cross-legged, until they die, in a hermetically sealed room, staring at the other person. Since you aspire to be one man’s own personal desert island, you’d better forget about “just being you.” Consider hiring some writers -- a diverse team -- to script everything you say and feed it into a little earpiece. Let’s see -- maybe Chris Rock, Chris Elliott, William Shakespeare, Gore Vidal, Fran Lebowitz, and the Dalai Lama.

Then again, if Shakespeare appears to be between agents, and Chris Rock’s agent is harder to get on the phone than Shakespeare’s, you could try acknowledging that nobody can be everything to anybody. In fact, two people might be more likely to stay together if each occasionally has something to bring to the relationship that the other didn’t experience firsthand 10 minutes prior. This notion does go directly against the old blob-style tradition of relationships, in which two interesting individuals merge into one increasingly uninteresting couple-mass...eating, sleeping, moving, and thinking as one. That isn’t love -- it’s solidification.

Instead of living in fear that he’s going to leave you, accept that he very well might -- for his friend or for one of thousands of other women who believe that carrying around a pocketful of polished rocks will lead to more than a trip to the tailor. Chances are, however, that he thinks you have something they don’t (scientific skepticism, one would hope). For best results, express your concerns in a soft, sweet voice, unaccompanied by flying china. To keep your cool, keep this in mind: His departure, if any, is unlikely to kill you. Well...not unless he leaves a bunch of pebbles in his wake, and you trip and die of a brain hemorrhage before you can get to the emergency room to inquire about purchasing a shower curtain.

Copyright ©2003, Amy Alkon, from her syndicated column, "The Advice Goddess," which appears in over 100 papers across the U.S. and Canada. All rights reserved.