Greg’s birthday came after we had been dating about 10 months. I asked him in advance if he had plans, and he said he didn’t, so we discussed the possibility of going out to dinner, even though his birthday fell on a weeknight, which again tends to be a difficult time for us to meet up. But I love him and wanted to share his special day. Two days before his birthday I called him to discuss plans in more detail, and he told me he’d already made plans with his father, who was going to cook him dinner. I wasn’t invited. I was upset, but again I felt that I was being selfish to resent his father wanting to spend his birthday with him so I told Greg we would celebrate that weekend.
That weekend, Greg’s father invited us over for another birthday celebration. We went. Greg and I had plans to visit a local vineyard afterwards, and his dad invited himself and his stepmother along on the trip. When we got back to his parent’s house, Greg told me we would go inside for just a minute, so he could help his father with something on the computer. “Just a minute” turned into two hours of Greg and his dad upstairs working on increasing web traffic for an online business his dad started while his stepmother and I talked downstairs.
Greg and I recently went through a rough patch which lasted several weeks. We agreed to take a break until we figured out what we wanted from the relationship and if we wanted to stay together. Last weekend, we got together and talked about our issues. We agreed that we love and like each other enough to continue moving toward a future together. I was happy with the way things went, and looking forward to resuming our relationship. However, the following weekend, after returning from a work trip, he made plans with his dad instead of me and said that we’d see each other the following weekend.
I know that I’m too emotionally involved in this to see the situation objectively, so I’m asking for some guidance. Am I being unreasonable for being hurt and angry about all this? — Fed Up with Coming in Second
First of all, this isn’t an issue about Greg spending too much time with his dad; this is about Greg not spending as much time with you as you’d like and you not feeling like you’re the priority in his life you need to be at this point in your relationship. Those are the issues you need to focus on when you talk with Greg (and you HAVE to talk to him — you have to tell him how you’re feeling; you can’t expect him to read your mind). Leave his dad out of this because, if you don’t, you risk alienating the father and putting Greg in a position where he may feel pressured to defend his relationship with his dad, or prove that you’re just as important to him as his dad is, or, worse, explain why maybe you AREN’T as important to him as his dad, which is awkward.
No, this is really only about the two of you and how your needs aren’t being met. You want more time with Greg. You want to feel important to him — important enough that, say, you’d be included in birthday plans, especially if you were willing to make the commute to see him. Frankly, it’s a little odd that after after ten months together, rather than tell your boyfriend that you’d like to take him out for his birthday, you asked whether he’d made plans yet, as if you already expected him to be doing something without you.
Honestly, from everything you’ve said, it seems you need to have a state-of-the-union talk and make sure you’re on the same page. You think you’re serious, exclusive, and have a future together. You need to see if that’s what Greg thinks too, and, if it is, you have to let him know that you need him to invest a bit more in the relationship and for you that means more time.
You may also want to decide for yourself how long you’re willing to wait for things to change. A month? Two months? Six? You should have a point in the not-TOO-distant future when you reassess and decide whether, after explicitly asking for what you want, your needs are being met adequately enough to continue with the relationship.