So my boyfriend and I were together for 4 and a half years, broke up, and are now back together, going on strong for almost a year again now.
He is going on a trip with two female friends–one of which I am pretty sure has a thing for him–to one of my bucket-list cities, New York, during my FAVORITE time of the year, Christmas. I 1000% trust him not to cheat, but this bothers me a lot. Not only that it’s with girls, but the fact that he knows how much I want to do this and he isn’t even acknowledging my feelings, and he does NOT want me to tag along. Am I wrong to be upset? Am I over-exaggerating?
Obviously I am not going to stop him, as he would hate me for it, but I just need to know if other people have gone through this, if I am being crazy, and maybe how this looks from a guy’s perspective.
How does it look? Well, to be frank, it’s not an ideal situation. And for the reasons you cite.
Look, we know you trust him NOT to cheat on you, but this is absolutely a trust issue. No, we don’t think he’s going to cheat, otherwise he wouldn’t be so open about his plans. However, we’re talking trust at the base level, the kind of trust that couples need in order thrive and endure, the kind of trust that says, “I’ve got your back and I know you’ve got mine.”
It’s not that guys shouldn’t have female friends—actually we encourage friendship across gender lines for many reasons. However, when you’re in a committed relationship decisions are not made in a vacuum. Every decision, not only affects the person making it, but their partner. The issue here is that he’s not considering you in this decision. He’s going on this trip whether you like or not, almost as if it’s a test to see what you’ll do, or how you’ll react. Have you talked about it with him? Have you expressed your opinion? What does he say? How does he respond? What if you put your foot down, would he go anyway? Would he break up with you?
So tell us about his relationship with these women? How long has he known them? Are they long-time friends? Is there a reason he might go on a trip with these women to NYC that we’re not seeing? (Work related? Other?) It almost doesn’t matter, but there could be extenuating circumstances that might make this more palatable.
In general, we’re not on board with his plans. We’ll give you a concrete example. Men and women can absolutely be friends with one another, even while one or both are in serious relationships, even married. That said, there are certain unspoken boundaries that shouldn’t be crossed. Going out for coffee or lunch is fine, but dinner might be crossing the line. What do we mean? The line is about perception. No, we don’t think you should make decisions based on what other people think, but in this sort of murky water, it’s a good indication of what might be “right” or “wrong.” If you went out to dinner with a guy friend, the perception by others would be that it’s a date. Whereas lunch or coffee might be interpreted differently. Going on a long trip with a female friend is dinner times ten, which is absolutely crossing the line. And think about it. What if the roles were reversed? How might he be handling this?
So what do you do? This is not necessarily a deal breaker. And we agree with you. You shouldn’t tell him not to go. (He has to come to that conclusion on his own.) But we do think a heart-to-heart is in order. Either before or after. Obviously, you’re upset, and that feeling isn’t going to go away. However, do your best to talk with him when you’re not feeling too emotional. That could cloud what you’re trying to say, and he could focus on your emotions rather than the issue at hand.
Finally, you need to ask yourself what kind of partner you want. Do you want someone who’s going to make decisions in a vacuum or someone who is going to consider you when he makes decisions? Remember, life is long, and if he’s doing this now, this could become a pattern.
We hope it works out for you.
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