Nice work you got going here. Keep it up. I have a serious issue on my mind about a lady I am dating. I'm currently on the 6th month of NYSC in Taraba state. Because of the distance and insurgency in the area, I have not traveled to see her but we talk everyday on the phone. She is cool and possesses qualities every man desires. I love this lady and she says the same about me. I know in times like this, trust & communication matters a lot that's why she tells me whatever she is doing. Whenever she travels to Lagos, there this male friend she visits. I don't know if am being overprotective but I don't feel comfortable with her going to see a guy at his place and staying there till 7 pm.
Whenever she tells me on the phone that she is going to see a male friend, I would jokingly ask her why she is going to see a guy, she would always say, "there is nothing there, he is just my friend." My girlfriend is 22 years old and in her final year in the university. She is still young and inexperienced when it comes to relationship matters. I am not really comfortable with the fact that she's going to see another guy because actions like this breed temptation especially as I am not around. From my experience, guys these days are mostly after something serious.
Secondly, is it proper for her to give out her phone number to any guy that approaches her; on the street, church etc. It has happened several times in my absence. I challenged her about it. Her reply was that it doesn't matter and that they asked, that's why she gave. I cautioned her. She later apologized & said she will stop. My fear here is that these issues mean a lot to me. If she doesn't realize the sensitivity of this matter now, then even in marriage she will continue this way in my absence but she may then start hiding it from me. Please despite the freedom to make new friends, are these things ok for me to just watch by happen?? It bothers me a lot.
Thank you for writing Dear NwaVic at email@example.com. Thank you also for your kind words! Assuming you have conveyed in whole the way you're handling this matter, I'd first commend you for your patience. It speaks a lot about you.
Your letter screams, "Boundaries! Boundaries! Boundaries!" Boundaries are imperative for any healthy relationship. It means teaching others how to treat you by what you allow, what you reinforce and what you stop. Long distance relationships are very tough already. Having been in one myself, like you said, without trust and communication, the relationship is as good as dead. Honest and open communication breed trust. More so, in a successful relationship, two people have to be on the same page as to what "commitment" means. Commitment might mean one thing to you and another to her. That's where the communication and boundaries come into play. Without first ensuring that you both agree on what your boundaries are, there would be no trust. Without trust, there will be no security. It's the security and peace of mind that will help bridge the miles that physically separate you.
Trust is also security in knowing that your partner would not do anything that makes you uncomfortable. This is why the first step is to be open and honest about your feelings. You say you mentioned it jokingly. Now, you need to say it seriously. But thread carefully, the way you say it will make the difference between whether you are just an insecure jealous boyfriend or whether you are a man who cares about his lady. For one, this conversation is one that needs to be had in person. Lead with a comment that shows that you understand this is a sensitive issue. Then be open and direct about how you feel. Try to get her to put herself in your shoes. Then, suggest that you two come up with rules for your relationship. You cannot ban her from hanging out with all her male friends but you can come to mutually agreeable boundaries. For e.g. I know couples who don't hang out with friends of the opposite sex one-on-one, only in groups with other friends. I also have friends who don't talk to male friends after a certain time out of respect for their relationships. It is quite possible that their relationship is platonic. However, like you said, excess time spent together can breed temptation. We are human beings, after all.
When you talk with her, you need to address her giving out her number to other guys. This is a tough one. On one hand, there's the school of thought that until you marry her, she cannot be 100% yours. Many ladies who have been hurt will tell you they regret the number of opportunities they forfeited. On the other hand, like I said earlier, if she is committing to being in a serious relationship with you, then you both need to follow a mutual "commitment" rule book. Apparently, "commitment" to you does not mean giving out your phone numbers to the opposite sex, but it might to her.
The conversation could go something like this, "Honey, I think its really great that you have such a good friend in "Michael". However, I care about you and I am fully committed to making this relationship work. I want us to be on the same page so we can strengthen this relationship. The frequency and length of your visits with "Michael" makes me very uncomfortable. I hope you can put myself in my position and see how I feel. How would you feel if you found out I was visiting my female friend here and staying with her till sunset? I know you could have easily not told me about your visits and I appreciate your honesty. However, I think we should set boundaries in our relationship so that we can respect each other's feelings. Can you agree to only visit him in public places? Maybe you can have lunch in a restaurant and catch up. You can be friends with him without visiting his house alone. This rule also applies to me.............................."
Side note: How long has she known this guy? Is this her childhood friend? If this is a guy she has known for 5 years or more, and you can verify they have been friends that long, then the probability that the friendship is platonic is higher. Additionally, I cannot ignore the elephant in the room. How old are you? If she is 22 years old, you also need to consider that she may not be as ready to settle down and "commit" as you are. She may just want to "date" and "play". Considering these may help you put things in better perspective.
All the same, everyone deserves a partner who is sensitive to what bothers them. You deserve someone who not only respects you as their partner, but respects your feelings, fears and limits. A person who truly loves and cares about you, will also care about the impact their actions have on you. Once you communicate how you feel in the best way you know how, pay attention to how she responds. If she gets very defensive and fails to see reason, you have your answer. But if she is willing to be sensitive to how you feel, then it's worth giving her a chance to see how she handles it. More so, even she makes the promise to keep the boundaries, see if there are any changes to her actions moving forward. If nothing changes, then don't second guess your mind when it tells you that you need a lady who respects boundaries and with whom, you trust enough to not have your heart doing jumping jacks whenever she says she's going to visit "a friend". As we both know, whatever issues exist when you are dating stage are magnified in marriage.
Feel free to keep me updated on how it goes :-)
Best of Luck!
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