My boyfriend spent the day with his female friend, how should I feel?
June 30, 2013 7:52 PM   Subscribe

My boyfriend of 5 months has a great old female friend who he never had any romantic relationship with. We hang out a lot together with her and she is great, but they also spend some time together alone as well (such as occasional dinners and drinks when I am working or in school). My BF rides a motorcycle and loves going out of town during the weekends for the day, I usually sits behind him on the bike. Today I was working and he took his female friend out of town on his bike for the whole day. They went hiking, lunch, swim in an isolated lake, and visited a nice town on a lake. I know they don’t have any romantic thing going on, but this whole thing bothered me a lot. How should I feel about it? I feel like no other girl would be happy about that, nor he would be happy if I did the same thing with a guy friend. I feel so frustrated by this.
posted by TKL0125 to Human Relations (55 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
I would be happy that my boyfriend had a fun day with a friend he likes. So it's not true that "no other girl would be happy about that." I think it's healthy and normal and fun for people to have friendships with lots of people, regardless of gender, and that it's good for people in relationships to still make time to do one-on-one things with their friends.

But that's me. You're entitled to feel some other way if that's how you feel. It sounds to me like you're upset, but you're afraid to be upset, and so you're asking other people to tell you that it's okay to be upset. And if you're upset, that's how you feel, and it's not wrong to feel that way.

I think you should talk with your boyfriend about how you feel.
posted by decathecting at 7:57 PM on June 30, 2013 [38 favorites]


It doesn't matter how other people would feel or say you should feel - if it bothers you have an open/honest discussion with your boyfriend about it.

I say this because this: I feel like no other girl would be happy about that isn't entirely accurate. I wouldn't care if my partner did this, I've dated people who spend days with their friends doing whatever and I've done the same thing without anything romantic happening.

That being said, if it bothers you I don't think any amount of reasoning is going to stop it from bothering you. Just talk to him about it.
posted by Autumn at 7:59 PM on June 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


Talk to him about it because it's important to you. BUT, at the end of the day either you trust him and her or you don't. If you don't and he's adamant that there's nothing there - this is probably doomed because you'll always second guess the time he spends with her or try to force him to choose.
posted by heartquake at 7:59 PM on June 30, 2013


Why are you bothered? Is it that he didn't spend the time with you? Is that he spent a lot of fun time with girl? Are you worried, deep down, that something is or will go on there? Anecadata, but I would be jealous if my GF went out on a fun day like this w/o me, but... I trust her and she is allowed to go out on her own, with male friends.
posted by Jacen at 8:00 PM on June 30, 2013


How should I feel about it?

There's no 'should' about it. You feel the way you feel. That's OK.

How do you want to feel about it? You seem to be a bit jealous right now.

I feel like no other girl would be happy about that,

This isn't true. I go places without my significant other all the time. I have dinner with female friends one on one, I go out to drinks with people including female friends.

It's not a problem for my significant other, because she trusts me.

Do you trust your boyfriend? Is there something he can do or say to help you trust him?

Talk to him about how you feel.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 8:02 PM on June 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Why, specifically, does this bother you? Have you had reason to believe that he's interested in something? Do you feel that he's expending energy with this other woman that he should be expending on you? Do you have trouble with trust?

It's okay to feel what you feel, but roping off more than 50% of the world's population as not being okay to hang out with your boyfriend alone could become frustratingly limiting and eventually lead to heartache.
posted by xingcat at 8:07 PM on June 30, 2013 [8 favorites]


I feel like no other girl would be happy about that

This isn't true. Lots of people don't mind if their SO's have friends.
posted by pompomtom at 8:15 PM on June 30, 2013 [7 favorites]


I would not be happy about this either -- it's too "date-like" for me.

In my relationship, we don't really spend one-on-one time with people of the desired sex, alone, in date-like circumstances. I really like it this way, as I tend towards insecurity, and would rather my partner not do this kind of activity with other women, and would rather not do it with other men either.

I don't think trust is the issue -- it's not that I'm afraid that he will cheat, it's that this kind of emotional intimacy is a lot to maintain with several people. Even if they never have any physical contact, I want us to be the only ones who share this much emotional intimacy.

That said, I'm not sure how common this is. I just know I like it!
posted by 3491again at 8:16 PM on June 30, 2013 [24 favorites]


I think it's healthy for a guy to have close female friends that are non romantic/non sexual. To me, it's a good sign and I was happy when I found out my boyfriend has a close female friend that lives nearby.

You're allowed to feel upset by this. You should talk to him about how it makes you feel, but don't accuse him of cheating or something. People are allowed to have friends and it seems unhealthy and jealous to believe otherwise.
posted by winterportage at 8:18 PM on June 30, 2013


This bothers you because they something you thought only the two of you did together. Talk to him and establish a few non sexual things that are just for ya'll, say riding on his bike or going to a particular restaurant.

It's healthy to have platonic friends of the desired sex. But in a committed it's also good to set boundaries and reserve a few things for said relationship.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:25 PM on June 30, 2013 [18 favorites]


I have a male best friend. He has a girlfriend he's been with roughly the same amount of time as you've been with your boyfriend (for a second I thought you might be her!).

A few weeks ago he flew out to spend a week visiting me in California. He slept over at my apartment. We took a weekend trip together and shared a hotel room. We did a lot of the things you're talking about your boyfriend doing with his female best friend: hiking, picnics, romping around the countryside, visiting weird little towns, etc.

Absolutely nothing happened between us. We're best friends. He's like a brother to me. I can't even imagine anything romantic between us with a straight face.

I can't tell you how to feel, but I think that if you usually trust your boyfriend and you haven't noticed anything questionable between them in the past, you should trust that they just went out together and had a nice day. Especially considering that you guys are friendly and she hangs out with you as a couple.

I agree that your feelings about this are totally fine to talk over with your boyfriend, if that would make you feel better.
posted by Sara C. at 8:25 PM on June 30, 2013 [13 favorites]


I would feel the same way, because of the types of things they did. It's not like they spent a day at a music festival or something. They did a variety of activities that 3491again described as Date-Like.

I have had a long term guy friend in the past, that my husband had met, who I spent a lot of alone time with. (A lot being maybe once a week, but it was a lot for me since I spend most of my time with my husband.)

He and I never did anything date-like. We sometimes went to the club -because my husband hates the club. We mostly went to the mall to find him jeans, or got coffee and chatted. Personally, I would be annoyed that they did something new, fun, and adventurous together. It seems like you want to do that with him since you are dating.

Talk with him about you concerns. Tell him you really want to experience new things with him. I am assuming you haven't minded other times they hung out more casually. I am also unclear if you have done that type of day trip with him as a romantic couple. So if you have then that means that trip has romance attached in your mind. If you haven't then it seems like something you want to do with him first.
posted by Crystalinne at 8:26 PM on June 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


How should I feel about it? I feel like no other girl would be happy about that, nor he would be happy if I did the same thing with a guy friend. I feel so frustrated by this.

The answer to the question is, you did not like it. I wouldn't worry one second about what some "perfect person" feels about it. You do not like it. And it is perfectly OK to say, hey, that sets off painful feelings when you do that. It sets off my animal alarm and that hurts. So, could we talk about the effect of your relationship with your friend on me? I continue to support you in having a great friend like her, but that sets off the alarm in me, no matter how innocent the trip was.

You are hurt by these things. It is OK to tell him that. To not do so would be not being honest with him.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:34 PM on June 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


I know plenty of "girls" who are in open or poly relationships and wouldn't have minded even if their boyfriend had sex with another girl while on this daylong roadtrip. And I know plenty of girls who get jealous if their boyfriends so much as talk to another woman in a grocery store line-up.

There's no universal here. You feel how you feel, and you have to own that feeling.

Do you not like it because you don't trust him? Because you don't trust her? Because you don't trust them together? Because you're jealous that they got to go do fun things while you were stuck at work? Because you want him to only ever want to do that kind of thing with you? Do you think they're talking about things he doesn't talk about with you? Or talking about you? Or not talking about you?

If you can get to the root of your concern, you can figure out what you need to do to move past it, or what you need from him in terms of a compromise in behaviour to make you feel comfortable. Or maybe that's not possible, and you've just found the issue that's a dealbreaker for you and him.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:36 PM on June 30, 2013 [5 favorites]


There's no right or wrong way to feel, just a right or wrong way to address those feelings.

The wrong way is to, on the one hand, believe that you "should" have a certain position, and then needing to justify why you don't feel that way.

The right way is to talk about it with your boyfriend and figure it out together.

Personally, i'd be a tad uncomfortable with this because it does seem date-like, but I would let it go because he's so upfront about it, and I sometimes do datelike things with platonic male friends.
posted by windykites at 8:37 PM on June 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


I feel like no other girl would be happy about that...

I'm gonna have to disagree with you here. My husband's best hang out buddy (before she moved away) happened to be female. He would go to her place and hang out and play video games for hours. They'd go to the movies together (I hate going to the movies). They often had dinner or lunch together. In other words, they spent a lot of time alone together. They never had a romantic relationship, as a matter of fact she had a boyfriend. The same boyfriend she moved across country with. Neither her boyfriend nor I had any concerns about the time they spent alone together.

Here's the thing. You either trust him, or you don't. I trust my guy to hang out with whomever he wants to, regardless of gender. Sure, talk with your guy, but your feelings are your own. And you're the one that needs to come to terms with your feelings. Your guy hung out with his friend. He didn't do anything wrong. That's my take on it.
posted by patheral at 8:40 PM on June 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Is his doing this or similar things taking away from you two doing things together? (i.e. he doesn't want to go out because he's already had his fun but you do)

If the answer is 'no' or 'rarely', then I think you should try to feel differently. Maybe you are jealous because you had to work?
posted by flimflam at 8:44 PM on June 30, 2013


Response by poster: I must add that I am too, like many others who commented, feel its wonderful and healthy to have other friends to hang out with alone (male or female), I am all for it, always encourage it, and think its good for the relationship over all. Their occasional dinners and hangouts do not ever bother me at all.
It was today in specific that made me feel like there was something a bit disrespectful about it. It is something that maybe my BF could have done when he was single but not so much when in a relationship. They did things together that are pretty intimate and close. And I agree that maybe this bothers me mostly because we did the same trip together before, and it felt romantic and special. I trust him completely. Its just that I feel some line was crossed somewhere today. And I hate to become that girlfriend that tells their boyfriend what they can and cannot do.
posted by TKL0125 at 8:50 PM on June 30, 2013


I'm not Sara C's male best friend (see above), but I may as well be, as that sounds a lot like what my female best friend and I do in the rare opportunities we have to hang out together.

We've been friends for 20 years and have slept together exactly zero times (though in the same hotel and/or bed, fully clothed, no kissy face anything a dozen or more times).

This is a data point and a data point only, but if my girlfriend of five months told me spending time with her like this made her uncomfortable, I'd be okay having that talk (and I agree with all above that this talk should happen). That being said, if my girlfriend of five months took it to a place that ended in some sort of ultimatum or demand, I'd absolutely walk away from said girlfriend of five months.

Maybe I'm at a different point of my life than you and your boyfriend are (nearly 40 years old), but my meaningful and long-lasting friendships are always - always always always - going to win out over my new and growing relationships.

Again, it's a data point only, but tread carefully here - and by carefully, I mean in the most mature fashion possible - in bringing this up for discussion.
posted by GamblingBlues at 8:52 PM on June 30, 2013 [7 favorites]


I'd feel jealous that I had to work instead of having a great day on a motorcycle adventure. I would not allow my jealousy extend into my BF's long-time friendship with his friend who happens to be a woman. If the roles were reversed and my BF got jealous of my time with a guy friend, I'd feel disrespected, angry, and would think less of my BF for thinking he has some entitlement to decide who I can be friends with and how I can spend time with them. There's nothing about their days's activities that sound untoward in any way.

You say you spend a lot of time with BF and his friend. Great! That should make you feel more comfortable. But, their time with you is different from time with one another. All close friends need time alone to share and be with one another. You should not take that fact as a personal insult or reason to be jealous or suspicious.

Your time with your BF is romantic and special because you're in a romantic relationship. The same activities with a friend are not romantic because their relationship isn't romantic. Don't confuse emotions with places and events. This is your issue of not being in control of your own jealous feelings. This is not an issue of your BF having done anything wrong.
posted by quince at 9:02 PM on June 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


I totally understand what you are saying. I generally feel that people should try to keep jealousy under control, but the example you gave is a lot of personal time together compared to, say, having a drink or meal with a friend. So I can understand that it would feel like he is spending as much quality time with her as he is with you and that would feel uncomfortable. If it bothers you, then you really need to talk to him about it rather than keeping it to yourself.
posted by Dansaman at 9:12 PM on June 30, 2013


Sara C said this:

I have a male best friend. He has a girlfriend he's been with roughly the same amount of time as you've been with your boyfriend (for a second I thought you might be her!).

A few weeks ago he flew out to spend a week visiting me in California. He slept over at my apartment. We took a weekend trip together and shared a hotel room. We did a lot of the things you're talking about your boyfriend doing with his female best friend: hiking, picnics, romping around the countryside, visiting weird little towns, etc.

Absolutely nothing happened between us. We're best friends. He's like a brother to me. I can't even imagine anything romantic between us with a straight face.

I can't tell you how to feel, but I think that if you usually trust your boyfriend and you haven't noticed anything questionable between them in the past, you should trust that they just went out together and had a nice day. Especially considering that you guys are friendly and she hangs out with you as a couple.

I agree that your feelings about this are totally fine to talk over with your boyfriend, if that would make you feel better.


And I can personally say exactly the same thing, only it was my female best friend that flew out to see me for a California road trip, she stayed in my house and then we shared hotels, and basically all the rest just as Sara C described, including it being completely platonic as always...and in my case, I'm not actually dating anyone, and still nothing other than platonic stuff went on, because that's how our friendship is (no benefits!)

So yeah, you can and should let him know how you feel. Just make sure you think for a moment: are you jealous because she got to do fun things with him that you wish you could have been a part of, or jealous because you think they're lying to you? That's an important difference, and you should try to figure out which before you talk to him.
posted by davejay at 9:27 PM on June 30, 2013 [5 favorites]


Your further explanation makes sense as a motivation for your feelings -- you had those experiences and you thought they were special for you and him, and now he's sharing them with someone else and that makes the experiences you thought were special feel less special in retrospect. It's not a completely rational/logical response, but as emotional responses go, it's not cray-cray and -- and this is a big plus for the health of your relationship -- it's not a trust issue.

It also doesn't make him doing those things with her wrong or bad or even something he should never do again.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:33 PM on June 30, 2013 [6 favorites]


They did things together that are pretty intimate and close.

I agree. And I'm someone who has very close friendships with men, including having them stay at my place when they're in town. My very best friend -- a guy -- has a new girlfriend, and I am very mindful to be respectful of any possible insecurities she might have, and so I've kind of stepped back and modified my interactions with him to help put her at ease. I'm happy to do so.

Something about the bike ride + swim...hmm. Would he take a male friend for a long ride on the back of his bike?

I don't think you have anything to be suspicious of -- I just get where you're coming from. As others have said, it's a rather romantic sounding day they had.
posted by nacho fries at 9:40 PM on June 30, 2013 [14 favorites]


I would be bothered by this too, for the record, BUT, I know that being bothered is about my stuff and my past, and not necessarily about my current relationship. So, yeah, it's okay to be bothered, but you need to check in with yourself and define what it is that's bothering you.

You know, in kind of an immediate way, that this event occured. Which speaks volumes for how on the up-and-up your bf is. So, without knowing the rest of the history of the relationship, it doesn't sound like he's not the one that you aren't trusting. Is it her? Or is it triggering something in your past?

I think you should have an open convo with your bf about the fact that this bothers you. But if it's her that's triggering you, tread lightly. At 5 months in, friends are still tighter bound than new girlfriends. If it is her and you ignore it at this stage, your relationship may shift to getting even closer, and she may naturally fade to the backgeound, as friendships do in the face of serious relationships. Just make sure you don't end up in a "it's her or me!" drama-scene, 'cause that's pretty much a losing battle.
posted by vignettist at 10:04 PM on June 30, 2013


It's totally legit for you to feel uncomfortable with this, even if you trust him completely and even if nothing happened and EVEN IF you aren't worried about something happening between them. This was a very date-y day. I doubt very much that he'd have had this kind of outing with a male friend. Not saying it was sexual, but it's definitely an intimate vibe. Riding behind him on the bike and then having a lovely swim together in a lake? Come on now.

Like everyone is saying: talk to him about it. It's fine for him to have friends of the opposite sex; but it's also fine for you to ask him to respect some boundaries, and it's entirely reasonable for those boundaries to be different when he's in a relationship than when he wasn't. Some good rules of thumb to suggest might be "would you go on this outing with your uncle?" and "would someone watching you and your friend assume you were involved?"
posted by fingersandtoes at 10:05 PM on June 30, 2013


I think the root of your discomfort is this:
maybe this bothers me mostly because we did the same trip together before, and it felt romantic and special.

It's OKAY if it bothers you, and it's okay if you don't have a specific reason. But it does look like it bothers you because when you did it with him, it felt special and romantic. If he was able to do the same thing with a friend, it might feel like either a) she's not just a friend, or b) he didn't feel it was as romantic and special a thing as you did. And neither one of those scenarios feels particularly good.

I think you should definitely talk to him about your discomfort. You don't need to give ultimatums; you can approach it from the standpoint that you thought it was your special thing with him, and it hurt that he felt comfortable sharing it with someone else. These are the kinds of conversations you do need to have: it sounds like there may be a mismatch between what makes you feel loved and special and what makes your boyfriend feel loved and special. Reconciling that could go a long way towards making this relationship more awesome than it already is.

I know whereof I speak: I am someone who finds making and eating special food to be a particularly loving, intimate thing. If someone makes me pancakes on a Saturday morning, I feel all warm and fuzzy inside. If someone I love is sad, making them food is a gesture of caring for me. For my partner, food has nothing to do with love. It took us a while to understand these things about each other, and involved some hurt feelings -- including, yes, me feeling jealous because he'd made a food for someone else that I thought was our romantic, special thing.

This could be a great opportunity to work on lining up some of those ideas. It's very possible that he doesn't know that, for you, that day was particularly special, especially if this is the sort of thing he's done regularly for fun since well before you met. Talk to him about it. (This stuff is really closely related to the concepts in The Five Love Languages, which is often referenced on AskMe, and may be a good resource for you.)
posted by linettasky at 10:06 PM on June 30, 2013 [4 favorites]


It was today in specific that made me feel like there was something a bit disrespectful about it.

That's because it was. A lunch, a dinner, or a movie - thats one thing. But your boyfriend spending an entire day with another woman, hiking, swimming in a secluded lake, all while riding around on a motorcycle puts him (and her) in a quite position of temptation, and I'm not at all saying it's likely something happened between them, but that's why its disrespectful.

I feel like no other girl would be happy about that

I think it's clearly implicit you're referring to girls in monogamous relationships, and though there may be a few exceptions, your feeling is justified here for the reason stated above.

No one is perfect and we all make mistakes, so for me trust includes avoiding situations which could lead to such mistakes. You may want to bring that up with your boyfriend.
posted by anonop at 10:15 PM on June 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


I trust him completely

Then why are you asking The Internet how you should feel about this?

Maybe just because it's Pride weekend and I'm queer I spent an evening hanging out with a crew that included current partners, exes, exes of exes, etc., but, Christ. It's fine (really!) to have your own personal feeling of "no not this" for whatever value of "this" is.

But own that. If the feelings of squick are the feelings you have, then have them and communicate about them if they are going to fuck up your life/relationships. Asking the Internet for permission to do that reads as a cop-out to me.
posted by rtha at 10:37 PM on June 30, 2013 [6 favorites]


Like all emotions, this is very likely a transitory response to the situation and, with a little time, you'll have better perspective on it. I don't have a jealous bone in my body but I had a momentary surge of ... some reaction when I heard my boyfriend call another female friend "Beautiful" several years ago, when I had assumed he only used that name for me.

It's not that she's not beautiful. She is.

It's not that I think he should only find me beautiful. I don't.

It's not that I think it means he wants to have sex with her or be in a relationship with her. I know neither of those are true.

On reflection, I realized that all my reaction meant was that I had assumed something that wasn't true (i.e., that "Beautiful" was a pet name especially for me) and once I could see that, the charge came off of it. I think you should have the conversation with your boyfriend but only after you can pinpoint what the real issue is. For me, none of this mattered at all once I figured out that what I wanted to ask him was "what are the special names you have for me alone?" Then I could hold onto those as being something that is girlfriend territory and not simply female friend teritory.

We think it's obvious because we have sex with him and she doesn't, but that's not the whole thing. Just be sure not to turn it into something bigger than it is just because you had a little jolt. Emotions can be very unreliable informants, especially raw and without sufficient reflection.
posted by janey47 at 10:52 PM on June 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


I have a male best friend, and I completely disagree with anyone and everyone who says this is OK. Let me tell you why...

My best friend and I were never ever involved romantically, but we were extremely intimate - practically roommates, business partners, supportive of creative goals, and we're just like family.

After I married, we stayed close for a while. Then Husband and I moved a half mile away from best friend. Best friend is now with future wife.

The first year best friend was with future wife, there was, like, ZERO room for our former intimacy. Plus, we had a solid base. We did not need it.

I can't imagine best friend re-creating a date he's shared with future wife with me! The closest we ever got was having a quick dinner alone together at a acclaimed neighborhood pastrami joint. Future wife and I are both from NYC, and best friend (I think) wanted to gage if her pastrami snobbery about this place was legit. When I unknowingly backed up her opinion that the pastrami was sub-par, best friend was all, "That's what she said!"

That's the closest I ever got to weighing in on their relationship or being inserted into it, and that's only because best friend used to make fun of my NYC snobbery, not being from there, himself.

Maybe we are weird ( although best friend is exceedingly normal) but intrinsically when we both partnered up, certain past gestures and actions evolved. We are still emotionally close, but practically speaking in a day to day way - hells NO.

Everybody is different, but my best friend would not re-create a date with his SO with me, any more than I would place my best friend level with or above my husband in any manner.

You don't have to go nutz about this or read too too much into it, but no, it's not a great precedent.

I can't see how talking about it too much might help, but you might gain some serious insight by hearing his interpretation of his choices on this thing. You need a better picture of the relationship, that is for sure.
posted by jbenben at 11:43 PM on June 30, 2013 [10 favorites]


> I'd feel jealous that I had to work instead of having a great day on a motorcycle adventure. I would not allow my jealousy extend into my BF's long-time friendship with his friend who happens to be a woman. If the roles were reversed and my BF got jealous of my time with a guy friend, I'd feel disrespected, angry, and would think less of my BF for thinking he has some entitlement to decide who I can be friends with and how I can spend time with them. There's nothing about their days's activities that sound untoward in any way.

I think that this is a really good way of thinking about it. You can be rightfully a little envious of the fun leisurely enjoyable activity, but you don't need to transfer the envy or any lack of trust because of the gender of the friend. Since you know that there's no hanky-panky going on with your boyfriend and his (female) friend, there's really no need to regard it as any different than him doing the same activity with a dude. Don't let anyone else's insecurities shake you.
posted by desuetude at 11:47 PM on June 30, 2013 [4 favorites]


Lots of great advice here. N-thing the idea of bringing it up with your boyfriend. However, I would suggest being careful to make the conversation more about you and him and the things that you are going to keep for the two of you, and less about what goes on between him and his best friend. Five months is not that long for a relationship and the latter conversation risks sounding accusatory and controlling, neither of which are turn-ons for most healthy people.

Also, do you like the friend? If so, reaching out to her and spending a little girl-time together might be a good idea. If she is a decent person, it will reassure you, and also give her a bit of a sense of what your boundaries are re your guy. I have been the friend in this scenario a few times and am always eager to avoid doing anything that might make a new girlfriend uncomfortable about my platonic friendships.
posted by rpfields at 12:14 AM on July 1, 2013


Just want to jump in again to second jbenben. Most of the answers here have been some variant of "I'm totally okay with this and it doesn't bother me at all. You sound like a jealous freak. It's totally ok to be a jealous freak, though, and you should to talk with him about it." (Exaggerating a bit).

I don't think you're being a jealous freak and I think you're right to be concerned. This doesn't seem like a considerate thing for him to do. I would approach it from that angle, not from the "I have this weird jealousy and I need to clarify exactly what it is that bothers me so I can try to feel okay about this situation and split hairs about whether its the nature of the activity or the exact amount of time" or whatever. Why didn't he think it would bother you that they went on a day-long date including swimming in a secluded spot?

This would be entirely different if they were work friends or partners in a group project or study buddies or were catching up over dinner or went to a type of event that you don't enjoy (theatre or something). But he went on a date with you and then repeated the date with her. A very long day, in a very romantic setting, with another woman. I don't see any reason for him to have that kind of relationship with her, if he wants to build exclusive intimacy with you.

So, when you talk to him, I'd discuss that part of it. Have you had the "define the relationship" talk yet? Are you exclusive? Serious? I'd tell him that you felt jealous and hurt and that you wanted that intimacy for the two of you alone.

If he says, "Oh, wow, I'm sorry, I didn't realize that you would see it that way. We go to that spot every year on the anniversary of our third grade picnic. But next time, we'll only go with you!" -- then that's great.

If he says, "Deal with it. She's my friend and I'll see who I want to see and do what I want to do." -- that's really crappy. Someone who really cares about where this is going would not do this kind of thing with another woman and expect it not to bother you.

Here's why: if you did this with another man, it would likely bother him (assuming his intentions are serious and monogamous). If he doesn't think it would bother you, then either he is a) clueless (as above), b) not intending this to be serious or c) not assuming that you have the same rights to need things as he does (i.e., abusive).
posted by 3491again at 12:15 AM on July 1, 2013 [11 favorites]


I originally read 3491again's first comment before posting mine.

This relationship may not have long legs, even if it is enjoyable now.

I strongly believe you should not have to persuade your supposed partner about why re-creating a past date with another person, of any gender, is wonky or inappropriate - at best.

The right person for you gets that intimacy is precious, and worth developing/preserving.

Other people operate on a different scale than you do. You might be able to bridge this gap, but don't do it at the price of your personal comfort, because that will never work out.
posted by jbenben at 12:43 AM on July 1, 2013 [4 favorites]


Intimacy means different things to different people. In some relationships your boyfriend's actions would be wrong, in some they would be totally fine.

Clearly you have different ideas about what intimacy means.

Talk to him about it. Tell him how you feel.
posted by wemayfreeze at 12:51 AM on July 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Before I read your 'further details', it occurred to me that their day together sounded incredibly romantic. Not in a 'sexy times' kind of way, but in a 'people in a movie falling in love kind of way'. Hikes, lake-swimming, strolling around a lovely tourist town? Yeah, I wouldn't have been particularly pleased about my partner doing that series of events with another woman either. Add to that the fact that you two have done the same thing together in a previous romantic context? Yes, that would be a bit hurtful to me (like, hello?, was that not a special day for you too? so why are you re-creating it with someone else?).

All the people saying that they are totally fine with themselves or their partner having opposite-sex friends are, I think, missing the fact that this is about the context.

So when you speak with your partner about your feelings, make it clear to him too that this 'context' is what makes you feel sad/uncomfortable. Not that he has a female friend and spends time with her, but this particular series of activities was rather date-like/romantic and remiscent of a special time you two shared.
posted by Halo in reverse at 1:12 AM on July 1, 2013 [12 favorites]


I had a partner with a motorbike and I felt a slight bit jealous whenever he took a female friend to lunch or dinner on the back of his bike. But I dealt with it because hey, I don't have total dibs on the back of his bike. I didn't say anything and eventually I got over any feelings of jealousy about this.

But when he took female friend on the back of his bike out to the country for a day trip, had a lovely lunch and toured the back roads home and then chattered about the day in high excitement with her over drinks at our house, I had an unfortunate conversation in which I sounded like Crazy Jealous Gal about it. It felt different - datelike I suppose. It's also something he and I liked to do together and the thought of her clinging to him with her arms around his waist for hours made me feel tumult inside. I think it felt intimate and different from giving a friend a lift to dinner. I asked him if he'd mind not doing that with her until I sorted out my feelings about it. That I didn't know why, but it made me feel a bit sad or lost inside. [I take a while to process my feelings, and he was understanding - a bit defensive and dismissive at first admittedly.] He thought about what it would be like if I did the same and he didn't like the idea of a guy holding me all day on the back of my bike, and he would feel left out.

With friends of the desired gender, it's important to take care of your partner's needs and feelings. I don't believe in controlling what the partner is going to do, but there is, I feel, room for real discussion of these things because feeling safe, secure and special are good goals in a committed relationship. Sometimes the price of maintaining friendships and lovers is adapting aspects of our single life to accommodate new needs. In my case, my partner decided not to do pillion day long trips with female friend - although they do still ride together as she has her own bike. This felt less, um, 'threatening' to me and I was okay with it.

Things can sound crazy when you start talking about comfort levels with desired-sex friendships, but it's better to be open and not let things fester.
posted by honey-barbara at 1:13 AM on July 1, 2013 [15 favorites]


Like others I'll chime in and say there's no should about it - you feel how you feel and that's the long and the short of it. You should talk to him in a respectful way about it because it's affecting your relationship and there's no problem in asking him to respect your feelings - that's what healthy relationships are about.

However, that said, as someone who has a very friendly relationship with her ex-husband and even goes on holiday with him, if a boyfriend of 5 months asked me to limit that friendship - which has been incredibly meaningful and supportive for me for years - I'd pick him over them, because he's been there for me and I for him through a range of personal crises. One thing might be to talk to your boyfriend about his past with this friend: how has she been there for him, what is he getting out of the friendship, why is it so important with him, and so forth, so you can understand what is so meaningful about it for him; after all, it's clearly an important part of his life and who he is, so as his girlfriend it'd be nice to know more about that. It's also possible that he's gone on this trip before with her, before he met you and that's why he took you - because it's an important place to him that he wanted to share with you.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 3:20 AM on July 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


Umpteenthing that you have every right to feel however you feel. But feeling a particular way doesn't justify particular behavior or dictate particular solutions. You can feel angry or jealous or whatever about someone else's behavior, but your negative response doesn't mean their behavior is definitively wrong, doesn't make yelling or throwing things a good idea, and doesn't give you the right to demand apologies or dictate changes in their behavior. You can (and probably should) talk about how you feel, and you can ask for changes. It helps to offer multiple solutions, e.g. "Last time when X happened I felt really Y about it, probably because of long-ago-experience Z. Next time, could you do A, or B, or C for me?"

And I hate to become that girlfriend that tells their boyfriend what they can and cannot do.

Yeah, it sounds like you've got the basic idea. The special value of an intimate relationship is inextricably tied up with vulnerability. If you could dictate your partner's behavior, you might protect yourself from some bad feelings but you'd also eliminate the good ones.
posted by jon1270 at 4:19 AM on July 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


Two things come up over and over:

It's okay to feel however you feel, there is no right or wrong.

And:

I think you should talk with your boyfriend about how you feel.

I actually largely disagree. I thought you did a good job nailing down what was upsetting you in your update, so that's a really helpful step. But while what you feel isn't "wrong," it is a disturbance that you are experiencing alone, that you should take action on alone. And you should not talk to him about it specifically, actually!

You should deal with it and woman up about it, and take active steps in the future to not feel abandoned/upset/put out, by making sure you get the attention and excitement you need, and by making sure your own life is fulfilling and adventurous and romantic.

Who wants to sit down for a talk about "Hey, remember how you had a great time? I didn't! Here are my feeeeelings"? Oh my God, NO ONE. Sounds like a lose-lose.

But who wants a sit down for a talk about "Hey, let's do something awesome because we are both awesome and I want to do x and y with you?" Possibly with the follow-up of "Oh, you don't want to do y with me? Well I am stoked about it, so I'm going to do it with Daphne and Bob instead of you then, okay, love you, let's make dinner and have some sex"? Everyone!
posted by RJ Reynolds at 4:25 AM on July 1, 2013 [4 favorites]


You are allowed to feel how you feel, especially since he did the same thing with you and it was special.

I'd talk about it. Not accusatory, but really explain why you feel the way you feel.

"I'm really hurt and confused about your day with BF. I'm not jealous of the two of you, but you took her on the same outing you took me on and now it seems than instead of a special memory for us, it was just ordinary and that you'd do it with anyone. I don't know that there's anything you can do about it now, but I'm feeling really weird about it."

It sucks that he robbed you of this special memory, or tainted it, or whatever it is that he did that makes you uncomfortable about it.

I find that when I talk about my feelings and then explain what Husbunny can do about them (in this case, nothing) that at least it's out there and there's no sitcomesque, "You know what you did!" hanging in the air.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:39 AM on July 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


If my husband went on a day-long date with another woman, I would not be thrilled either. This is a heteronormative way of looking at relationships but when it comes to opposite-sex friends, I think it's worth asking, would they have done this activity with a same-sex friend and why/why not? If a single guy friend needs a date to a wedding, I think that's a reasonable opportunity for a female friend, single or partnered, to go with but I don't think that your boyfriend would take one of his guy friends on a motorcycle ride for swimming in a secluded lake. Maybe I'm wrong.

I think women have to deal with a lot of pressure to be the cool chick and be okay with everything. It's reasonable and understandable for you to say, there are some things that I would prefer you not do, just as I'm sure there are things that you would prefer I don't do. You should talk about those things.

My husband doesn't like it when I say "totes." I don't like it when he eats an entire box of cheese crackers, then complains about how his stomach hurts. We still both do these things occasionally but we know that the other person isn't a fan of these activities so we try to minimize how much we do them, or at least how often we do them around each other.

I think it'd be totally okay to say to your boyfriend, hey, I'm glad you had a great time with your friend but I'm a little bothered by it because I feel like that's something we do together and it was special to me when we did that, can we maybe plan to do our own special thing next weekend? Remind him that you trust him and that you enjoyed doing that together, then look ahead to doing something else together.
posted by kat518 at 6:52 AM on July 1, 2013 [10 favorites]


I think women have to deal with a lot of pressure to be the cool chick and be okay with everything. It's reasonable and understandable for you to say, there are some things that I would prefer you not do, just as I'm sure there are things that you would prefer I don't do. You should talk about those things.

I just wanted to second this. The pressure to be the cool girlfriend who doesn't nag or act jealous or be "crazy" can often lead to being the girlfriend who doesn't ever talk about how she feels or ask for what she wants in a relationship. And for some dudes, that's great because it means they basically get the perfect relationship where they can do whatever they want and they don't have to worry about her feelings ever. Not saying this is the case here - just that there is this larger societal pressure that can have negative consequences in your individual relationship.

In all relationships there's a balance between letting things slide, handling them internally, or bringing them up, and the fulcrum will be in different places for different people. I was in a relationship for a long time where what started out as wanting to be the cool girlfriend ended up establishing a pattern of not ever bringing things up and always letting things slide. That relationship - a marriage - ended partly because of my inability to talk about things that bothered me so that we could both be happy.

I'm in a new relationship now (8 months in) and getting better at talking about things. I've asked him to do things to help me curb my jealousy, and he's asked me to do similar things. It actually makes me happy to know where his boundaries are on, for example, me getting drunkenly touchy-feely with my girlfriends because I would never want to unintentionally hurt him. Neither of us scared the other away with discussions of our feelings, and frankly it's depressing that so many people seem to think a simple "this made me feel bad, I don't disapprove of your friendship but this one day's activities crossed a line for me" conversation would send an otherwise upstanding dude running.
posted by misskaz at 7:49 AM on July 1, 2013 [9 favorites]


They went hiking, lunch, swim in an isolated lake, and visited a nice town on a lake

For the whole day? With no one else? Yeah, that's date-like. Are you absolutely sure nothing's going on between them?
posted by Melismata at 7:54 AM on July 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


I can see where this feels "date-like". If I spent a day like this (with someone I was attracted to), I'd consider it very romantic.

If/when you talk to him about it, maybe try to have creative suggestions for how he could hang out with her in a way that makes you more comfortable. What about it bothered you most?

- That she rode in your position on the motorcycle? Two on a motorcycle is inherently more intimate than two in a car.

- That they spent the day together alone? Would it have been better if other friends were with them?

- That they swam together? Alone. In an isolated mountain lake.

- Or is it really just all of it together? If they did one or two of those things, it wouldn't be so bad, but all together is too much?

I could see how some people wouldn't have a problem with this. In the end, you have to trust your partner. Because there are plenty of less dramatic scenarios for cheating.

Also, was there was any deception involved? Was he totally up front about it? If so, that seems like a good sign (even if you're not super happy about them spending the day together). Or did the truth about this day-trip come out slowly, or some other way? That would seem a bad sign.
posted by sarah_pdx at 8:25 AM on July 1, 2013


"However, that said, as someone who has a very friendly relationship with her ex-husband and even goes on holiday with him, if a boyfriend of 5 months asked me to limit that friendship - which has been incredibly meaningful and supportive for me for years - I'd pick him over them, because he's been there for me and I for him through a range of personal crises."

Not to pick on a particular commenter, but that statement beautifully illustrates the antithesis of the situation between me and my best friend. We are both successfully partnered with other people precisely because we don't hold an attitude like the one highlighted above about our friendship. If we felt like that about our friendship when we were transitioning into romantic partnerships, our romances would have failed for lack of space.

People who want to build intimacy with you intuitively don't place others above you. Thinking that works any other way for monogamous-type couples is the being the "cool girlfriend/cool boyfriend" relationship trap lots of people referenced.

The thing is, you can't persuade anyone into exclusive intimacy with you - it happens or it doesn't. That's why I wrote that it might be nice to find out where you stand but you shouldn't expect more than that from any conversation you have with your boyfriend about this.

I don't think this is a red flag or a deal-breaker worthy incident unless it turns out you two have drastically different ideas about where the relationship is heading.
posted by jbenben at 8:51 AM on July 1, 2013 [5 favorites]


I too fall on the side of the context of their outing tipping the balance into "uncomfortable" territory, but then your feelings are real too, you don't need external validation for them. Talk with him about it, as others have suggested.

And for more context, I have been the woman in this situation many times. I was a tomboy growing up and have loads of guy friends from school - we played baseball, basketball, and street football (American) together; we ran together, played music together, yelled at referees together. And because I value them as people, and know how very much intimate relationships mean to them, I take a step back when they're in one. The standout example for me was hugging one of my very best friends after not having seen him for several years, and seeing his poor girlfriend's face just fall to pieces behind him. It was one of those circular realizations... I understood that she probably knew him well enough to know that this guy does not just hug people; he has to feel totally safe and at ease with someone to let his guard down (he had been physically abused by his father growing up). I talked with him about it, and indeed, he adored his girlfriend so much, which was totally his way, and why I brought up her reaction, that he agreed we'd not hug any more. Back pats, sure, but no more hugs. I can't even imagine doing something as intimate as your BF's friend without making sure that everyone involved was on the same page about it being platonic, unspoken facial reactions included.

So, no, you're not overreacting; everyone's different and has their own definition of intimacy, as this thread serves really well to show. Talk with him about it!
posted by fraula at 9:41 AM on July 1, 2013 [4 favorites]


I actually do have a problem with your boyfriends actions. Not that he was "wrong," but that his timing was very unwise. Five months is not that long, certainly not long enough to have built a stable relationship with you.

Let me give you a very important piece of advice: healthy relationships need strong foundation and context.

The problem with his choice to go out on the trip with his friend, that mirrored the trip he took with you, is that in the introductory stages of a relationship you don’t know if someone is kind and devoted and not interested in their friend as a long term partner or lover. You don't know that it was a harmless trip, because you don't know them well enough to know that the trip wasn't a threat.

At risk of being crass, you have no way of knowing that he isn't playing hide the sausage on the side, because you haven’t known either of them long enough to establish a pattern of honesty and integrity. Basically, they're throwing you a curve ball and asking you to take them, still relative strangers, at their word. The prudent thing to do would have been for him to hold off on taking date-like trips with his friend until his trust with you had been better established.

Now, if you had said that you two had been together for five year and had an otherwise healthy relationship, I would have given a totally different answer, but five months? Yeah, you would be foolish to not be suspicious.
posted by Shouraku at 10:27 AM on July 1, 2013 [7 favorites]


Lots of people would be upset in this situation. This was a date, and an all day one at that. It's a yellow flag about the character of Boyfriend and Other Girl's relationship. Even if you're confident there's nothing to worry about there, it's going to sting. You're supposed to get the special attention and extra effort, not some other girl.

That said, trying to talk about it is likely to be unpleasant. If Boyfriend didn't see anything wrong with doing it in the first place, he's likely to stick to that position when you bring it up. She's just a friend, she's always been just a friend, and there's nothing wrong with hanging out with your friend. If it upsets you, you're the one being unreasonable and controlling. He might be perfectly sincere saying this, plenty of people upthread would agree with this position.

How serious are you and Boyfriend? If you're not terribly serious, and the relationship isn't clearly progressing toward more serious, I would just accept this as something you don't like but don't want to fight about until it either gets worse or the relationship becomes more serious.

If you guys are serious, you need to get on the same page about what counts as too much intimacy with other people not each other. It still may not be a fun conversation, but if you're serious you (both) need to know where you stand. I would say, if you decide to talk about it, wait a few days until you're not so hurt. Then the conversation can be more about "what are the boundaries in our opposite sex friendships" and less about "I'm feeling really angry and stung about what you did with Other Girl".
posted by mattu at 11:33 AM on July 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


People who want to build intimacy with you intuitively don't place others above you. Thinking that works any other way for monogamous-type couples is the being the "cool girlfriend/cool boyfriend" relationship trap lots of people referenced.

As the person you referenced, I would point out that there is not just one way for monogamous type couples to experience a relationship - there is no template we all share. I would never cheat on a partner; equally, I think it a risk that a boyfriend might chose to place a long term friendship over a 5 month relationship, which is, relatively speaking, not that long a relationship, if asked to chose (not that the poster has asked him to chose). This has nothing to do with social pressure to be the cool girlfriend or boyfriend and everything to do with how people see their relationships and the weight people give to long term relationships versus short term ones.

Again, though, I would say the poster is right to want something different, if that is what she wants and totally right to raise this with her boyfriend if this made her feel uncomfortable. But let's not make this about what monogamy should be or what it shouldn't be - that's too wide a field to be useful. But I still think it important for her to understand what her boyfriend is getting from this relationship: then one can make a decision about what is in play here.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 12:16 PM on July 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


You seem to be looking for a lot of guidance on how you should feel. But, as lots of other people have posted, you are allowed to feel however you feel. If it bothers you, that's okay!

When I first read your question, I didn't even think of the "recreating a date" angle. I agree with Shouraku, context is everything. Has he always gone hiking and swimming with his friend? I ask because to me there is a big difference between going on a hike/swim with a friend who enjoys the same sort of activities, and having someone bring you on a hike to a place because it's special to them and they want to share it with you.
posted by inertia at 12:22 PM on July 1, 2013


Oh, when you bring it up to your boyfriend, I'd recommend framing it as, "I'm having a feeling I'd like to talk about," rather than as "here's why I think you did something wrong," or even "here's why I don't like the thing you did." First, I think you need to make it clear that you understand that it's about your feelings, and about how you can feel comfortable and happy going forward. And second, I think that it'll help to keep the conversation from devolving into him getting defensive and feeling the need stick to his guns. The conversation doesn't need to be about whether or not you have the right to ask him not to do this thing; it should be about how you feel right now, and about sharing that feeling with him in order to ask for his help in figuring out how to deal with it in a way that feels right to both of you.
posted by decathecting at 12:38 PM on July 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


nor he would be happy if I did the same thing with a guy friend

This line stands out to me. Has he explicitly told you not to (or how to) spend time with male friends, or is this just an assumption you're making? I think it's great to have opposite sex friends (although this particular scenario does feel a bit too date-like for me to be entirely comfortable with it), but if the standards don't apply to you both equally, then I would fine the unfairness of it very grating.
posted by naoko at 7:01 PM on July 1, 2013


> This is a heteronormative way of looking at relationships but when it comes to opposite-sex friends, I think it's worth asking, would they have done this activity with a same-sex friend and why/why not? If a single guy friend needs a date to a wedding, I think that's a reasonable opportunity for a female friend, single or partnered, to go with but I don't think that your boyfriend would take one of his guy friends on a motorcycle ride for swimming in a secluded lake. Maybe I'm wrong.

Well, yeah, it's heteronormative...because a dude riding on the back of another dude's bike is just NOT DONE unless you like hearing "faggot" hissed at you.

The answer to whether this was date-like or not rests with the two people who spent that time together. If he can comfortably explain how this intimacy is non-sexual, comparable to a sister or a cousin, then I think it's fair to trust him.
posted by desuetude at 11:48 PM on July 1, 2013


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