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Do you feel comfortable with your spouse having dinner alone with a member of the opposite sex?
It’s a debate heating up on social media after a recent profile of second lady Karen Pence in The Washington Post included a comment Vice President Mike Pence made in 2002: He never eats alone with a woman other than his wife.
The TODAY anchors were split about the approach.
“I think it makes some sense,” Savannah Guthrie said. “I don’t think I would ask my husband to have that policy, but it’s probably wise.”
She recalled a friend whose father gave him this advice when he got married: Don’t let yourself even get in a situation where you’re tempted and you’ll be in good shape.
“I think from his point of view, the easiest way to resist temptation is to avoid it,” Craig Melvin added.
But that’s just going back to the notion that men and women can’t be friends, Carson Daly added, calling Pence’s policy “old school.” “Why wouldn’t you have dinner?” he asked. Maria Shriver wondered if Mrs. Pence has the same policy.
Social media weighed in. On one side, conservative blogger Matt Walsh questioned men's friendships with women.
Singer Bette Midler, on the other hand, joked that Pence's rule must have something to do with trust issues.
When it comes to the wisdom of the approach, you have to take into account each spouse, what they’re comfortable with and who that third person one spouse is having dinner with actually is, said Bela Gandhi, founder of the Smart Dating Academy in Chicago. Like many people, she often shares a meal alone with someone of the opposite sex as part of work, and her husband is fine with that.
But for some people, the situation can lead to a slippery slope, with an affair becoming a possibility. The key is to be introspective.
“Preventing adultery begins with yourself,” Gandhi told TODAY. “You have to ask yourself: Am I having dinner with this person because I’m attracted to them?”
“Your spouse should be the person with whom you are most intimate with emotionally. If you start to develop a very close emotional intimacy with somebody else and you find yourself wanting to spend more time with that person… you need to ask yourself: What is going on?”
If you feel uncomfortable about your spouse having dinner with someone else, Gandhi’s biggest piece of advice is to trust your gut. If you feel something is wrong, it probably is.