-- Question for John --
My boss was hitting on me. I told my fiance and he went nuts. He told me to say something to him. He said I’m too nice and I can’t let this guy get away with this. Well the job my fiance just started, his boss is a women. She likes him. So I told him to do the same things he told me to do. He won’t. Why is it different for me? We are in the same situation yet he won’t take action. Why?
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-- Answer from John --
He is acting in an unfair way, but probably not intentionally so. Underneath the apparent double standard is an emotional cause. Namely, fear. He was actually afraid you would leave him for the other guy. He may not even recognize that insecurity in himself, and perhaps instead it came up as him getting angry and insisting that you do something about it. Underneath it all: anxiety. (By the way, this insecurity factor is something he can overcome, if you both take the high road on this situation.)
The situation — from his point of view — is different at his workplace because his insecurity is not there about losing you. Perhaps he knows he isn’t really interested in this boss woman, and so he does not perceive any threat to the relationship at all. Hence, he sees no need to take any action.
So this pattern is really based on some underlying emotional aspects. These are not being directly stated or dealt with in a mature way — by either of you, actually. Fear, vulnerability and insecurity is that big, unwanted and “invisible” elephant that sits in the room, taking up alot of space in a relationship, and pulling many of the strings.
Usually couples make the elephant “disappear” by engaging in angry behavior, blaming, judging, getting defensive, and building up resentments. Not a beneficial alternative, clearly. And well-known to lead to divorce.
If you truly want to go beyond this pattern, you will have to own your part of it, too, and then reverse it. The pattern is based on not having a deeper, more authentic, heart-to-heart way of working with each of your vulnerabilities and insecurities in love. In that you are engaged to be married, it is time for both of you to learn to speak more from the heart in these areas. Otherwise, that elephant is going to take up more and more space, what with you starting to resent his double standard (and rightfully so).
Get your mate into a more conscious dialog about these things. Do it as a positive invitation. Do not let blame or judgment enter the conversation at all. This is about creating more safety in the relationship. Safety and acceptance is the only solution to fear, insecurity and vulnerability. It is about expanding your love. So not only do you need to be completely non-threatening in having this discussion — you may actually have to “seduce” him into having the talk in the first place.
Tip for how to present this. You are in the ideal time slot for any couple to get some pre-marital education. All couples need to improve communication skills if they hope to have a lasting marriage. Invest some time and energy into pursuing some basic education in this area. Get self-help books and even consider getting some pre-marital coaching. The work you do now will pay off in your marriage. This is just a small red flag. Take care of this while it is still relatively minor.