Sage Advice: Man Worries About Partner's Texting

By Amy Dickinson | March 18th, 2020

But IS it appropriate for a woman to text her male co-worker outside of work?


Woman texting her coworker like a cheater Image

Dear Amy: I’m a 50-year-old divorced father of three wonderful daughters.

My previous marriage was not a healthy one. My wife had several affairs.

I’m now in a very loving relationship with someone I adore. My girls love her and she’s a great motherly figure. We’ve talked extensively about marriage. We rarely argue or disagree. Our relationship is fantastic.

The one thing that bothers me involves texting and social media. She routinely gets text messages from a male co-worker during the evening and weekend hours. I firmly believe that it’s inappropriate and unnecessary for the communication between the two of them outside of work.

She is a devoted life partner, but why does this continue, even after I have expressed my concerns?

Early in our relationship, before we were fully committed, she went on a trip that was previously planned to visit a man she was in a prior relationship with. She wasn’t fully forthcoming about this until she returned home. She said she didn’t think we were in a fully committed relationship. I have forgiven her.

I’m thinking about getting engaged, but I wonder why these behaviors continue. She’s a very friendly and caring person, which may at times come across as flirtatious.

Am I being unreasonable and insecure, or should I be concerned?

– Just Wondering

Dear Wondering: Your girlfriend is a “devoted life partner.” Devoted life partners get to have friends outside of the partnership. These friendships should not be conducted in secret and should be acknowledged openly – and occasionally shared – with the family.

The friendship with this co-worker predates your relationship. As you two continue the process of braiding your lives together, you should meet one another’s friends and learn the backstory of these various friendships. Platonic friendships outside of the primary relationship are not “inappropriate” or “unnecessary.” In fact, these friendships can demonstrate (as well as expand) a person’s capacity for other relationships.

Yes, texting and posting on social media during “together time” is distracting and rude to one’s partner. Perhaps as a couple (and family group), you can all agree on parameters regarding phone use.

You need to differentiate between human instincts (when you just know in your bones that something is amiss), and the toxic trust issues perpetuated in your marriage and triggered by this work friendship. Discuss this tactfully with your partner, encourage her to be open and transparent about her friendships, and show an interest in meeting all of her friends.


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In the tradition of the great personal advice columnists, Chicago Tribune’s Amy Dickinson is a plainspoken straight shooter who relates to readers of all ages. She answers personal questions by addressing issues from both her head and her heart. A solid reporter, Dickinson researches her topics to provide readers with informed opinions and answers. Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068

© 2020 by Amy Dickinson

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