I’m a middle-aged man and never been married. Over the years, through work connections and other areas of my life, I’ve made many female friends. I’ve dated a few of them, but most are simply friends. I’ve been told I flirt with all of them, but there really isn’t any attraction there. Flirting is just my nature.
Last year, I met the woman I consider to be my soul-mate. She says she feels the same way about me. We share the same interests and hobbies. We’re both at the same stage in our lives, though she’s been through one divorce. Everything about our relationship is wonderful except for my girlfriend’s insane jealousy.
She can’t stand the fact that many of my close friends are women. When I tell her there’s no attraction there, she doesn’t believe me. Occasionally, I like to meet up with my old female friends for coffee or dinner (typically always in a group setting with other men present), but my girlfriend gets mad. I’ve tried inviting her, but she refuses to come along. I can’t seem to win. How should I resolve this?
— The Ladies’ Man
Dear Ladies’ Man,
Like you, most of my friends are of the opposite sex. I have a few close girlfriends, but the majority of my pals are guys. Thankfully, my boyfriend doesn’t have a problem with that. If he did, however, I think I’d be reconsidering my relationship. Excuse the bluntness, but there is some wisdom in the old line, “bros before ‘hos.” (in your case, the “bros” are, in fact, women … but you know what I mean).
Jealousy can destroy a relationship quicker than anything. You say this woman is your soul-mate, but she doesn’t trust you not to cheat on her. It’s possible that she’s been burned by cheating men in her past. But holding that against you isn’t fair.
Of course, there is the issue of flirting. Perhaps you should knock that off. Flirting with people you aren’t attracted to is kind of creepy. Your female friends may actually read more into that than you think, and your girlfriend might be picking up on those signals.
Ask your girlfriend why she gets so jealous — specifically. If she blames the way you act around your female friends, perhaps you need to re-think your flirty nature. If your girlfriend is carrying baggage from some past hurt, you may need to find a new soul-mate. Trust is key for a successful relationship.
Got a problem? E-mail Bianca at firstname.lastname@example.org.