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Parallax - Advice

January 13, 2003

Fishy Stories

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One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. With all the fish in the sea, why do so many people hook up with Ms. or Mr. Wrong? What attracts people to relationships where they compromise themselves in order to satisfy another person's insecurities? Why make concessions and apologies for one bad fish when there's an entire ocean to choose from? Fish or cut bait? Our gurus of guidance examine this week's catches.


Long-distance.
Short fuse.
 Date: 01/13/03

Terms of endearment?
Not these terms.
 Date: 01/13/03

Bed buddies?
Time to change the sheets.
 Date: 01/13/03

More from last week...
Bar

Long-distance

Dear Conversely,

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My girlfriend and I have a long-distance relationship and things seem to be going well. I love her so much and I feel that we'll be married one day. However, the other day we had an argument because I went to a bar with some friends—she was really uncomfortable with the idea of me going out. I could understand her feelings if I were going with women, but this was a guy thing (except for one guy who brought his girlfriend.) I reacted as if she didn't trust me (as if I was going to hook up with someone that night.) She assured me that wasn't it at all—it was just the fact that she wasn't going to be there. How should I react? What was she trying to say?


Her view:

Dear Barboy,

She is telling you she would like to be included in your activities and she does not care for the lack of invite. So buddy, you need to decide if you are comfortable with including her in everything that you do. It sounds like you love her and one day she'll be included in everything anyway, so why not front-load.

If you want some boy-time, tell her ahead of time that you're playing poker with the boys (or what have you) and that if she wants, she can come, but it will be all boys and a little awkward.

My guess is—if she bites—it will be the last time she takes you up on that offer.

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His view:

Dear Barboy,

If this is happening early on in the relationship, then she probably just has to get accustomed to the idea of long-distance dating. She's concerned about how you will behave without her, and is uncomfortable about the buffer that distance imposes between herself and any symptoms of potential bad behavior.

This doesn't necessarily indict her as the jealous girlfriend; it is only evidence of a long-distance newbie. If you love her as much as you claim, then you should be willing to restrain your outings for some time, at least until she gains confidence in the relationship and becomes more attuned to the idea of your life needing to take place even when she's not around.

Notice I say 'some time.' Don't wait a year to see if she gets over her fears—a couple of months, at most. If she's still harping about bar outings at that time, you've got other, bigger problems.

Likewise, if these complaints are surfacing farther along in the relationship, then it's a sign of irrational distrust and jealousy (assuming she has no basis for suspicion) that might put a damper on your marriage dreams.

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