Advice – Is it wrong to hang out with coworkers of the opposite sex?

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/u/flow_mo on /r/relationship_advice writes…

“I’m not sure if I am doing this correct, but I would really appreciate some non-biased opinions. I [25F] was invited to go bowling with some coworkers who go every week as a way for everyone to hang out in a different setting. My husband [25M] does not like the idea because there will be male coworkers there. He says he trusts me but doesn’t trust them because he has never met them, and it worries him that everyone may have a drink or two. He has gone out drinking countless times with his coworkers. There are females on his team, but they are all quite a bit older. I have never made him feel bad for going out with his coworkers, or with his buddies to drink at bars. I have not been out to do something like this in years, because we have a 1 and 3 year old, and because I know that my husband worries. I don’t have male friends, or social media other than Reddit, so work is the only place I’m consistently around males. I was a stay at home mom before I got this job two months ago and my husband had to go on Zoloft and do therapy to be okay with me spending so much time around males. Things have been okay for the most part since he started medication, until now. I haven’t cheated, flirted, or showed interest in any man other than my husband. I’m having trouble deciding if I should go bowling and deal with my husband being upset about it, or skipping out so I don’t feel guilty.”

Dear Flow Mo,

You have done so, so much on behalf of pleasing or acquiescing to your husband’s insecurities. Have you ever considered what your own personal boundaries were regarding people other than you dictating what kind of connections you have been allowed to pursue? And whether or not your husband has rights to allow you to pursue your own connections?

Your husband says he trusts you. But his actions seem to reveal anything but. Whatever his own insecurities is regarding your coworkers, your husband is allowing those insecurities to dictate what boundaries he expects you to follow in a very uncomfortable way. And it isn’t even about you going out with coworkers. It doesn’t even sound like your husband is okay with you making friendships outside of his marriage with you. Are you actually okay with ceding this much control to your husband over the friendships and connections you wish to pursue?

If you have not done anything explicit to erode his trust in you, why is he struggling to actually have trust in you to build your own connections? Why is he allowed this much control over who you become friends with – online and offline? Your male coworkers are male coworkers. You are an adult. You may do some things to appease your partner’s insecurities, but hanging out with and forging your own connections with anyone – regardless of gender, relationship status, or race – is not something he has any right to communicate how uncomfortable he is about.

Let me re-clarify here. If we switch around a couple words here and say your husband is not okay with you hanging out with black coworkers, would that pass the smell test? I didn’t think so. And I don’t think it passes the smell test here either. Your responsibility isn’t to manage your husband’s insecurity; that’s his own job.

Good luck!

Tea Time with Tomato is an informative relationship and sex advice column for both monogamous and polyamorous folks. By submitting your post, you agree to let me use your story in part or in full. You also agree to let me edit or elaborate for clarity.

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