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A lot of single women spend their time obsessing over trying to find a man in a sea of competition, but an equal number of women in relationships spend an inordinate amount of time making sure no one snatches their man right out from under their noses. Basically, it seems the fight for ownership of a man never ends.

But as some point should it?

For centuries there’s been this pervasive fear that women — single or not –are always plotting on someone’s else’s property (i.e. their man) and it’s for that reason many girlfriends and wives have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to leaving their boyfriend or husband alone in the presence of any woman who’s not their mother. And sometimes even that doesn’t fly.

We’ve already talked extensively about friends of the opposite sex, and we know most of you aren’t here for that. But what about random situations in which your partner might be alone with a woman? Jezebel recently brought this topic up because of an article on Slate explaining how to be alone with another’s spouse. The piece starts with this anecdote:

One of my friends’ neighbors recently told him a provocative story about cable repair. Apparently this neighbor—let’s call him Bill—had waited for hours at home for a repairman; finally, the cable company called to announce its representative’s impending arrival just as Bill was about to leave on an errand. Bill, by his own account, responded that there was no way a repairman was getting into his house when the only other person home was his wife. Bill’s tone, per my friend, conveyed indignation that such an insulting possibility had even been considered.

Everyone who received the email from Bill complaining about this repairman non-issue essentially told him to take a chill bill, but the author notes:

[M]y friend raised the stakes by proposing similar hypothetical situations that weren’t as easy to dismiss. Maybe it wouldn’t bother you if your spouse were home with a repair person—but what if he/she mentioned stopping by a single colleague’s house to finish up a project they were working on together? What if your life partner and an acquaintance, sports fans both, watched the Big Game by themselves? What if an attractive area parent brought his or her kid over for a play date while you were at work? What if you were out of town for the weekend and your spouse and a single friend went to see the buzzy movie du jour?

It became clear on our email chain, and in my own conversations with a number of friends and colleagues about the subject, that for some (but not all) people (both men and women), the situations described just don’t seem quite right. Several said they’d be uncomfortable if their spouse or partner engaged in certain interactions without them and/or felt their spouses might not be happy with them if they did the same. “I would say ‘OK,’ but I will probably not really be OK with it,” said one. “I’d feel some unease. Not in any specific way. I’d just feel funny,” said another. Said one about the idea of a man he didn’t know well socializing with his wife: “My reaction would be to act like I’m cool with it then insult him constantly when he’s not around.”

Reading that paragraph I actually found myself more disgusted at the lack of communication displayed rather than the mistrust and jealousy that underlines some of the opposite sex objections. If you’re not OK with your partner doing something, don’t tell them you are and then wallow in that uneasiness. Speak up and be honest. But I can’t help but wonder if the reason these partners don’t tell their spouses they’re not comfortable with them being in those situations is because they know there’s no real basis for their objection.

I’m not saying I’d host single women soirees in my home every Saturday and have these strangers prancing around my husband, but if my spouse has to finish a project with his female group member at our home for whatever reason and I’m having a late day at the office, I’m not going to inhibit his professional needs for my personal ones. I’m going to pack up at work, go home, and wait on them at the door, Scared Straight style. Just kidding. I’m going to say OK, take care of business and sit secure in the knowledge that I married a man who wouldn’t disrespect me enough to cheat on me with a colleague in my home (and confident in my kickboxing skills in case someone gets out of pocket).

When we get into movies and sports dates and even play dates, my olive branch doesn’t quite extend as far since those are extracurricular activities and not necessities. Going to the movies with a single person of the opposite sex is pretty much a definite “hell no” in my book, but because I’m not a super hardcore sports fan I might allow a game every now and then with another woman who is — provided I’m well acquainted with her. And I imagine the play date scenario will occur at some point in my lifetime given single parent and divorce rates and I wouldn’t want to stop my child from playing with their friend just because I don’t want my husband alone with his friend’s mom. But I also don’t think Daquan’s mama needs to stick around for long when our kids are playing together. You can come back and pick up your child between 5-7p. Thanks!

In forming my stance on these issues, I have to also think about how I would want my partner to treat me. I honestly can’t imagine being told that I’m not allowed to do something as a grown woman so I’d try my best not to do the same with a grown man. Still, there is a certain level of respect that’s expected once you decide to become one with someone and if a situation makes my man uncomfortable, within reason, I would do my best to honor his wishes and expect him to do the same. But imparting any sort of hard and fast rule about being alone with single people isn’t within my eyesight. What do you say?

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