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My Girlfriend Has A Close Male Friend--Should I Be Upset?

Should I be upset if my girlfriend has a close male friend?

Question from Brandon R.:

I'm not a jealous person, but I sometimes wonder if my girlfriend is too close to one of her male friends. She has known him for almost 9 years and they seem to get along great. She tells me funny things he said, or mentions things going on in his life. It seems she thinks the world of him and I sometimes wonder if she speaks equally highly of me when I'm not there.

I am in the military, and at first, I thought she was spending more time chatting with him because I wasn't around. But the longest time I've been away was 6 months. Other than that, I am there with her. When she mentions him, it's never anything sexual or disrespectful, and it only happens occasionally.

My heart tells me that it's probably innocent. But maybe my ego is getting bruised a little? Should I be worried?

-- Brandon R.

The Brothas Response:

Hi Brandon,

First of all, we thank you for your dedication and service to our country.

Having outside friendships can be healthy for a relationship. This doesn't mean each person should go out and find friends of the opposite sex. But established friendships (ones that existed before you came together) can be meaningful. Those friends can help us stay balanced, challenge our thinking, support our ideas, and enhance our well-being.

When dating, most women you meet will have one or two male friends with whom they can talk about anything. This usually subsides when they start a long-term relationship, but may not disappear entirely. Keep in mind that no one person can meet every need of their partner. It would be unfair to assume that a single individual could meet all of our needs, and it's downright narcissistic to believe that we could satisfy all of their needs.

Your girlfriend may have a certain platonic connection with her male friends based solely on humor, commonalities, hobbies, culture, or history. This doesn't mean you're less important as a relationship partner--it just means she has varied interests or needs you can't meet. We all have those.

There are times, however, where these platonic friendships can become hazardous. For example, if your girl thinks about him a lot, or invests a lot of emotional energy in him, it could be a problem. Does she depend on him more than she depends on you? Will she go out of her way to support him? How well do you know the guy? Does she hide him from you? Answers to these questions can be crucial in determining whether she's simply enjoying her friendships, or something more.

It really comes down to communicating with your partner. If you trust your girl, talk to her about it. If your trust is beginning to waver, talk to her about it. Did we mention that you should talk with her about it?


The Brothas

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