Texts after midnight in a relationship?
January 19, 2013 11:22 AM   Subscribe

My boyfriend and I live together. I am wondering, if it is reasonable to request, that he texts when he is out past 3am (More inside)

I care about him, and get very worried if I wake up at 4am and he is not home. I am not asking him for an explanation about his whereabouts, just to know where he is and that he is safe.
He does not feel this a reasonable request.
I am wondering if this is a reasonable amount of information to request from him. I just want a brief explanation of where he is and maybe what time he might come home. Is this OK to ask?
thank you for your responses.
posted by cascando to Human Relations (71 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I went through this with my ex (Not coming home until noon the next day, or going out at noon to go shopping and coming back at midnight) and I wouldn't put up with it again. Totally reasonable to require he not leave you hanging and let you know what's up.
posted by yellowbinder at 11:25 AM on January 19, 2013 [37 favorites]

If you were in my relationship, this would be an entirely reasonable request. In fact, if one of us has unexpected after-work drinks with someone, we text the other person to say "Having drinks at blah with foo! Be home after - join us if you want."

To me, it's basic courtesy to let the other person know you haven't been hit by a bus.
posted by rtha at 11:26 AM on January 19, 2013 [78 favorites]

If he's often out past 3am, why DON'T you want an explanation of his whereabouts?

Your request is wholly reasonable. He's welcome to ignore it, but I think most people would then find you within your rights to find another boyfriend who isn't roaming the town all night, refusing to give you even the most basic information about what he's up to.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 11:29 AM on January 19, 2013 [60 favorites]

It's absolutely reasonable, and if he balks or makes it seem like you're being naggy/pushy/obnoxious, then it's time to reevaluate things.
posted by too bad you're not me at 11:29 AM on January 19, 2013 [4 favorites]

It is important to realize that in a relationship, you ask for what you want/need, regardless of if it is "reasonable" or not. Everyone's relationship is different, and everyone has different wants and needs. If you ignore your own wants/needs because they are not "reasonable", you're setting yourself up for problems. Of course, the other party is always able to decline these wants/needs, but similarly, if they do so, they're setting their selves up for problems.

For what it's worth, I feel it is both "reasonable" and what you want/need. I concur with everyone else here that there's no reason to think you're asking for too much from him. [With the caveat that I have a distaste for texting and would rather leave a voice mail or send an email to the effect that you're looking for]
posted by saeculorum at 11:29 AM on January 19, 2013 [10 favorites]

It's an entirely reasonable request.
posted by Aquifer at 11:29 AM on January 19, 2013 [2 favorites]

It's not cool to let someone worry needlessly, when a simple text can put them at ease. This is a very reasonable request.
If you text him after waking up to find he is still out, does he reply or ignore the text?
posted by orme at 11:30 AM on January 19, 2013 [9 favorites]

In my relationship, it would be completely reasonable. When my fiancee goes out without me, I like to know the estimated time she'll be home. If she's going to be an home significantly later than expected, she'll text to let me know, so I don't worry that she got into an accident or something. I do the same when I go out without her.
posted by insectosaurus at 11:30 AM on January 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

This seems like a reasonable request...I've even had this kind of arrangement with regular roommates before, just out of concern for each other and our safety.
posted by fromageball at 11:32 AM on January 19, 2013 [4 favorites]

I had typed up almost exactly what rtha said. It's just common courtesy for anyone you live with, even if you're not in a relationship. My college roommate and I would do that, just so we'd know we didn't need to call the police yet.

Really, every hiker knows you're supposed to let someone know where you're going, what trail you're taking, and when you expect to be back. It's not that different for daily life, especially if there's someone who will be worrying when you're not home at a normal hour (whatever normal is for you).
posted by katemonster at 11:32 AM on January 19, 2013 [3 favorites]

Given the nature of your relationship - you've been together a while and you live together - this is a completely reasonable request, and it's actually sort of insane for him to say it's not.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 11:32 AM on January 19, 2013 [34 favorites]

Guy, 30, married happily. When dating, I couldn't imagine NOT telling someone where I was if we (a) lived together, and (b) I was out late. Doubly so, with my wife.
posted by ellF at 11:32 AM on January 19, 2013 [4 favorites]

Perfectly reasonable.
posted by Jairus at 11:32 AM on January 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

I would expect this courtesy from even a non-romantic roommate I was close friends with. With my old roommate, the informal policy was to text if you were going to be out past 1 or if you were bringing "company" home. That's just common courtesy for living with other people who give a shit about you.
posted by decathecting at 11:33 AM on January 19, 2013 [5 favorites]

An "unreasonable relationship request" is "I want you to wear a Teletubbies costume to work to see what happens" or "I want you to shoot me in the arm." It's unreasonable because that could bring harm, like getting him fired, or putting you in the hospital.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 11:36 AM on January 19, 2013 [16 favorites]

It doesn't really matter whether it's reasonable or not. What matters is that this is something you want/need for your peace of mind, and that he has some resistance to doing it. The next step shouldn't be determining whether it's reasonable, but finding out why he doesn't want to do it, and then the two of you can try to figure out a way to simultaneously give you peace of mind and satisfy whatever wants/needs of his are at issue here.
posted by stebulus at 11:37 AM on January 19, 2013 [20 favorites]

Yeah, this is totally reasonable. Although when I was younger and relationships, I would ALWAYS forget to do this and then get resentful when I got called out on it. So that might be why he's being difficult about it. That's not an excuse, just a possible explanation. Maybe if you make it clear you're not trying to scold or anything and make it about your feelings he might be better about it. Because at the end of the day he's got to respect your feelings.
posted by sweetkid at 11:39 AM on January 19, 2013 [3 favorites]

Also: It doesn't really matter whether it's reasonable or not. What matters is that this is something you want/need for your peace of mind, and that he has some resistance to doing it.

Yes, this exactly.
posted by sweetkid at 11:40 AM on January 19, 2013 [4 favorites]

Of course it's reasonable. You're sharing your lives together, if you've moved in. If I were you, this sort of strange pushback would worry me, both because it would make me wonder what he's doing, and because it would make me wonder about what sort of live-in boyfriend thinks it's unreasonable that I'm asking.
posted by Dasein at 11:40 AM on January 19, 2013 [4 favorites]

It doesn't really matter whether it's reasonable or not. What matters is that this is something you want/need for your peace of mind, and that he has some resistance to doing it. The next step shouldn't be determining whether it's reasonable, but finding out why he doesn't want to do it, and then the two of you can try to figure out a way to simultaneously give you peace of mind and satisfy whatever wants/needs of his are at issue here.
This, quoted for truth. Having a chorus of internet strangers agree with you isn't going to change his mind. FWIW I get both why you're asking it and why he's resisting it.
posted by sm1tten at 11:44 AM on January 19, 2013

Wait, he seems to think it's an invasion of his privacy or you're all up in his space for caring about his well being? This is weird. Why does he think it's unreasonable?
posted by discopolo at 11:53 AM on January 19, 2013

My fiancee texts me whenever she's leaving rehearsal or if she's going to grab a beer before heading home, even if she's not going to be home late. I appreciate the gesture, she doesn't mind doing it...win-win all around. We've been together for about a year and have lived together for about half that time. Totally not an unreasonable request on your part.
posted by Diskeater at 11:54 AM on January 19, 2013

Nthing it's OK to ask for what you want.

The "reasonable" thing to do when the live-in partner often stays out all night without giving you any information about where/when or inviting you along is to move out and break up with them already, because they sound either immature or manipulative.
posted by sninctown at 11:56 AM on January 19, 2013 [25 favorites]

Perfectly reasonable. Even my husband, who hates texting or calling or using his phone for anything, says it's reasonable.

Why does he say it's NOT reasonable?
posted by checkitnice at 12:04 PM on January 19, 2013

I would expect this of anyone I shared a home with and to whom I was not completely indifferent: male, female, romantically involved or not. Your partner's refusal to check in shows such a lack of consideration that yeah, actually, that would be a deal breaker for me.

Out of curiosity, if you went out with friends and didn't check in by 3 am, would he be concerned? Would he rather hear from you in that case?
posted by DarlingBri at 12:06 PM on January 19, 2013 [8 favorites]

This makes me wonder WHY he doesn't think this is reasonable?

I have a dear friend with ADD who cannot commit to this kind of agreement, not because he doesn't want to, but because when he is out and about, he just doesn't think to send the text, and it's better for him not to say he will and then fail.

That doesn't make it an unreasonable request on his partner's part (unless she knows he can't follow through and demands the promise from him anyway), but it is a setup to make them both miserable if he agrees to it.

So: your request seems reasonable to me, and it's possible that his refusal also seems reasonable to me, but I don't have enough information. Do you?
posted by rosa at 12:06 PM on January 19, 2013 [5 favorites]

Reasonable to ask for some indication of well-being in these circumstances.

Tellingly, the only partners I've ever had who had a problem with this concept turned out to be abusing my trust egregiously. Hindsight was both 20/20 and livid.
posted by batmonkey at 12:06 PM on January 19, 2013 [15 favorites]

I agree that it's a reasonable request, but I also agree with stebelus. Context and personal histories matter here. He may feel that he really needs some kind of autonomy to feel healthy and happy and this may be a way that he exercises it. He may need nights out where he feels unencumbered by a 'flight plan', free to follow whims and circumstances, and that means he can't really say when he'll be home. Once he tells you 'I'll probably be home by 4am' then at 3:30 he has to say 'sorry, gotta go', or else worry about how you'll be worried about him.

He may be indulging behaviors that he wishes to keep private from you. He may have good reasons for this, and he may have bad reasons for it. I expect he feels that you are not just checking he's safe, you're checking that he's also not up to any mischief, and he doesn't want to feel like his behavior should be subject to your approval, which could be quite a reasonable thing to want if he has not given you any reason not to trust him. Notice this contradiction in your own explanation: "I am not asking him for an explanation about his whereabouts, just to know where he is".

It's important that you ask him to express what needs he is fulfilling from these nights out, and find a way that lets you satisfy your need to know he's safe that can satisfy his needs as well. Recognize that you may also be feeling a need to know where he is and what he's doing as well as that he's safe -- OR, perhaps this is not the case, but he may be perceiving that it is. Likewise he should hopefully understand that in a loving relationship one has to compromise on personal freedom to avoid hurting the other, and that if he feels his freedom on nights out is important, he should be willing to find a way to exercise it in ways that are not upsetting for you given that what you are asking for is reasonable and healthy in many relationships.
posted by PercussivePaul at 12:08 PM on January 19, 2013 [7 favorites]

I am going to go against the flow here. What is reasonable is what is the norm of your relationship. If he (or both of you) are night owls and stay out till the wee hours of the morning as a matter of course, then the difference between 3, or 4, does it really matter? If you both are in before 10 every night, then, I would absolutely expect an update, it all depends.

I, for one, lose track of time very easily. It would irritate me to no end to know someone, other than my parents, was up tapping their foot worrying about me, a grown adult. Worrying about someone feels very self indulgent. Why not just pick up the phone and call them if you are up in the middle of night looking for them? That is what I do when my partner is late. No big deal. But I totally trust my partner, and if they were in an accident, I wouldn't expect them to be calling, but rather the police or hospital, so it is out of my control in any case. And if they got my call/text, and didn't respond back, well, that would be a whole different issue.
posted by nanook at 12:15 PM on January 19, 2013 [3 favorites]

It doesn't really matter whether it's reasonable or not.

Well, yes it does. If the OP asked to get these texts every 5 minutes, that would be unreasonable, which would matter. But what the OP is asking for is reasonable.
posted by John Cohen at 12:23 PM on January 19, 2013 [2 favorites]

Let me be the millionth person to say that this is a perfectly normal, reasonable request.
posted by KathrynT at 12:31 PM on January 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

Yeah, it absolutely matters whether it is a reasonable request or not.

And it is. This should be a no brainer for your SO.
posted by Justinian at 12:33 PM on January 19, 2013

Reasonable. I used to wake up at all hours when I expected my partner home at any time, and that was a pain. He started letting me know with more accuracy when he'd be coming home and I was able to just sleep. You shouldn't have to track down an adult at 3am.
posted by oneirodynia at 12:42 PM on January 19, 2013 [2 favorites]

You should ask for what you want in a relationship, period. Especially in your case, when I get the impression you don't. But yes, this is a reasonable request. And frankly, if he doesn't have a solid explanation for why he doesn't want to, that is unreasonable.
posted by J. Wilson at 12:53 PM on January 19, 2013

Maybe I'm some kind of power hungry woman, but my husband is never anywhere that I don't know where he is, unless he's on a business trip, and even then, he checks in all the time. And it was like that ever since we moved in together.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:09 PM on January 19, 2013 [6 favorites]

It's entirely reasonable. In fact, the idea that it might not be reasonable would be a big red flag for me.
posted by 2oh1 at 1:11 PM on January 19, 2013 [7 favorites]

I stay out late (2, 3am) maybe once or twice a month. My husband doesn't keep his phone by the bed, so once it's past midnight I don't bother texting. Even if he did keep his phone by the bed, I wouldn't just randomly text, because what if he's asleep and the texting noise wakes him up?

So, if it's 4am and he's not around, why don't you text him?
posted by Lucinda at 1:17 PM on January 19, 2013

So are you are are you not looking for him to tell you where he is? You say both. If it causes you anxiety to wake up to him not being there and not knowing that he's safe, yes, it's reasonable to ask him to text you when he's going to be out past 3 or whatever. It's also reasonable for him to say something like "if I remember." It may or may not be reasonable in the context of your particular relationship to demand to know where in particular he is. Some people feel leashed when they have to share that much in real time.

If you suspect something hinky is going on, just know that this request, even if fulfilled will not stop it or provide more or less evidence of something going on. Nothing will really change at all if that's where you're coming from.
posted by wierdo at 1:30 PM on January 19, 2013

Wait, so you just want a text saying "I'll be home really late xoxo" after three and he's saying that's unreasonable? He is being absurd. If I lived with my guy I would start worrying around midnight and he'd call me because he wouldn't want me to worry. Because he cares about me and vice versa. I'd do the same fir him.
posted by windykites at 1:39 PM on January 19, 2013 [2 favorites]

On the other hand, though, if he did it habitually I would probably come to expect it and not get too het up if he didn't like to call. So if it became a thing, it would probably be about something larger that I/we hadn't addressed. Might there be something else at the root of this?
posted by windykites at 1:44 PM on January 19, 2013

The only context in which I would not consider this to be reasonable would be if he worked third shift or something.
posted by valkyryn at 1:47 PM on January 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

Agree with the others, but with one caveat.

I have a regular weekly thing that usually ends around 11:30pm but has been known to go past 1am.
In both cases, my wife is in bed when I get home. So I don't text her to tell her I'm coming home at the normal time nor do I text her to tell her I'll be out past 1am, because the expectations are known.

Now, if she woke up at 1am and I wasn't there, she might text me to check in, in which case I'd reply. But I'm not going to initiate a text or call for a normal, weekly event.

So, perhaps, rather than ask your boyfriend to pro-actively inform you of his plans, take the intermediate step and make sure he immediately replies to your call.
This way, he doesn't need to remember to call you (and cause more worry when he forgets) but you get the reassurance you need from a timely response.
posted by madajb at 1:49 PM on January 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

So what does happen if you text him at 3:30 and say something along the lines of "Just worried about you so I thought I'd check-in and see if you're okay" (note - not asking what he's doing but making sure he's okay?)

If he responds kindly (and relatively promptly), assuring you he's okay then I would guess his resistance has more to do with the fact that he doesn't want to have to remember. While this would irritate me, I kind of get it and could work with it.

But if he gets defensive, snarky or ignores it completely, this would be a big flag for me that he was either up to no good, or cared so little about my emotional state that he couldn't even be bothered to send a quick text to ease my mind, and I would have to re-evaluate our arrangement.

My partner and I had some minor issues around this same thing at first, but as soon as he realized that a text would really ease my mind so I could sleep, he started sending them. Now he sends them voluntarily anytime he's not home by 2am.
posted by scrute at 1:51 PM on January 19, 2013 [4 favorites]

I already had parents who did this, and I don't want my SO acting like an overprotective parent. I think its annoying, and would show that my girlfriend doesn't trust me.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 3:11 PM on January 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

I think you're being completely reasonable. It's basic respect to make sure that your partner is not being freaked out about whether you got home or not. Even my friends and I text one another to confirm that we got into our apartments after taking taxis late at night. Moreover, if you're trying to sleep and you know he will be coming home, you're probably going to be a bit on edge, not knowing if that sound at the door is him or a burglar or whatever. I don't know why he's being so resentful of such a reasonable request, but it's a red flag for me and I'd be very cautious of proceeding without perhaps even couples counselling.
posted by Chaussette and the Pussy Cats at 3:21 PM on January 19, 2013

To me your request is absolutely reasonable. In my relationship, if it was 3am and my fiance hadn't heard from me and he didn't know where I was, he'd be out in his car looking to make sure I was okay. Same would go for me if he was out that late and I didn't know where he was. You partner's refusal is very puzzling and worrying. I mean, how much time does a quick "I'm out at Ducky's Bar with Gorge and Mike. Be home around 3am probably. Love you" text take? 14 seconds? I'm not the suspicious type but I can't help but think he has something to hide. I actually posed the question to my fiance and his immediate response is "I can't think of any on-the-level reason for his refusing to check in....".

Take this for what it is (random advice from a internet stranger who doesn't know you or your partner from Adam), but this a huge pile of red flags and it would be a deal breaker. One, I wouldn't be okay with my partner being out that late regularly. Two, if he insisted on doing it, his refusal to check in to give me the smallest bit of comfort would be extremely upsetting. He shouldn't be so okay with making me so uncomfortable when it would be so easy to ease my mind. Three, his insisting on being out that late all the time + his refusal to check in or let me know where he is = he clearly is doing things that he knows I wouldn't be okay with and that would upset me. Why else would he feel so adamant that I not need to know? Enormous red flags on this one.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 3:32 PM on January 19, 2013 [3 favorites]

I hate doing things like this, but even I, lover of freedom and hater of keeping my god damn cell phone charged, recognize that it is a totally reasonable request.

Yes, it infringes on his freedom, but the whole idea of being in an intimate, presumably monogamous relationship is that you gladly give away a bit of your freedom because it makes your partner feel secure and happy. If he's too OMG NO MY FREEDOM I DON'T CARE IF YOU ARE MISERABLE! MY FREEDOM!! then, okay, I guess that's an okay way to feel but it makes me wonder what the hell he's even doing in a live-in monogamous partnership in the first place. His behavior evinces a lack of desire to inconvenience himself in order to contribute to the sustainability of the partnership. That, in turn, implies a certain lack of caring about you, and that is a very reasonable thing to be upset and unhappy about.
posted by the young rope-rider at 3:41 PM on January 19, 2013 [24 favorites]

Sounds pretty normal.
posted by ead at 3:52 PM on January 19, 2013

It sounds to me like you're feeling the need to justify yourself and placate him... and that you're second-guessing yourself and wondering if maybe he really is right and you're out of line.

I wonder why you would be feeling so defensive because of having asked him to give you such a small thing in your relationship?

I mean, look: you've asked him to do something which by popular consensus is basically reasonable. And he's already refused for reasons of his own, by labeling your request (and you by extension) 'unreasonable'.

How much harder will you work to get what you need from him? Will it be worth it?

Coming from someone who knows by experience: I think that the fact that you've composed this type of AskMe means that this is not the first red flag you've seen.

You can memail me if you want to talk.
posted by (F)utility at 3:52 PM on January 19, 2013 [11 favorites]

You know, one of the best things I took away from a former relationship was the realization that when your SO makes you feel bad for making loving gestures (e.g., you worrying about his welfare late at night and wanting to check in to make sure he's okay), that's a Very Bad Sign of many things about the relationship.

(Conversely: in a healthy relationship, your SO recognizes that these mundane expressions of concern are, in fact, signs of loving concern, and thus he appreciates them, because he is glad to be loved by you.)

It's normal of you to worry about him when he's out past 4AM. You're not wrong to want to check on him. But the fact that he makes you feel bad for wanting to do so -- that's a big red flag.
posted by artemisia at 4:24 PM on January 19, 2013 [10 favorites]

Just out of curiousity, how would he be likely to react if YOU were to do this to HIM? Perhaps it would be worth a try, simply to pound it into his head..... pick a time when he's likely to be home for the rest of the day, then say something like you're going to the grocery store. But instead, stay out for 24 hours; maybe stay overnight in a hotel. Don't answer his calls or texts, let HIM wonder what is happening. Then when you do go home, tell him that that worry he's been feeling? That's EXACTLY what YOU go through every time he can't be bothered to let you know what's going on.

He probably considers your request to let him know when he'll be home as the equivilent of his parents giving him a curfew when he lived at home as a teenager; what you have to do it explain to him that no, you're not giving him a curfew: all you want to know is simply what time to expect him home, no more and certainly no less. If you didn't live together then it wouldn't be reasonable, but you DO live together, and that makes it a totally valid request for one adult to ask of another adult...... wanting to know your partner is okay is completely reasonable, and letting you know when he'll be home is a basic politeness. I'm sorry, but this refusal of his is, as others say above, a major red flag.
posted by easily confused at 4:34 PM on January 19, 2013

Please don't pay attention to the two people who said "worrying is self-indulgent" and "it would annoy me and show my girlfriend doesn't trust me".

Love is love. When you love someone, you care for their well-being. In a normal relationship, it is normal and healthy to check in with eachother every so often, make sure the other person is doing ok, check on then you'll see them again. ESPECIALLY if you've committed to living together. This is coming from from someone who has had plenty of training in the psychology of relationships. It builds a sense of bonding and trust that you are with a partner that cares about your safey and well-being.

Personally, i think it sends a huge red flag up (red fireworks, to be honest), that someone who is involved enough to live with someone can't handle telling them where they are in the middle of the night. Unless you work a job or have a specific activity that requires night time hours....how many things could you possibly be doing in the middle of the night??

This doesn't mean you NEED to know where he is, if that helps the two of you come to a compromise. I had a very abusive ex who demanded constant updates on where i was, when i would be home, what i was doing, to the point that he insisted that i call him the moment i left work and stayed on the phone with him until i got home so he could "make sure" i wasn't going anywhere else (this was based on no wronging on my part, just his paranoia and need for control). As a result of that, in my new, extremely healthy relationship, my boyfriend knows to tread lightly about asking when i'll be home if i get caught up with whatever i'm doing. BUT - I always actively want him to know at least a general time frame of where i am/when i'm shooting to be home, because i know he loves and cares for me, and hell, just for basic safety purposes. God forbid i DO get in a car accident, maybe on a back road that isn't frequented. I'd want someone to at least know what i was doing/where i was at the time!! Sometimes i am absent minded and get caught up in whatever i'm doing, but I always try to at least remember to shoot a text saying "hey, i'm running late, i'll be home around 8 instead of 6".

That being said, maybe he has issues from past relationships. But honestly, at the very minimum, you are entitled to an idea of when he'll be home, and the courtesy of a text if it's going to be later than expected. That is basic courtesy and respect that is due to you as his partner, and he should expect the same from you.

Brutal truth - It really looks like your willingness to bend backwards to make him happy and comfortable is being taken advantage of by him, whether he means to or not (this was and honestly still is the story of my life, but i'm working on it). That's really not ok, and everyone deserves better.
posted by assasinatdbeauty at 4:40 PM on January 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

On posting : what artemisia said in their last few lines about him making you feel bad for a loving gesture. One thousand million times this. Your request is NOT outlandish, don't let anyone convince you it is.
posted by assasinatdbeauty at 4:42 PM on January 19, 2013

How is it a red flag? I was in a relationship with a controlling person and she would constantly check my phone and my Facebook. I'd read this not as concern but as 'oh, she doesn't trust me. She thinks I'm seeing other women.' Maybe he thinks it's the start of you more constantly monitoring his life.

Is your SO actually going anywhere dangerous or does he just go out drinking at his local?
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 4:46 PM on January 19, 2013

You've stated a problem "I get very worried if I wake up at 4am and he is not home" and have suggested a resolution. He does not like the proposed resolution and should propose an alternative, effective resolution, and/or explain what the problem is. I think you know it's reasonable. When you have to ask the Internet for affirmation of your feelings, there's a deeper issue. I wish you the best.
posted by theora55 at 4:54 PM on January 19, 2013

IMO, perfectly reasonable. As I remember, the way I phrased it to my husband was "please text so I don't wake up and wonder if you're lying dead in the gutter." There have been many nights where I've woken up at 4:00 am and checked my phone to find a message like "Done with work; grabbing a beer w/cronies then catching the #800 drunkwagon home*. Love you." I roll over and go back to sleep, without worries.

* BART stops running at midnight, so people who work in the service industry usually have to take the all-night bus home. Ratio of passengers, per the husband, is 1/4 tired workers going home after shift and 3/4 drunk revelers who admonish the other 1/4 to "Smile!"
posted by Lexica at 5:58 PM on January 19, 2013 [2 favorites]

My husband was always good about letting me know where he was and how late he would be. Then he suddenly got very resistant to it. And then he left not very long after that because he wanted to be with the woman he had been spending a lot of those late hours with. So, you can guess what my thoughts are on the matter. If he is that resistant, you most likely have a problem. I am sorry to say this.
posted by litlnemo at 6:07 PM on January 19, 2013 [2 favorites]

Charlemagne, OP isn't stating a desire to be overbearing and get constant updates. She'd just like her partner to let her know where he is or a general time that he'll be home, not left totally in the dark as to what's going on with someone that is supposed to be her closest companion.

Perhaps you should examine that nearly every other person is saying that this is a reasonable request and examine your own feelings as to why you'd feel attacked. I came from an extremely controlling relationship where the same thing happened to me as you, i was even married to the damn fool - but simple concern is a far cry from intrusive demands.

Even if my guy was drinking at the local, i'd still want to know whether he was planning to be back around midnight, or say 3 or 4 am - again, god forbid people have been drinking and something happens, and i wake up have have NO idea whether the person i love is ok or not.
posted by assasinatdbeauty at 6:41 PM on January 19, 2013 [11 favorites]

I don't think it's necessarily "constantly monitoring" to wonder where your partner is or when s/he will be home. For me, one of the nice things about cohabiting is sharing a bed. If I'm going to be sleeping alone I'd like to know, if only so I can grab another blanket, and so I sleep more soundly because I'm not half-awake hoping that creak was you getting ready for bed. In other words, I am not so much worrying or controlling as excited to see you. (I know this is disturbingly reminiscent of a pet.)
posted by gingerest at 6:46 PM on January 19, 2013 [4 favorites]

Your boyfriend sounds like an ass. What is his reasoning for finding your request unreasonable? You're not asking him to stop partying or whatever. Just to say, "Hey, still at x. Should be home around x."

This is a small piece of your relationship, but maybe it's worth thinking about whether this guy cares enough or whether he's worth you caring?
posted by AppleTurnover at 7:28 PM on January 19, 2013

Absolutely okay to ask; you might not get it, and might want to proceed from there.
posted by RainyJay at 7:51 PM on January 19, 2013

If by "boyfriend" you mean "guy I've been stalking and texting for the last 3 years, and by "live with," you mean "you have pictures of him you've gathered from his and his friend's Facebook profiles that you've printed out and pasted all over the walls of your bedroom using the blood of kittens," then yes, yes, it is unreasonable of you to request that he make a point of texting you if he is out past 3am. If, on the other hand, you mean what most people would mean when they say those things, then yes, that is a perfectly reasonable thing for you to ask for and expect to receive.
posted by Good Brain at 8:26 PM on January 19, 2013 [3 favorites]

Reasonable, reasonable, reasonable.

Not even a borderline case, IMO.
posted by Salamander at 9:45 PM on January 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

Adding to the chorus that I've done this with housemates, just dropping them a line if I'm out late unexpectedly so they know I haven't been mugged or eaten by a shark. It's a fairly routine thing to expect when you live with people who care whether or not you are dead.
posted by Jilder at 12:17 AM on January 20, 2013 [2 favorites]

assasinatdbeauty, charlemagne — I think what charlemagne is getting at is that if the BF has been in a controlling relationship before, then something which cascando expresses here as a perfectly reasonable desire may come across to him as invasive and triggery. Cascando hasn't said much about how the boyfriend reacts to the request. It's possible he has some backstory we're all missing here.

Anyway, I agree this is a totally reasonable request, though there's a spectrum of things you could be asking for him to text you. Asking for "Out drinking, home late" before you go to sleep: Totally reasonable, minimally invasive request. "Out at Joe's Bar with Bob and Alice": Still not a weird thing to ask, but could possibly be perceived as clingy. Asking for updates as the situation changes ("Alice's coworker Jane showed up" ... "now we're heading to The Liquor Hole" ... "puking in alley behind strip club; home in 45 minutes!") would be enough to make me feel uncomfortable, but I actually do know a couple who keep each other that frequently-updated when out, and it seems to work for them.
posted by hattifattener at 2:36 AM on January 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

Reasonable with the caveats that a couple of people have mentioned above. 1) Only reasonable when the plan changed. If he's going to a party and plans to be back around 5am (which of course he would tell you), then no text needed at 3 but if he's not back by, say, 6:30 then he should probably have sent a text (also tempered somewhat by where he went and precision of end-time guesses for that activity). And 2) It's less about a poll of what is reasonable and more about what your relationship needs are. Discussing, compromising, and recognizing when a compromise simply can't be met (and leaving) are how you make relationships fair.
posted by anaelith at 3:35 AM on January 20, 2013

I want to back off a bit from what I said earlier, "you most likely have a problem" -- you do, but I think I implied it was "OMG he's 100% sure to be having an affair" when that is probably unfair, and on thinking it over some more I really don't want to imply that.

The problem you have is that he is so resistant to doing something which is both reasonable and important to your peace of mind. Whether his reasons are innocent or not, I think it is a problem if he's not willing to even meet you halfway on this. It is unclear from your post just how far his resistance goes, so if you can have a good discussion about this and find a compromise, maybe it's not as big of a deal. But if he's just putting his foot down and unwilling to even discuss anything but what he wants, and calling your completely reasonable request unreasonable -- that is a fundamental problem, I think.

Someone mentioned ADHD above -- if the problem is that he just doesn't think he'll remember to text you, maybe you can convince him to run Google Latitude on his phone, or something like that. Then you'd know where he is. But I know that doesn't solve the main issue, which is more "when will you be home?"

The main thing is -- your request is completely reasonable as far as I can tell from the question you asked. Reasonable and totally normal in a relationship.
posted by litlnemo at 3:48 AM on January 20, 2013

All of these hypotheticals from Charlemagne and others don't really matter, because the OP has already stated exactly what they want: a one-time location and ETA. That's it. And really, there's no justification at all for anyone to get upset or deny this request unless something weird is going on.

I've been in a relationship where my GF at the time wanted to keep tabs on me, and it rankled when it got to be a situation where she demanded hourly updates, but if the only communication of the night was her texting me at 3am asking where I was and when I expected to be home, I would answer that without rancor. To be honest, I'd feel like an asshole for not letting her know in the first place because that's the most basic level of communication in a relationship.

If this guy has had problems with clinginess or something in the past, maybe he needs to communicate that to OP, but in the end that's just an explanation, and it doesn't mitigate a single attempt at contact on any given night. Calling that unreasonable strikes me as at best immaturity (this isn't a curfew) or at worst either unjustified paranoia or a cover-up.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:37 AM on January 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

This seems a reasonable request to me. In a similar circumstance, and knowing that my girlfriend sometimes loses track of time if she's hanging out somewhere, I'll often text my sweetie saying "hey, 'sup?" when she's unexpectedly off the grid, which often gets me a response of "oh! sitting in [$coffeeshop] and lost track of time. probably home by [$time]." But usually if she's later than expected, she'll text me to let me know she's okay and give an approximate ETA.
posted by rmd1023 at 10:50 AM on January 22, 2013

Say something like: "Please text or call if you will be out past midnight. I want to make sure you are not dead. Even if it sounds overwrought to you and you can't understand why I want that, I am asking that you please do it because it is important to me. I will worry and be unsettled. And I will feel that way, even if you think that's unreasonable."

If he says no after you something like that, then his refusal to do something which you need becomes a big deal, and worth having very long and intense discussions about. (PS you are so 100% being completely and totally and utterly reasonable in making this request).
posted by molecicco at 1:47 AM on January 23, 2013

It's totally okay. I don't see any reason to find it controlling unless you've had a really really bad experience with a controlling partner in the past, or you're the kind of person who treats your partner like your mom.
posted by stoneandstar at 10:22 AM on January 23, 2013

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