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Lives of Style’s DatingSpeak ™ ©2015 addresses questions about dating, relationships and communication.

Our Lives of Style authority–Laura Pugliese, shares must-know dating “Do’s and Don’ts” that will help you find success in your relationships.

Lives of Style: I have only gone out on one date with someone and he asked me out for dinner then said he would send a cab for me to pick me up and take me to the restaurant. He just texted me that he wants to change the plans and he wants to make dinner for us at his house. I don’t feel comfortable going to his house. What can I text back to him?

Laura: You can say, “You have every right to want to change our plans, and I appreciate that you want to cook for us at your house. I am not ready to do that at this time, as we have only been out once. I would feel most comfortable getting to know each other a bit more before going to your home. What are your thoughts about us sticking to your original suggestion to send a cab to pick me up and take me to the restaurant you choose for us?”

Lives of Style: I have been married for a year and I thought things were going well. My husband works in the financial industry and so he works early and stays late. One of my friends said that she say my husband out to dinner with a woman and that they seemed pretty cozy. I feel like I have been punched in the stomach. I don’t know what to say so I’ve been distant and trying not to be home much. I don’t know for sure he is having an affair but he didn’t tell me he was having a dinner with a client or anyone that night. What can I do?

Laura: In my opinion there is already damage being done because that information has penetrated into you negatively enough for you to be avoiding your husband. I think it is crucial that you be fair to yourself, your husband and your relationship and talk to him about it directly in order to give him a chance to know this information that has been given to you and respond. You can say, “I want to talk with you about something that was told to me about you that was very unsettling to me. Is now a good time?” Wait for him to say, “Yes.”  Then you can say,  “(Insert name of friend that told you) told me that she saw you out to dinner on (insert day/date), and she told me clearly that you and that woman looked very cozy. It was quite disturbing for me to hear that, as you did not mention to me that you were having dinner that evening with a female client. You had every right not to mention it, but now I have been struggling with the implications of what I was told and not knowing where you were that evening. I realized that the fair thing to do is to tell you exactly what what was said and ask you directly “Are you having an affair?”

You will then need to decide how you feel about his answer whether he confirms or denies it, but at least it will be out in the open. I suggest that you also seek professional counseling to assist you in sorting out your feelings and determining what course to take separately or with your husband going forward.

Lives of Style: I have a date planned with a man who I’ve only seen twice for this Sunday night and I just got a call from my boss and I have to leave town on Sunday for an early work meeting on Monday morning. How can I tell him without making him feel like I am blowing him off?

Laura: You can say, “I want you to know I was really looking forward to our date on Sunday. I was just informed that I will need to travel on Sunday to (insert place you will be going) for a mandatory business meeting on Monday morning. I feel disappointed that I have to cancel our date, but I wanted to let you know as soon as I found out. What are your thoughts about us rescheduling for another day when I am back in town?”

Lives of Style: Last weekend I went to a party with friends and drank too much. I ended up going home with a guy who is part of our circle. I am so embarrassed and I ended up leaving a sweater at his house the next morning. I haven’t wanted to reach out because he hasn’t called me. I don’t want to seem needy. Do I call him to get my sweater since I love it or have someone who we know ask him? I’m confused.

Laura: I understand that your feel embarrassed, but you have a right to ask for your sweater back. It is perfectly acceptable for you to contact him and ask him for your sweater back. You don’t have to bring up the specifics of that night. Send him a text. You can write, “Hi (insert name). I hope all is well with you. I realized I left my sweater at your house last weekend. What are your thoughts about when and how I could get it? Thanks! (Insert your name).”

Lives of Style: My boyfriend and I have been together for six months. He always talked about getting together with friends on Thursday nights and that is his night to hang with his friends. I just found out that there are girls at these “hangouts.” I am feeling hurt that I am not invited when there are other girls there and also my jealousy is up because I start to wonder if he is cheating on me. What should I say?

Laura: I am going to give you some things to consider to help you sort this out and determine exactly what it is you want to discuss with your boyfriend because your question and statement about girls being present at these hangouts are vague which makes it challenging for me to give you the proper words. Separately, I don’t know what your relationship agreement is about socializing with people of the opposite sex, or if you have not actually discussed it and made an agreement. Additionally, there is a very broad spectrum of ways for girls to be present at these hangouts, such as the hangout being in a bar open to the public where girls can come and go as they please to your boyfriend inviting girls without telling you. There is also a marked difference between your boyfriend inviting specific girls to these hangouts and keeping it from you deliberately with the knowledge that you would be uncomfortable, and girls simply being there because they are platonic friends with members of the group and may have been invited by others and there for the reasons that have nothing to do with him.

Quite frankly, even if your boyfriend does invite girls that he is friends with it doesn’t automatically go into the category of deception unless you and he have previously sat down and specifically communicated and agreed to not spending time with friends of the opposite sex under any circumstances without discussing it first. What he may be thinking is that you two just have the understood agreement that Thursday night is the night he hangs out with his friends without there being any thought or concern to genders. Keep in mind that asking him to suddenly stop doing this because there are may be girls there at times may not go over well, especially if other friends are making that choice. Do you want to become the girlfriend that is known for not being okay with your boyfriend being social with his friends anytime there are other females present?

Having said all of that I want to suggest to you that you to give some rational thought to the possible circumstances for these hangouts, and consider what I stated above about prior communication and agreements to assess if there is a true issue of broken trust or deception on your boyfriend’s part.  Or is it more likely that you don’t like for him to be around any other girls because for you that knowledge triggers feelings of jealousy and being left out?

I also want you to consider all of the time and experiences you have had with your boyfriend over the course of your relationship, and ask yourself if his patterns of behavior have built a trustworthy record in order for you to get clarity as to whether your feelings are coming more from external factors created by your boyfriend’s actions or your own internal insecurities.

It is a risk every single time you relate with another human being. For this reason it is very important that you pay attention to whether or not they are consistent in building a trustworthy record. If your boyfriend is committed to you and has integrity, then he is probably not going to suddenly change just because he is in close proximity to other girls. If your boyfriend has issues with trustworthiness and a history of cheating, then you could have all of the agreements in the world with a high risk that he may break them.

It is most important that you learn to navigate through your relationship with healthy communication to set reasonable boundaries and make agreements that both parties feel good about. Write back when you have processed all that I have stated here, reflected upon it, and are able to give me more specific and informed information about what you want to discuss with your boyfriend in order for me to assess the facts properly and give you my best suggestion.

Lives of Style and Lives of Style’s DatingSpeak ™ ©2015 want to facilitate answers to questions.  While authorities such as Laura may not be able to email each of you individually, select questions will be answered. 

Remember, log onto http://www.livesofstyle.com/the_last_word/ and email Laura at Laura@livesofstyle.com.

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