“Who are you talking with?” Lucy says as she leans over Steven’s shoulder to take a peek at his cellphone. He shrugs with a little discomfort but doesn’t quite shy away from letting her see the conversation. It’s a text thread with Elizabeth, a name Lucy recognizes as a colleague of his. “Elizabeth? What’s she want at this time of night?”
“Just some input on a project,” Steven mumbles. As Lucy scans the recent texts, there are no glaring red flags, just a few words, phrases, and even a general tone that unsettles her. Steven turns to read her expression and does so with ease. “Is there something wrong with that? She’s just a coworker.”
“There’s nothing wrong with it. I just don’t know how I feel about you two texting, and especially this late,” Lucy asserts.
“What — you don’t trust me?” Steven bites, clearly upset.
Depending on which side of this conversation you’re familiar with, you might feel like Lucy is overreacting or like Steven is totally out of line. Regardless of who is “right,” one thing is for sure in this case: Lucy knows more than Steven.
Impossible, you might think. Only Steven knows whether or not his relationship with Elizabeth is inappropriate. Well, that’s just not so. Steven can only know his own intentions. Lucy brings something very important to the table: special insight into Elizabeth’s intentions.
Here’s why it’s important to listen to your partner’s concerns. You may know that men and women think very differently, but what you might not be so quick to acknowledge is this… Women, you can’t quite think like a man. Men, you certainly can’t think like a woman. It’s incredibly difficult for you to discern the intentions of someone of the opposite sex, and it’s important that you listen to your partner to make sure that what you don’t know doesn’t creep up on you.
where to draw the line
You might be thinking, I can handle this. If he or she crosses a line, I’ll be sure to stop it right then. And this simple assumption is where so many loving partners go terribly wrong in upholding their commitment to their spouse. By the time you are reluctant to allow your partner to appraise the friendship and help you foster a healthy professional relationship… a line has already been crossed.