You might only have one girl in your life, but she’s seeing a lot of guys. And while the pairings are strictly platonic, you could still have some reason for concern.
Why? Your partner’s telling her father, brother, and other guys things she hasn’t ‘fessed up to you. Maybe her secrets would bruise your ego, maybe she’s shy, or maybe the two of you just aren’t “there” yet.
Here’s what she spills to the other men in her life, and whether or not you should worry.
To her dad: She has doubts about your job.
No matter how much you want to be her knight in shining armor, her dad will always fill that role first. And he wants to know his “little girl” is provided for, says Paul Hokemeyer, Ph.D., a Manhattan-based relationship therapist. That means he’s bound to grill her on your career, and she’s going to share everything—from how your salary isn’t big enough to how she has no idea what your job actually entails.
Skip the interview. If she really had that big of a problem with what you do, you wouldn’t be together. So unless she starts dropping hints about money being tight or other people’s “awesome” jobs, there’s no need to broach the subject with her, Hokemeyer says.
To her brother: She’s attracted to other men.
Her brother is on her side 100 percent of the time, Hokemeyer says. So your girlfriend knows she can chirp to him about Channing Tatum, the hot guy across the bar, or the ex who sent her a Facebook message last night—and he won’t bat an eye.
Jealous much?You know you check out other girls, too. And just like with you, her wandering eyes don’t mean anything else is wandering. Unless you seriously suspect something, asking her about her harmless attraction to other men will probably only start a fight, says Tammy Nelson, Ph.D., author of The New Monogamy.
To her best friend’s boyfriend: She’s pissed at you.
“Through the fine art of compare-and-contrast, her best friend’s boyfriend is exposed to her myriad unspoken criticisms about you,” says Phillips. So if—and when—she sees her BFF’s guy doing something she wishes you would do, she’s going to take it as an opportunity to vent her frustrations. It’s often easier for women to express their anger to someone else, says sex therapist Brandy Engler, Ph.D., author of The Men On My Couch. After all, he’s sure as hell not going to get defensive with her—especially if he’s being lauded as the model of good behavior.
Let her vent.She’s going to say she’s “fine,” but if something is obviously the matter, ask again and tell her you really want to know how she feels, Nelson advises. Most importantly, when she starts spouting off, don’t shut down or get defensive. Just listen. “Let her have her anger. Let her be irrational,” says Engler. By letting her know she can come to you and be heard, she’ll keep you in the loop more often, rather than letting things fester.
To her work husband: She’s thinking a lot about the future.
From 9 to 5, she’s with this guy. Their cubes face each other, they take their lunches together, and they’re in cahoots on a slew of office pranks. Somewhere down the line, conversations on work doldrums morph into ones about open positions, career aspirations, and, ultimately, what her ideal future looks like—and how you fit into it, Phillips says.
Ask her about her day.While it’s okay—even good—if you aren’t a part of every aspect of her life, you need to ask her more about her day than the obligatory “how was work?” Ask to hear her day’s high and low points, and if you know she had a big meeting, ask her what happened in it. It’ll let her know she can share that part of her life with you and you’ll listen to her insecurities, stresses, and hopes. Otherwise she could think her work buddy is the one who really gets her, Phillips says.