Question: My partner of two years and I have had a good relationship since we first fell in love. We waited a few years before we moved in together because we both got divorced and we each wanted to make sure we were with the right person this time.
We work in different areas – he in a large laboratory with a small isolated team, me in a large business office with many colleagues and many friendships among us.
We are both in our early 40s, are very responsible, both strong minded and independent thinking (he more than me).
So it surprised me when I mentioned the lunch I had with a male colleague before the COVID restrictions increased. He said, “Again?” I brushed it off and said the man is just a work friend, like many others.
His response: “Men are always on the go. You had lunch with him not so long ago. You might be giving him the wrong idea.”
I was shocked at his old-school reaction when we both had dated others during our separations and before we lived together.
My ex-husband was very old-fashioned that way, so I was worried that I had landed back with a different controller type, and it was now revealed. I got excited about it and spent a lot of time worrying privately.
Am I repeating a pattern in my relationships? I feel like I’m quietly distancing myself from him a bit because of this pointless lunch! What should I do?
ONE: First think about how your partner treated you while you were dating and then living together. Not confident? Questions about where you are going and with whom? Or not.
Also consider your chats / contacts during the day when you are apart: Does he always ask what you do and with whom?
Also reflect on your home life together: Is he warm, loving and intimate? Or does he just not pay attention when you tell him something to do?
If no red flags stand out in your memory, suggest that you take a gentle walk outside together as soon as possible. Say you love and trust him and think he feels the same about you.
Add that since he knows your past history with your ex – he should know that if you’ve not talked about it before – his comment about lunch with your colleague has upset you.
Hopefully he will understand. If so, he deserves this consideration: Although he sounded something of a Neanderthal to the smart, independent woman you are, he was uneasy that you might have been impressed or flattered by the guy.
It’s time to reassure each other with the “good relationship” that you both know how to have, through respect and trust.
Q: I’ve been friends with a married man for 10 years. I am 44, single and working. He is 54, very successful in a related business. We met regularly for drinks and got on well. No sex, just good talk and a lot of laughter.
He has suddenly told me he needs to get divorced and I am “the one” for him! He said he will support me so I do not have to work and we can travel together. He wants me with him.
How do I say “No” without ending the friendship completely?
ONE: Say “No thank you”, but say it nicely. Tell him he feels more uncertain about his future than he claims, and that’s natural.
But his changing lifestyle and partners so instantly would certainly cause mutual regret as this has not happened naturally over time.
Wish him all the best, as a caring friend.
Ellie’s tip of the day
Define your relationship based on the characteristics of its durability not by an occasional blip.
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