Jacqueline noticed a text on Jacques’ phone. It was from Jacques’ platonic female friend from college. Since Jacqueline was feeling more curious than usual, she decided to scroll through Jacques’ texts to this woman. The texts seemed innocent until she found a text message starting with Ma Belle—meaning My Beautiful in french.
When Jacques returned to the room, Jacqueline described what she had done and said, “Why did you say that?” Jacques got defensive and replied, “Why are you making such a big deal of it?”
In our next couples counseling session, we talked about their fight. Jacqueline always trusted Jacques friendship with this woman, but Jacqueline wasn’t comfortable with this greeting. Jacqueline felt it was expressing attraction towards this friend, and didn’t want Jacques crossing this boundary—even if Jacques had no intentions and thought it was innocent.
Since we were discussing this issue, Jacques was able to hear Jacqueline’s discomfort. That was enough for him to say, “I won’t do it again if it makes you uncomfortable.” This was exactly what Jacqueline needed to hear to restore her confidence in Jacques.