Being Respectful to my Girlfriend

Visitor's Question from a 41-50 year old Male
At 42 I finally found the person that I can't imagine life without. There is no doubt in my mind that she is "the one" for me. The trouble is that, other than my girlfriend, my best friend is someone I had a relationship with, although there is nothing of that left in either of us - but we have a unusual level of understanding between us. My girlfriend is aware of the past and has not only been tolerant of her, but extended her friendship and accepted her as her friend too.

However, on more than one occassion, although I wasn't aware of what I was doing at the time, I have made comments or said or acted in a manner that shows less respect to my girlfriend than my friend. Naturally, this has caused tremendous stress on our relationship, even to the point where it almost ended.

While I think that now I have learnt a lesson - do you have any advice that can help me not to be so insensative in the future and show my girlfriend that she is indeed the most important person to me. She deserves it. Advice
It's really insightful for you to be so aware of the issue and to try to find ways to handle this balance between your best friend and your girlfriend!

I think that your girlfriend needs to realize just what a bond you have with your friend. Yes, your friend is female. Friends come in all genders and shapes and colors and sizes. Best friends are critically important and have been built up over years and years. The trust and connection is one that has stood the test of time.

No matter how much you love your girlfriend ... it's a bit presumptuous for her to assume that she could just vault above that level in a short period of time. It would almost call you shallow to say that that could happen - and wouldn't she worry that if you fell in and out of love so quickly, that you could shift your affections to another just as easily? The loves that last are the ones who are slow, steady and strong - not the ones that are flashes of lightning.

So yes, she should feel respected. But if you've been with your friend for a long time, you have a natural relationship built up and it will take TIME for your girlfriend to evolve in that same way. You do love her. You respect her and care for her. But built in responses, emotional responses, can't be forced or controlled. That's why they are so valuable. They come from what you have learned over time with a person. If she sees how strong your relationship is with your friend and is jealous - she should actually be very proud. Because if you are capable of such strong bonds, then the bond SHE will have with you after a good period of time will be an amazing one that she will treasure forever. She has to give the relationship time to evolve to that point, though.

-- from Jenn
One of Your Friendly Advisors at

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