Should I be wor­ried that my girl­friend has lot of male friends?

The Peterborough Examiner - - ARTS & LIFE - El­lie

Q: My girl­friend is still friends with a lot of guys from high school be­cause she used to hang out with her one-yearolder brother and his friends.

She has since con­tin­ued mak­ing friends with new guys she meets.

Even though we’re both in our late 20s and are in a re­la­tion­ship, she’ll in­vite very-re­cently-met men to join us if a group (in­clud­ing her girl­friends) are go­ing to a club.

Two of her male friends have be­come my good bud­dies too, and I fully trust their re­la­tion­ships with her, which go back years.

One or the other will some­times meet her for lunch, but I’ve been asked to join them a cou­ple of times, too.

But how can I trust that some of th­ese new guys aren’t in­ter­ested in some­thing more with her? Or does she want to keep her op­tions open in case we break up?

Some­times Sus­pi­cious

A: Be­ing alert to who’s in your girl­friend’s life can be pro­tec­tive in a car­ing way. But be­ing sus­pi­cious when there are no se­ri­ous red flags will even­tu­ally cre­ate a prob­lem.

You don’t say how long you two have been to­gether, but you do know that her ease with male friends has a long, un­der­stand­able his­tory through be­ing close with her brother and his friends.

Also, she’s hope­fully by now a fairly good judge of male char­ac­ter and may even be try­ing to set up her girl­friends through her ca­sual in­vi­ta­tions ad­ding new sin­gle men to the club scene.

Mean­while, trust your girl­friend. For some­one as out­go­ing as she is, your act­ing sus­pi­cious could be felt as a very hurt­ful in­sult.

Be­sides, noth­ing you’ve de­scribed seems wor­ri­some … un­less, you’re al­ready feel­ing in­se­cure about the re­la­tion­ship for other rea­sons.

Look to the con­nec­tion be­tween you two: do you share per­sonal in­for­ma­tion eas­ily, make con­tact dur­ing the work­days, take time for just be­ing a cou­ple and for in­ti­macy?

Have you dis­cussed a fu­ture to­gether, even if you’re not ready to move for­ward right now?

Fo­cus more on what’s good be­tween you two not on un­sub­stan­ti­ated fears.

Q: What about the “other side?” While I gen­er­ally en­joy your re­sponses, which seem log­i­cal based on the in­for­ma­tion pro­vided, you of­fer ad­vice based on one side of the story only.

I’m sure you’re aware that there are two sides to every story and then there’s the truth, which usu­ally lies some­where be­tween.

As I read some of the ques­tions, I’m al­ways won­der­ing what the other side of the story is and how dif­fer­ent your re­sponse might be if you knew both sides.

Or, do you be­lieve that the one who wrote for ad­vice is telling you the whole story?

Cu­ri­ous Reader

A: Good ques­tion!

The naked truth is that we can never ex­pect to fully know the other side from ad­vice-seek­ers who re­main anony­mous when re­veal­ing their is­sues.

There’s no way pro­vided to ask ques­tions of “oth­ers.”

How­ever, some de­tails give pretty good clues. And ex­pe­ri­ence as a re­la­tion­ship ad­viser does lead to some log­i­cal and likely as­sump­tions.

Also, it isn’t al­ways nec­es­sary to know if a hurt, un­happy per­son has been treated as badly as they say so much as un­der­stand that’s the way it’s be­ing per­ceived and af­fect­ing the writer.

Me­dia-based re­la­tion­ship col­umns of­fer eas­ily-ac­ces­si­ble re­la­tion­ship ad­vice that hope­fully help and en­cour­age writ­ers to help them­selves.

There’s lit­tle ad­van­tage to ly­ing about the facts since the re­sponses wouldn’t then ap­ply.

I find that while there may be some se­ri­ous ex­ag­ger­a­tions in a ques­tion, they’re easy to spot.

El­lie’s tip of the day:

When you view your re­la­tion­ship part­ner with sus­pi­cion, make sure it’s not due to your own in­se­cu­rity.

El­lie Tesher is an ad­vice colum­nist for the Star and based in Toronto. Send your re­la­tion­ship ques­tions via email: el­[email protected]­

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