A while back, my boyfriend was getting together regularly with another girl to play music. I got a bit jealous and asked him not to see her anymore. With some resistance, he did stop. Recently I met someone in my grad program who is male and asked me to have lunch with him. I feel like if I did that I would be a hypocrite, and yet I think it would be fun to have lunch with this guy. I told my boyfriend about the situation, and he said, "Go for it. You are a free woman." Why does it make me feel bad ... or like it would be giving him a free pass to do the same? He seems not to care what I do and with whom. He always just says, "I trust you." But I end up feeling like he doesn't care. Am I being a controlling bitch?
Dear Control Freak,
How do I put this? You're kind of acting like a jerk.
Listen, everyone gets jealous sometimes. Maybe the new girl at your boyfriend's office is super cute, or your guy smiles a little too long at the bartender at your local pub. But unless he's straight-up flirting, you need to chill.
It's completely unfair to restrict your boyfriend from jamming with another woman if you make a lunch date with another guy. It is hypocritical for you to tell him he can't and you can. Why do you get to make new friends and connections when he doesn't? I'd understand your apprehension if he'd cheated on you in the past — but it sounds like he's got a clean record. So what's up?
If you're truly this concerned about what might happen when your boyfriend is alone with another woman, I'm concerned for your relationship. So what if he and this musician have something in common? You and this grad student may connect on levels that you and your boyfriend don't, and that's OK. You can't expect your partner to tick off every single box for you — and vice versa. Those expectations are too big, lady.
I believe men and women can be friends. I really do. Even men and women who are in romantic relationships with someone else. I think it's healthy and mature. Want to know a sign of a successful relationship? It's one in which both partners have the freedom to live their lives like they always have. The difference is that now they have someone to come home to and share their adventures with.
I don't think there is any hidden meaning or psychological game in him telling you to go out for lunch. What he's saying is that he trusts you. Now you need to learn to trust him.