Should I Give Him Permission To…?

My boyfriend wants to go swimming with his school guy friends. Should I give him my permission? I'm jealous and worried because there are some girls who will be there. :(

Dear donita,

I can certainly understand your concern. And, we women tend to be wired in that way, to fear that other women may attract our man.

Let's play a little game for a moment. But, before we do, let me ask you this. Do you require your boyfriend give you permission before you go shopping with the girls? If the answer is, "Yes," that he has to give his permission, how does that make you feel? If that is the way that you want it, then, I suppose the relationship is right where you want it to be and you both are comfortable asking permission of each other before making decisions. That is not a bad thing, just something that you and your boyfriend need to be able to articulate, as far as comfort levels and boundaries.

Now, if the answer to that question is, "No," and you do not require his permission before you go shopping with the girls (even though there may be boys at the mall that will see you), then we are ready to play the game.

Let's put ourselves in your boyfriend's position. How do you think he feels if he needs to ask permission before he does something with the guys? If you put yourself in his shoes, does that help you to feel like a capable person and able to make your own wise (even unwise) decisions? Does it help you to feel validated, trusted, and loved? Now, do you think it would have the same effect on him?

And, if it does not require your permission for him to go with the guys, but he knows it makes you unhappy, how does that make him feel? If he goes, he hurts you. If he doesn't go, he may resent that you stopped him (by your feelings) from going. Even if you say nothing at all, he may be resentful, just by the mere feelings that you have.

I know it sounds like you can't win, either way. But, it comes down to communication. I am not suggesting that you go willy nilly and practically encourage him to go hang out with half-dressed women everywhere, but you do need to share how you feel and allow him to do the same, sharing how he feels.

Love needs to have an element of trust in it. To what extent is for you and your boyfriend to decide and learn together, hence building up more trust. But, with trust comes the ability to hurt and be hurt. Unfortunately, in love, trust, and even pain, we cannot exercise the control that we desire, to keep ourselves safe. But, then, with that lack of control, comes the ability to experience real untarnished love, and that, my friend, IS beautiful.

Deborah E
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Deborah is a #1 Jazz Singer, as well as a lifelong musician, songwriter, and sound engineer. She is also a writer who pursues a love of positive psychology. She is a thesis short of having her doctorate in psychology.
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