One of the great misconceptions between men and women is how each one chooses their friends of the opposite sex. While the differences in how each sex chooses reduces as both age, there are still some profound differences.
In their teens and early 20s, men have a tendency- when seeking out a female friend- to choose one they are sexually attracted to. Part of this comes from a lack of maturity and part of it comes from hoping that if the woman will just get to know them as a friend than given enough time she will be open to a romantic relationship.
As men mature, however, their choices of female friends diversify but this reality always still remains to some degree, especially if the man happens to be single. In many cases, the man may only be subconsciously aware that he is doing this. However, it is the root of where his jealously of your relationships with other men comes from.
No matter what your romantic partner says, or confident he is in himself, on some level he worries about your relationships with your male friends. The worry is not so much from what you may do, but more from the perspective of knowing that your male friend very likely is attracted to you and has feelings for you.
Your partner realizes that your male friend may know you on an emotional level he cannot match and if your male friend thinks he may have an opportunity to win you over, he may act on it. Even if you don’t reciprocate your male friend’s feelings, your partner is aware that if he doesn’t handle the situation with care and sensitivity it could damage his relationship with you. So these worries and concerns are always there on an underlying level and may manifest themselves in jealous behavior by your partner. Therefore, it is important to be aware of this dynamic if you want to understand the origin of your partner’s feelings.
The degree to which you have physical contact with your male friend can also be what’s feeding your partner’s jealousy. The more physical affections you lavish towards your male friend the more it may feed into the insecurities of your partner. If your male friend happens to be your ex those insecurities are intensified even further. Even if you are someone who is generally physically affectionate with people, when in a relationship you have to be sensitive towards your partner’s feelings. What you are doing may seem perfectly innocent, but your partner’s perception can be quite different due to how men start off early on in life in choosing female friends.
Many men will be reluctant to talk about this issue directly, so in order to deal with it, you need to spot the indirect signs that it is affecting your partner. If he has brought up the time you’ve spent with one or more of your male friends, asked if you still have feelings for your ex or if you have feelings for one of your friends, or brought up how you are physically affectionate with your friend, these are all signs of how much your partner is worried. The worry is not that you have relationships with other men, but more that you want to be with one of them rather than him.
At this point you do need to have an open and honest conversation of how you really feel about the male friend. Sometimes what your partner is sensing might actually be real and something you may not have been aware of yourself. This can be a hard thing to face and may actually lead to the end of your relationship. However, it’s better if you break up with your partner rather than find yourself cheating on him with your male friend. Sometimes this is your partner’s way of saying that he feels like you’re not spending enough time with him and that the time you’re spending with your male friend(s) is an indication that you seem to be losing interest in him. Again, the sooner this is understood the better if you want to save your relationship.
Now due to your partner’s inability to be more direct when discussing his feelings, how he expresses himself may be accusatory, angry, or emotional. The best approach to take is to give him some time to go off and compose himself before trying to resolve it. He’ll eventually calm down and will be more rational to deal with. However, if your partner continuously brings up your relationships with other men, you may be looking at a more serious issue with your relationship. Your partner could be too insecure or too immature to handle being with you.
If you’ve already reduced the amount of time you spend with your male friends, and reduced the amount of physical affection you demonstrate towards them, and your partner is still bringing this subject up than you are likely dealing with someone who can’t control their jealous emotions. At this point you have to decide if you feel it’s healthy to continue your relationship, take a break from it, or terminate it.
Jealousy is never something easy to deal with in a relationship, but it does need to be confronted. Otherwise it can grow and damage what should have been an otherwise healthy relationship. However, provided you take the time to understand where the jealousy is coming from and handle it in a caring and sensitive manner, you can save your relationship from any unwanted damage.