Thursday, July 2, 2009

A Lover and His Friends

Hi, Dr. Bill, My partner and I have been together for over 2 years and I adore and love him very much. A few months ago, I decided to start coming out to NY for work, but we have a home in Seattle together w/2 cats. He travels quite a bit for work too. When we are home together, it seems that all he wants to do is stay in, make dinner, and watch tv. When I am gone, he is out almost every evening seeing friends, having dinner, movies, outdoor activities, and many other things that I've asked him to do before but he never has wanted to. I can't help but feel left out of it all and he thinks I'm "crazy" for feeling this way. His friends are always excited to see him and it seems he has something to do w/them every night...except when I'm in town. They'll call only to see him (w/out me) or wait til I leave. How do I overcome this feeling? Any advice would be so great! Thanks, Lonely in NY

I have to tell you that some people might wonder what the problem is if your lover just wants to be home alone with you when you're both in town. But I sense there's something more to it. Obviously it can't be that he's a homebody and you're a party boy because it seems that he goes out a lot -- just not with you. It could simply be that he'd rather spend time with you when you're both in the same city, and can see his friends when you're out of town. I mean, it would be worse if he was out with his friends every night even when you were in Seattle, leaving you home alone.

It does seem odd that you have never been out with him and his friends, almost as if he doesn't want you to meet them or vice versa. I presume that all of your information about his friends and his partying with them comes from your lover, so it could be that he's wildly exaggerating the good times he's having. There are two possibilities for why he may be doing this. A.) Some people need to have others think that they have loads of friends and are very popular, as it makes them somehow seem more desirable -- it increases their "market value." B.) New York is awfully far away from Seattle -- maybe your lover really doesn't like the fact that you're away in New York so much, and is hoping you'll come back permanently if you think he's having too much "fun" without you.

It's great to have quality time with your lover, but there are two things to consider. Is it really "quality" time or do you just sort of occupy the same space without there being any romance or good conversation (remember it's enough for some guys just to cuddle on the couch watching TV). And no matter how close two people may be, it's perfectly natural to want to go out sometime, hang out with friends, meet each other's friends, and so on.

The fact that you seem to have never met any of your lover's friends makes me wonder if, perhaps, he doesn't really have that many, or if most of them are bar acquaintances. [Frankly, it's hard to make really good, close friends, and most of the people we call friends are really just compatible acquaintances.] That may be why he hasn't suggested a double date with another couple or so on. And if that's the case he's going to need your friendship even more. Lovers should be each other's best friends, but of course they should go beyond that and be real lovers as well.

I would suggest insisting one night when you're both in town that you feel like going out and head for a bar -- with or without him. Hopefully he'll go along with you, and you may finally meet -- if not close friends -- at least some of the people he hangs out with. He may not be going out half as much as he says he does, or he may go out only because he is lonely when you're in New York. Maybe he feels that now that the two of you are together, you don't have to date. But he's wrong about that, as it's important to keep the romantic element alive in any relationship.

Don't confront him as to how many friends he really has because he might be very sensitive on the subject. If it turns out that he really does have loads of friends, tell him that they're part of his life, as you are, and insist that you'd like to meet some of them. Tell him that you love him, and love spending time with him, but part of the whole fun of being a couple is that you can go out together, meet new people, have fun and laughs, without being alone as some guys are [some people can handle this and make new friends easily; others are just lonely and miserable]. What's the point of being a couple if you can't do things together? Isn't that why so many people want to be part of a couple? Tell him having a lover doesn't mean you just stop doing things outside the home -- what fun is that?

If he comes to realize that, while you enjoy your evenings in, a full relationship should include intermingling with other people and sharing activities outside the home, hopefully he'll understand that there is a great joy in going out with your partner and sharing with him all the wonderful things that life has to offer.

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