Q: Two nights ago my buddy had a surprise birthday party for his wife. My fiancée and I weren't going to go because she wasn't feeling well but finally decided to last minute. The night was going well until I met "the guy with the beard." He was a friend of a friend who had come to the party by himself. He was the tall, dark and handsome type. I won't lie, I certainly felt a little threatened. I could tell all the ladies at the party liked this guy (he was single). It wasn't until I went to the bathroom and then came back that I saw my fiancée talking with him, but more specifically, laughing with him. I brought it up to her in the car, and she said I was being jealous. But my problem was this: How come she didn't talk to him all night, but rather the moment I went to the bathroom, that's when they decide to talk? I'm supposed to marry this woman, and now I don't know if I can trust her. Is this a warning sign for a future of infidelity? -Gabe, 39
Dr. Anna: If you are this worried about your fiancée laughing at a party with a stranger, this might be a problem. Your fiancée is free to talk, laugh, or cry with whomever she wants whenever she wants. If you truly believe she would strike up a relationship with someone else, then that's a signal that she is not the right one for you. But it sounds like this is probably not the case, and instead you're having a serious problem with trust. This is definitely something you need to resolve if you're going to be happy in the long run.
Jealousy or worry could lead to an impulse on your part to try to control her be-havior or limit her interactions with other people—this is entirely the wrong re-sponse. You can't control anyone else, but you can control your own attitudes and actions. You'd be much better off making sure that you are doing everything in your power to create a loving and kind relationship with your fiancée. Be the kind of person she can talk openly with, so that if she was unhappy with some aspect of your relationship and was thinking of leaving then you'll be the first person she comes to with that concern. Do you want a healthy relationship that lasts? Focus on building on mutual trust and respect.
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Advice for Her
Advice for Him
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.