Carolyn Hax: Was girlfriend’s dinner with her ex-boss an affair setup?

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Pricey Carolyn: Not too long ago, my girlfriend modified to a greater place at work, because of the advice from an ex-boss. Right here’s what transpired subsequent:

· Ex-boss requested her to depart work early and meet him for dinner, because it was his final night time on the town.

· He requested her to drive and meet at his condominium (his household lives in one other metropolis).

· They went to a restaurant together with her favourite delicacies (my guess, he knew this from working collectively 10 years) that was strolling distance from his condominium.

In my thoughts, this was a textbook affair setup and/or an upper-manager energy play, testing his energy over her.

She didn’t share this setup with me till after the very fact. She was oblivious to my considerations concerning the potential skilled ramifications of going to an higher supervisor’s condominium, then dinner, proper after receiving a brand new job he was pivotal in her receiving.

Did I’ve the correct to be (very) upset about this state of affairs? She swears it was all enterprise discuss and texted me on her drive residence.

J.: Upset at whom? If this had been your girlfriend’s hetero feminine ex-boss, then we’d be saying, gosh, what a considerate goodbye from a longtime mentor — logically deliberate, too, since assembly up after which strolling meant neither waited round on the restaurant.

So. In the event you’re upset on the ex-boss, then okay, I suppose. The setup did needlessly invite suspicion. But when nothing inappropriate truly occurred, then any motive to be (very) upset appears to have expired with the innocent finish to their dinner.

If it’s your girlfriend who has you so upset, then why? For going in any respect? For not providing you with the main points first? For exhibiting curiosity in her ex-boss that you simply discover inappropriate? For not being credible when she cited “all enterprise”? For being too naive to see the affair and energy points? These are very various things — although they do all come down to 1, whether or not you belief her. And in case you don’t, then it’s time to interrupt up regardless; the dinner has no that means besides as a window onto the remainder.

Is it attainable, then, the one who has you so upset is … you? I can’t be the one one getting a [mutters a silent prayer of self-loathing] cuckolded vibe off your query, the place the anger whispers in your ear that you simply had been performed publicly for a idiot by a girlfriend (who occurs to have simply superior professionally). Which might certainly be an influence problem, simply not the one you recommend — and would in the end be an admission of your individual vulnerability.

If I’m improper, and I do hope I’m, then please settle for my apologies, because it’s mainly a sexism accusation tied in a bunch of unsavory cultural threads — and, depend ’em, 4 paragraphs of study.

But when I’m proper: It wouldn’t change the matter of how reliable your girlfriend is. It might change the matter of how reliable you are — within the sense of your capacity to learn a possible risk precisely and handle your feelings in response. This dinner could have been a “textbook affair setup” and a “energy play,” however have you learnt what else is each of this stuff? Life. On daily basis. On a regular basis.

It’s regular on your feelings to warn you when one thing appears off. It’s necessary. Your emotions inform you to concentrate so you may see whether or not you may have an actual drawback or a false alarm.

When your emotions scream “MAYDAY,” although, in response to a one-off, reasonably suspicious state of affairs that challenges your energy in a relationship, that claims you’re not pondering clearly sufficient to tell apart between issues and false alarms. It says you go straight to seeing issues as a risk, then wanting (anticipating) girlfriends to gap up within the bunker with you, figuratively talking — which is the start of quite a lot of relationship-killing and doubtlessly harmful behaviors like jealousy, possessiveness, isolation, management, surveillance.

Or possibly not harmful, simply limitless, pointless, soul-sucking: both fixed anxiousness, or a hamster wheel of fights no person can win, or each.

One of the best ways to handle these existential emotional threats is to understand fewer of them and settle for life because the crapshoot it’s.

One of the best ways to understand fewer issues as a risk is to belief your self to be okay, in time, even when the end result of a relationship isn’t. Even if you “lose.” Most of us are proof that an individual could be fooled, humiliated, dumped and forgotten, greater than as soon as!, and nonetheless lead a beautiful life.

One of the best ways to take care of this ex-boss factor, then, is to think about the way you’d reply in case you had been this type of calm, trusting, assured particular person — then do what that particular person would do.

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