-- Question for John --
I have been seeing a wonderful man for just over a year. We only see each other on weekends as we live in different towns about an hour apart. I have had problems in the past with insecure feelings. I have been working to overcome these feelings and I do feel like I have made a lot progress as I find myself not dwelling on things as much as I used to and sometimes just letting things go.
However, there are times when certain things make me feel insecure, and I usually mention them to my boyfriend, but sometimes hesitate for fear of sounding childish or insecure or petty.
My boyfriend has people from his work up to his cottage for about 4 days
each summer. There are 3 girls and 3 guys… all of which come solo (without their spouse). Last year when these people came up, I expressed my feelings to my boyfriend that I felt awkward. I only ended up joining them for one night and found myself feeling very uncomfortable and “out of place”. They all had common things to talk about and I felt like I was “just there”. I feel like an outsider looking in and that I just didn’t belong.
They are all planning on doing it again this year, and I am considering making other plans. I don’t want to do anything to hurt our relationship that we share but I don’t like the way any of this makes me feel. Can you please give me your advice on this?
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-- Answer from John --
I can completely understand your discomfort with the situation and being there again. Sure, your insecurities are kicking in, too. But I would not advise taking them as far as to think there is anything “wrong” with him having his workmates up to the cottage. Nor would I want you to let insecurities convince you that there was anything actually “threatening” about that. Insecurities are best worked with in the body — as emotional states — so my advise is (as you have been doing) just continue to let go of the thoughts that may come up in your head that the insecurities fuel — and if you can, just keep working as best you can with the process of soothing and healing your internal reactions.
In terms of what you might do for this coming event at the cottage? Bottom line is that if being there does not work for you, then you need to take care of yourself in the best way possible. Maybe that does mean making other plans. That might ultimately be your best shot under the circumstances to contribute positive energy to the relationship. Because you are choosing not to let yourself sink into a dark hole up at the cottage — which can be read by everyone there including your boyfriend — and then that ends up hurting the relationship. So the idea of separate vacations — or separate plans — however you frame it — may be the best call.
It would matter, of course, how you express your desire to not go to the cottage to your guy. Try not to dwell on the internal pieces of how it makes you feel bad to be there with all his friends and fell like an outsider. This may only be re-interpreted by your guy as thinking that maybe he is doing something wrong or unacceptable — or that he needs to step in and fix things. In fact, he isn’t. And he doesn’t. It’s perfectly okay that partners have some different friends. And it’s perfectly okay that maybe they wouldn’t necessarily even get along with all of each other’s friends. It’s perfectly okay to even see friends as separate individuals and not together. Not being together does not have to threaten the relationship — unless your insecure part insists that it does. And I know that you are working to nurture and heal that part of yourself. In a truly healthy relationship, partners support and empower one another to be “individuals” — which includes things like saying: “I know how valuable it is for you to spend the 4 days with your colleagues and I want you to do that.”
Of course, internally, it may bring up insecurity. Perhaps more so because you are still in the first year together, and are still negotiating a way to end up in the same town. And, as I see by your description of knowing this is yours to work with, that’s okay, too. Because love brings up within up what we need to heal at times. I commend you for owning your insecurity as an internal issue that you are working with. Good for you. Best luck and let me know how it goes…..