To you, hanging out with your colleagues is just that; hanging out with your colleagues. To her, that's an excuse to treat you colder than Siberia. Every woman has a different trigger point when it comes to jealousy. What you regard as a harmless after-work activity can be miscontrued, depending on your luck. Prevention is better than cure so if you can spot these landmines before you cross the line, you can prevent World War III in your bedroom.
1. Your Gal Pals
You're like Paul Rudd's character in the movie I Love You, Man. You have zero guy friends (except your brother) but a million platonic girl friends. You're just one of those fellas who get along better with girls than you do with other males. It's not a crime and can be fun when you're a swinging single; but if you're attached, things can get tricky. Your girl is going to get territorial if her man is hanging out with a different woman every night.
Defuse it by: Formally introducing your girlfriend to your gal pals
Don't let your girlfriend's imagination run wild. Try and set up opportunities so everyone can hang out together once in a while. That way she'll know who you're referring to when you mention about a concert with Tricia instead of the imaginary bombshell she has pictured in her head. Put her at ease and nip those jealousy issues in the bud.
You accepted a friend request from your ex-girlfriend who you dated way back in college. You even compliment her on the cute pictures of her two kids. Innocent? Not to her. If she starts to raise the issue - jokingly or otherwise depending on her jealousy quotient - she's demanding you "un-friend" your ex.
Defuse it by: Staying calm
Maintain your composure, especially if she's going hysterical on the other end. The cardinal rule in any healthy relationship is that only one person is allowed to "lose it" at a time. She'll be imagining all sorts of crazy scenarios between you and your ex now that you're both Facebook friends. Simply assure her that she's got nothing to worry about especially if the two of you hardly have any contact besides being online. A friend is still a friend (ex or otherwise).
3. Lunch With A Hot Colleague
Lunching, or drinks, with that attractive colleague of yours will definitely arouse your girlfriend's suspicion. Think about it - you already spend so much time at work with her and you're still hanging out with her after office hours? Definitely doesn't help if everyone says she resembles Lin Chi Ling (lucky dog you). Don't be surprised if she's constantly on the phone with you during these lunch or drinks sessions.
Defuse it by: Respecting her wishes
She's adamant you don't hang out with that hottie and well, it shouldn't be an issue for you to accede to that request. She's just a colleague anyway, right? If need be, go out in larger groups so at least she won't be jealous that you're spending alone time with a sultry vixen (who's not her). Plus, how fun can it be if you're spending so much time on your phone than chatting with the people you're relaxing with?
Work is in no way considered sexy but will she get jealous? Yes, especially if you're clocking in over 60 hours at the office each week. Initially, she may be supportive but there's only so long she can stand before feeling neglected. What's the point of a relationship if you only see each other only once every other week and can't even afford a proper telephone conversation?
Defuse it by: Managing your work-life balance
She has reasonable grounds to feel neglected. You'd feel the same too if your girlfriend's boss sees more of her than you do. What kind of relationship is it if you hardly spend time with the love of your life? While noone is asking you to slack at your job, striking a balance will do you some good. Hanging out and talking regularly are key to keeping the communication alive between you and your girl. In this case, it's not about the lack of time but the lack of effort that is the potential trigger.
5. Your Buddies
Yes, guys need their guy time every now and then but (possessive) girlfriends simply don't get this. Every "free time" you have must be designated to "couple time". Mention about hanging out with the boys for beer at the local pub and watch her throw a hissy fit. That's her being jealous, even if she won't admit to it.
Defuse it by: Working out a similar arrangement for her
Share with her the importance of recharging your batteries with your buds - it's just chilling out, nothing more. Convince her that hanging out with your friends means a happier you. And remind her that she gets time to spend with her girls too so it's all fair. If she really loves you, she'll come around to the idea. Sometimes, guys just need their time out with the boys.
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