When Vanessa Paradis found out her longtime boyfriend, Johnny Depp, was asked to shoot a steamy sex scene with Angelina Jolie, she reportedly had four words for him: "I don't think so". We can't exactly blame her. As much as we might admire Angie's ballsy attitude, the actress behind Mrs Smith has shown that she's willing to do whatever it takes to get the Mr Smith she wants…and no wife- sorry, Jen-is about to stop her.
But if you have a feeling that outright forbidding your guy from hanging out with a man stealer could eventually backfire, you're right. "Telling your partner whom he can and can't spend time with will only hurt your relationship," says clinical psychologist Susan Axtell, Psy.D. Best-case scenario: he'll feel controlled and resent you for it. Worst case: he'll continue to hang out with her behind your back.
Of course, the ideal strategy is to make sure your relationship is rock solid. "If you and your partner are well connected, he won't cheat on you-no matter what her intentions are," says Allen Berger, Ph.D., author of Love Secrets Revealed.
That said, should you sit back and do nothing while your guy interacts with a female friend or colleague who you know will attempt to seduce him at every turn? No way. Just because demanding that he ditch the bitch is a no-no doesn't mean you can't put a lid on their relationship- provided you go about it the right way.
Go easy. Start by dropping her name when you feel close to your man, like on a weekend morning. "The right timing can keep him from taking what you're saying as an accusation and getting defensive," says Xavier Amador, Ph.D., author of I'm Right, You're Wrong, Now What?
Maintain a non-confrontational tone and say, "I understand that you're friends with this woman, but something about the way she acts makes my skin crawl. I don't want to tell you not to see her, but she makes me so uncomfortable, I had to say something."
"When you talk about your emotional reaction to her as being separate from him, you're showing him respect-not doubting him," Amador says.
Follow up by suggesting that you turn their twosome into a threesome. Tell him that spending more time around her might make you feel a little more comfortable with her.
Phase two. Once you enter the picture, there's a good chance she'll leave it. If not, it's time for talk number two. Wait a few days and then explain that your gut feeling about her is getting worse instead of better. Try saying, "It would mean a lot to me if you could spend less time with her... or even not see her at all. I know this is a lot to ask, but would you mind doing this for me?"
Then leave the ball in his court. "Any guy who cares about you deeply will start seeing this woman less and less," Amador says.