"He needs to approve anyone I talk to," woman on boyfriend

Amy Christie

The way your relationship partner handles seeing other people around you can sometimes lead to questions, doubts, or even losing trust. Is it ok for them to expect you to forget about some friends just because they're not feeling comfortable knowing you're chatting with them or getting compliments?

Would you consider ending some connections and only keeping those that make your partner happy, or do you think trusting you and your friends is part of what makes a relationship work in the first place?

My friend Alicia has been dating Paul, her boyfriend, for ten months. They'd been seeing each other casually for a few years before starting a relationship since they had the same group of friends, but they didn't date until a year ago.

"Somehow, it wasn't ever the right time to think about that. He usually had a girlfriend, or I was getting to know someone else. We supported each other, and we talked or texted often, but it wasn't anything more than that," Alicia said to me.

A year ago, they were both single at the same time, so they felt like it would be fine to see where things could go.

"We didn't plan it or anything, and we wanted to go on a few dates just to figure out how we felt about it. It was only after six or seven meetings that we agreed to commit to each other and be in a relationship," Alicia said.

They felt better after seeing how well the first dates went, and as time went by, they got confident about making each other happy. Their friends had been expecting it for a good while, so when they finally told everyone they were together, they had a surprise party and presents.

"They didn't get us expensive things; it was more about celebrating that we'd finally found each other. It did take a while, but we were both so excited, and it felt like this relationship would last," Alicia said.

They kept going out for dinner, shopping together, or watching movies. And the more they found out about each other, the better they felt about the future.

"He wanted to have a family and to get married. And I felt the same, of course, after getting a better job and having a higher salary. I was sure we could encourage each other and keep doing what we liked," Alicia said.

Six months after she agreed to be his girlfriend, Paul asked Alicia to move into his apartment.

She hesitated at first because it was a change, and she wasn't sure if it was too soon for it, but then she agreed since she missed him and wanted to see what it would be like to be together all the time.

"We dated almost every day at that point, but it still wasn't like living in the same place. I thought this was a good time to try and find out how we dealt with chores, wake-up times, habits, and other things. And there was no way to find out unless we took this step in our relationship," Alicia said.

While they didn't need more than two weeks to get used to sharing chores and light cooking on some evenings, Alicia and Paul did have an issue they disagreed about. Paul noticed his girlfriend was texting several friends in the evening and when she got up early before leaving for work. Most of them were men, but he knew them since they were part of their group of friends. Even so, he didn't think it was ok and asked Alicia to avoid texting them from now on and just talk to them when they happened to go to a party and meet them there.

Alicia didn't want to upset him, so she stopped messaging for a while, but then she realized she missed her friends. And she always let Paul see those texts and didn't send any after he was asleep.

So she's considering if she should just talk to everyone again and try to help Paul understand there's nothing wrong with any of her friends and that she cares about him.

"He made me give up talking to other men; we were just friends. And I feel like he needs to approve anyone I talk to. Usually, if it's a man, he will just say no, but I'm not sending or saying anything unusual. They're just checking in and wishing me a good day and giving me some random compliments. There's nothing that could affect our relationship or the trust we have," Alicia said.

She's talked about it with Paul, but he refuses to say it's fine. More than that, he warned her that if she kept talking to any of their friends who were men, he would lose trust and might want to let their relationship go.

What do you think about this situation? Is it fair for Paul to ask his girlfriend to avoid texting any of the men she knows to prevent any misunderstandings? Should Alicia talk to anyone she wants and let Paul show her he values her and their relationship by not trying to tell her what to do?

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Narcissism survivor striving to bring meaning and positivity in my support community.

Dallas, TX

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