Talk about boundaries, don’t set them
In much the same way you define a relationship together, you have to talk about your expectations for one another like equals—as a guy, you can’t simply set limits on who she can hang out with or where she can go. Likewise, make sure you both know what constitutes an uncomfortable situation to the other partner. After all, a guy holding the door to her might be a red flag to you, but not to her, yet she might not appreciate your harmless-seeming buddy getting too close when he talks. In the end, it’s all about her preferences, and up to you to enforce them using a combination of social engineering and street smarts.
What to do if you’re apart
Don’t sweat the fact that you can’t always be there. Rather than trying to control the situation when she’s out with friends or on a vacation apart from you, forget demanding incessant updates. Common courtesy dictates a quick call or text at most when she moves venues (Heading home!) or plans unexpectedly change. No need to take things further, and certainly no need to worry. After all, she’s a grown woman. If you’re wary of the seedy part of town her girl’s night out is heading to, ensure she’s with friends who look out for her and know her schedule so you’ll know roughly where she’ll be in case of an emergency.
What to do if other guys are paying too much attention to her
For better or for worse, us guys bristle when other dudes direct unwanted attention at our girlfriends. The most important thing to do is keep your jealousy in check, as most of the problem lies not with the other guy, but in your head. Most men are just being friendly and aren’t out to poach your girl. If you are certain a guy is getting too flirtatious with your girlfriend, however, enter the conversation not as an aggressor, but as someone out to make friends. Let him know she’s taken and find a common thread over the NBA championships. Now you’ve got a new buddy for the rest of the night. After all, the best way to disarm a real opponent is not by getting in their face, but by giving them respect.
What if a guy gets physical with her
Some guys casually rest their hands on people’s shoulders when they’re talking, so if that happens to your girlfriend in front of you, it’s no reason to start a fight. However, if she makes it known it’s uncomfortable and he keeps it up (or worse), there’s a clear problem here—for one, unwanted touching can constitute assault. Unfortunately, if you’re not careful, that’s exactly what you may be charged with if you go at him, bro. The best way to diffuse the situation is to leave the area quickly and notify security or police—confronting the offender yourself may provoke a violent outburst from an indignant prick. Consider violence in self-defence a last resort, and only when you’re confident her well-being and safety are at immediate risk.