I don’t believe men and women in relationships should spend significant amounts of time with people of the opposite sex. It sounds very 1950s, but it isn’t. Let me explain.
Humans are designed to fall in love with each other. Quickly. We’re geared to be around someone in the clan or village who smiles nicely, who you share a joke or two with, or who you see getting upset or excited about something, and you bond. Instantly.
We do this because that bond quickly leads to courtship, and that quickly leads to babies. This is good because humanity doesn’t die. We’ll put that in the plus column. Basically, our genes want to survive, so they make us grow attracted to almost anyone around us with blinding speed.
The way this materializes today is you’ll have your boyfriend or wife hanging out with someone in a very harmless way, and after a few days (or weeks) of this she’ll start bringing up this other person constantly in conversation:
Whoa. Chris? Who’s Chris? Oh, just this guy. This happens once, great. A few times, no issue. But soon it becomes apparent that this other human is basically imprinting his essence onto your significant other, just through casual conversation and getting to know each other.
And it has nothing to do with him, or with her. They’re both great people.
But if you were to be sent to Madagascar for nine months on a job while they “just hung out”, this would soon be a problem. And the more personal they were with each other, i.e. work drama, family drama, etc.—again, all harmless—the faster it will happen.
This is how “forbidden love” forms, where a guy falls in love with his girlfriend’s friend. They just hang out too much. He’s pretty cool. She’s pretty cool. And they just bond because that’s what people do. The problem was thinking it was ok for them to interact that much in the first place. That has an expected outcome.
Some people believe everyone is trying to shag everyone else, so you have to lock up your girl and your man. That’s not it. That’s defensive, insecure, and juvenile.
The problem is precisely that it’s not intentional. It sneaks up on you because that’s what it’s supposed to do. It’s a human instinct to bond with people of the opposite sex who are near to you, and to do it very quickly. And the deeper the exposure, the quicker the bond.
This is why the best pickup lines in the world are based around,
Tell me your problems…I’ll just listen.
It’s intimate. It forms bonds within minutes. It’ll seem like a simple conversation, and then the victim will find herself thinking about him constantly until the spell wears off.
It’s my theory for why movie stars can’t stay committed. They leave their loved ones and go of on some exotic trip with another movie star, and then go through extremely emotional acting scenes with them—for weeks at a time. And they wonder why they suddenly fall in love with them. If you were on a remote island with a movie start (or anyone else) doing acting scenes with them, you’d do the same thing.
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So, if my girl says she wants to go learn some kind of intimate dancing style (say her girlfriend is into it), the answer is simple: we do it together or we don’t do it. It’s not because she’s untrustworthy (she’s extremely honest and loyal); it’s because she’s a girl, and rubbing crotches and laying your head on another man’s chest for hours per week while learning a physical skill is bad for current relationships.
I’d learn the dance as well, but not with another female partner. Why? Because talking to that girl, and having her rub her stuff all on me for extended periods of time on a regular basis, would instantly get me thinking things I shouldn’t. I know this. I’m aware of it. So I defend against it by limiting contact. Brain over…well, just use your brain.
So what’s the takeaway?
Simple: be aware of the time your S.O. spends with other women/men. Notice the level of intimacy in the communication. Monitor for signs that the other person is on their mind. And if it becomes obvious that this person is bonding with him/her, pull it back. It really is that simple.
Don’t go ape-shit if he mentions that this girl at work likes the song that’s playing. And if your girl mentions some guy at work, or wants to go hang with friends and there are guys there—no problem. Even if the guys are single and probably going to pursue her.
No sweat. If you’re not insecure and she’s a good woman, there’s nothing at all to stress. Don’t become a bloody neanderthal about it.
Just watch for multiple/constant interactions with people of the other gender over long periods of time. Don’t spend lots of time with your friends’ smart, attractive partners, for example. And don’t rely on trust when your S.O. is spending more and more alone time with “just a friend”. They won’t make a mistake, the mistake will happen to them.
Respect the evolutionary biology, and don’t be surprised by natural outcomes you have all the tools to anticipate. That’s all I’m saying.
A few people have written me and commented that this is why they support mandatory covering of women, and force-limiting their exposure to men. That’s troubling to me, although I suppose people take what they want to see away from things. To be clear, this piece is about free, liberal, and equal people simply respecting evolutionary biology in their own relationships, and not falling into a common trap that can cause harm. It’s about the dangers of relatively long-term exposure in a liberal society of equals, not whether or not to keep your S.O. covered and isolated from the opposite sex as a policy.