Girly bars: a deal-breaker?

Girly bars: a deal-breaker?

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Dear Jackson,

I’m a 23-year-old woman working with a development agency here. I’ve been with my boyfriend, who works for the same company as I do, for five months. We’ve never had any major problems; he treats me well, and we have been talking about moving in together. But I found out last week from a mutual friend that he goes to girly bars regularly – and hasn’t told me about it. He and his close friends, all male, often end a weekend night together. When I confronted him on it, he got angry and accused me of spying. I don’t think he’s cheating, but I hate the image of girls fawning over him. How can I get him to stop without seeming controlling or depriving him of his friendships?

While I usually preach mutual understanding, your man needs a shaking. He was purposefully withholding information from you, which means he was aware that you’d get upset. When confronted, he got angry and accused you of the wrongdoing. That’s unreasonable (and suspicious), and you should be telling him precisely that.

Ask him why he goes. Does he like getting his ego stroked? Something else? Is he just blindly following his friends? Ask him: how would you feel if the tables were turned?

You don’t think that he’s sleeping with prostitutes. That’s possible – I know a few guys who pop into these places every once in a while for cheap beer, AC and inane chat.

But he could be sleeping with them. He doesn’t strike me as an honest man. Make sure that you’re always practising safe sex.

Ask him which bars he goes to, then ask him to bring you along. Gauge his response. If he says no and asserts his right to do what he wants, it’s probably time to say goodbye. Do you think you could love a man who doesn’t care about your feelings? A man who spends his time flirting with other women, craving their attention? Would you ever feel secure in such a relationship?

If he agrees to the visit, take him up on it. See these places. Drink. Talk to the girls. Watch your boyfriend. Look at the other men. How do they behave? How do you feel now? Maybe these places aren’t as bad as you thought they were. Or maybe a visit will underscore your distaste.

You need to get to the root of your issue and tell him what you want and need from a relationship. Now, there could be room for compromise – perhaps he can invite you along whenever he stops into the bars with his mates? But if you want something committed and you still want him to stop visiting these places, you need to say so. It’s not an unreasonable request.

If he agrees to stop, give him a chance. If he refuses, he’s probably not worth your time. He’s telling you that he values his nights out with friends more than he values building a relationship. Don’t move in with a guy like this. Divest yourself emotionally and start shopping around for someone with integrity.

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