When Friendship Goes Too Far

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When Friendship Goes Too Far

If you have reason to believe that your partner is overly invested in a "friend" -- whether it's a full-blown physical relationship, an "emotional affair" or an unacknowledged attraction -- it's time to have a conversation.
Even though this is difficult material, try to choose a time when you're calm and rational. Point out what you've observed. Maybe he dresses up for his friend but not for you. Maybe you found a steamy e-mail she sent. Whatever your "evidence," state it calmly and rationally, and ask your partner to tell the truth.

Don't start with "How could you lie to me?" or "What has she got that I haven't got?" or that old favorite "After all I've done for you..." Ask your partner to be honest in talking with you about YOUR relationship problems, and describe your feelings -- "I'm angry," "I'm frustrated" -- rather than acting them out. Be aware that feelings of jealousy can be expressions of your own anxieties rather than reflecting anything that's really going on.

If you're having trouble expressing yourself and being heard, a competent couples therapist may be able to help you and your partner through your relationship problems.



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Patricia Walters-Fischer