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You Asked: Should I Be Worried About His Dance Partners?

Dear Sugar,

I have been in a relationship for 9 months with a man I feel is the love of my life. He is 51 and I am 42. He has been divorced for 7 years, me for only 1 year. We were good friends before I was divorced, nothing more, although the attraction was there. My marriage was in the toilet.

The problem has been that he has a lot of female friends. Almost zero guy friends. He has had 7 intimate relationships in 7 years. He is still friends with some of these women. I came into a situation where he is still seeing some of them socially. Most of these women are dancers, he goes to dance every week.

The problem is, he is in Boston, I am in Atlanta. When he goes to dance class, he usually stays and parties with all of his friends. It makes me jealous. He has never given me any reason to not trust him, but there are two women in particular, one who he has admitted he has been attracted to
in the past and one who could not move on from their prior relationship. The first I feel is my friend as well, the second refuses to meet me. So, when he goes to class, these women are generally there. It makes me insane that he is dancing and partying with them.

Am I overreacting? I used to feel much more insecure than I do now, but being in an LDR (long distance relationship) has added definite challenges to the situation. We are talking engagement and marriage. I am so in love and he calls me five times a day saying the same thing. -- Nervous Naomi

Advice? --

To see DEARSUGAR's answer

Long-distance relationships bring with them some measure of instability and insecurity, particularly if the greatest part of the relationship is spent or built while apart. We don't get the opportunity to build and demonstrate trust and connection in the ways we do on a daily basis, in a variety of situations. As several of his current classmates have become lovers (and then friends again), I believe your worries are only natural. Keeping those worries in perspective and working to prevent jealousy and fear from undermining the relationship will be your challenge, Naomi.

It sounds as if your boyfriend has been dating and exploring relationships with women since his divorce. This is what we do, how we refine and discover what we want in an intimate relationship, and dating is the means to learn these things. If you know him as an honest and respectful person, who values the women in his life and treats them respectfully, then I would ask you to have faith in what you know.

I think it would also be wise to have a very honest discussion with your boyfriend about your fears. While you've expressed your love and hopes for the future, I encourage you both to discuss how you think about commitment, monogamy, and handling attractions while you're apart. We must be wise in love, too, Naomi, while we remain open and hopeful. Before an engagement, I encourage you both to come to know each other well, over time in the same city, growing together while handling together the daily struggles and rewards of an intimate relationship.

For more help exploring your longer standing struggle with feelings of insecurity and jealousy, perhaps you might take a look at the book If This Is Love, Why Do I Feel So Insecure?

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Marci Marci 8 years
My boyfriend was a very busy bachelor before we met. He too stayed friendly with exes, and 75% of his friends are women. I was a little wary of that part of the equation when I met him, but as I got to know him and the women over time, and our relationship and trust built, I became less and less concerned over time, until I stopped thinking about it entirely. The distance is always a tough thing because there are so many things you question because you're not there to see, to know. My feeling on any relationship is that it comes down to two things: Trust and communication. If you can talk to him easily about this, that's half the battle. The other is if you genuinely trust him. If not, give that some hard thought. Best of luck!
lickety-split lickety-split 8 years
your feelings are your feelings and you can't be "wrong" about them; they are what they are. haven't you had enough of feeling bad in relationship? if you don't like what is happening why are you tolerating it? speak up or move on.
cynsim cynsim 8 years
At least where I'm from, social dancing is just that, dancing and being social with friends. There is always the possibility that he might meet someone at the dances, but in reality, he could meet someone anywhere. The thing is, you will have to trust that he wants to be faithful, and differentiate between your insecurities and a unfaithful partner. Lastly, you didn't mention if you danced, but it would be a really great surprise for you take lessons so you can dance with him in the future. ninja by day, student by night cynsim.com
Lila-Fowler Lila-Fowler 8 years
OMG!! I was in your exact situation, Naomi. My ex was also a dancer and had lots of female friends. Since dance is incredibly messy, and partners do tend to fall for each other, I would suggest you talking to him. I don't know, since I didn't really handle the situation well myself. I think dancing situations can breed a lot of insecurities. Good luck!!!
andaman andaman 8 years
Talking is the best solution! Even if the woman is interested and he is not, there isn't anything they can do about it!
grl-in-the-world grl-in-the-world 8 years
A agree with Dear that you need to have a really open and honest discussion about your feelings on the situation. Consider his side of the story: He has been divorced for 7 years and spent that time searching for someone special, he dated around but didn't find that person...until he got together with you! He seems pretty devoted to you (calling multiple times per day to say he loves you -- not every guy would do that!) So if you two are on the same page and engagement and marriage are on the horizon, then work towards making those things happen.
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