“My Boyfriend Left Me On New Year’s for a Vacation with His Friends”

Generally, my boyfriend, “Greg” and I have a great relationship that is heading in a serious direction – we love each other, get along great, have talked about marriage in the future, and are planning to move in together, but an issue has come up that I need advice on. He has a large group of friends from high school that hang out together a lot (mostly guys and then their spouses). This is a fun group of interesting people that I’ve also gotten to know pretty well through the course of our relationship, and I now consider several of them to be my close friends as well. A good chunk of this group goes to an all-inclusive resort in a warm tropical location every year for a week around New Year’s. When the group was planning this year’s trip back in August, my boyfriend and I seriously considered going, and I blocked the time off on my calendar at work. Ultimately, however, Greg decided he couldn’t go on the trip because he couldn’t be sure he could get the time off work. Some of the friends suggested I go without him, but I decided I would rather spend New Year’s with him where we live, so we both decided not to go.

Well, fast forward to the actual trip. Someone who was in the travel group discovered on the day before they were set to leave that his passport had expired and he consequently could not go. He asked my boyfriend if he wanted to take over his reservation, since his spot at the all-inclusive resort was paid for and it was nonrefundable. My boyfriend called me at work, when I was about to go into a hearing, and said this had happened and asked if I’d mind if he went on the trip. I was really caught off-guard and pressed for time, but said that, although I would be sad not to spend the holiday with him, it seemed silly to have a paid-for vacation to go to waste. He got the time off work and left the country within twelve hours.

We are now several days into his surprise adventure and I am not handling it as well as I thought I would. Intellectually, I understand that he didn’t set out to abandon me over New Year’s and abscond to a fun foreign country, but I’m having a hard time not being bitter and cranky about this. Instead of spending this time together, like we’d planned, I’m stuck in a snowstorm at home, feeding his cat, while he is on a tropical vacation that I am not on because he didn’t think he could get the time off work.

I don’t know what I should have done differently that would have resulted in a better outcome for me. I definitely didn’t have a chance to think fully through what it would mean for him to be gone when he called me at work, but I’m not sure more time would have changed my response. If I had told him not to go, I don’t know if he would have actually stayed home, or if that’s even what I would have wanted – again, seems like a waste not to have someone use the vacation! I would have felt very selfish telling him to stay home. That said, this is so frustrating because it is a trip that I wanted to go on, but didn’t go on, because he didn’t think he could get the time off work and I didn’t want to go without him – and then he got the time off work and went on the trip without me.

I know I didn’t tell him not to go, but I guess I was hoping he would be a little bit more understanding about the impact of his choice. Is there a better way I could have handled this? What do I do with this now? — Sad and Snowed In

Sometimes people we love make choices that upset us and there’s nothing we can do to prevent those choices without causing additional conflict or drama. This is one of those cases, I think. You could have told your boyfriend you didn’t want him to go, which is, basically, the truth. Say what you will about the waste of a paid-for vacation not being used, but, if you’re honest with yourself, you didn’t want your boyfriend to choose the paid-for vacation — a vacation you wanted to go on in the first place and turned down to be with him — over spending New Year’s with you. You could have said, “Oh, wow, I understand the temptation of this amazing opportunity, but, you know, you had the opportunity for months to go on this vacation and you thought you couldn’t get time off and so we decided together that neither of us would go. I would be disappointed if you decided at this point to go without me, but it’s your choice to make.” That’s all the truth. And then, if he still decided to go on the vacation, at least he would know that you were going to be disappointed and he could plan for that.

As it is, you told your boyfriend that “it would be silly to have a paid-for vacation go to waste.” You said nothing of being sad or disappointed. When he put you on the spot, calling you at work, you gave him the easy out. You let him off the hook. You said one thing without sharing how you entirely felt. You didn’t want him to go. You wanted him to stay with you and spend New Year’s with you. In the future, be honest about what you want. Don’t be afraid of sounding selfish. You can even say, “This may sound selfish, but I really want blank.” That way, Greg (or whomever you’re addressing) has the full story, knows where you stand, and can make a choice accordingly, understanding the potential repercussion/conflict.

So, what do you do now? Tell Greg when he gets back that you missed him and that, had you had more time to think about what his going on this trip would mean for you, you would have told him how disappointed you’d be to not spend the holiday with him. Tell him that in a sense you felt rejected for something better — something you turned down to be with him. Tell him that in the future you will make a better effort to communicate your honest feelings, but you also need him to make a better effort to consider your feelings, be empathetic to your needs even when you don’t always express them fully, and to take opportunities to prioritize your feelings over his when it really matters.

This too will pass, and ultimately it’s just a small bump in the road. There will be more hurdles, and you will have your feelings hurt again and sometimes you will be the one doing the hurting. The important thing is to learn from this and to communicate as best you can when you know what it is you want and need. Give positive reinforcement when choices are made that validate you and make you feel loved and important, and don’t be shy about expressing when choices leave you feeling less than important.


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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.


  1. MoominOtter says:

    When I read your letter, my primary response was just to feel empathy for you. I can tell you really tried to do the right thing at every turn. Although I agree with Wendy that, in hindsight, candor would have yielded preferable results, I also think that your split-second choice not to stand in his way probably told him a lot about the loving person you are; clearly, you really value his happiness and I imagine that comes through in many ways. And though I hope you won’t make a habit of prioritizing his good time over your own, I do admire the selflessness of what you did. My own group of friends is also longstanding and only sees one another infrequently, but when someone brings a spouse or significant other into the mix with an attitude as good as yours, it’s such an asset. Your boyfriend and his friends probably spent the whole vacation wishing you were there. Hopefully next time will work out better for you.

  2. artsygirl says:

    LW – While I understand why you are upset, you set yourself up. The feelings of disappointment and betrayal should be directed at yourself, not your BF. You wanted to be the good girlfriend and magnanimously allow him to go on a vacation, but you also expected him to read between the lines and know that you really didn’t want him to go. You cannot expect him to read your mind especially when he does not actually see you in person or have a chance to actually discuss the vacation with you due to the shortened timeline. Give him a break and remind yourself in the future that being passive aggressive about decisions can have upsetting consequences.

    1. zombeyonce says:

      I don’t think that the LW was or is being passive-aggressive at all about this. She’s actually being very selfless and feeling (justifiable) disappointment. In no way has she mentioned trying to punish her boyfriend for this, just how to avoid this in the future.

      I also don’t think that it’s all on her. Any person in a serious relationship should consider their partner’s feelings when making a big choice like this, and if the boyfriend had thought for a moment I think he would have realized she would have been sad. This assumes the boyfriend knows that the LW originally planned to go and that the only reason she didn’t is because of the boyfriend’s work schedule, and I think that’s a reasonable assumption to make.

      My biggest question is this: Why can the boyfriend suddenly get the time off work? You’d think it’d be even harder to get that time at the last minute than in advance.

      1. anonymousse says:

        Yes about the time off thing. WTH?
        I think part of her thinks he didn’t want to go with her, but given the opportunity to go without her, he jumped on it.

      2. artsygirl says:

        Perhaps passive aggressive is not the right term. I used it because I could not think of a better way to describe her response since she admits that she is sulking over the situation. My interpretation was that she knew she didn’t want him to go on the trip, but also knew that it was unreasonable to demand he give up a free vacation. Therefore she agreed hoping he would make the same choice she did back in the fall when she decided that she wanted to spend NYE with him rather than flying to an all-inclusive resort. If someone gives permission and encourages their partner to do something, they really cannot he upset when it happens. Perhaps the BF would have made a different choice if he had more than 12 hours to think about it, maybe he misses her as much as she misses him – he didn’t write in and since we have no background from him, I just was remarking on her.

      3. The time off work thing isn’t surprising to me. In a lot of professional services jobs where work ebbs and flows it’s not unusual to have periods where you can get away but couldn’t have planned to get away. I’ve had many weeks where I could have taken a vacation but couldn’t have committed to one months before.

      4. anonymousse says:

        People can give permission and still be upset. That’s how feelings work. People can’t control their feelings. She’s not angry or going off the deep end about it, she’s conflicted over her feelings and what to do…

    2. anonymousse says:

      I don’t think she had the time to have expectations into him reading her mind. She was put on the spot and gave him her go ahead. She’s not trying to punish him. She feels sad and left out and it’s not inexcusable to have feelings about things that happen to you that are disappointing.

      1. artsygirl says:

        Definitely not inexcusable to have feelings of disappointment, but she wants to know what she should do which in my mind is nothing. She gave him permission and now is upset. Talking to him about how miserable she was while he was gone would be laying a guilt trip on him for making a decision that she agreed with. Rather I think she should chalk this up as a learning experience.

      2. Right, I don’t feel like it would be out of line to follow up with a level headed conversation about how she felt about the whole thing… really wanted to go together, wished that would have worked out, was taken very much by surprise with the request for him to go on really short notice, said ok, and then ended up feeling lonely and wishing they could have been on the trip together – next year, could they make that work? And then let it go…

      3. anonymousse says:

        You said she can’t be upset now that she gave permission. That’s just illogical. She can be upset. She’s in a good relationship, I’m sure he even knows at this point that she’s feeling a little left out. It’s okay to have feelings and share them. She doesn’t sound super angry or hotheaded about it. She sounds pretty levelheaded about it.

      4. artsygirl says:

        Anonymousse – I think I differ in opinion with you because of the fact that she gave him permission. She told him to go on the trip knowing that she would then be alone at NYE. Of course it sucks that he was not there during the holiday, but sitting down and discussing it is moving the goal posts in my mind. If he had decided to travel without her permission/input then yes they would need to discuss it, but he asked her and she encouraged him to take the trip. I am not faulting her with being lonely or disappointed but I also think that having a serious discussion about it is not going to accomplish anything expect laying a guilt trip on him which is unfair.

      5. anonymousse says:

        Who said she has to have a serious discussion? She can simply say, “Hey, I am truly glad you went and had a good time. You deserve fun vacations. In retrospect, I wish it hadn’t turned out this way because I felt left out.” People in good adult relationships discuss their feelings, even if they are illogical. She was alone, last minute, with time off she expected to be spending with him. It’s no surprise wandering around her apartment, snowed in, that she’s now regretting her initial reaction and feeling badly about it. What’s she supposed to do, hide her feelings? Lie about it? It’s valid to have feelings.

      6. artsygirl says:

        Anonymousse – I guess we will have to agree to disagree on this one. Hope you had a great holiday

  3. One thing I’ve learned is that you do not have to answer difficult/confrontational questions on the spot. That applies to work or personal. You can ask for time to think. It is always ok to say, “let me get back to you on that.” In this case you could have said, “oh jeez, I’m running into a meeting, let me call you afterward.” That would give you time to think and process how you feel before responding with an honest answer like Wendy suggested.

  4. I think if the LW would have explicitly said she’d rather not miss him during NYE, that would have been a problem too. He asked her, expecting nothing less than a yes. If it would have been me in his position, I would have cut my losses and stayed. Maybe that’s just me.

    1. snoopy128 says:

      I don’t think it’s fair to say the bf called and expected nothing less than a ‘yes’. No where did the letter hint that. For all we know, he could have been conflicted and was calling her to see where she was at to try and help guide his decision making.

      1. I see what you mean, and I’m not saying he’s a jerk here. But he did put her on the spot, to try and hurry the decision. He left within 12 hours so I have to assume he was in a rush. I mean they didn’t even see each other anymore after the phone call – or am I missing something? That to me indicated that he wanted a fast and clear “yes”.

      2. snoopy128 says:

        @hannanas…those things you list (put her on the spot, left within 12 hours, didn’t see each other after the call) are all due to the circumstance- as in he found out 12 hours before the flight, she happened to be at work, etc.

        None of those things indicate that he wanted a fast and clear yes. Those things indicate that he found out about it last minute and called to ask her opinion.

        You are assuming he wanted a yes. There’s still an alternate scenario here where he called because he wasn’t sure what to do and wanted her opinion. All of the other things you listed could still happen in this scenario.

        The LW could have asked for a little bit more time to make a decision when he called. All we know is that she blurted out an answer in a hurry, not that he hurried her for an answer.

      3. It’s true Snoopy, the LW could have asked for a little more time to decide. But he could have just given her more time to begin with. If he didn’t have the time to do that, then the decision was already made. That’s just the way I interpret it – admittedly subjectively.
        Again, if it was me, I’d have probably cut my losses and gone through with the plans I’d made with my partner.

      4. ele4phant says:

        I don’t know if I buy this “put on the spot” stuff. I mean, yes, he gave her little warning and there was limited time to make a decision, buuuutttt…this is her partner here. Not some sales person using high pressure sales tactics or something. It sounds like he had limited time to make a decision, but he wasn’t trying to push or pressure her into giving her the answer he wanted.

        If you can’t say no to your partner, or, let me get through this hearing first and get back to you, who can you say no to? Her inability to ask for a beat to think it over (even if there is a pretty short time frame to give an answer) says more about her then it does about the relationship, I think.

      5. I say “put her on the spot” because what else could she have answered? Either at that point or later on.
        She ‘loses’ either way: if she says “no”, she’s needy. If she says “yes”, she can’t feel bad about it. If she says “Let me think about it”, it’s just postponing her answer.

      6. ele4phant says:

        I think if you are in a loving equal relationship, you could probably say whatever you wanted.

        I would have no qualms telling my husband, “Look, I need to go to this meeting first, let’s chat again after”. Maybe that’s postponing an answer (I mean, it is), but if I felt I needed time to think about it, I wouldn’t be afraid to ask for it, and I know my husband would respect that and give it to me.

        I also wouldn’t be afraid to outright say no because I know he loves me and trusts me and values my opinion and preferences, but he’s not a mind reader. If I knew, without having to think about it, that I wanted him to stay so we could spend the holiday together, I wouldn’t be afraid of saying so and I wouldn’t be afraid that I’d be viewed as the bad guy.

        Also, it’s not like *he* purposefully gave her a short time window to make a decision, he himself was given a short time period. It’s not like he knew days before and waited until last minute so she’d be trapped into saying yes; it was just the circumstances they were both dealing with. If she knew she didn’t want him to go, she should have just said so.

        If she didn’t know what she wanted, she could’ve asked for a little more time to think. If he thought she was a bad guy for asking for those accommodations (or just saying no), well then I guess you’re right that it’s not just about her he’s also a jerk.

        But, again, he didn’t wait until the last minute to ask, it’s just how the situation played out.

    2. artsygirl says:

      I agree with Snoopy – he didn’t call her and tell her he was going on the trip, he called and asked if he could go. She also admits that she gave him permission and even told him it would be silly to let a free all-inclusive trip go to waste.

  5. I think this bothers you so much because it exposes a problem in your life…without your boyfriend, what do you do? Do you have friends you could’ve spent NYE with? Or did his friends become your friends and you’ve made no effort to have a life outside of him? I suspect this would have hurt a lot less if you had somewhere to go instead too. Furthermore, it’s unfair to expect him read between the lines and stay with you. Your original impulse was the right one-it was gracious and kind, and hopefully if the shoe was on the other foot your boyfriend would do the same.

    1. Avatar photo Raccoon eyes says:

      I agree. I think that LW is seeing it as, if the situation were reversed then OF COURSE she would have stayed with him, because, ya know, LOVE.

      LW, I get it. But I also think that the correct outcome happened here. It would have been sh*tty to say, “No, dont go. Stay with meeee.” Should he have first acknowledged that you originally turned it down, etc, etc? Sure. But the situation here is an unusual one- a bunch of factors came together, and came together in a way that you can interpret as being “against you” or whatever. You are allowed to be hurt and pouty (alone, not to him), but this is something you need to get over/deal with yourself.

    2. for_cutie says:

      I agree. If you see a future and marriage with this guy, then you will need to realize there will be plenty of times where you have the opportunity to do things apart. Sometimes you will be left home with the responsibilities while he has fun. This should reverse and you should do fun trips on your own too. A healthy long-term relationship needs to allow breathing room for both parties. Yes the timing and circumstance of this sucks. But honestly, if you wanted to go back in the fall, you should have gone for it. He didn’t try to stop you. Who knows, it may have forced his hand on the leave request front too. At any rate, mourn a holiday not spent together and look for a fun trip for you to take on your own in the near future – just for you.

    3. I suppose the question was how do you handle the disappointment? you acknowledge your feelings and move on. You realize you are being jealous and self centered, that even those closest to us are allowed to have their own things and their own free time. Am I saying your feelings are wrong? No. We’ve all been there-not invited, forgotten, whatever. Of course it hurts. But to ACT on your feelings would be wrong. What’s done is done, and I think to bring it up anymore would only cause trouble.

  6. Avatar photo Guy Friday says:

    So, what do you do now? Tell Greg when he gets back that you missed him and that, had you had more time to think about what his going on this trip would mean for you, you would have told him how disappointed you’d be to not spend the holiday with him. Tell him that in a sense you felt rejected for something better — something you turned down to be with him. Tell him that in the future you will make a better effort to communicate your honest feelings, but you also need him to make a better effort to consider your feelings, be empathetic to your needs even when you don’t always express them fully, and to take opportunities to prioritize your feelings over his when it really matters.

    This is the most important advice, honestly. You say you and Greg have a great relationship, so I would say almost exactly this. I suspect Greg, if your relationship is as strong as you say it is, will be sincerely apologetic and will endeavor to be more considerate in the future. And you will, I hope, be grateful that his response is one of apology and not of indignation, because the former is what you’d hope his response would be. And you’ll move forward, and hopefully become stronger and stronger, and if there’s actually that serious future that involves a life together and/or marriage, this is something you’ll playfully mock him for years into the marriage in a “Apparently he loves drinks with umbrellas more than he loves me” way that you both smile at 🙂

  7. I’ll take the contrary view and say I didn’t particularly like this part of Wendy’s answer. To me, it just ups the passive-aggressive ante. It’s blaming him for her answer and also showing how overly dependent she is and unable to cope with a week apart. The point about communicating better in the future is a good one. She had a quick decision to make, but so did he. She needs to quietly own her decision.

    I don’t know if bf was able to go late minute, because work wasn’t as heavy as he expected or whether his initial problem was financial and he wasn’t willing to own up to that.

    1. Hm…I didn’t read overly dependent or unable to cope in this letter. She decided not to go without her boyfriend because she’d rather spend the time with him. Isn’t that an okay thing to feel about your partner? Plus, he is the primary link to this group of friends. I think if she were truly unable to cope, she would have been much more dramatic about his decision. As it is, she’s disappointed and wants to know how to deal with it. I think that having a discussion about the situation isn’t unwarranted – not blaming him for his actions (because she said she was okay with it), but owning her part in the whole thing as well as sharing how his decision affected her.

      1. SpaceySteph says:

        Yeah based on the title only I was preparing to take LW to task about this obsessive need for the perfect NYE with her boyfriend similar to that letter we had in the forums with the LW who wanted her bf to skip NYE with his DYING MOTHER in order to kiss her at midnight.
        However, in reading this letter, I didn’t think that was really warranted and I don’t think she’s being needy or codependent or anything like that. LW is owning her feelings but also asking for advice rather than feelingsVomiting all over him the moment he gets back. It’s ok to feel disappointed by the way this went down.

  8. anonymousse says:

    I think at the heart of it, the LW feels he didn’t prioritize or even attempt to take work off to do this trip with her, but he jumped at the chance to do it without her. That would probably sting with anyone. I’d be super happy to let my husband go do this, but I’d still be disappointed that I couldn’t go. It’s nothing to do with being overly dependent on your partner. It’s about feeling left out. Who would want to be stick in a snowstorm, while your partner and all his pals are in Mexico or another warm destination? NYE is overwhelmingly a couple’s holiday, and a lot of their friends in common were on this trip.

    1. Northern Star says:

      Exactly this. All of a sudden, the boyfriend CAN take time off at a moment’s notice if he gets a free trip? And for months, when they were BOTH considering going, he wouldn’t bother making the effort?

      That’s how it feels, I’m sure. And, LW: Greg not going to the all-inclusive wouldn’t be “wasting a free trip.” It would be “passing on a free trip in order to follow through on previous plans with his girlfriend.”

      The LW’s disappointment is understandable, and it’s ridiculous to call her “overly dependent” when holiday plans she made specifically to be with her boyfriend (passing on other enticing offers) were jettisoned without ceremony by the boyfriend when a new offer came along.

      LW, I’m sure Greg doesn’t see it that way. I’m sure he simply didn’t think about anything beyond “hey, free trip!” When you talk to him about your disappointment, hopefully he responds with apologies or bare minimum, understanding. Hopefully he has been in contact with you during the trip, missing you. This situation may not have been anyone’s “fault,” but that doesn’t mean you have to swallow your feelings. At least, he should understand that you are a team, and he needs to think about how his wants affect you.

  9. bittergaymark says:

    Eh, let this go. Carrie Fisher is fucking dead. And here you are crying spilt milk about a decision you yourself willingly made. “Oh, I was under pressure! Wah. WaH! WAH!! Ooooh I didn’t how I would feeEEEELLLLL!”
    Learn from this — I dunno. No, actually. I do. How about… Gee, don’t fucking say things you truly don’t mean. Look, I’m sorry, but whining about this to your partner now after the fact will make you look weak and needy. Worse — he’ll now (rightly) never trust that you mean what you say again. But hey — if you REALLY wanna start the new year off with a guilt trip, have at it!

  10. bittergaymark says:

    Regarding the boyfriend’s the off. It’s very possibly his schedule is dependent on a host of things. I frequently can’t plan things months and months in advance — but then things suddenly change last minute. This is NOT exactly uncommon. Far from it. Not everybody has jobs like the 1950s.

    1. Yeah, everyone who’s going all Sherlock Holmesey on his availability is either stirring crap up deliberately or very unaware of how a lot of people’s jobs function. You’re dependent on if the work needs be done and you don’t know in August if the work need to be done but you might very well know in December. And they care a lot less about advance notice than whether you are doing all of your work.

      1. SpaceySteph says:

        Yeah I didn’t think it was so weird that he found the time to take off. Things always surprise me by how much they slow down around Christmas, even after years at my job. I like to be available to pick up slack around the holidays if they need it, but more often than not I’m left in a quiet office cleaning my inbox and wishing I had just taken the whole week off. If an all-expenses paid vacation fell in my lap last Wednesday I would have wanted to jump on it.

    2. Avatar photo muchachaenlaventana says:

      yeah.. not to mention it is a lot easier to justify a week or four days off of work when you aren’t also paying 1-2K for a vacation on top of that time you are taking off.

  11. I would just add that “spending NYE together” is something that I think that matters on average much more to women. And I think that many people automatically ascribe their own priorities to their partner and then read some sort of insult/slight into these kinds of omissions (birthdays are another one). I think that being together on December 31 may not be that important to your boyfriend and you can’t assume that he fully internalizes that it’s important to you. If it is a special time to you when it’s important to be together, then you need to do a better job communicating that to him.

    1. anonymousse says:

      Why is it much more important to women?

      1. SpaceySteph says:

        I’m gonna blame RomComs. I don’t think its universally true of every woman, but I do think it is more often women who have been sold this misguided notion of true love that requires a man making the grand gesture (such as sacrificing a free vacation) because he loves you sooo much.
        Real love is quieter and it doesn’t sync with the swelling music at the end of the third act with 5 minutes til midnight, and so it doesn’t sell as many movie tickets.

      2. Who knows? Being able to spend NYE together does seem to come up more as a concern/complaint from women , either in terms of Internet advice writing or my own experiences with friends. There’s another complaint in the forums right now from some lady about this.

        It may be in part that on average women are more self conscious about events/times when couplehood is emphasized. Lots of complaints about not being able to bring boyfriend to wedding or boyfriend not bringing her to a wedding or going to a wedding without a date etc. I’m sure it’s not universal but I think that it happens more with women.

        It doesn’t really matter if the breakdown happens on gender lines. The issue is that there are many people (disproportionately male, I suspect) that don’t really give a crap about NYE and if it’s important to the LW she needs to communicate that to her partner better instead of just taking sullen offense at his inability to psychically intuit that it’s important to her.

    2. RedRoverRedRover says:

      I don’t know anyone, man or woman, who thinks it’s a huge deal. Personally I dislike NYE, I don’t really see the point. I’ve spent it separate from my husband, and I wish I had this year. I would have stayed home if so many people hadn’t pressured me to show up (which is probably the main reason I hate it, the social pressure).

      1. anonymousse says:

        I honestly have never cared about NYE and Valentine’s Day. I love aspects about the holidays we just went through, but there’s also a lot of hate deep inside me for those, too.
        One other woman writing about it on this site doesn’t make a theme, however. And if you head over to Reddit or other relationship sites, you’ll find many, many NYE posts from men. I’d say even more from men. The romantic expectation is on both sides.
        I agree, so many rom cons focus on this. In practice, I think a lot of women DGAF about it or VDay, really. It’s a chance to party and cut loose more than anything else.

  12. Anon from LA says:

    You mentioned that you didn’t know what you could have done differently for a better outcome for yourself. Here’s what you could have done: Not give him an immediate answer. Next time he springs something like this on you, you can say, “Okay, I need to think about this. Can I get back to at X time?” or “I’m about to go into a hearing. Can we talk about this at X time, when I’m out of the hearing?”

    I’m guessing your BF didn’t spring this on you right before a hearing on purpose. (If he did, that would a super shitty thing to do.) But still, you shouldn’t feel pressured to answer questions like this on the spot.

    1. Anon from LA says:

      Also, it sucks that he left within 12 hours of deciding to go on the trip. That leaves you very little time to make alternate plans for the holidays. If he had decided at least a few days in advance to go on this trip, you maybe could’ve booked a trip for yourself or made plans to visit friends.

      When he returns, maybe you can frame the conversation as, “Next time, I would appreciate it if you’d give me more notice. I felt sort of lonely and abandoned but maybe I wouldn’t have felt that way if I had had the opportunity to make other arrangements before you left.”

      1. RedRoverRedRover says:

        I don’t think the bf had a choice though. He didn’t know a few days in advance that the other friend wouldn’t be going. He probably called her as soon as he knew, which was 12 hours before the flight.

      2. Anon from LA says:

        @RedRoverRedRover: Yes, in this case, he had to make the decision right away. And I’m not blaming him for leaving her without any alternative plans. I think she probably felt abandoned when he up and left all of a sudden, but I don’t think he intended to abandon her.

        BUT, they maybe could agree that in the future neither one of them will jet off on vacation with such short notice, especially over the holidays or other times when they are planning to spend a lot of “together” time. After all, I think it’s fair to ask your partner to give you a little notice before they travel (barring emergencies, of course).

      3. RedRoverRedRover says:

        I read your comment as saying HE sucks for giving her so little warning, but now I see what you mean. I agree with you.

  13. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

    Sort of off topic. Can you really transfer a plane ticket to another person in less than 24 hours? I didn’t think you could do that any more and you must show your ID to board the plane and your name must match the name on the ticket.

    1. I don’t think you can either. He may have had to buy his ticket. But they probably needed to fill a double-occupancy room at the hotel. All-inclusive room rates are usually for 2, so whatever other guy was in that room would have to pay double (his room, food, and booze) if he had no roommate.

      1. Skyblossom says:

        If he bought the ticket he lied about the free trip because it wasn’t free. Either the LW is making up a story or the boyfriend lied and made reservations along with the group but didn’t tell the LW until the last moment and made up the story about how he ended up on the trip. If he lied then the relationship isn’t nearly as good as the LW thinks because her boyfriend purposely made plans to go on the trip without her. He secretly made reservations.

      2. I read it as the hotel/resort room was already paid for, too, not a plane ticket.

      3. Skyblossom says:

        I think that planes are flying full this time of year and so it would be hard to get a seat at the last moment. He needed to have his ticket ahead of time. He didn’t call and say he had this opportunity and would see if he could reserve a seat on a flight he called and said he had a vacation for free.

    2. anonymousse says:

      Damn! Nice twist in there.

    3. Sounds like LW is a lawyer so she probably has the ins and outs squared away.

      1. Idk, and this is all very off-topic, but I know some lawyers who are totally clueless when it comes to these sorts of details… And also, a “hearing” could be government-related, or she could be a paralegal or other person that works in a firm rather than a lawyer.

      2. Skyblossom says:

        Most people don’t question what a loved on tells them. They take it at face value.

    4. Yeah, I also read it as he just got the hotel room free, not the plane ticket, but it’s a good point that it would be a huge stroke of luck to find an available, affordable plane ticket for the next day. Like, hmmm… But I don’t know why he’d be so devious as to lie to the LW about this to make it look like a last minute thing.

  14. So she misses her boyfriend. So what! What on earth is wrong with that? People are acting like she’s this super dependant little girl who can’t stand to be without him. That’s not what this is about. She is understandably bummed out because of this situation and any of you would be too.

    1. And also, any of you who have a quick answer to an unexpected URGENT question just like that, hats off to ya. Even if she had asked for some more time – the outcome would have been just the same and she’d have been bummed too. Good grief, she isn’t asking for pity.
      All right. End rant.

      1. anonymousse says:

        Yeah, totally agree.
        It also sounds like she’s snowed in, alone in their place, somof course she’s getting introspective.

      2. bittergaymark says:

        Then exactly WHAT is she asking for? Seriously? Cuz she sounds precisely like a dependent little girl who can’t handle big bad NYE all on her own…

      3. She’s asking how to deal with her feelings, like most people asking for advice.

  15. I think what your boyfriend did was really crappy. He basically made it so you couldn’t go, and he should have turned down the offer without even calling you, because he knows 1. it is something you wanted to do with him, and 2. you already had plans together.
    I don’t know what the conversation you could have with him would be like though, since you said he could go. Maybe just let him know that in the future that you wouldn’t be comfortable with something like that happening? This is a tough one, because you did say he could go, but I think there needs to be some way for you to tell him how it made you feel with out starting a big fight.

  16. I know I will probably get jumped on for this one, but I have a weird feeling that maybe boyfriend wanted to go without her. I don’t think LW mentioned how long they have been together (did she? correct me if I missed it, letter was kinda long) I think she may be inserting herself into his group and other people are trying to be gracious and make her feel included even though maybe boyfriend isn’t fully ready for all that yet. Like asking someone to go along (without boyfriend) to be nice, not really thinking she would take them up on it.
    I think the amount of time they have been together might make a difference in whether she is being a little too dependent or not.
    They aren’t living together, aren’t engaged and he may have just been trying to be nice by asking her permission and was planning on going regardless.
    Btw, I am a female and I don’t think NYE is that big of a deal…CHRISTMAS maybe…but again that all depends on how long they have been together and how serious they really are. LW may consider the relationship more serious than bf does.

  17. I’ve learned (the hard way) to say, “Let me think about that and get back to you….” and, “If you need an answer now, then I have to say ‘no.'” Part of the problem here is the sudden quick deadline driven nature of this event. I think it was difficult for both LW and her boyfriend to think as clearly as they might have with time to consider the options and a better outcome for both of them.

  18. Greg should have passed on the opportunity, pure and simple. It’s what a loving partner would do, remembering that she chose him over the vacation. I’m sure he wasn’t the only one who could have used the tickets, heck, he could have offered the opportunity to the LW!! Instead, he prioritized himself and left her in the lurch – immature ID triumphing over Ego. I don’t think a delicate recounting of her feelings is all the LW should look forward to, how about “Heyyyyy! What the heck, dude!?”

    1. ele4phant says:

      I disagree. She told him yes. Should she be able to go to him and say “After the fact, I felt this, and in retrospect wish I had asked you not to go. Going forward can we make sure holidays we are together – barring emergencies?”. Sure. But to come in angry at him for not realizing her yes was really a no, that’s unfair.

      Should he have known that he should pick his girlfriend over his friends for NYE? Arguably yes, but again, he asked and she said yes. If she’s afraid to say no to him, that’s on her, and speaks to a bigger issue in their relationship.

      1. Northern Star says:

        MiMi’s point is that Greg shouldn’t have asked in the first place. He’s a big boy who can pass on an offer all by himself without involving the LW or putting her in a no-win position to be either selfish or disappointed. He could have come to the conclusion that, gee, his girlfriend already had to pass on this cool opportunity months ago BECAUSE OF HIM and maybe it’s not fair to leave her in the lurch just because some opportunities opened up for HIM.

        But no. Greg made the selfish choice.

      2. ele4phant says:

        Fair enough, perhaps he should have known before even asking.

        But, I still maintain that once he asked and said yes, it’s pretty immature on her part to rip into him. Again, in a healthy relationship you should be able to say “No, I am looking forward to spending the holiday with you, and I would feel upset and excluded if you went on a vacation we already decided to not go on”.

        If you can’t say that, if you fear you will be the bad guy if you speak your mind, something greater is amiss in your relationship.

      3. Northern Star says:

        OR: Your knee-jerk reaction is to be generous (a good quality!), and regret can creep up when dealing with the reality of a knee-jerk reaction. This LW had a minute to decide because time was of the essence because ol’ Greg needed to buy that solo plane ticket to party-time, post-haste.

        Perhaps something IS amiss in this relationship because Greg is selfish.

        And who said anything about “ripping into someone?” It would be a far worse relationship if a person is never allowed to talk about her feelings. Do you think it would be better for the LW to keep her mouth shut and for Greg to think this is perfectly cool behavior on his part that DOESN’T hurt his girlfriend’s feelings—so he repeats the selfish behavior? I don’t.

      4. ele4phant says:

        You can definitely talk about it in a way:

        “Initially I said yes, but as it set in I realize I was sad to not be with you and sad to be left out. I said yes, so I’m not blaming you, but going forward, I want to spend the holidays together/don’t want to be excluded from group trips/whatever other conclusion she came to.”

        If she tells him he was selfish, or that he is somehow in the wrong for hurt feelings, I think that’s outta line. But, that’s my opinion, ymv.

  19. I agree with MiMi. I’ve had past boyfriends who would have thought about this trip, gone on this trip, agonized about going on this trip or not going on this trip,, “asked” me whether or not they should or should not go; back when he was my boyfriend, and throughout our marriage, my husband has consistently shown he likes being with me, and most often prefers being with me no matter what we are doing…. And when LW’s boyfriend returns, perhaps he will have missed her as she is missing him.

  20. I think this advice is great. Feel your feelings now, process it a bit more on your own to think about the parts of this that disappointed you, then sit down with your boyfriend and have a discussion. Talk about how you didn’t think it would be such a big deal to you, because on its face it made sense for him to go on a free vacation, but in the end, you ended up hurt and why. And discuss how the two of you might treat a similar decision in the future. Make sure it doesn’t come off as you blaming him for it, because really you’re not, you just miss him.

    And honestly, in the long run, it’s better to have these conversations than bottle them up or just “deal” with your emotions because they’ll probably just come steamrolling back one day.

  21. The more I think about this… I wouldn’t do this to someone I was in a serious relationship with: talk about taking a tropical trip with my friends and my S/O, decide against it because of work, and then jump on the opportunity to go last-minute and leave my S/O behind in the cold. Basically I would not do what Greg did, I’d regretfully pass, and then make sure next year we’d be able to go. It makes me wonder how serious their relationship really is. I could see this happening in a more casual relationship. There’s not enough detail here to say Greg is a jerk, but it kind of was a dick move IMO.

    1. Northern Star says:

      I wouldn’t, either. I can’t see putting my husband in that position, especially if it was all my fault we weren’t going together in the first place—and my husband passed on going himself in order to be with me during the holidays. It was a totally self-centered move on Greg’s part.

    2. Avatar photo MaterialsGirl says:

      I agree on this. And I think she should definitely talk to him when he gets back

    3. I asked my husband and he agrees, if they’re serious and have been dating like a year, that wasn’t cool, and he wouldn’t have done it either.

    4. RedRoverRedRover says:

      Yeah, he basically put her in a no-win situation. She had to either be the cool girlfriend or the bitch. And she wouldn’t have ended up happy either way. He should have turned it down and enjoyed the holidays together with her.

    5. Anon from LA says:

      Yeah, this isn’t necessarily a deal breaker, but it might be an indication of how Greg views the relationship or a sign of his true character. It’s possible that he’s selfish guy who puts his own desires above his GF’s or the needs of their relationship. It’s also possible that he views their relationship as more disposable than LW does. It would probably be smart for the LW to take a good look at Greg’s behavior to see if this fits any patterns.

    6. Same here! I mean the first thing I’d think of when deciding is “partner turned it down because of me, I don’t want them sitting here missing me it will make me guilty ” So Greg at first glance seems selfish to me. If he never does something like this again then he was just immature not selfish. Lw should Discuss it kindly and patiently. No rush, try to find out how empathetic he is.

    7. ele4phant says:

      See – I still disagree. I suppose it’s selfish, but not fatally so. He got an offer to go on a free trip – sweet! I can see how he got excited and maybe lost a little perspective. It happens. We can all be self-absorbed at times, we can all be thoughtless at times, it doesn’t necessarily mean we are bad partners or are always self-serving. Sometimes we need an outside check. Like our partner saying:

      “Hey, that’s great you got invited to go for free, but because we turned down the trip last summer that means now I can’t go and we’ll be apart for New Years. I’d prefer that you turn it down, and we will make sure we go next year.”

      I wouldn’t want to be in a relationship where my husband has to intuit what I want, or has to be the perfect person who never slips up and acts somewhat self-involved at times (you know, is a regular human), and I also wouldn’t want to be in a relationship where I don’t have any power to say what I think or want without fear of being “the bad guy”.

      1. I agree, I see it as an impulse to go on a fun trip (and at a discount!) and totally forget for a minute about the grown-up conversations one might have had about it. Don’t we all have those impulses? Like, I planned a trip with two friends from college, maybe a few weeks in advance, and in the middle of the holiday season. If there had been a reason for not going, Bassanio would have said something (he ended up taking the opportunity to visit other friends at the same time, it worked out great for both of us). And there’s been other times where I had to remind him of some practical reason for not going, and it’s been fine, no resentment brewing.

        I think that if I were the LW, I would have reminded him of us deciding together not to go, then talk about how excited I was to spend NYE with him. Maybe even try to figure out something extra cool to do together over the holidays to get excited about.

    8. But it took you a while to think about it-your first instinct was that there was nothing wrong with it. If you’ve only come to this decision after several days of thinking (envisioning thought bubbles over you as you work) it seems kind of harsh to call it a “dick move.”

  22. bittergaymark says:

    I have gotten crazy deals on last minute flights. Crazy, crazy deals.

    1. Yeah, I agree it’s possible he did get a last minute ticket. Maybe even for cheap.

  23. bittergaymark says:

    PS — If the sexes were reversed I wonder how many would feel the same and think the bf was a controlling jerk for not wanting her to miss out on such a great opportunity. Somehow, I suspect, a rather sizable number of posters here would.

    1. Avatar photo Dear Wendy says:

      If the sexes were reversed, I’d simply think the woman was kind of a thoughtless jerk and the man should have communicated a little better.

    2. RedRoverRedRover says:

      No one has said he’s controlling. We’ve said he was selfish. And if the sexes were reversed I’d think the exact same thing, personally. In fact many of us here have put ourselves in Greg’s spot and thought about what we would do (thus reversing the sexes), which is how we came to the conclusion that he was selfish.

      But if you think it’s totally ok to have your SO sacrifice a fun trip in favour of spending a holiday with you, then at the last minute ditching them to spend the holiday alone while you go on the fun trip they could have been on, go nuts. I hope it works out for you.

      1. bittergaymark says:

        So much drama. “Sacrifice!” Did she cut off the vacation’s head on some ceremonial alter and cast spells, too? C’mon! Did she even frame it this way for him? Frankly, somebody I was dating NOT going off a vacation getaway with MY friends is hardly some great sacrifice. That it strikes so many here as such is just… decidedly odd to me.

      2. RedRoverRedRover says:

        …. because she said she wanted to go? It’s literally right in the letter.

      3. ele4phant says:

        Sure, but she was the one who decided not to go. It doesn’t sound like Greg asked her to stay with him. So, in his mind, probably not an equivalent situation, and therefore, not hypocritical for him to make a different situation.

        Honestly, he probably didn’t think about it nearly as much as she (and now we) did. An opportunity came up to go, sounded fun, he ran it past his girlfriend who seemingly had no problem with it. If she did, it’s kind of on her to speak up. Or to remind him of her choice, and ask that he make the same.

    3. bittergaymark says:

      No, no, no. Did she specifically tell him that she was NOT going as she wanted to spend NYE with him? That is the question and the letter is vague and murky at best. Frankly, considering her apparently routine lack of clarity in communications, I rather suspect it was more along the line of… “You can’t go? Well, I guess I’ll stay home instead, too.”

  24. bittergaymark says:

    PS — she should have gone on the trip way back when anyway. Seriously. She seemingly expects him to read her mind which is hard to figure out for even her apparently…

    1. It does make me sad that she is more attached to spending time with him than vice versa. Maybe he has more friends or enjoys being with friends more.

  25. dinoceros says:

    But she did say she’d be sad. She ultimately said OK, but it’s not accurate to say that she said nothing of being sad or disappointed, because she did. I don’t think this is all on her. It’s important for people to say what they need, but it is also nice for a partner to use some perspective-taking and try to think of the other person’s feelings without being told to. I don’t know any serious couples who would make this decision. We’re acting like there is no possible way for him to know it would disappoint her, but I think he knew but wanted to put it on her because he knows that nobody wants to be the old shrew who keeps their boyfriend from a vacation. That’s why people ask for permission to do things. Because the odds are much higher the person will agree and then it’s on them. Any reasonable person knows that their partner would be pissed if you caused them to miss a vacation and then said you were bailing on NYE to go on that same vacation.

    I don’t really get it. He couldn’t have asked about time off before? He made the decision based off a hunch as though asking was out of the question, but was cool with asking at the last minute?

  26. Findingtheearth says:

    I’m kind of suspicious about a lot of this. A person who travels yearly out of the country lets their passport expire. Suddenly time off work just happens. He can get on the flight, which from experience you cannot just transfer tickets.

    But, ignoring that, LW, I agree with a comment above about what you do when you two aren’t together. Use the time to reconnect with friends, go see a movie, indulge in a hobby you’ve ignored for awhile.

    1. I know, the last minute ticket is possible, but… And then it sounds like he hadn’t even asked for the time off work, which why wouldn’t he, in August? A lot of this is sounding weird to a number of people.

      1. Skyblossom says:

        My thought is that the letter is fake. This is someone who is basically writing fiction and because they don’t write much fiction they made some basic plot errors, even though the word count was low.

        The first error was the plane ticket. That is a factual plot error.

        The second error is something that is missing. This letter would have been written on Jan 1 or Jan 2 because it was published on Jan 3 so written right after New Years Eve. Yet there is no mention of how her boyfriend leaving on the trip left her to cancel or change plans. No anger or hurt over what didn’t happen. Just that she is lonely by herself but nothing about what their plans were and immediately after missing out on those plans, even if they were general, rough plans, she would have been focused on that.

        Also the whole thing is missing a sense of anguish or passion or real hurt like it is a mind game, something fake, rather than something experienced and still very raw.

      2. bittergaymark says:

        You are assuming that most everybody makes huge blow out plans for NYE. Ones that they would have to cancel. Um… Not everybody does that. Pretty much everybody I know simply went a party somewhere or had dinner reservations at best.

      3. People keep saying this but once again, in a lot of jobs it’s not a question of getting permission not to attend for certain days. It’s a question of whether you’ll be needed. There have been plenty of years where I would have been reluctant to commit to being gone between Christmas and New Years, but once it came (and things turned out to be dead) I could have skipped out.

        And as BGM notes, many people don’t make formal plans. They go to parties or they hang out at home.

    2. You can also be denied entry to your flight if your passport is CLOSE to expiring….I know a guy whose wife’s passport was denied because it was within 6 months of the expiration date. Regardless though, if you travel out of the country on the regular, that’s not something you can just let slip by so I also find that suspicious….you need to keep track of when it expires and have it renewed on time! I renewed my passport this summer and it took at least 6 weeks….it can be done in less but you’ll be shelling out extra $$.

      1. ele4phant says:

        I don’t know that I find that suspicious. Some people are absent minded. Some people travel abroad only once a year. He may have noticed it last time he traveled, made a mental note to get it updated, then forgotten all about it when he got home.

        It happens.

      2. RedRoverRedRover says:

        I travel for work and I’ve been caught having to go down to the office in person and pay extra to get it in the priority pile. I just don’t notice it, because I always renew it for the longest term possible. Which used to be 5 years but is now 10, and I’m sure I’ll forget when my 10 years rolls around.

      3. His mama may have gotten him his first passport when he was a teen, and he didn’t think about it for 10 years. These kids!

  27. LisforLeslie says:

    The passport thing – I can see that happening. You just don’t pay attention because it’s good for 10 years. The ticket thing – less likely, you can’t transfer tickets and getting a last minute ticket would be either really cheap or really pricey. Given the time of the year, I say pricey.

    But I don’t have to play Columbo on this one… Wendy’s advice is solid.

  28. bittergaymark says:

    Nowhere does the letter ever mention a free commercial air ticket. Nowhere.

    1. Gonna agree with Mark on this one 🙂

  29. bittergaymark says:

    PS — Dear Wannabe Private Investigators. Don’t quit your day jobs… Just now, I found on Kayak — LA to Cancun flights leaving tomorrow. Fares as low as $264.00… round trip.

    1. Avatar photo muchachaenlaventana says:

      Yeah.. sometimes it is oddly cheaper to wait until the ultimate last second to get tickets, as they are trying to fill the flight. My best friend and her fiance got cheap flights to both London (less than 2 weeks before they left) and New York (the weekend before they left) all around the holidays.

  30. bittergaymark says:

    Boston — $301
    Chicago — $244.
    Denver — $333
    Kansas City — $417
    Minneapolis — $481

    1. Lol. You are awesome. And only $244 to Chicago? Perhaps I need another LA visit.

      1. bittergaymark says:

        No, those were fares from those cities to Cancun, Mexico.

      2. As much as I love California, guess I should go spend some time in Cancun then.

  31. Avatar photo muchachaenlaventana says:

    Some of the responses on this are kind of shocking to me … if this happened during a time that did not fall on “new year’s eve” would people be having the same reactions? I mean, the boyfriend NEVER told his girlfriend not to go on the trip, just that he at that time, couldn’t swing it. When a free trip falls in your lap (or essentially free) it is a lot easier imo to justify taking the time off of work. Also for some people planning that far ahead is really tricky, I am much better at committing if something is like a few days or weeks out, vs months. It also says he decided he couldn’t go “because he couldn’t be sure to get the time off” implying it could be a really busy time of the year or maybe not and he didn’t want to fork out likely nonrefundable $$ for a trip in August that he may be too busy to go on in December, but when December rolled around and he wasn’t super busy things changed. What the LW did was nice and loving, but he never pressured her in to missing the trip, she did that of her own volition. It also sounds like it was the type of thing he maybe doesn’t appreciate, so good to know going forward for the LW. I honestly don’t think LW should bring this up to him again, except to maybe convey that in the future, she would like more time to think over things before needing to give an answer. I get being bummed, but I think that falls more on her than on him. If this were me and my boyfriend had turned down the trip I would have been like, thats sweet but wtf is wrong with you. Also it sounds like they didn’t really have a big plan for NYE so it isn’t like they had tickets or an event to go to he backed out on, which would change perhaps the way the convo would go.

    The idea that he needed her permission to go on the trip, or whatever is kind of gross to me. I do agree with the fact LW should have owned her feelings at the time so at least he would know he was upsetting her when he made this choice vs having this big bucket of feels dumped on him when he gets back.

    Also, maybe this is just me projecting, but I hate all inclusive resorts/trips and would never pay for one or take time off to go, even if all of my best friends were going and especially not in August, when its still hot out. However, if I all of a sudden just had to spring for airfare there I would probably go in a heartbeat, especially in the height of winter when all I want is a tropical escape.

    1. RedRoverRedRover says:

      It wouldn’t be as bad if it wasn’t a holiday, but it *was* a holiday. And she specifically didn’t go in the first place because she wanted to spend the holiday with him, and he knew that. Then he ditched her to spend it alone anyway, to take the very trip that she had wanted to be on and skipped for him. If it hadn’t been over a holiday, she may have planned to go on the trip originally and no one would be writing in. But it was, and that’s kind of the crux of it, so speculating on what would have happened if it wasn’t a holiday is kind of useless.

      And I don’t think he was “asking permission”, he was asking if she was ok with it. That’s pretty normal in a relationship, to run things by each other. She thought at the time she’d be ok with it, turns out she wasn’t. It happens.

      1. ele4phant says:

        Did he know she wanted to spend the holiday together though?

        Had they talked about it, made plans? Is she a person who normally cares about being together on traditional “couple” holidays?

        ‘Cause it sounds like their whole relationship they’ve spent NYE in group settings, and as far as we know, they didn’t have alternative plans lined up.

      2. RedRoverRedRover says:

        “Instead of spending this time together, like we’d planned”

      3. bittergaymark says:

        Plans to do what? Sit and home and watch Mariah Can’t Carry A Tune reveal herself to be a Talentless Hack who can’t handle pressure? Maybe mock everybody on TV for wearing those ghastly purple hats in Times Square?

      4. ele4phant says:

        @Redrover. Yeah, but did they have like actual plans? Plans he was breaking to go on the trip instead?

        And did she explicitly tell him, I’m not going on this trip to spend the holiday with you? Or did she decide not to go on a vacation because he couldn’t go? Those are two different things, I think.

      5. RedRoverRedRover says:

        I’m not sure why it matters what exactly the plans were. They were going to be together on the holiday. What difference does it make what they were going to do? Even if it was sit around in their jammies and watch the ball fall and ring it in together and kiss at midnight, those are plans. And they were important enough to her for her to skip the trip, so I can see why she’s unhappy now.

        As to what she explicitly told him, we don’t know. But it should have been clear to him that she wasn’t going because he couldn’t go. It had to have been, since they were actually talking about it until he decided he probably couldn’t get the time off. So he knows for a fact that she skipped it because he wasn’t going.

      6. bittergaymark says:

        It always astounds me how needy and pathetic so many people in relationships are. Talk about codependency. Ugh…

      7. RedRoverRedRover says:

        *rolls eyes*

      8. bittergaymark says:

        Everybody is acting like she walked in on him in bed with somebody else. PS — They are dating — who knows even for how long they’ve been dating. They don’t even live together. They are NOT married. Everybody should maybe stop acting like they are.

      9. RedRoverRedRover says:

        Long enough so that back in August, they both assumed they’d still be together by the end of the year. Long enough so that his friends knew her well enough last August to try to get her to go on a trip without him. 6 months at an absolute minimum, and probably a fair bit longer than that. And I don’t know about you, but when I’m in a relationship I don’t just consider my plans with my SO to be a placeholder in case they don’t find anything better. To each their own, though.

      10. SpaceySteph says:

        In defense of my past and probably* future NYE plans… planning to stay home, sit on the couch, and drink champagne IS in fact having plans. There is not some minimum glamor level required to make something a real plan.

        *Given that I’m having a baby this year, that’s probably my next 10 or so New Year’s Eve plans.

    2. Northern Star says:

      How sad that it’s “gross” to you that someone would check in with a significant other before cancelling holiday plans. Isn’t that the bare minimum required to be a decent human being?

      Isn’t the general motto of this site “aim higher?”

      1. Avatar photo muchachaenlaventana says:

        lol way to intentionally misconstrue what I said which was, “the idea of asking permission” which is the exact phrasing of many people on the comment thread, is gross to me. Checking in and requesting the “permission” to do something are a lot different, in my opinion. It is really just an issue of semantics.

  32. bittergaymark says:

    Yeah, the responses on this letter — from many — seem way, way, wayyyyyyyyyy over the top. It kinda left me baffled — really.

    1. Thank you for that! I am still trying to see where he has to get her “permission” to go in the first place. He was trying to be nice and respectful of her by asking. These are HIS long time friends and HIS long time group trips. I think her ever being invited in the first place was just a good will gesture. I think she should take baby steps inserting herself with his lifelong friends. She isn’t his wife, fiancé or even live in. She should say she really missed him and leave it at that. Anything more and she might push him away. Too needy…and probably too soon.

  33. LW Update: He returned. We had a longgggggg heart felt conversion about how lonely I was while he was gone and how I wished I had told him I didn’t think he should go without me. He said he was so sorry and didn’t realize what a big deal it was to me.
    LW Update:(#2) He suddenly stopped calling. (I thought after 6 months he was going to marry me and I was going have like 6 of his babies…wtf I already picked out our silver pattern!) And my new “friends” stopped calling too. What did I do wrong?????
    Please listen to Mark.
    To overreact in this situation could kill the relationship fast. The only thing men hate worse than needy overdependant woman are woman who try to overstep into his circle of friends or try to blow little situations involving his friends into big heart felt whine sessions. Let.It.Go.

    1. RedRoverRedRover says:

      Great general advice for anyone longing to be a ’50s housewife.

    2. While I tend to agree that “sitting him down” and “having a Conversation” about this situation would be an overreaction (and I don’t think the bf is a huge jerk for going on the vacation; probably he didn’t really think it all through just as the LW didn’t), I don’t agree with this take. If a fairly serious committed relationship can’t handle a bit of vulnerability or honest communication, it’s not going to make the long haul. There’s no need to pigeonhole this into “What Men Hate More than Needy Women” and “Women Are So Whiny and Emotional”. In a healthy relationship, neither partner should have to suppress their feelings to create a false impression of being “cool” and “fine”.

    3. Zombeyonce says:

      The casual sexism of this comment really bothers me. LW says that they have become her friends, too, so I don’t get your comment about how they’re her “friends”; that is really dismissive of her assessment of personal relationships and I see no reason for that. LW seems pretty even-keeled in her letter and gives no indication that she tries to blow little situations out of proportion or have “whine sessions”.

      And your comment about men and what they [all] hate gives little credit to most people’s understanding (though not yours, apparently) that men are not a group of clones that all have the exact same feelings and reactions and like and dislike the same things. Heck, even the clones in Orphan Black have their own personalities.

      I think you can give men that same allowance. And you can give the LW a break for being honest.

    4. Northern Star says:

      Who in the world WANTS a useless man that can’t handle a discussion about a hurt feeling or two?

      Have fun with the clueless turd who doesn’t give a rip about his wife’s wants and needs, I guess. It’s totes worth it to be saddled with a boorish clod just to get that diamond ring, amirite?

      1. Yeah, I don’t agree that 1) men in general are slower to commit – I think they can be very quick to commit when they are really into a particular woman, or that 2) you should shut up about your feelings if you don’t want him to walk. Like others said, what the heck kind of relationship do you have if you can’t say something like, hey, you know, at the time blah blah, but then I felt blah, and can we plan ahead for next year’s trip so blah…”? If you can’t say that without fear he’ll see you as a clingy horror show, the guy isn’t that into you. As a lot of the letters we see from guys on here demonstrate, they’ll put up with quite a lot of drama and whackadoo shit from a woman they’re into.

    5. anonymousse says:

      Who is telling her to make a big deal? Women are supposed to not discuss unpleasant feelings? Your advice is bullshit.

  34. bittergaymark says:

    I am not sure you actually know what a 1950s housewife is — but they rarely sat at home while their husbands went to all inclusive tropical resorts at the last minute. Then again — if the LW wants to be a housewife, she should perhaps get married first — rather than just acting like she is.

    1. RedRoverRedRover says:

      I know whexactly what it is. It’s the kind of relationship you end up with when you can’t even tell your bf you’re sad without him dumping you. If you have to play all these games to keep your man happy, then get ready to play them the whole rest of your life.

      Still not getting why plans with your SO only become a priority after you’re married.

  35. @Vathena I didn’t mean they should not be able to communicate BUT I think this situation is especially touchy. These are not her friends, she may like to think they are, but they were including her because she is dating him. They would probably unfriend her quickly if he split up with her…which he is free to do at any time because they are not married, engaged, living together etc.
    We do not know if they are in a serious committed relationship. Maybe to her they are.
    He asked her before he went. Making a big deal after the fact does make her look bad IMO. If she had asked him not to go maybe it would be a different story. It just isn’t worth it and bringing this up after he had a great time with his friends would be a giant buzz kill.
    Fact is, she isn’t the wife and really doesn’t have much of a say so. When you are dating someone you do have to be more careful of what you make a big deal out of and what you don’t. If a guy isn’t ready for all that, he may run. Pick your battles wisely.
    Who knows he may tell her he thought it was awfully nice of her to be understanding and he may like, love, respect etc… her more for taking it in stride.
    It is just a fact that most men do not like the overly dependent, needy, whiny type. Ask any man and they will agree.

    1. ele4phant says:

      I mean, nobody likes having a dependent, needy, whiny partner. Male or female.

      I’m not saying the LW shouldn’t say anything to her BF about she felt when he gets back, and I’m definitely not saying she shouldn’t have said anything beforehand (if she knew she didn’t want him to go, she should have just told him upfront), but I do think when they talk she shouldn’t blame him.

      It’s more about tone. Something like “I said yes thinking I was fine with, but as time went on and you actually were gone, I found that I was sad and felt left out. Going forward, can we make sure we do x, y, and z?” would be appropriate. Coming at him with “What the heck man! You should’ve known better than to leave me alone on a holiday, even though I said it was” would not be.

    2. RedRoverRedRover says:

      She said when he asked that she’d be sad if he went. He was ok with that and decided to go anyway. If her telling him now that she was, in fact, sad that he went causes him to break up with her, then good riddance. The kind of guy who would consider that to be “needy” and “overly dependent” is not good boyfriend/husband material. And if it’s necessary for anyone to walk on eggshells and hide their feelings to keep their relationship, then it’s a shit relationship.

    3. Zombeyonce says:

      I still think it’s completely plausible that these people are her friends and that she’s not misunderstanding that attachment. I know that I am good friends that were originally only my husband’s friends, and in some cases I am closer with them now than my husband. I don’t understand why that is such a crazy notion to you.

      And carolann, you can’t say things like “Ask any man and they will agree” without coming across as pretty damn sexist. I hope you realize that’s how you sound.

      1. You say your husband…different scenario. This is not her husband.
        She says she was invited to go without him, but would he really want her going on a trip with his long term guy friends and their spouses without him? How about I turn it around, what if he was invited with her mostly female long term friends and their husbands? It seems awkward to me either way. I just get the feeling they were saying “oh sure come without him” to be nice, not thinking she would do it. (We don’t even know if more than one person asked or if one person casually mentioned the thought.) We have all done that. That is just the feeling I am getting. I could be wrong.
        And call me sexist if you want… I am realistic. It may not be right, but men are generally (I say generally, not always, and not even in my own relationship) a little slower to commit and easier to scare off than woman. There is a lot about LWs relationship we don’t know. We are only getting one side and don’t know how serious and/ or committed her bf really is.
        She says they have talked about marriage in the future, but that could mean they both discussed they would one day like to get married. Not necessarily that THEY would get married to each other. Things can be interpreted all different ways, ya know?

      2. Zombeyonce says:

        @carolann, It’s not a different scenario. I didn’t realize I needed to tell you that I became good friends with his friends when we were dating. Marriage didn’t suddenly make them “real” friends. They already were before we even moved in together. I also never said that I thought she’d want to go without him. I’m not sure where you’re getting that from. I just think that should could actually have real friends in this group, so sure, it’s certainly possible that she may have considered going without him, but likely thought that it’d be more fun/meaningful to be with him for a holiday.

        I also don’t see how switching the genders would change anything. Maybe he’s good friends with the partners of her girlfriends. Maybe he’s good friend with her female friends. Who knows? I don’t see how that matters. The issue isn’t if she should have gone without him. It’s that LW’s feelings are valid and there’s no reason for her not to tell him how she felt to avoid this kind of problem in the future. She can do that without any drama, especially if she’s matter of fact about not realizing how she felt until after the rush of him leaving.

        I do still consider what you’re saying sexist. Yes, of course, some men find it hard to commit and can be scared off easily. Plenty of women also have those same difficulties, as you admit yourself. I don’t think either of these are inherently because of gender. I’ll concede that some of it may be socialization, certainly, but not because someone was born of one gender or another. I think you may need to reconsider how you’re attaching actions to gender. You may find that you’ve got some preconceived notions that aren’t true.

  36. “When you are dating someone you do have to be more careful of what you make a big deal out of and what you don’t. If a guy isn’t ready for all that, he may run. ”

    Right, because the end goal here is to “catch a man” by behaving in just the right way! He definitely shouldn’t see her without makeup on either, or hear her fart. He might RUN AWAY! And where would she be then? All alone, a sad sad Old Maid without a man in her life. So ladies, remember, don’t talk about your feelings. Paste a big ol’ smile on your face and greet him at the door with his favorite cocktail, slippers, and pipe.

    1. RedRoverRedRover says:


    2. And carolann, to be clear, I don’t disagree with your comment generally. She doesn’t need to make a big deal about it – ultimately it won’t matter much if they’re planning to spend their lives together – but neither does she need to pretend she feels a certain way when she doesn’t. I just really don’t care for sexist generalizations.

    3. Well, I never wear a stitch of make up ever. It itches me and I look awful with it on.
      And I fart a lot. Especially when my hubby makes bean soup.
      (He does all the cooking. I will if I have to, but I have no passion for it and he does.)
      I guess I am lucky someone married me. Lol
      No really, some of the LWs DO sound desperate to “catch a man”. If I personally were in LWs position I would have found some friends to do something fun with and had a great time. I never would have sat at home and pouted over my boyfriend. Maybe if I was 15.
      I am way too proud for all that.
      When he got back I would be happy he had a good time and put any jealousy and hurt feelings aside… I would have been embarrassed to make a big deal out of it, but we are all different.
      BUT if he mentioned it I may say something… I wouldn’t otherwise. Not because I am stuck in the 50s (anyone who knows me would find that laughable) but because I would rather he know I was just fine alone for a few days.

      1. You just basically said that the way to keep a man is to hide your feelings behind your pride. How are two people going to get on the same page about an issue (like going on a couples vacation) if they don’t talk about it? No one is saying she should “make a big deal” or blame him, just that it would make sense to discuss this so it doesn’t happen again next year.

      2. Ele4phant says:

        I mean some are saying he was selfish for even asking her…which is the same as blaming him yes?

    4. “Right, because the end goal here is to “catch a man” by behaving in just the right way! He definitely shouldn’t see her without makeup on either, or hear her fart. ”

      This made me laugh. According to the fiance, I apparently fart in my sleep. And I apparently have done so since we started dating. AND HE STILL PROPOSED! HOW LUCKY AM I?!?

      As an aside, I thought this was a pretty simple letter and Wendy offered excellent advice. Like, of course talk to you boyfriend about how it made you feel… just don’t attack him. The differing opinions on this are making me laugh.

  37. I am too proud of a person to have taken it so personally in the first place. To me, this comes across as needy. Everyone is different.
    I am not saying you have to hide your feelings, but I do think there is a thin line between what is normal girlfriend behavior and what could be perceived as “too much”.
    I won’t say it is unheard of that she is friends with his friends, but to some people it may come across as her trying a little to hard to insert herself into his life. This could potentially turn a guy (or girl actually) off. I have seen similar situations. One of my best friends lost a guy she thought was “the one” because of a very similar situation. It went very bad for her and she still to this day doesn’t understand why he dumped her.

    1. You said above that you “would put any jealousy and hurt feelings aside.” So you’d have them but you wouldn’t express them in any way, unless maybe if he asked? Bottling up feelings does a lot of harm to a relationship. Acting like you were just fine being left alone while he went to Cancun will lead to you being left alone next time he goes to Cancun, because he thinks you’re fine with it.

      1. I think that anyone may be a little jealous of anyone who got to vacay while they were stuck in the snow with the cat. But no, not really. Not very much. Some people get hurt and jealous more easily than others.
        I agree she should have discussed her feelings, but she should have done that before he left. Like as soon as her hearing was over.
        I am sure she won’t be left behind next time. She is probably already making plans to make sure she goes next year if they are still together then.
        This too shall pass. I don’t think it is that big of a deal. If they stay together they will end up going through way more trying situations. I wouldn’t sweat the small stuff, not if he is a great guy otherwise.

      2. So she should have talked to him, but before, not after? That wouldn’t get her dumped like your friend?

  38. bittergaymark says:

    Honestly? The LW should GROW up.
    NEWSFLASH: Not every feeling IS valid.
    Nor should every feeling be validated.

    1. You sound like a dad in the ’50s.

    2. zombeyonce says:

      Be that as it may, I think the LW’s feeling here is valid, and the boyfriend knowing about it and validating it can make a difference to how they plan future things, which is likely to be beneficial since he would then know her better.

    3. ele4phant says:

      Eh, I agree, in a general sense that not every feeling is rational and needs to be recognized and dealt with anybody outside of yourself, but I do think in this instance, as long as she keeps this a forward projecting conversation and doesn’t put the blame on him for her unexpected reaction to this trip, they should be able to talk about this when he gets back.

      Not in a “I put you to a test and you failed and I blame you for all my hurt feelings”, but in a “Hey, I didn’t think this would bother me but it did, so in the future would you be willing to do x?”.

  39. Yes, I think she should have talked to him before he left if at all possible. If it meant that much to her.
    My friend got dumped because she inserted herself a little too far into his circle of friends. He felt she was crowding him. She was the one who explained it that way. They dated for a while. She considered it much more serious than he did in the end.
    Again, there is a fine line. For some people (not just guys) it can be a very touchy area. Was he trying to encourage her to socialize with his long time friends or did she begin inserting herself? We don’t know.
    I have the feeling (again, this is just my feeling and opinion) that he didn’t really want her to go. Maybe she is getting that feeling too and that is why she is taking it badly.
    But, he didn’t want to piss her off…he needed her to feed his cat. Lol
    No really…I don’t know if this is an indication that maybe he doesn’t really want her so close with his friends.

    1. I agree with you (I wrote it yesterday) that he’s probably not as serious about this as she is. And I think it’s under those kinds of circumstances that a guy might dump you. If he was that into you, talking to him about something wouldn’t make him run.

  40. Reading back on the original letter, this is basically an every year trip for most of this friend group. The letter seems to read that LW has never participated in this trip and that her bf hasn’t participated in the time they have dated. It’s possible they have been together less than a year, despite all her talk of them discussing a future and marriage. That would be fast for less than a year. Equally possible, they’ve been together more than a year, but bf didn’t go on the last vacation. I go back to my original suggestion that perhaps the free resort is the only way the bf can afford to go on this trip.

    It is a strange letter. She says she initially wrote the trip into her work vacation schedule. No indication that she did so because bf ever said they would go together. In fact she says he fairly early on declined the trip. She later says she declined going on her own, because she’d rather spend NYE with bf, but again there is no indication she ever discussed this with him.

    Really, there is a whole lot of talk, by her, of how super serious they are as a couple, but they seem unable to comunicate. Is he conning her on the seriousness of their relationship or is she blowing things out of proportion and assuming what she wants to assume?

    As in many cases, it would help if LW provided basic info, such as how long she and bf have been dating, how old they are, whether he is financial secure or living almost paycheck to paycheck, and whether bf or she have ever been on one of these vacations with the friend group.

    We’re all making a lot of conclusions based on little beyond rampant speculation and how we think we would act is this very undefined circumstance.

    One last comment. She defines the group of friends as “a large group of friends from high school that hang out together a lot (mostly guys and then their spouses). ” Well, if the women in this group are mostly spouses, and she is neither married, engaged to, or living with her bf and we have no idea how long they’ve even been dating, perhaps bf thinks it is too fast to include her on a trip with him, his male friends and their spouses. Perhaps a big reason she chose not to go on her own, when bf declined the trip, is that despite some members of the travel group suggesting she come along, she suspected a larger portion of the group did not want her there and it might be awkward. She speaks as if she is only really friendly with a few members of her bf’s friend group.

  41. It IS a weird letter and does invite speculation. I wish she’d update / clarify.

  42. vanderjohnsenberg says:

    Something similar happened to me with a few differences but I still think the story is relevant. Both my husband and I were going to go on a trip with “his” friends but they moved the date of the trip and I was too pregnant to go. I told my husband I was ok with him going without me. I thought I would really enjoy the time without him since normally I like a few days alone at home but probably because I was pregnant, I just felt really lonely. I told him when he got home how I felt. I didn’t make a big deal out of it. I certainly didn’t blame him but I just told him that my reaction was not what I expected. We agreed if I was that pregnant again, he wouldn’t take a trip without me. No one was upset by the conversation. We just now know our plan of action in the future. I don’t see why this situation needs to be any different. “Hey, I thought I felt one way. Turns out I felt another way. In the future let’s do it this way.”

    1. That’s exactly what I’m saying. And regardless, married or not, if you’re in a good relationship and can communicate well like you did there, you resolve whatever bad feelings you have (without dumping them on your partner), find a solution for the future, and move on.

  43. ach, you did the right thing, then felt sad and lonely, and that sucks. Plan something really nice together really soon to swipe good memories out of this. I’d have said yes go, and then thought “really, no!” but you called it so that is how it went. You are a nice generous person and that was your initial response. Good on you. He does owe you though 🙂 Hope better times come out of this 🙂

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