How to tell a guy to back off your girlfriend

• What is the wisest way for a man to tell someone to back off from his girlfriend?

Kristiana Benson, LMFT:

In this situation the boyfriend needs to be direct and concise with the other person who is communicating/flirting with his girlfriend. In most situations that require communication, “in person” communication is best, however there could be times that communicating with the other individual via text or social media might be the option to use (i.e., geographical distance).

When confronting the individual in person, it is best to have a third-party present to be a “buffer,” in the off chance the communication becomes heated. A third party can provide a neutral stance that communicates non-verbally that he or she is a witness to what is exchanged between both parties.

Whether in person or via texting or social media, the boyfriend needs to identify himself as the boyfriend and say to the other person that he knows what the other person’s actions have been towards his girlfriend and that it isn’t okay. The boyfriend needs to have a firm (but not aggressive) approach and state to not communicate with his girlfriend any further. Additionally, it is best to stay away from using threats of violence against the other person. 

Rachel Elder, LMHC:

Be direct, specific, and respectful in communication with the individual who is crossing boundaries in your relationship. “I am in a relationship with her and need you to respect the relationship we have. I would like you to reduce your interactions with my partner.” People do not like boundaries AND you still need to create them. If this person does not respect the boundary, then your girlfriend and you should talk about what action steps you both will take to keep your relationship intact and honor one another.

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