Men and Women - More Conundrums

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Michael Martin, Jan 20, 2005.

  1. Michael Martin

    Michael Martin Screenwriter

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    I thought I'd pick the collective HTF brain about matters bouncing around inside my cranium.

    In different threads, the topic of men and women spending time alone (together) has come up; for example, some posters have said they have no qualms with their spouses/SO's having lunch or going to movies, etc., with members of the opposite sex. Some have said they absolutely have difficulty with it.

    I can see both sides. Trust is a big issue - do you trust your SO enough to know their motives are platonic, that they won't do anything that will compromise the relationship? On the other hand, I can understand having difficulty with it. Human nature is at work here - no one is perfect, and having your SO spend copious amounts of time with the opposite sex could be a source of insecurity and worry.

    If we can all agree that one thing that should be exclusive to a serious, committed relationship is physical intimacy, my question is, what else (if anything) should be? Where you do draw the lines, and for what reasons? If you're a man, are you OK with other guys buying your SO gifts? Spending one on one time with her? Confiding in her? Women, are you OK with your man spending solo time with another woman?

    Something more: at what point does the time spent or actions taken cross the line? Let's take example couple Jane and Joe. Joe has a friend - known her before he met Jane - that is interested in more than friendship, though Joe has been clear (with words) that he's not. This woman - we'll call her Lisa - knows that Joe is in a serious relationship with Jane. Lisa continues to ask Joe to lunch, compliment his looks, and confide in him. Is this OK? Doe Joe owe Jane an explanation? Should Joe make it clear to Lisa that what he knows, Jane knows (i.e., he's going to tell Jane everything about the conversation and the time together)?

    Besides physical affection and inner feelings, how do you show or express that your relationship with your SO is "different" from others?

    This may seem like a silly question, but I'm at a point where I am trying to seriously examine a lot of things I've assumed or taken for granted in romantic relationships.
     
  2. Elinor

    Elinor Supporting Actor

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    >"Women, are you OK with your man spending solo time with another woman?"

    My ex (hmmm, can you see how this is going to go?) had my complete and unreserved trust. I didn't mind if he had lunch with female coworkers, spent time with his ex-fiancee, whatever.

    One day I discovered he had gone on a weekend trip with the ex-fiancee. He claimed it was innocent.

    It smashed the trust in the relationship forever. We stayed together a few years, but in the end that was what killed it.

    I discovered later too, that these women with whom the Ex had lunch, were very interested in pursuing a "thing" with him. He claimed to reject the advances consistently. I think he was getting some middle-age emotional/sexual kick out of being "wanted." Still, not a trust-builder.

    I knew he was a habitual liar ... but it seemed it was always small things. Prehaps that was the clue I missed or overlooked.

    Would I ever trust someone so much again? I think so. But not if there were the slightest hint of dishonesty.

    And I have told subsequent partners about what happened, with the warning: If you ever do that to me I'll kill you.

    Seems to work.
     
  3. Michael Martin

    Michael Martin Screenwriter

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    Other than blatant lying, what would constitute dishonesty for you? Would you want/expect/need "full disclosure" regarding topics of conversation? Would you feel OK with the SO saying "I was told that in confidence, I can't tell you"?

    My sympathies for the hurt your ex caused, Elinor. I can understand trust being a very difficult thing to be given or accepted.
     
  4. Elinor

    Elinor Supporting Actor

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    No, I don't think I would need a full disclosure of topics. My way has always been to throw off a general question like "So what's up with SusieQ?" ... something like that, and listen carefully to the response. An "Oh nothing really" would really be a bit suspicious. More detail would hint to me that he wouldn't have anything to hide. Now, this all sounds a wee bit dysfunctional ... so I'd tend to wait for a few "oh nothings" then do a mini-confrontation, like "You know, you always say 'oh nothing' and hell, it's really hard to believe you talked about nothing for an hour ... you wouldn't want to ease my neurotic suspicions by being a little more forthcoming, would you?"

    So it's not that I want/demand/ask disclosure ... but my trust is going to pivot on how much I get. This is likely a by-product of the trust violation incident ... but I'm not talking about stringing the person up for not being detailed about descriptions ... just that it would put me on heightened alert. And rather than let that go on and on and erode things, I'd have to intervene after a while.

    As to what would constitute dishonesty, even off-related subjects would make me uneasy. "I bought that shirt years ago" when I had seen a receipt lying there last week ... even that kind of thing. A tendency to be dishonest, I have truly come to believe, will not confine itself to the small stuff. If someone lies about shirts, they will lie about anything ... even relationship-killing matters.

    About the "I was told that in confidence" issue ... that's a sticky one. If it's a less permanent relationship (not living together), that's cool. If we are supposed to be life partners/spouses ... unless the person is a doctor/lawyer/clergy and has a moral obligation to keep a confidence ... that would tell me my partner doesn't trust me. I think we'd need to discuss that one seriously.
     
  5. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    My advice goes for both men and women. If the SO wants to spend time with the opposite sex, trust them to do it. After 2 or 3 times with them out "alone", ask to be included. Pick your time carefully, take a day off, cancel some plans, do what you have to do to be available and gently insist on going along, with no accusations or jealosy. If the SO says "No", your relationship is in the dirt. Take it from one who knows, no person wants to be at a function with 2 people they are considering (or have) relationships with. Period, end of sentence.
     
  6. Moe Maishlish

    Moe Maishlish Supporting Actor

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    I can't say that I agree with that statement. I don't think your job or profession is an issue here, as much is your moral dedication & stability.

    If you put your trust in someone, you want to know that they are trustworthy... how trustworthy then, would that person be, if they were to violate the OTHER person's trust because you feel the need for full disclosure?

    For example; if I was with someone who disclosed to me their deepest darkest secrets (or just something they considered private) and fully expected me to keep it to myself, how would it sound if I went and told my wife about it because "hell, she's my wife, we share EVERYTHING! Otherwise, she can't trust me!". How trustworthy would I appear in her eyes (or they eyes of the my friend) by violating that other person's trust? Sometimes things are said in confidence and meant to be kept between two parties.

    I would trust me SO first before allowing her to become my SO. For me, that trust is earned over the long run with experiences & dedication to one another. If the shoe were on the other foot, and my SO couldn't tell me about what had been said over her lunch-date, then I would respect & admire her for her moral fortitude.

    Of course, like you said, any indication of dishonesty will quickly erode that foundation of trust, after which the entire trust-structure will crumble to pieces.

    Oh the complexities of human behaviour. I think I'll just stay single. [​IMG]

    Moe.
     
  7. Joe Szott

    Joe Szott Screenwriter

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    Way to build trust and love in a new relationship [​IMG]
     
  8. Leila Dougan

    Leila Dougan Screenwriter

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    I have complete faith and trust that my husband will be true to me. I do not mind when spends time with or talks to other women.

    However, I will say that perhaps the reason I feel this way is because there are no ex's in the picture. I think that would change things a bit. Unless I knew the ex really well and we were all friends, I wouldn't like him spending time along with her. Email/chat and casual contact would probably be okay as long as I felt he was being open about what was being discuessed and what went on. But luckily no ex's are around so I don't have to deal with this issue.

    I would feel uncomfortable and would probably have a problem if these women were constantly hitting on him. Even if he was turning down their advances, it just sounds like a really bad situation. But my husband does not talk to women like this (I think he'd be more annoyed with it than I would be, honestly), so for me, again, the issue is moot.

    And lastly, there is an understanding that whatever is told to him, will be told to me (there are a few rare exceptions, though). Now, of course, I maintain the confidence as well. But he makes it clear that we are a unit and that if the person can trust him, they can trust me. Now, it's not like he has tons of friends who constantly tell him private things but for the times it has come up, this plan has worked well. And in the end, if it's important enough, he'll tell me anyway. It's just that whole "I stand by my wife before any other woman" thing. It wasn't any sort of law or rule I layed down, it is something he chooses to do himself.
     
  9. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

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    I am typing this from the basement in which I have been confined by my girlfriend. It's because I called my sister 38 days after I last spoke to her (The Rules said 40 days minimum). I am to stay down here for a week, with just some water and bread - no home theater [​IMG].

    --
    H - Luckily she forgot to take away my internet enabled PDA.
     
  10. Elinor

    Elinor Supporting Actor

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    Hola, do you need us to send some pizza or something?
     
  11. Michael Martin

    Michael Martin Screenwriter

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    Leila, what if a woman was hitting on your husband and he didn't actively discourage it? Say she did nothing hugely overt - but lots of compliments, small gifts here and there, and requests for private lunches or some sort. Would you be ok if your husband simply took a "roll off of him" approach - in that he's not flirting or encouraging the behavior, but that he says he's not interested in controlling her and says he's unwilling or uncomfortable in telling her to tone it down? Assume you have every reason to trust your husband - that he's not playing passive as a way of garnering attention, but that he feels like intervening is not his job.

    One possible action is that YOU could approach her and tell her to knock it off - but then she could just say "If your husband has a problem with it, why doesn't he say so himself?"

    What I'm asking about is where is the line, and what do you about it? What do you do when you have a trustworthy partner but different ideas of where the line is?
     
  12. Elinor

    Elinor Supporting Actor

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    Michael, I know you're asking Leila but I'm going to ring in on this one too.

    I just feel that he really should tell the other lady that he appreciates her friendship but isn't comfortable with her attentions that cross the line (gifts, compliments, etc.). Maybe he IS comfortable ... but if his partner isn't, it shouldn't be that big a deal for him to do it for the partner's peace of mind ... unless he is getting something emotional/whatever out of it. AND ... if the other lady is just hoping to eventually get a strike, it puts her on notice. If she is really "just a friend" she should have NO problem with it.

    Otherwise, circumstances really could get out of control ... some day, even though he has no intent of cheating and would never consider doing it ... maybe he is extremely upset about something ... maybe he has one highball too many ... maybe something else ... she's there waiting like a spider to grab him, he surrenders to an overwhelming impulse ... I know we are all speaking about honorable people who have no bad intentions, but sometimes, you know, good people do bad things. It's one of the things that characterizes humanity.

    Prevention puts you 99% ahead of the game. Playing straight with each other puts you 99.9% ahead.
     
  13. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    WARNING!! DANGER WILL ROBINSON!! Small gifts are over the line. Even when (oops, *IF*, I meant *IF*) I was cheating, I would draw the line on gifts from the other woman. Gifts are a woman/man's way of putting themselves into your homelife. If you accept a gift, you have to explain to your SO where it came from. No matter how good the relationship is, a gift from someone of the opposite sex is going to bring tension. Thus, the giver has injected themselves into the givee's relationship, which is just what the giver wants and cannot be healthy for the original couple. Bail now, while you have the chance.
     
  14. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    Boy, Elinor, I could have used you to argue my case a few times in the past!:b "But, but, but she was a SPIDER, I tell you, a SPIDER, and I was just an innocent, honorable fly!" Yup, that woulda worked.[​IMG]
     
  15. Elinor

    Elinor Supporting Actor

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    Goofball

    [​IMG]
     
  16. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    Pretty much in all of these cases where your SO isn't putting enough effort (as seen by you) into warding off advances by others comes down to whether or not your SO respects the relationship between you and the SO.

    If their collective actions demonstrates that they don't respect the relationship, then that's a loud enough signal to do what you need to do (either live with it/ignore it, deal with it by trying to actively ask for behavior changes, or cut bait).
     
  17. Michael Martin

    Michael Martin Screenwriter

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    So to summarize so far, we seem to have reached the following consensus:

    1. Physical intimacy outside of the relationship is not ok.

    2. Gift giving by members of the opposite sex - especially from parties who have been or are interested in a romantic relationship - is not OK.

    3. Time alone with member of the opposite sex, in moderation, is OK. Excessive time or refusal to invite or make welcome SO is red flag.

    4. Compliments - ignore? discourage?
     
  18. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    A laundry list isn't going to work for everyone. It still comes down to each person in the relationship RESPECTING the relationship. If you have to ask if your SO would object to a particular activity with another person, that should send red flags up the pole right then and there. If you truly don't care how your SO would view the situation, then you are in the "DISRESPECTING the relationship" zone.
     
  19. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    That all depends on what "Joe" wants with "Lisa". If "Joe" is not interested in "Lisa", He can ignore them or discourage. If "Joe" is interested in "Lisa" maybe as a backup if "Jane" bolts or grows horns or something (don't laugh, I've seen it happen. Big red horns coming right out of her forehead. SCARY!), he can say "Thanks, my girfriend 'Jane' thinks so too." (always say her name, it personalizes it). If "Joe" only wants to have a platonic "friendly" relationship with "Lisa", I have only one thing to say (HTF veterans knew it was coming!)

    Harry's Rule Number One - "No man can be friends with a woman he finds attractive".

    And before you say "What about a woman he finds unattractive?", see below:

    Harry's Rule Number Two - "Nope, you pretty much want to nail them too."
     
  20. Mary M S

    Mary M S Screenwriter

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    Joe has a friend - known her before he met Jane - that is interested in more than friendship, though Joe has been clear (with words) that he's not

    Specifics like this are easier (for me) to make any kind of judgement call on. Each situation can have its self-affecting range of issues.

    THIS is playing with FIRE for Joe. The whole continuation of the friendship with Lisa hinges upon Joe not loosing self control for an instant, since Lisa has made it clear in the past that she would have preferred a relationship with Joe deeper than friendship.

    Is JOE that immune to repetitive temptation? Since many humans are not, in our weaker and more venerable, moody moments, this is not SMART.

    The wise JOE removes himself from all risk of screwing his relationship with Jane up! (If he really cares about Jane).



    I have a DEAR friend I still grieve over the loss of opportunity to spend time with. I bowed out when his new girlfriend, eventually wife…WHOM I FOUND FOR HIM, became jealous of our prior relationship. Really really unfair to me.

    I was in no danger of temptation, he was a world older than me, and I admired him as much for what he taught to my husband (to keep him safe while flying) as I did for my personal enjoyment of our time together. I read (verified by my husband) a complete lack of issue between my spouse and me as regards my friendship with my husbands mentor. But….if I had cont. as before, it would have screwed my friend out of a possible wife. ….not at all best for him. I loved him enough to let him go. [​IMG]
     

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