Monday

Hi Erica, I'm glad I'm finally visiting your blog. I'm finding hard to understand what being disrespectful in a relationship is. I understand the boundaries that one should have in a relationship and that each individual deserves respect. However, my boyfriend seems to think that I disrespect him and I don't think I do and strongly stand by the fact that I give him the maximum respect. For example, I was talking to an old male friend of mine, having a casual and normal conversation, (although, he used to have an interest in me, which I declined. Now we only talk as friends like we were with no strings attached.) My boyfriend saw that we were talking for about over an hour and got offended saying I disrespected him by talking that long with another male. He goes on and on talking about how he's not stopping me from having male friends but talking to them for that long is disrespectful to him. Even though I tried telling him that it was a casual conversation and nothing more, he says girls can't have male friends because the guys would want something more than just friendship. I don't think I crossed the line or was being disrespectful. What do you think? Was I being disrespectful? Is he right? Thank you in Advance!

Welcome! I’m glad that you are visiting my blog too :). I think that having respect in a relationship is important but not every couple views it the same way. What one couple finds to be disrespectful in one relationship, another couple may find nothing disrespectful about it at all. You and your partner have to decide on the boundaries of disrespect. Now, I think it would be pretty tough to create the boundary if you both have a different idea of what disrespect is, although it is not impossible. So let’s create some common ground with the definition of respect. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, respect is a feeling or understanding that someone or something is important, serious, and should be treated in an appropriate way. So with that being said, I think that we can agree that disrespect means to do the complete opposite of respect. So if we use this definition as our point of reference, your boyfriend feels that you don’t think that his feelings or stance about you communicating with this particular person is important or serious to you. If I had to guess, he feels this way because you continue to talk to this person even though you know your boyfriends stance on the subject. Alright, alright…I can see why he would think that. But on the other hand, it doesn’t sound like your intention is to disrespect your boyfriend, you just want to chat with a friend. Also I notice a contradiction…you said your boyfriend says that he’s not stopping you from having male friends, yet also basically says that men and women can’t be friends because someone may want something more than a friendship. The bottom line is that your boyfriend is uncomfortable with you having male friends. No matter if this friend used to like you or not, it could have been a male friend that you just met. I don’t think he would be comfortable with you talking with any male (outside of family…) for a certain period of time on the phone etc. This doesn’t mean that you have to stop or that you can’t have male friends. It goes back to you and your partner’s difference of experience. Maybe it has been his experience that men and women can’t be friends and maybe it has been your experience that they can. So who is right? There is no black and white, right or wrong. It’s all about what is a good fit for your relationship. So what do we do? We compromise. It is not fair for you to not be able to communicate with your friends because of their gender. Personally, I don’t think that’s right. What’s also not fair, is putting your boyfriend in a really uncomfortable spot without bending a little. So maybe you don’t stop talking to your male friends, but cut down how long you talk…okay? It’s all about keeping the other person’s feelings in mind, making sure they feel heard, and then compromising on both parts. Woo! This was a long one! I hope this helps.

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