Dear Dr. Archer,
My current girlfriend lives over a thousand miles away, but we have made it work so far.
However, the other day she had a guy over at her house with some other friends. The guy has told her before that he liked her, and wanted to be with her. Up to this point I have trusted her one hundred percent, but this incident made me pretty angry.
Then I found out that he stayed the night because he didn't feel comfortable driving home that night.
I asked her about this and she says he slept on the couch, and nothing happened at all. Since this, I cannot control my paranoia. I feel like she is always lying to me. I don't want to feel this way because I love her, but I know eventually this will drive a wedge between us.
Do you have any psychological advice that you think would help my situation? I would greatly appreciate your thoughts. Thank you.
Having a long distance relationship can be very difficult, I realize. That said, if there isn't trust between two people in a committed relationship, then what's the point?
I trust you told her exactly how you feel about this guy, him being over to her place and even spending the night. If there's one thing that the two of you MUST have, it's masterful communication. There's not much room for error here, so I think you and your girlfriend need to set some ground rules to live by.
My first rule is to NEVER do anything with another person you would not do with your boyfriened/girlfriend standing right there. So in this case sleeping in the other room would be acceptable.
However my second rule is never do anything that could cause a lack of trust by the other and of course in this case that’s exactly what this has done. Here are some pointers for a long distance relationship:
**Communicate every day: Whether it's by phone, email, text or Skype, stay in touch with each other every single day. This alone will keep the feelings there and reassure each other that you're both in this together, and that you both want the relationship to continue.
Talk about your day and ask about hers. Share your routine with her; it will help keep both of you connected. If you meet someone new, tell her. The more honest you are, the more honest she will be, and hence the greater the trust.
**Never, ever assume! Be clear what you're feeling or if something is bothering you. On the flip side, let her know when you are not pleased with something. Not many things can kill a relationship faster than assumptions. Let her know your fears and feelings. Let her know what you want and need and ask her to tell you the same things.
**You must trust one another. To not trust her will ultimately bring the death of the relationship; it's inevitable. You must trust her unless she gives you a reason not to. As it stands now, since she knows you are bothered so much by this guy being at her house and spending the night, it should never happen again. If it does -- after you told her how bad it made you feel -- then you have a problem.
Long distance relationships are difficult, Leonidas, but they can work, ONLY if there is trust. You must discuss this with her now rather than later. She deserves the benefit of the doubt on this one, but you will need to discuss it a few times to get comfortable that she is telling the truth.
In cases like this I recommend 5 minutes a day to discuss this. You get to bring it up and ask anything about the event but only for 5 minutes. Then you both move on to other topics. After a while you will get comfortable and it will be a done deal.