“My Girlfriend Won’t Let Me Come Over”

Recently, thanks to all this virus stuff, my girlfriend and I have been separated, with me at my apartment and she at hers. Lately, since restrictions have been loosening, I’ve tried talking to her about letting me come over so we can hang out. She keeps saying no, that it’s too risky. I think, however, that she doesn’t understand my needs, and that I can’t be just limited to digital connections. I’m also getting a sneaking suspicion that there might be a greater reason why she won’t let me come over, but that’s just my worries getting the best of me, I hope. But I can’t deny it: I’m starting to think she might be cheating on me with someone else and trying to keep it from me. How can I get her to let me come over and to see my perspective? — Feeling Alone

You’re asking the wrong question here. Rather than wondering how you can “get her to let you come over,” you should be asking how you can convey your concerns to her and find out what hers are. When you focus on communication and understanding each other’s perspective rather than simply getting what it is you want, there’s a much better chance that your relationship will succeed and your needs will be met (perhaps through a compromise). You seem to think there’s one likely reason your girlfriend doesn’t want you coming over: she’s cheating on you. Ok, sure, that’s a possibility. But isn’t it also possible that she’s genuinely really freaked out about “this virus stuff” that has taken over 90,000 lives in the United States in less than three months? Maybe she fears you haven’t taken this virus stuff as seriously as she has and have been exposed to it and would expose her. Maybe she’s really struggling, emotionally, and is worried about you seeing her in a vulnerable state, I don’t know. And it’s clear you don’t really know and I have to wonder, if you’ve actually been connecting digitally over the past two months, why don’t you have some idea what her state of mind and thought process is? It’s really easy to find out – you just have to ask her.

Again, it’s all about the questions you ask. Instead of repeatedly asking when you can come over, why not re-frame your inquiry by asking what she’s most afraid of by your coming over. You say you think your girlfriend doesn’t understand your needs, but what are her needs? Do you have any idea? Ask her! What would she need in order to feel comfortable with seeing you? It’s a really simple question. Maybe she needs to meet you outdoors, or maybe she needs reassurance from you that you’ve been limiting your exposure to other people. Maybe she needs you to not touch her yet. Maybe she needs you to immediately wash your hands when you arrive to her place or promise to sit a few feet away from her. Maybe she needs a few visits or a few more weeks to warm up to the idea of your resuming a physical connection with her. These are all additional possibilities that are just as likely, if not more so, than the idea that she’s cheating on you. And all you have to do to get a sense of the reality is to ask the right questions, which I’ve just laid out for you.

It may be that your needs, which are reasonable—you just want to see and touch your girlfriend after however many weeks or months apart, cannot be met by her at this time. You may simply have different thresholds of comfort around this whole virus stuff that time and compromise can’t help you bridge. And if that’s the case, you may decide this is a dealbreaker and end the relationship (particularly if you genuinely have so little trust in her that your initial concern isn’t about her well-being but that she’s hiding an affair). If that happens, you’ll be on the market again and just one word of caution: your girlfriend won’t be the only woman you find who’s modifying her dating behavior during the pandemic and not jumping at the opportunity to have you over to her house.

Vintage DW:

My girlfriend of 2.5 years and I have been invited to my friend’s wedding on the other side of the country, in California. We will be going there for the weekend. This group of friends is one that I rarely see, and I am excited for my girlfriend to get to know these people better as they are very important to me.
The problem is this: my girlfriend’s best friend is also in California, and as soon as I told her about the wedding, she immediately said, “Oh sweet, I get to visit so-n-so!” Well, I feel there won’t be enough time. I am a person who believes a wedding, especially with friends I see once every year if I’m lucky, is a weekend-long celebration. But she has her heart set on visiting her friend whom she rarely gets to see. I told her how important it is that we celebrate the wedding all weekend with my friends, and she is very set on seeing her friends, too. She thinks that the wedding and the reception are the only important activities.

So, when situations like this come up, and I tell her to go hang out with her friend, which I am not 100% happy with, I feel like I’m caving…but what am I to do? She isn’t making me ditch out on my friend’s activities, and I wouldn’t want her to resent me by keeping her from doing what she wants to do. But what do I tell my friends, with fear that they think their wedding events are not as important to her? (Let me clarify that wedding events are things like going out on the town and drinking or breakfast the day after the wedding with everyone). I also do not want to invite a stranger to my friend’s wedding activities (aka trying the whole combine both friends to stay together).

Is my lack of seeing her ability to compromise clouded by my selfishness? – Weddings are Weekend Events!

My answer and lots of comments, here.

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


    1. oops, sorry. the link was right but the letter was wrong. fixed it!

  1. By “his needs,” LW1 means he wants to have sex. That’s my read.

      1. As usual, it’s the man’s fault . Got it.

      2. I mean, yeah. Prove us wrong if you want but you’re not off to a great start.

    1. I don’t know that “needs” exclusively means he wants to smash parts. Lots of people are legit having a hard time with it. I don’t think that he’s handling it in a mature or respectful way, but I don’t know that he’s only talking about sex.

  2. With the wedding one, I would have just extended the weekend to make it a long one. Do the whole wedding thing over the weekend and then jointly visit the friend either before or after. I totally get where the guy was coming from on wanting her there the whole time. I have a far flung family, and getting together with them for a wedding is a weekend long event. I’d have wanted my SO there the whole time too. Is that selfish? I don’t really think so. I’d just have wanted everyone to have time to meet, hang out, etc. But I would have also have wanted to meet the best friend, so I’d want to carve out time to do that in a manner that was not rushed.

  3. Did not pick initially that the LW2 letter was older and was very confused.

    1. Sorry for the confusion. Since I have over 9 years of posts on this site and lots of new readers in the past few years, I’ve started linking to older columns. If you see “Vintage DW,” that means I’m highlighting an older post you may not have caught the first time around.

      1. No, you clearly identified it-it wasn’t a complaint. I just skimmed and missed it the first time.

  4. I don’t agree with Wendy’s response. It seems they have made their wants/positions clear to each other. They aren’t confused about the other’s position, they simply strongly disagree. His #1, #2, and #3 goal is he wants to have sex. Her position is that she doesn’t think it is safe for them to get together in person. His conclusion that she may be cheating says he can’t believe she wouldn’t be willing to risk serious illness or death in order to have sex with him. She probably knows he hasn’t been very scrupulous about masking and quarantining. He also may be projecting, because he is unsuccessfully trying to cheat.

  5. dinoceros says:

    LW1: I don’t know that I believe you when you say you are starting to think she’s cheating on you. In the next sentence, you ask about how to convince her to let you come over. If you truly thought she was cheating, wouldn’t that be your first concern? I think you’re trying to come up with a reason to make her sound “bad’ and make you sound more sympathetic.

  6. she probably does understand “your needs” she just doesn’t think satisfying them is worth risking her life for. If you insist on physical presence when she is reluctant you may just find that she draws the conclusion that you hold your “needs” to be more important than her, and that’s not going to go down well. Try to have patience. And no, I don’t think she’s cheating on you. The fact your mind goes there first isn’t a great indicator of your regard for her either. These are horrible times and it’s not nice to be lonely, but try to do better if you value her.

  7. OP, my younger sister is dating a new guy who I very much hope hasn’t expressed his “needs” yet (or ever) and here’s an example of how he responded when she called him and told him she was feeling anxious about him coming over for their backyard grilling date. He told her he was happy to wear a mask, that he’d stay opposite the grill from her, that he’d use the bathroom before he came (and if he had to use it during dinner, he’d drive to the store up the street!) and to think it over, and even if she saw him pulling in to the driveway and changed her mind at that very second, it was totally fine and he would head home. Just a thought, on how to actually deal with 1) the feelings of someone you care about and 2) AN ACTUAL PLAGUE.

    1. Oh, he sounds like a keeper. Good on ya, DCLite’s sister’s boyfriend!

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