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He's Physical with Another Girl

Visitor's Question from a 16-20 year old Female
Hi, I am in a serious relationship with my boyfriend. We both have a friend, that is a girl, and they play around like little kids. Pinching, slapping etc. I got mad at my friend, and she says it is nothing and so I believed her after we talked about it.

I've talked to my boyfriend and he says that it is nothing.

It bothers me because I think it is inappropriate for this serious relationship. I have asked him if our relationship is serious and he said yes. My boyfriend explains that our friend is just like his sister, and that they just play around. I feel that he doesn't really know the boundaries that exist in a serious relationship. Sometimes I feel that he talks a little to much of her and pays a little too much attention to her.

What should I do? Can you please help me? Am I over reacting?

RomanceClass.com Advice
Every human being on the planet has a different set of boundaries. There is no one universal boundary that every couple has to follow. So yes it's fine if you have a boundary where you feel uncomfortable with him tickling and playing with another female. But it's important for you to realize that this is not a universal boundary or a set world-wide definition of what a serious relationship entails. There are people out there who feel they are in a life-long serious relationship and who are fine with their partners kissing other people. We all have different lines we draw.

So in the end what matters is what you and your partner agree are YOUR rules for your relationship. And that always involves compromise, since no two people are ever identical. You have what you feel should be the rules. He has what he feels should be the rules. Clearly they are not the same thing :) So you have to sit down and talk it out.

He says he thinks it should be fine for him to physically play with another female. You say you feel uncomfortable and upset at the sight of him physically playing with another female. So now it comes down to whether he puts a higher priority on your feelings or on his desire to play with another female.

That is, we all have things that upset us. And in a partnership, we generally strive not to do things that upset the other person. If my boyfriend really hated the smell of garlic, then even if I liked garlic, I wouldn't cook it in the house. I wouldn't try to argue with him that garlic smelled nice. It's his brain, I have to accept that his brain is a certain way. If I love him, then I make compromises. Garlic is a minor thing in life; his love is a major thing.

So I would be gentle but firm that this is something that continually upsets you and causes you stress. That it's fine for him to be friends with the other girl, but that you would appreciate him not doing things which actively make you feel upset. Hopefully his desire to make the relationship work is greater than his desire to play-fight with this girl.

-- from Lisa
One of Your Friendly Advisors at RomanceClass.com

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