Dear Daisy: What Are Reasonable Boundaries for My Boyfriend and His Female Friends?

In her debut advice column, MC's love guru Daisy answers your questions about a boyfriend with too many female pals.

Dear Daisy,

My boyfriend has a lot of close female friends he's known for years. Even though I have a ton of male friends who are like brothers to me, the fact that he has long phone conversations and one-on-one hangouts with so many women — all fabulous and single — makes me nervous. I can't seem to shake my worries that he might be interested in one of them. I don't want to seem insecure and I don't want to make demands. What are reasonable boundaries? —Phoebe, 32, Detroit

Dear Phoebe,

Men are simple creatures, mostly. I had a boyfriend once who often used to wear an old Clash T-shirt that had originally belonged to his ex-girlfriend. It tormented me for months. Was it some kind of signal that he still loved her? Finally I asked him why he was wearing it. "It was clean," he replied. Oh. I repeat: Men are simple animals. They rarely have ulterior motives and often need to be told things. He probably has no idea that his behavior bothers you. So tell him. I'll wager he'll be surprised. The two of you can set boundaries together. I'd say phone conversations with other women are OK; one-on-one hangouts only every once in a while. But you get to decide, and you get to change the parameters if you're still uncomfortable.

Best-case scenario, of course, he complies and you comply, and your relationship matures into a stable, loving blah blah blah. But even then, be alive to your own feelings. Is your worry a clue? Is there a reason you don't trust him? Is he failing to make you feel like you're the grooviest thing that ever came down the pike? Because that's how he should be making you feel: like the specialest piece of special in specialtown. If he's not doing that, you might want to think about setting a new boundary — one that leaves him out.

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