He's Got the No-Money Blues

Q: My live-in girlfriend is always doing things with other guys. She meets them to work out at the gym, goes for drinks, has lunch with them at work. She says they're all just friends. But I'm starting to feel like I'm not enough for her. Last weekend, she even went bowling with this one guy instead of going out to dinner with me on Saturday night. I think these guys pay for meals and even buy her things sometimes. When we go out, she has to pay because I'm not working right now. But I should mean more to her than a paycheck. I've tried to tell her I don't like it, but she just says she needs to get out of the house sometimes and that I need to get a job. I feel like she's disrespecting me. Should I tell her to stop? - Frank, 33

Dr. Susan: You can ask her to stop, letting her know how her behavior makes you feel. But you can't actually make her stop. I don't think of it as "disrespecting" you, but of taking matters into her own hands and getting her needs met one way or another. Of course, her way doesn't bode well for the future of your relationship. I suspect you're being used.

How about brainstorming some free or very inexpensive things you and she can do together that will get you both out of the house? If she's unwilling to adapt to what one hopes is your temporary inability to spend money on her, then you'll at least know what kind of person she is. I do worry that her getting other men to pay for her drinks and food may give them the idea that she is available in other ways. You're kind of stuck: work harder to find a job so you can spend money on what she likes to do, or sit around hoping she'll give up the fun that's so important to her.

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