Dear Suzie, I have been dating my boyfriend for just over ten months and things are going well. The only problem is that he is the only one with a girlfriend while all of his mates are single. I ‘m 26 he ‘s 24. When I am around his friends constantly talk about strip bars they have been to girls they have pulled etc etc. I feel a bit uncomfortable wiht this. I trust my boyfriend but feel a bit less trusting when he is out with these particular friends. I haven ‘t ever really been out with a ‘lad ‘ before. I am his first serious girlfriend and he says he is happy with me and done all these lads things in the past. I can ‘t help feeling a bit uncomfortable though. I can ‘t really imagine him say ‘no thanks lads not the strip bar again ‘. I understand guys go to those places but these guys go quite a lot and I am not really happy about it. He ‘s justed booked a holiday to Ibiza with these guys and I felt sick when I heard. I have heard thier going away stories before and I doubt this trip will be any different. I have asked my boyfriend in the past if he wanted to be single to go ahead and he says he doesn ‘t so how do I get it into my head that it will be OK. I hate repeating myself to him but I really don; t feel that great about him going. I want him to go to Ibiza for the fun it is (as I have been before) but it; s just the influence of these friends that scare me! Help!
I’m a great believer in couples having their own time and their own friends. It’s important for both of you to be able to go out with mates, and to have those mates. Having such a social network gives you valuable backup and support, and means both of you retain your individuality.
BUT – and there’s a big but! – while you should never drop friends when a relationship gets serious, neither should those friendships take precedence. The whole point of having a partner is that they come first. They whole point of being grown up enough to have a relationship is that you move on from making a group of friends, and the things you did together, your main focus, to being one half of a partnership.
I’m not surprised you’re worried and upset about this holiday in Ibiza. For a start, by opting to go with them he invests money and time in them rather than you. Maybe he has enough of both to holiday with you too, and maybe you’d also like a break this year with your friends, but if neither is true, he’s making a statement; that he hasn’t the gumption to stand up to friends who are still insisting he act like a free agent, or that he’s decided that they come first. Either spells trouble for your relationship.
My other concern is that a lads singles holiday in Ibiza is hardly going to be risk-free to the two of you. Yes, perhaps he’s totally capable of going along simply for the drinks and the sun and sand. But I can see his friends, if he’s the only one with a girlfriend back home, making it almost a challenge to get him fixed up.
There are two issues here; what couples can and should do separately; and how you feel about it. He may have a point if he says he doesn’t want to lose his friends and does want to spend some time with them. But you have a point if you say, NOT that you don’t trust him or that you think he will be led astray, but that YOU are upset and worried, and hurt at being put second.
If his primary focus is on this relationship, he’d want you to be happy. He would listen and the two of you would come to an agreement. It might be for him to spend time with his mates, but with a promise you can trust that he will remain faithful and committed. It would certainly involve the two of you arranging a holiday together equal to or better than the one he has with them. But if this is to be his main holiday and he can’t see how that quite rightly hurts you, then I think you have a problem.
He says he doesn’t want to be single. Being a couple means that the two of you, and what is good for the two of you, comes first. Talk that over with him and be honest about your anxieties.