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ASK ELLIE: Don’t focus on unsubstantiated fears

Friends.
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Q - My girlfriend is still friends with a lot of guys from high-school because she used to hang out with her one-year-older 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 he/she says, 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.


FEEDBACK Regarding the girl being bullied at school (November 4):

Reader — "Going to the school authorities does NOTHING!! The kid being bullied needs to take it in their own hands ... slug the bully and it WILL end.

"My son was bullied, did just that. Yes, he got in trouble, I was called to the school — bottom line, it ended.

"It may not be "politically correct" but it works. People (even kids) need to take matters into their own hands and not rely on authorities whose hands are tied and can do nothing." 

Ellie - With bullying incidents increasing in schools and horrific incidents of violence (e.g. a 14-year-old boy stabbed by a student on the school playground while at his mother's side), the risk of escalating the bullying is too great to rely on a child's punch.

Parents must rally and demand that school authorities ban bullying through serious penalties. 


Ellie's tip of the day

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


More ASK ELLIE

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My husband loves his business partner. Should I divorce him?

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