Dear Miss Emily:

My girlfriend and I have been dating for 1 ½  years and are committed to each other. We are in our late 40s and live approx 2 hours from each other. We get together every weekend and one evening during the week. Often, when I go visit in her city, she has a tendency to leave me standing by myself when we go out to a club or an event to talk to friends; usually always men. Rarely does she do it to me to go talk with women. She will just say, "I will be back," or sometimes she’ll just walk away and may not return from 15 to 25 minutes – occasionally longer. When I address it with her that I don’t appreciate being left behind sitting by myself, she gets an attitude and acts like it's not a big deal. I remind her that I have never done that to her when she is with me, in my town, and she tells me that she isn’t me or that she wouldn’t care if I did that. Am I overreacting?  How do I get her to understand that I don’t like her to leave me by myself not knowing anybody for such long periods of time? I don’t believe there is anything going on to be jealous about, but she does like the attention of men. I have caught her doing some on-line flirting in the past with sexual innuendos and believe I put a stop to that.
Had it

--------------------Miss Emily’s advice------------------

Dear Had:

Commuter relationships are not easy to maintain from the get-go, and when you do see each other, quality time is important. The need for your girlfriend to flirt with other men, whether you are there or not, is troubling.  Rational thinking tells me that there is such a thing as harmless flirting – something some people need to do to reinforce their sense of self-worth and, well, it's a sexy thing, isn't it?  A pre-mating ritual!  However, her cavalier attitude toward your position on this  makes you feel small and alone – something that one doesn’t want from a committed relationship. You can’t expect to be stuck like glue to each other when socializing at a club, or outings with friends, but  a healthy relationship is based on trust and respect.  Monitoring her online penchant for flirting, and her lack of sensitivity to your needs, does not spell COMMITMENT.  Make up your mind.  Is this something you can learn to accept – blow-off, because you “need” her in your life (for whatever reason) or will you decide this behavior is not acceptable to you?  Time often settles this issue.  It’s only a matter of how much time you are willing to waste before you have the courage to do something about it.