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Angela, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 681
Experience:  n/a
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Im in a relationship with a man that I work with. We have

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I'm in a relationship with a man that I work with. We have been seeing each other for four years. He is 13 years my junior. I am a mature woman who works for my company's CEO, so I don't put my personal life on display in the office. I prefer that our colleagues not know about our relationship, although some of our close friends in the building do know, but they are trustworthy. We are vey discreet. Our relationship was going exceptionally well until I noticed that he has a young female friend here at work who continually follows him around and stands very close to him when she talks to him. This has been noticable for a few years now. They meet up the street to have lunch and talk, and seem to be very private "friends". I mentioned to him that I was very uncomfortable with their relationship in the office and that he should explain to her what our status is. He said that she knows of our relationship and that she is just a good friend, but he will stop hanging out with her so much. Cut to holiday party (12/8/10), she walks so close behind him that she can squeeze his butt, they sit together for dinner, everytime he walked away from her she continued to search for him. She was following him around the whole night. So I said something about it after party when he called me at home. "I'm allowed to have friends of both sexes and I've assured you that nothing is going on", he says. So I explained to him that my feeling was that she was really into him and he should acknowledge that. He denied it. He stilll does not get that it's very disrespectful to me, especially since she knows that I am seeing him. I'm trying to keep my cool and be mature about this. I gave him a choice to keep his friend or lose his woman. One or the other, there is no in between. If she were just a "friend", what's wrong with all of us meeting for lunch, or at least a formal introduction so that the friend and your lady can form an understanding? Or perhaps, to just keep the peace. Am I being unreasonable and jealous to give him an ultimatum? I don't think he could handle this type of behavior from me if I dished it back to him! HELP!!!
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Angela replied 6 years ago.
Hello my name is Angela.
I am more than happy to assist you with your questions by giving you my honest and respectful opinion.

I understand your concerns and they are valid based upon what you have shared, however, it is not healthy to give him an ultimatum of choose her or choose me because it sends a clear message of wanting to control him (-regardless of whether or not this is your intention) which will more than likely just cause more stress and disappointment in your relationship. Also, feeling jealous is a normal emotion and nothing is wrong with feeling this way as long as you handle it in a healthy manner. Therefore, I suggest talking to him about this issue once again when the two of you will not be disturbed and are in a peaceful environment, for example, you could go out to a nice relaxing dinner. During this time tell him in your own words: you trust him and you can see that she is a platonic friend to him, however, because you feel as though she doesn't respect his personal space boundaries could he consider doing the following in order for both of you to move beyond this situation in a healthy manner:

1. set up a meeting so that the 3 of you can meet for lunch once in a while. The purpose is not for you and her to become friends, but just to ease your mind about her as well as to let her see that you are aware of their platonic friendship and simply want her to interact with you in a platonic and respectful manner.

2. by doing the above, the outcome may be even more pleasing and the two of you may actually end up chatting every now and then.

If your boyfriend is not willing to do the above, then explain to him that he needs to come up with a compromise that you both can feel good about and remind him this is why you have chosen the above to ask him to do because you can both feel good about it and it is a healthy step that will enable you both to move beyond this.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.


I have suggested doing lunch with the three of us, I have suggested having us introduced so that things won't appear so suspicious and we can come to some agreements, and I have also suggested that he talk to her about us so that she knows the level of our relationship. This IS NOT the first time we've had this conversation. The same things that you are suggesting I've already done, so what now? It seems to me that she is just disregarding everything that he or I have said. If he asked her to leave him space at the office so that I don't feel bad about their friendship, what real FRIEND wouldn't respect your wishes? I certainly wouldn't treat my friends that way. I want to be as mindful of your wants and needs as I possibly can if I'm your FRIEND! Especially if you are in a serious relationship.

Expert:  Angela replied 6 years ago.
In lieu of this, with all due respect, I suggest sitting down with him and having a different type of conversation because his behavior speaks to a greater issue in your relationship. Clearly he has not been respecting your concerns and he has not been open to your possible solutions to enable you both to move beyond this in a healthy manner as a unified couple. Therefore, the next conversation you have with him could be to discuss whether the two of you will remain a couple (-not because she is still his friend or in his life, but because of the greater issue which is his lack of willingness to work with you to move pass this problem which is a huge red flag especially since you are in a serious relationship). When you talk to him again, ensure that he also understands exactly what you want from your relationship since it appears that he is not on the same page as you. Then in lieu of this huge red flag, discuss together what direction your relationship will take from that point forward. Again, his lack of desire to honor and respect your feelings as well as to be open to move beyond this problem in a healthy manner by compromising is a huge red flag that will continue to surface among other issues both major and minor in your relationship unless he chooses to change his ways. Therefore, it is impossible for you to be the only one compromising and willing to take respectful action, he must also participate just as much.
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