Parks and Recreation

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Dear Dharma, 

I am 35, male and in a yearlong committed relationship with a great girl.  We have a lot in common, and get along in most ways very well.

There is one thing that we don’t agree on, and I want your opinion if I am over reacting.

She has a long time guy friend (from grade school) that has always been in our circle of friends.  I like him well enough, and he seems like a good person.  They share an interest in outdoorsy things, which is probably the one thing that I am very meh about.

They had always talked about doing a week long hike on a famous wilderness trail in our area, probably for over 10 years, way before we met.  The timing of things has worked out that they can do it this summer, and are making plans.  I am not interested in it, and can’t get time off work even if I was, but they are planning on going anyways.

Am I wrong to be upset by this?  I know they are just friends, but a week, alone together in the wilderness.  He has never given any indication that he wants to be more than friends, but I just can’t help but think what if…

Am I over-reacting?  Should I just trust her when she says it’s fine?

Take a Hike

Dear Take a Hike,

Here’s the thing my friend… what choice do you have?

It’s not like you can tell your girlfriend she can’t go on this trip with her friend.  Well, I guess you could tell her that, but since it’s not 1922 and we women have figured out how to make our own decisions, it might not go over as well as you would like.

Look, I can appreciate you feeling uncomfortable about this, I really, honestly can.  That the idea of your girlfriend secluded in the wilderness with another man doesn’t sit well with you makes sense.

It’s just that… to cause a scene and forbid her to go is going to create a whole world of problems that don’t even exist right now.

And the thing is, she’s a grown up.  And the thing is, you don’t own her.

However, for you to tell her that the notion of this trip makes you uncomfortable is perfectly acceptable.  Do your best to explain your feelings even if you don’t exactly understand what’s bothering you about the situation.  And no, it’s not over-reacting if it’s something that genuinely bothers you.

My hope is she will calmly assure you that she’s committed to your relationship and that this is a trip she’s always wanted to take and that she appreciates you stepping back and making it easy for her to do so.

My hope is she won’t blow you off with a, “Meh, don’t worry honey, everything will be fiiiiiine!!”

Because that really is the crux of this issue – mutual respect for each other as equal partners in a grown up relationship… acknowledging each other’s needs and emotions, even when we don’t want to.

Dharma

 

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