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Steven Olsen
Steven Olsen, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1765
Experience:  More than 20 years of expertise in counseling, relationship resolution and family therapy.
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Asking the same question as earlier to confirm previous answers from other experts.

Verification: Though I really respect the opinions i have received I want one more perspective please:

My Boyfriend of 4 months informed me the other day he was taking a close female friend for drinks. While I have no issue with male/female friendships outside of our relationship, concern immediately popped up as to why he wanted to go for drinks alone with her and why I wasn't invited. Am I being jealous? Am I being irrational to think it should be a lunch thing not drinks, etc in the evening. I want to understand this myself because I do not want to cause contention between us but it opens the door for more to develop as far as I am concerned. Even though I have had issues with trusting previous partners because they gave me reason not to, this is a completely different relationship with a different person so I do trust him completely, but I think its more the situation that I was uncomfortable with. Lunches are a lot less risky in my opinion but I am trying to see this from his side too. I admit my reaction was a jealous one largely due to his being so upset with me for being uncomfortable with the idea. How should I approach him so it is healthy and productive? What steps should we take together to be certain we are creating a healthy balance? I really do not want either of us to feel like we have to "answer" to the other because we are both choosing to be with the other. We always communicate and both he and I make certain the other one feels loved and appreciated. This is really our only issue and I want it resolved sincerely, XXXXX XXXXX on the surface.

Please Help
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Steven Olsen replied 5 years ago.

Perhaps a male perspective would help.

 

Relationships like yours, one that is steady and committed, typically have very clear rules and expectations about acceptable behaviors. Like two hands tightly clasped together, two people who are bonded with each other should not allow anything between them. To allow other relationships to take precedence over your own is not acceptable in a committed relationship.

 

Let's look at this one issue at a time.

 

First of all you were concerned about his behavior. This feeling should immediately grasp the attention of your boyfriend. Just by you saying you are uncomfortable should not have resulted in anger on his part, but with concern and introspection on his part. (Why did I ask her out for a drink? Was I thinking of my current girlfriend's feeling when I did so?) And, if he knows you well, why would he feel that drinks with another woman were an option? There is trust and openness, and then there are poor choices.

 

Most successful couples that I know and work with establish very clear boundaries about what is appropriate and what is not. Drinks, alone with a member of the opposite sex...that typically is not acceptable and even if innocent disregards XXXXX XXXXX and possibly sends the wrong message to this other woman.

 

I see nothing wrong with standing your ground on this. This is not about trust. It is about what is acceptable in a real relationship. If he is the type of man who puts you first, (and he sounds like he has been) he should be concerned about you enough to stop this behavior immediately and to set boundaries that he will not cross.

 

One such lapse in judgment is certainly excusable with a promise that it will not occur again. But this is not just jealousy on your part in my opinion. It is a need to be clear with expectations and to set clear boundaries on both of your actions with others. How does this occur? Simply, things need to be spelled out and expectations frankly discussed. There is no absolutely best way to do so, and the stage of your relationship, called committed reciprocity, requires that you both lay all on the table. Yes, conversations like this can be difficult. But as long as they are planned. (over dinner is good) and timed (no more than 20 minutes each) and they are done in compassion and concern, they work out well.

 

I think this will work out. It is a pretty common issue for males who need to see that not all that is "innocent" is acceptable. Steven

 

 

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