My boyfriend and I are good together. He cooks, I clean. He’s more personable, I’m more social. We balance out each other’s neurotic quirks and it works for us. However, I’m extremely independent (as is he) and we find ourselves coming back to the same conversation (sometimes an argument) – you don’t have to do something just because I want to do it.
The other night a group of my friends were going to trivia at a bar and I wanted to go. Being the great guy that he is, he came with me. On the way there I could tell he really wasn’t into it, especially when he started talking about how he didn’t want to socialize. I asked him if he was okay and told him he didn’t have join if he didn’t want to. He said he was fine. Once we got to the bar he was mopey and silent, which was awkward because for awhile it was just the two of us. Something was clearly wrong and I just felt like I had dragged him to a bar and was forcing him to do something he didn’t want to do. Eventually he began to interact as people showed up, but when we got back to my apartment it came up again because it felt like I was dragging him to spend the night.
In the end I became extremely frustrated, because I see my questioning if he’s alright and telling him he doesn’t have to go places or do things as a courtesy (also, it’s just no fun when someone is mopey), but he sees it as me asking him every 15 seconds if he’s okay (an exaggeration, because I know he hates that) and that he’s stuck in a corner. He believes that I’d be mad if he went and that I’m mad because he didn’t retroactively leave. I don’t know how to explain to him again that I’m not tricking him. He says he’s of course going to do things he doesn’t want to do because I want to, which I understand. But it’s just frustrating when what I see as my caring about his feelings and interests gets turned into me cornering him, because then I feel like I’m being silly and overreacting. We promised complete honesty with each other and I told him that’s what I’m doing when I present him with two options – it’s not a trick.
I’m just frustrated, because it seems as if both of us are stuck. I think he’s being unreasonable in making himself do the little things (like go to a bar) that he doesn’t want to do and I think his reactions are hurtful because they make me feel like I’m at fault. He thinks he’s just being a good boyfriend and is confused. I completely understand that one does things for the person they care about, even when it’s not interesting to them (been there done that), but going to a bar just seems like something so trivial to make yourself do.
Am I just being silly? I know this may not give you the best description of the situation, but when is it okay to say “I don’t want to do that” and stay home? And how do I get him to understand that?
There Is No Pouting In Trivia
the first two questions are easy to answer. so let’s just rock those out, mkay?
are you being silly? no. not even a little bit.
when is it okay to not want to go and stay home? depends on the activity. for me and my husband, the answer to when craig stays home is every time i go dancing. every. time. he hates it. on the flip side, i almost never go to concerts with him anymore. not unless it’s someone i really want to see. most other things we go together. or we don’t. girl time is girl time. guy time is guy time. and sometimes one or the other just doesn’t want to. all that to say, as long as you’re not actively avoiding being in each other’s presence, it’s probably fine to not constantly be in each other’s pockets.
go see Magic Mike without him. i know i’m going to.
how do you get him to understand that? that’s a tougher one. probably the first thing you need to do is ask him why he feels he’s required to go. most guys, if told they don’t have to go to something they don’t want to go to, will happily grab a 6 pack and play some Halo. so it’s possible there’s something else going on, but not necessarily. maybe his last girlfriend made him feel guilty if he didn’t go everywhere with her. you’ll have to feel him out.
next, you’ve got to get him to admit that he doesn’t believe you when you tell him it’s really okay and then find out why. he’s not going to like you putting it in those terms, but you’ve got to be as direct as possible. if you beat around the bush, he’s just going to keep being the bush.
if he still doesn’t get it, i’m not sure there’s much more you can do.
what i am sure of is that you can’t keep going the way you are without resentment starting to set in for one or both of you.
lastly, when you do talk to him about it, do it when neither of you are frustrated or angry. talk about it at a time when it’s not an issue and do not put him on the defensive. smile on your face the whole time. say your piece. then let him say his without interrupting.
let me know how it goes.
oh so sincerely,
any other advice for our friend?
ever been in a situation like this?