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Mensch Answers:

Dear Desperate,

It sounds like you know your partner very well, including some history that influences her current behavior (no more or less than all of our histories influence ours). And as this relationship sounds important enough for both of you to work on, I would suggest sticking to it and continuing to try to fix it.

Good communication (which it seems like you've been trying to maintain) is key, and you should continue to encourage and assure her that you're not keeping track of her because you don't trust her or for other sinister reasons. Point out that two people in a healthy relationship can indeed do things together or separately, but that a level of mutual respect and communication should be maintained so conflicts don't arise.

What do you mean, "small misunderstandings"? There are deep emotional issues here.

Sometimes small misunderstandings can explode into big fights, when the whole business could have been avoided by just a few polite words exchanged ahead of time. I realize I might be beating the "communication" mantra into the ground, but that's what it's all about, you know?

A good way to encourage the behavior you're looking for is to model it yourself. That is, in the perfectly natural way you expect her to tell you about her plans, tell her about yours. If you don't have any, make some! Tell her you'd like to get some guys together for an activity you all like, and you just wanted to make sure she knew.

She may not like the fact that her decisions affect someone else, but that's the way it is in a serious relationship - still, this does not have to be a bad thing. Two people who really love each other should be thinking about the impact of their actions on the other person, but should certainly maintain their own identity and personal space.

Hiding Negative Feelings is a Slippery Slope

I agree. If he hides his feelings now, it will become an even bigger issue after they are married.

Also, while it's noble of you to want to make her feel comfortable, I'd watch it about hiding negative feelings, as conscious as you are of the motivations for it. That's a slippery slope, and could lead to latent resentment and bigger problems down the line.

I think that she could perceive this as mocking her.

Try to put a positive spin on the situation, maybe even dissipate the tension surrounding this issue with some humor - perhaps exaggerate and joke about filing a detailed itinerary of your plans down to the minute, submitting it in triplicate to her and whoever else is in on the plans... I'm just coming up with this off the top of my head, don't take it as a tried-and-true prescription. I'm sure you'll come up with something.

I wish you the best - you sound like a great couple, and I hope things go splendidly for you!



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