My partner of two years and I have enjoyed a great relationship since we first fell in love. We waited a few years before moving in together because we’ve both been divorced and we each wanted to be sure that we were with the right person this time.
We work in different fields - he in a major laboratory with a small isolated team, me in a large business office with many colleagues, and many friendships among us.
We’re both in our early 40s, are very responsible, both strong-minded and independent-thinking (he more so than me).
So, it surprised me when I mentioned the lunch that I’d had with a male colleague before Covid restrictions increased. He said, “Again?” I brushed it off, saying that the man is just a work friend, like many others.
His answer, “Men are always on the make. You had lunch with him not that long ago. You may be giving him the wrong idea.”
I was shocked at his old-school reaction, given that we both had dated others during our separations, and previous to our living together.
My ex-husband was very old-school that way so I was worried that I’d landed back with another controller-type, and it was now being revealed. I got agitated about it and spent a lot of time privately worrying.
Am I repeating a pattern in my relationships? I feel like I’m silently distancing from him a little because of this meaningless lunch! What should I do?
Help! Another Controller?
First, reflect on how your partner’s treated you while dating and then living together. Untrusting? Questioning where you go and with whom? Or not.
Also, consider your chats/contacts during the day when you’re apart: Does he always ask what you’re doing, and with whom?
Reflect, too, on your home life together: Is he warm, loving, and intimate? Or does he question you about whomever you’re texting?
If no red flags stand out in your memory, suggest that you take a gentle walk outside together as soon as possible. Say that you love and trust him and believe he feels the same about you.
Add that since he knows your past history with your ex - he should know, if you haven’t talked about it before - his comment about lunch with your colleague has upset you.
Hopefully, he’ll understand. If so, he deserves this consideration: Even if he sounded somewhat of a neanderthal to the smart, independent woman you are, he was uneasy about your possibly being impressed or flattered by the guy.
It’s time to reassure each other with the “great relationship” you both know how to have, through respect and trust.
I’ve been friends with a married man for 10 years. I’m 44, single and working. He’s 54, very successful in a related business. We met periodically for drinks and got along well. No sex, just good talks and a lot of laughs.
He’s suddenly told me he’s divorcing and I’m “the one” for him! He said he’ll support me so I don’t have to work and we can travel together, He wants me with him.
How do I say “No,” without ending the friendship completely?
Say “No thanks,” but say it nicely. Tell him he’s feeling more uncertain about his future than he claims, and that’s natural.
But his changing lifestyles and partners so immediately would surely cause mutual regrets, since this hasn’t happened naturally over time.
Wish him well, as a caring friend.
Dear Readers - My relationship column puts me in touch with countless personal stories... and readers’ current moods.
Some air their frustrations and anger, mostly around the pandemic. Others, through annoyances aimed at me.
Some dislike the column’s headline that day. Fortunately, I don’t write the headlines.
But a woman critically dismisses “Ellie’s tip of the day” which I do write, ending each column with a brief summary response to the leading question.
She dismisses my 20-25 words as “a waste.”
So, immense thanks for lifting my own Covid-angst, to the man who recently reminded me that he’d appeared on the former TV-show “Outlaw-In-laws” on which I gave in-law relationship advice for over three years.
He wrote: “I was recently married then, having a tough time with my mom not getting along with my new family.
“You gave me some of your wisdom which was instrumental in improving our relationship... we all learned to co-exist and maintain a healthy family relationship!”
Tip of the day:
Define your relationship by the hallmarks of its constancy not by an occasional blip.