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Reclaim Your Space

MF tells you how to take back your freedom without losing your girl

Nip the Drama Early
If she's throwing a temper tantrum every time you back out of the driveway, it's not normal. "She may be trying to force you to change, using weapons she thinks will trigger your guilt," says Mona Barbera, Ph.D., a couples therapist and author of Bring Yourself to Love: How Couples Can Turn Disconnection Into Intimacy. Help your girl act maturely by being both assertive and open. Stop bending to her demands, i.e., do not allow hysterical phone calls to lure you home. Next, pick a time when you're both calm about what's really bugging her, and don't be afraid to initiate the dialogue. But don't try to "fix" her. "That's up to her," says Barbera.

Maintain Your Haunts
She hates the club scene but becomes a bar rat whenever boys' night rolls around. Break free from the shackles by being confident around her. "Do not act hesitant or worried when telling her where you are going," says Barbera. Implying guilt before leaving the house will not make her any happier to see you go. Soothe any residual anxiety by meeting up with her at an after-hours spot or calling her on your way home. That way, she'll know you're alone.

Meet Her Halfway
Your girl wants to hang out 24/7 (and who could blame her), but you must give yourself a little alone time for the good of your relationship — and your sanity. It's perfectly fine to establish a no-girls zone, as long as you explain why as soon as possible. And think compromise. For example, if the gym is your place to blow off steam after work, kindly tell her how you feel and why; then on weekends, bring her hiking.

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