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Ask TherapistMaryAnn Your Own Question

TherapistMaryAnn, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 5763
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues
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Hi There! Im in a close and intimate relationship with

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Hi There!

I'm in a close and intimate relationship with a very attractive and sweet woman, only my second such relationship and I'm 50-ish. She's younger than me and has had many boyfriends in the past, but never married. About three months after we met and started getting serious I found out that she was in a hotel room with another guy—she claims he's an ex-boyfriend. Then a few months later I went on a trip and found out that she had gone out with two other guys while I was away--she claims they are “friends.” I saw one of these friends leaving her apartment one night. I don't know any of these guys--they may be just “friends” but I don't know for sure. Another time she told me she was “shopping” when in fact she was apparently with some guy at a bar. There may have been many more incidents like these, I'm just not sure, but I know that she communicates with other male friends and ex-boyfriends.

I have given her the benefit of the doubt, cut an awful lot of slack but needless to say this has really caused a lot of mistrust and angst. I have continued to see her and we've now been hanging out for two-and-a-half years. We usually see each other only about three or four days a week for a few hours but I think we have some really great chemistry, we like each other and have fun together. She has told me directly that she is not interested in getting married or living together.

I would like to go on another trip and visit my brother and I'm worried that she will see other guys when I'm away. She has told me that she wants the freedom to see other guys “for coffee” and when I question her about it she says that I sound like her parent and makes me feel guilty for asking questions.

So I need some advice. What do I do about the mistrust? What about her desire to see other guys for “coffee”? And what do I do when I ask her questions, like what she's doing and who she's with, and she then scolds me for sounding like her parent?

Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.

If you are bothered by your girlfriend's relationships with these men, there is reason to do something about it. When you are in a relationship that is exclusive, that is you are just seeing each other, then it is fine to assume that you are the only person your partner is interested in. But if your girlfriend is seeing her ex's and other men, that is a message that you are not the only one in her life.

While it is fine for your girlfriend to have male friends, she needs to include you as part of her relationships with them. And at this point, she is not. She is seeing these men on the side and while you are gone, which sends the message that these are separate, possibly intimate, relationships.

It is ok to talk to her and tell her that you are not comfortable with her actions. Tell her it's fine to have relationships with men, but that you prefer she sees these men with you around. And if she tries to scold you or basically tell you that you have no right to tell her what to do, then you may want to reconsider this relationship. She is not as invested in it as you are or want to be.

I hope this has helped you,


May I please request that if you find the service I provided helpful at all that you rate me with three or above? Your rating is the only way I am reimbursed for my answer. Thank you so much!
I hope my answer was helpful to you. If you have any other questions, please let me know.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Well what if she doesn't want to include me as part of her relationship with other men? What if she wants to have coffee with an ex-boyfriend or male friend to "catch up" and doesn't want me around?

Then you need to decide your comfort level with that situation. She is not considering your feelings here and that is not good in a relationship, at least one where you want any substance. So you can either start dating others and see her when you want, or accept her terms and just try to ignore the behavior as much as you can. It is not easy, I know. But unless she is willing to change, she is not giving you much choice.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks for your reply. I'll ask one last question.


I would like to focus on the issue of mistrust. If I'm going on a trip, because of past experiences I'll be constantly wondering and worrying whether or not she's seeing other guys while I'm away. What can I do specifically to solve this problem? How can we build trust, assuming she's willing to cooperate?

If she is willing to cooperate, then rebuilding trust is easier. She would have to give up her male relationships and be willing to allow you to contact her anytime you are away. It would take time, but it is very possible to regain trust. But if she is not willing, then it will not be possible to rebuild trust. You cannot trust someone who puts their own needs first and doesn't focus on your needs at all.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Great answer, thanks. I'll give a 5 for that!

Thank you! I am glad I could help. And thank you ahead of time for the high rating. If you do have any difficulty rating, just let me know.

My best to you,
TherapistMaryAnn and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Can I ask a follow-up question on a separate thread?

Yes, that is fine. You just need to remember to rate the answer, just as you did on this thread.



Customer: replied 3 years ago.

When I start a new thread with you do I have to pay again? Or will it be covered under this thread?

You would need to rate again with a new thread.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I just asked you another question on another thread. It's a similar question with a slightly different angle--probably the way I should have asked it to begin with--so if you can answer I would appreciate it. Thanks.

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