Adapted from a recent online discussion.
Hi, Carolyn: My boyfriend and I have been together two years. Some longtime friends of his are planning a group trip to Paris, a city I’ve always wanted to visit. I flat-out can’t afford it this year.
My boyfriend wants to go, and asked me how I would feel if he went. Part of me wants him to have this thrilling social experience. But a bigger part of me feels hurt that he would go without me, hurt that he hasn’t even floated the idea of helping me pay to come along (though I definitely wouldn’t expect him to cover me completely), and kind of hurt that he envisions being able to have a good time doing something I’m unable to do right now.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Idaho Statesman
Am I way, way off? I’m trying not to express any of the above, but feeling very upset.
Paris Without Me
Why would you try not to communicate? And wait anxiously for him to read your mind, then get upset with him for failing to?
Please, out with it, all. Admit you’re torn, hurt, envious, mixed up because Paris is such a loaded thing for you, all of it. If you’re embarrassed or annoyed to be feeling this way, admit that, too.
And tell him, since I urgently hope it’s true, that pressuring him to skip this trip is not on your list of options.
In doing all this: Be calm, be able to handle whatever bad news he delivers, be clear in stating that you want him to respect you enough to be honest with you and that you will return that respect by not freaking out. Then don’t freak out. (Did I say that in enough ways?)
If he, guilt-free, wants you to join him on this trip, then he needs to work with you – paying, lending, bargain-hunting. If he wants this time with friends, then he needs to say so. He can love you and still want to focus on (and enjoy the heck out of) “longtime friends,” by the way – something you probably know intellectually but aren’t quite feeling at the moment. Plus – is his “group trip” the one you’ve “always wanted”?
Re: Paris: The fact he isn’t offering to pay or finding a way to help her is shocking to me. If someone I loved wanted to go so bad, I’d find a way to make it happen.
Re: Paris: WOW! Seriously!!?? That comes off as incredibly selfish. You get to spend the BFs money because you want to? I have no other word but WOW. And what would “work with you” mean? Are there grant programs for people who really want to go to Paris?
Re: Paris: My partner travels a bit to Europe to see family, and I’m too tied down to accompany him. I just admit to him that I’m somewhat resentful of his trips, although I’m happy he’s going.
You know what? I feel about a million times better after it, and so does he, because he feels a bit guilty. The conversation goes about a million times better than when I try to suppress the anger. Calm honesty is way better than resentful suppression of feelings.
Calm and Honest
Email Carolyn at email@example.com, follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/carolyn.hax or chat with her online at 10 a.m. each Friday at www.washingtonpost.com.