How can I ask my boyfriend about who he's texting?

We've been in a long distance relationship for two and a half years. I recently saw his phone and saw the people he texts the most and one of them was a female coworker. I don't know how to approach this situation. How do I ask him about it?.

Virginia Chow
Virginia Chow
Theraspace

I agree with Sherry that in a close intimate relationship, you are entitled to ask questions about his relationship with significant others. These questions help couples to build connection and trust. It's based on the idea that if you reach out to him for whatever reason (support, openess, understanding, empathy), you can count on him and can expect him to be responsive. How he responds to your question will give you an idea whether he helps you to feel more emotionally secure and builds trust or if you feel that you cannot be open with him. If your partner responds in an open and understanding manner, it usually indicates that he cares about your feelings and values your importance. If he responds in a defensive manner, it could mean that he does not like that you are questioning your trust in him or that he has something to hide. Either way, you may wish to explain that building trust is something that is very important to you in a relationship and that talking to him openly helps to foster that. If he continues to be defensive or evasive, then there might be some bigger issues at stake and the two of you may benefit from couples counselling or having a discussion about the values that are important to you in the relationship and how the two of you will go about supporting those values with actions.

Dr. Virginia Chow

www.PsychologyResource.ca

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Elizabeth Anderson
Elizabeth Anderson
MFT Registered Intern

I think honesty is the right approach in this situation. Share with him that you looked at his phone, as well as sharing with him any fears or concerns that you're having about the long distance relationship. Trust is the foundation of any successful relationship and when doubt & distrust creep into a relationship it can undermine the long term health of the relationship. Hopefully, he will understand your concerns and appreciate your honesty. This also might be a good time to seek couples counseling to work on relationship & communication skills.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Earl Lewis
Earl Lewis
Relationship Expert

The best way to get an answer is to just ask. I would defintely let him know you are asking out of concern and not to judge or criticize. Allow him to explain his answer and see how you feel about it. Try to ask him when you both are already discussing other topics and just say, "Can I ask you something?" 

Earl Lewis

www.RelationshipsGoneRight.com

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide.   If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Kristi King-Morgan, LMSW
Kristi King-Morgan, LMSW
Social Worker, Psychotherapist

Just ask him.

I'm not sure how you saw his phone if you're in a long distance relationship, because long distance means you live far apart from each other and don't get to see each other in person. Therefore, I think we may have a different understanding of the definition of "long distance relationship" which makes it hard for me to adequately answer this question for you.

I don't know how old you are, but if you're an adult, after two and a half years, I don't think it's unreasonable to have an open and honest talk with each other about where the relationship is going and what you both want and expect. Long distance relationships are difficult to keep alive because you don't ever see each other in person. Talking, texting, and video chatting isn't enough, and the longer the physical distance remains, the more difficult it becomes to keep an emotional closeness. It may be time to evaluate the situation, figure out when (if ever) the two of you will be able to be together in person, and if you can and want to wait that long. Do you both want the same things out of life? If one of you wants to take the relationship to the next level but the other doesn't, then it doesn't matter if it's long distance or not - if you aren't on the same page with the relationship, it is going to be difficult to make it work.

Trust is important. Issues with trust, insecurity, jealousy, lying and/or hiding things from each other, being afraid to speak up and have an honest conversation - these things can ruin relationships if not addressed. I know confrontation of any sort can be hard for some people, but it is necessary at times. Evaluate your true feelings for him. Are you with him for reasons other than love, such as being afraid to be alone or thinking you wouldn't be able to find someone else? Has he ever given you reason to be suspicious of his female coworkers or friends before? Some people, unfortunately, develop a track record of indiscretions and give their significant others ample reason for distrusting them. However, if this is not the case, you may be unfairly judging his texting through the eyes of your own insecurities. 

It may be time for you both to take an honest assessment of your own reasons for being in the relationship, figure out what you want, and make a decision. This may result in bringing the two of you closer and taking the relationship to the next level. Or, it could lead to a decision to end things. I know that can be difficult, but you both deserve to be happy and to be allowed to make the decisions that will lead to your personal happiness.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Sherry Katz, LCSW
Sherry Katz, LCSW
Couples and Family Therapist, LCSW

If you'd like to ask a question, then go ahead and ask!

Boyfriend/girlfriend is a close relationship and it is usually understood as an exclusive relationship.  You're definitely entitled to know if your wishes to not have him texting another woman, are being respected.

Often people are afraid to ask because they fear the truth will hurt them.

In the short term this is definitely true.

In the long term, knowing you are getting what you want and at the very least stating your expectations to your boyfriend, will clarify for him, what is meaningful in your relationship.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

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