Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Life...in general => Dating => Topic started by: HannahGrace on December 13, 2012, 11:14:58 AM

Title: How to say I'm uncomfortable when I can't explain why exactly? - Update p22
Post by: HannahGrace on December 13, 2012, 11:14:58 AM
My BF of 1.5 years has been part of a sporting community for many years but has not actively played the sport himself since before we met, although he still hangs out with those folks and goes to events.  Last night, for the first time in years, he decided to go to an open session at the sporting facility and play the sport.  He got back somewhat late so I was half-asleep and just asked him if he had fun and he said he did, and he hopped in the shower and that was about the end of the conversation.

This morning, he told me that his most recent ex happened to have shown up at the open session too.  I said, really?  Wow.  I didn't know she ever went to the facility (which is somewhat of a hangout as well as an athletic facility - I've been there before).  He said he knew she'd been in the past but didn't think she'd gone recently.  The sport is something that is a one-on-one type of deal, so I said, "You didn't play with her, did you?" ... phrased that way because I really didn't think he would have done so.  Well, yeah, he did.  I said, "Was that weird? and he said it wasn't. 

I'm realizing that since this is still on my mind a few hours later, even if it wasn't weird for him, it's weird for me.  I don't feel comfortable with him playing this sport with his ex.  But I can't articulate any concrete reason for that - our rela'ship is good, and my understanding is that she is in a rela'ship also, so I'm not worried about cheating or temptation.  It just feels really intimate to be playing a one-on-one type sport with someone that you used to be in a relationship with.  They're not friends, so him spending time with her in any capacity hasn't come up before.  I'm more of an individual sport person, so when I've tried to come up with an analogous situation for myself, it doesn't really work - if I were running a race and an ex happened to be running the same race, I'd say hello if I saw them and that would be it (the way I run, they'd most likely finish 20 minutes before I did).

My question, then, is, is it rude or unreasonable to say that I am uncomfortable with him doing this in the future, if I cannot provide a precise reason why?  I am a pretty direct communicator, so my impulse is to say pretty much that: I can't quite explain why this makes me uncomfortable, but it does.  My hope would be that we could then have a conversation about it - right now, I'd like the result of that conversation to be that he agrees not to participate in one-on-ones with her, but I'm open to the possibility that talking it through might make me feel less weird and not care.

Any thoughts?  Thanks for your help!
 
Title: Re: How to say I'm uncomfortable when I can't explain why exactly?
Post by: Surianne on December 13, 2012, 11:27:20 AM
I think it would probably be better to figure it out for yourself first, and what you think your limits are and why.   

To be honest, not knowing the sport, this doesn't come off as a reasonable request to me.  Is it a particularly intimate sport, with a lot of physical contact, or anything that can be reasonably interpreted as being sexual?  (I'm thinking tango dancing, for example.)  Would another person likely have a problem with their boyfriend playing the sport with another woman, or is this something specific to you? 

If he can't play the sport with her, what else is/isn't okay to do with her -- is a conversation allowed?  Going out for drinks with her as part of the group after playing?

It seems to me this needs to be part of a bigger conversation about what you see as okay within a relationship, versus what you would consider inappropriate/cheating.

If it's a matter of knowing you're not being reasonable, and wanting him to help you get through it by assuring you that the sport isn't romantic/sexual, then I think you can approach it that way, but it sounds like you want him to stop playing the sport with her entirely, which isn't quite the same thing as hoping he'll help you through it.
Title: Re: How to say I'm uncomfortable when I can't explain why exactly?
Post by: MrTango on December 13, 2012, 11:29:02 AM
I think if you're uncomfortable about it, you ought to say so.  Try to sit down with your BF and let him know that you're uncomfortable with him partaking in activities with his Ex.  Be honest that you aren't sure why you're uncomfortable about it and that you aren't accusing him of anything.  Let it be an open and honest conversation where both of you get a chance to listen to each other.

Maybe by being open with him about your feelings about this, you'll be able to figure out why it bothers you.  It's possible that by just having this conversation with him, you'll start to feel better about the situation.

Out of curiosity, what sport is it?  I'd be a bit put off if LadyTango was in a wrestling match or sparring match with one of her Exes, but if it was racquetball or tennis, it wouldn't bother me.
Title: Re: How to say I'm uncomfortable when I can't explain why exactly?
Post by: bah12 on December 13, 2012, 11:36:53 AM
I think you should first try to figure out what bothers you about this.  If you have a good relationship and aren't concerned about cheating, then what?  Your BF told you about it immediately, so it's not a communication thing (I think).  Are you worried about what she might do?  What others might think?  How intimate can a sport really be? (Is it wrestling?)  Is this just a personal boundary for you where you are uncomfortable with interactions of any kind with exes?

My suggestion would be to really evaluate what it is, perhaps talk with a friend or someone that may be able to figure it out and then approach your BF about it, telling him exactly what makes you uncomfortable.  You could probably even ask your BF to help you figure it out I guess...something like "For some reason hearing that you played the sport with your ex bothered me, but I can't really put my finger on why.  I'm not worried about X, Y or Z, but I'm still really uncomfortable.  Can we talk and figure this out?"
Title: Re: How to say I'm uncomfortable when I can't explain why exactly?
Post by: JenJay on December 13, 2012, 11:44:52 AM
My opinion, as someone who has been happily married for nearly 20 years, is that it's always best to communicate any issues that come up, even if they seem minor or even silly. DH and I have definitely been through our share of rough patches and I absolutely believe that being able to talk openly and honestly has been the key.

I wonder if a big part of your discomfort is that you weren't aware they were going to end up hanging out so, to find out after the fact, and be asked if it's okay, was like "Umm... I don't know if I'm okay with that. I wish I'd had a chance to decide before it was sprung on me." I don't fault your guy since he couldn't have talked to you about it first, not knowing she'd be there.

I think it's fine to ask him not to play against his ex. I'm assuming there are plenty of other people they can both play with. Would it help if you were to go hang out with him the next couple of times and see what the vibe is like? That might go a long way in helping you settle on one side or the other. Maybe you'd get an even stronger uncomfortable feeling and be able to articulate it, or, the discomfort would fizzle and you'd be fine.

Title: Re: How to say I'm uncomfortable when I can't explain why exactly?
Post by: HannahGrace on December 13, 2012, 12:17:57 PM
Thanks, everyone - this gives me a lot to think about.  JenJay, you are absolutely right that part of my discomfort is about finding out after the fact.  It never occurred to me that she might be there, since I've never heard of her stopping by the facility and she lives some distance from here.  I didn't even know she still played this sport at all.  So I didn't have a chance to think about my reaction to such an event until it had already happened. 

I think, too, part of what bugs me (and this part is no doubt totally irrational) is that they met because of this sport, when they both used to participate actively, and were a couple and both part of this community for five years, so that makes them playing it together more meaningful in my head (even if in reality, it probably isn't).   As far as the physical / intimacy level of the sport itself, I'd put it between tennis and tango - it involves some amount of touching but equipment is also involved.  It is a small community so I don't want to get more specific than that.

I will give some more thought to what specific aspects about this scenario are bothering me.  I'm usually a pretty rational person.
Title: Re: How to say I'm uncomfortable when I can't explain why exactly?
Post by: TurtleDove on December 13, 2012, 01:29:59 PM
JenJay, you are absolutely right that part of my discomfort is about finding out after the fact.  It never occurred to me that she might be there, since I've never heard of her stopping by the facility and she lives some distance from here.  I didn't even know she still played this sport at all.  So I didn't have a chance to think about my reaction to such an event until it had already happened. 

From what I understand, your BF also didn't have a chance to think about his reaction, or yours, because he similarly had no idea his ex would be there.  Yes, talk to your ex, but try to be gentle and think this through.  If my BF got upset at me because, for example, an ex of mine showed up to a yoga class I was taking and was upset that I told him I said hi, we caught up a bit, and did the class, I would be upset at my BF.  Because that's just common courtesy to talk to someone you know and do what you went to a place to do.  I confess that I was inwardly and somewhat irrationally "upset" when I learned that my BF's ex showed up to a bar where he was playing trivia and they talked and played trivia in close proximity, but what it came down to for me was the realities and logistics of the situation. What did I expect him to do?  Be rude to her? Pretend he didn't see her?  Get up and leave immediately?  Of course not.  Since I trust him (and even though I knew she wanted him back and it was not random on her part) I knew this was not something to waste time and emotion on.  He saw and spoke with someone who used to mean something to him and was an adult about it - that's actually an attractive quality to me.

Here are the questions I would ask myself if I were you:

1) Do I trust my BF?
2) Do I trust that the ex is not trying to steal my BF?
3) Do I want my BF to feel afraid of running into people from his past?
4) Do I want to be interrogated or feel afraid of how my BF will react if I run into someone from my past?

I hope you feel non-unsettled soon.
Title: Re: How to say I'm uncomfortable when I can't explain why exactly?
Post by: WillyNilly on December 13, 2012, 01:39:36 PM
You are always entitled to your feelings. The key is in how you act upon those feelings.

I think you should mention to your BF exactly what you've said here - you are uncomfortable, you can't articulate exactly why, you do trust him, part of your concern is the surprise element and part is the 'it was something they specifically shared' issue and that you'd like to come to a mutual agreement between the two of you. If your BF is rational he'll be willing to discuss it all with you.  He might be having the exact same issues - he might be uncomfortable and he might have been caught off guard and thus agreed to participate together even though he didn't really ultimately want to, with her.
Title: Re: How to say I'm uncomfortable when I can't explain why exactly?
Post by: HannahGrace on December 13, 2012, 01:54:42 PM

From what I understand, your BF also didn't have a chance to think about his reaction, or yours, because he similarly had no idea his ex would be there.  Yes, talk to your ex, but try to be gentle and think this through.  If my BF got upset at me because, for example, an ex of mine showed up to a yoga class I was taking and was upset that I told him I said hi, we caught up a bit, and did the class, I would be upset at my BF.  Because that's just common courtesy to talk to someone you know and do what you went to a place to do.  I confess that I was inwardly and somewhat irrationally "upset" when I learned that my BF's ex showed up to a bar where he was playing trivia and they talked and played trivia in close proximity, but what it came down to for me was the realities and logistics of the situation. What did I expect him to do?  Be rude to her? Pretend he didn't see her?  Get up and leave immediately?  Of course not.  Since I trust him (and even though I knew she wanted him back and it was not random on her part) I knew this was not something to waste time and emotion on.  He saw and spoke with someone who used to mean something to him and was an adult about it - that's actually an attractive quality to me.

Oh, I am definitely not upset with him and I understand that he was totally caught off guard.  I don't mean to imply that he did anything wrong.  I'm just wondering, now that I know it is a possibility that this sort of thing could end up happening, how do I feel about it and is it something I can or should talk to him about?  If this was a matter of running into her and saying hello, I would not have thought twice about it and certainly would not be posting anywhere about it, so in that light I can answer all of your questions pretty easily.  I think perhaps I am not explaining myself very well, and I apologize for that.
Title: Re: How to say I'm uncomfortable when I can't explain why exactly?
Post by: HannahGrace on December 13, 2012, 02:04:37 PM
You are always entitled to your feelings. The key is in how you act upon those feelings.

I think you should mention to your BF exactly what you've said here - you are uncomfortable, you can't articulate exactly why, you do trust him, part of your concern is the surprise element and part is the 'it was something they specifically shared' issue and that you'd like to come to a mutual agreement between the two of you. If your BF is rational he'll be willing to discuss it all with you.  He might be having the exact same issues - he might be uncomfortable and he might have been caught off guard and thus agreed to participate together even though he didn't really ultimately want to, with her.

Thank you.  This is helpful.  My BF is definitely rational and I suspect he feels a little odd about the whole thing too.  He's been extra affectionate (sending messages, etc) during the day today which may be a coincidence but I doubt it.  Their whole sporting community is very intertwined and incestuous (his characterization, not mine) - I'm the first person he's dated who hasn't in some way been connected to this community, so this kind of thing wouldn't have come up for him before either.
Title: Re: How to say I'm uncomfortable when I can't explain why exactly?
Post by: TurtleDove on December 13, 2012, 02:04:50 PM
Oh, I am definitely not upset with him and I understand that he was totally caught off guard.  I don't mean to imply that he did anything wrong.  I'm just wondering, now that I know it is a possibility that this sort of thing could end up happening, how do I feel about it and is it something I can or should talk to him about?  If this was a matter of running into her and saying hello, I would not have thought twice about it and certainly would not be posting anywhere about it, so in that light I can answer all of your questions pretty easily.  I think perhaps I am not explaining myself very well, and I apologize for that.

Absolutely talk with him about it!  And I don't blame you for feeling uncomfortable.  I was just listing questions that I asked myself and that helped me to not be uncomfortable with any possible encounters my BF might have with various exes or women I know what to be with him.  For me, I realized that while my discomfort was legitimate, it was unhealthy for me, and it was not an emotion or feeling I would want flipped on me were the situation reversed. 

In the situation with trivia I mentioned, I asked my BF one time whether I needed to be concerned about his ex.  His response was, "No - don't waste any time worrying about it.  I told you she was there because I wanted to be transparent with you, but you can trust me.  I have no idea what HER intentions are, but I know what MINE are."  I decided to trust my BF to handle situations appropriately, and I made the decision to not waste time worrying about it. In past relationships for various reasons this was not the case, and I cannot express enough how much happier I am in this relationship of not trying to pretend our pasts didn't exist and won't occasionally show up in our present.  The past - his or mine - does not threaten our present or future.

Title: Re: How to say I'm uncomfortable when I can't explain why exactly?
Post by: Hmmmmm on December 13, 2012, 02:11:34 PM
When reading your initial post, I wondered if they used to participate in this activity as a couple when they dated.  I'm going to use fencing as an example.  Your BF and his Ex met when they were both heavily involved in fencing.  They started dating and increased their participation in fencing and most of their social network as a couple involved fencing.  It was a major part of their relationship. 

They broke up, your BF pulled back from participating in fencing, probably as part of distancing himself from this past relationship but he'd still occasionally socialize with them and attend fencing tournaments.  The too of you meet, begin dating, but you don't fence so it's not as big of a part of your relationship.

Your BF decides to start up fencing again and his first time out, he has a match with his Ex.  Perfectly natural for them, but maybe a little too natural for your sense of ease.  This is him and her engaging in an activity that had a lot of meaning for their relationship and one that others viewed them as a couple. 

I don't think I'd request him to not ever have another match with her, but I would ask that he not make a habit of it. 
Title: Re: How to say I'm uncomfortable when I can't explain why exactly?
Post by: Surianne on December 13, 2012, 02:20:38 PM
Hmmmmmm's possible explanation makes a lot of sense -- something I didn't figure out when I posted my initial slightly baffled response.  :) I think the advice of previous posters about how to bring it up, and what questions to ask yourself, is all very wise.
Title: Re: How to say I'm uncomfortable when I can't explain why exactly?
Post by: rashea on December 13, 2012, 03:20:01 PM
I think it's a good thing to communicate with him that you're uncomfortable, but make it really clear that it's about the future and that he did nothing wrong.

Then, ask yourself a few questions:
1) Is this an activity where people pair off and tend to stay in pairs for a while to practice? How do you feel about them pairing off in this way?

2) If they are doing a rotating pair-ups (each pair practices together for a short time and then rotates) how do you feel about them pairing up in that situation?

3) How do you feel about them meeting in a tournament?

4) If this group socializes after, how do you feel about them both attending in a group setting?

5) how would you feel about them going out for drinks after without a group?

6) If you had known, would you have wanted him not to go at all?

7) if you had known, would you have wanted to ask him not to pair up with her?
I think answering those questions might help you sort out exactly where the issue lies.
Title: Re: How to say I'm uncomfortable when I can't explain why exactly?
Post by: KatPsych on December 13, 2012, 03:39:41 PM
When reading your initial post, I wondered if they used to participate in this activity as a couple when they dated.  I'm going to use fencing as an example.  Your BF and his Ex met when they were both heavily involved in fencing.  They started dating and increased their participation in fencing and most of their social network as a couple involved fencing.  It was a major part of their relationship. 

They broke up, your BF pulled back from participating in fencing, probably as part of distancing himself from this past relationship but he'd still occasionally socialize with them and attend fencing tournaments.  The too of you meet, begin dating, but you don't fence so it's not as big of a part of your relationship.

Your BF decides to start up fencing again and his first time out, he has a match with his Ex.  Perfectly natural for them, but maybe a little too natural for your sense of ease.  This is him and her engaging in an activity that had a lot of meaning for their relationship and one that others viewed them as a couple. 

I don't think I'd request him to not ever have another match with her, but I would ask that he not make a habit of it. 

I also think this explanation makes a lot of sense, and is similar to the one I had on reading your post.  There is a sort of intimacy is sharing a common hobby, particularly one where two people have a lot of history participating together.

The fact he was upfront about it is a really, really good thing and I agree with the suggestions of others that talking to him about it in a, "I feel weird about this and I don't know exactly why" kind of way.

My now-husband and I faced a somewhat similar situation early in our dating relationship.  It was definitely different than yours (in that my DH's ex was actively trying to start problems with our relationship), but the way I explained it to him was that he had a lot of history with her that he didn't (yet) have with me.  For example, she knew his family and their issues, so talking to her about them was "easier" than talking to me and needing to give all the background, etc.  Essentially, I didn't want our new intimacy to be eroded because he started talking to her because it was "easier" than it was to build up that understanding and intimacy with me.  My situation was definitely different as it was much earlier in our relationship, but I thought that explanation of the intimacy issue might give you something to consider when trying to figure out why you might have unease.
Title: Re: How to say I'm uncomfortable when I can't explain why exactly?
Post by: HannahGrace on December 13, 2012, 03:40:53 PM
Rashea, those are great questions.  Thank you.  And yes, I will be very clear that he did nothing wrong last night, because I don't think he did.  Going through the questions, I think I fall somewhere in the middle of possible extremes - if I'd known she was going to be there, I would not have told him not to go at all.  But I also would not want him going out for drinks with just her.  Which isn't to say I would have a problem with him spending time with anyone he's ever dated - if he were friends with an ex, then presumably I would know the person a little bit and someone he'd choose to have in his life as a friend would be someone I'd be happy for him to hang out with.  He has great taste in friends.  Questions 4 and 7 are where I get a little stuck, because my answers are basically "I'd rather he didn't, but I'm not sure it's fair of me to ask him not to."

And Hmmmmm, you're pretty much hit every nail on the head and explained the whole scenario better than I did, and actually helped me see it more clearly myself - thank you.
Title: Re: How to say I'm uncomfortable when I can't explain why exactly?
Post by: TurtleDove on December 13, 2012, 03:46:55 PM
See what your BF says, but maybe you should socialize with him when his group socializes.  That would likely help put you at ease.
Title: Re: How to say I'm uncomfortable when I can't explain why exactly?
Post by: DavidH on December 13, 2012, 07:18:26 PM
I think there are a couple of things going on.  Is it rude to tell him how you feel now, not at all.  You feel that way, it is what it is, and it's not about blame or saying he did something wrong.

I'm not sure about asking him not to do it again.  One one level, you can ask, since what's the harm in that.  But that type of request seems to carry greater weight and pressure to agree to.  A related question is how you will react if he doesn't agree.  It seems odd to say, I don't know why, but I don't want you to do this again.  It doesn't sound like a particularly intimate situation, you haven't suggested he wants her back, so if the concern is more about not having had time to adjust to the idea, then it seems like a middle grounds is to see if you adjust to it when you've had more time to think about it or if it continues to make you uncomfortable.  If you continue to be uncomfortable, then you can ask at that time, when you've at least had more opportunity to think it over.
Title: Re: How to say I'm uncomfortable when I can't explain why exactly?
Post by: Lynn2000 on December 13, 2012, 08:45:05 PM
I think there are a couple of things going on.  Is it rude to tell him how you feel now, not at all.  You feel that way, it is what it is, and it's not about blame or saying he did something wrong.

I'm not sure about asking him not to do it again.  One one level, you can ask, since what's the harm in that.  But that type of request seems to carry greater weight and pressure to agree to.  A related question is how you will react if he doesn't agree.  It seems odd to say, I don't know why, but I don't want you to do this again.  It doesn't sound like a particularly intimate situation, you haven't suggested he wants her back, so if the concern is more about not having had time to adjust to the idea, then it seems like a middle grounds is to see if you adjust to it when you've had more time to think about it or if it continues to make you uncomfortable.  If you continue to be uncomfortable, then you can ask at that time, when you've at least had more opportunity to think it over.

I agree with this. I think it's totally fine for you to feel uncomfortable about it, and it would be great to talk to him about it honestly. But I try to picture someone asking me not to participate in an activity I love, in conjunction with someone I used to date, and it just seems really wrong to me. What would be great is if you guys were talking about this, and he spontaneously said of his own accord, "I felt really weird about it, so I think I'm just not going to get into that situation with her again." This is all just my personal take on it.

I think there's a big difference between someone deciding not to do something themselves, and their SO asking them as a personal favor not to do it. Especially when it involves perfectly innocent behavior, in public view, with an ex--there's so many ways that can go downhill. I think it's perfectly okay to say, "I feel uncomfortable that this happened," but I personally would not feel right adding, "So I want you to not do it again."
Title: Re: How to say I'm uncomfortable when I can't explain why exactly?
Post by: Devix on December 13, 2012, 11:33:59 PM
People have every right to feel what they feel but if I was your BF this kind of reaction would be a red flag for me.

If it is something that is bothering you you should definitely try to communicate with him but you have to be very very careful with how you go about it because you could easily put him on the defensive and make him wonder if you even trust him.  Feelings aren't unreasonable but actions and demands can be.  Personally, I would be very annoyed if my S/O asked me to stop doing something I enjoy because it involved interaction with a former flame who is apparently in another relat-ionship. 

Talk to him but first try and sort out your own feelings.  When you do talk tell him how and why you feel uncomfortable but I think it would be unreasonable of you to ask him to stop.  If he chooses to stop participating that's fine but I also think he's perfectly within his right to continue doing something he enjoys and that seems fairly innocent.
Title: Re: How to say I'm uncomfortable when I can't explain why exactly?
Post by: Danika on December 14, 2012, 02:45:02 AM
I think it's good that you're trying to figure out *why* this bothers you.

I had a roughly similar experience with my DH when we first started dating and so I'll ask you a few questions and then tell you my story.

-If you thought your BF would go participate in this sport in the future but would never ever run into Ex again, would you feel more at ease? So, is the issue not necessarily what transpired - that they competed against each other - but more that it might happen again and again and again?

-Are you worried that she still has feelings for him and might try to use this to get him back?

-Are you worried that he might fall for that?

Before we were dating, my DH and his exgirlfriend broke up for various reasons, but one was that she was cheating on him. Based on what he's told me, she did it to get back at him because he wouldn't marry her. So, she wanted him, he wasn't as interested in her as she was in him, and so she handled it by being mean and unfaithful. They broke up and parted ways.

My DH has worked on cars a lot and rebuilt one of his by himself, so he is an expert on this brand of car.

Fast forward a few months. He and I were dating. We were on the phone and he told me "Oh, exgirlfriend stopped by today because she wanted to ask a favor of me." She had bought a used car, of the brand that DH knows a lot about, and she wanted him to look at the engine and inspect it and make sure that it was a reliable car. So he did.

I was pretty angry, but didn't say anything other than "oh." I mulled it over for a few hours. Later, I told him that the situation upset me and he couldn't understand why. I 100% trusted him. I was not worried that he was interested in her. But I was mad because:

1) She had hurt him in the past
2) She had the gall to come and ask him for a favor, after having hurt him so deeply
3) He was naive/nice enough to acquiesce and help her

I knew she was still interested in him. I felt that he was inadvertently leading her on. He was not interested, but by not saying "Back off" he was giving her a green light to continue. And I was afraid she was going to keep showing up and showing up asking for favor after favor, using the "but we're friends now" and "I just need help" routines. I didn't want to be in a threesome where I'm dating him, but he's often interrupting something we're doing together to go help her or do her a favor.

I felt like he just wasn't ripping off the band-aid. He was trying to be "nice" but it was "nice" to her, and not to our future relationship. Time and energy that he could be putting into our relationship, he would be using to continue to do her favors. That is, if she kept coming back for more and more favors.

I told him she should go to the other man, the one she'd been cheating on my DH with, and ask him to look over her car. Or to pay a mechanic. No need to ask my DH for favors.

I said all of this calmly. And I didn't ask him never to see her again. I just warned him that, in her mind, he was leading her on, and that if he kept saying yes to the favors, she would keep asking for them.

She did try several more times, but because I'd warned him that she'd "need his help" again, he was on to her and told her no the next couple of times until she stopped.
Title: Re: How to say I'm uncomfortable when I can't explain why exactly?
Post by: TurtleDove on December 14, 2012, 07:25:39 AM
Off topic, but I can't understand the logic of cheating on someone to get back at them for not marrying you. Just break up!? Few people would be more inclined to marry a cheater!
Title: Re: How to say I'm uncomfortable when I can't explain why exactly? - Update post
Post by: HannahGrace on December 14, 2012, 08:50:39 AM
Thanks, everyone who weighed in - all of your thoughts are very helpful.

We had a long car ride to dinner at a family friend's last night so I talked to him about things - turned out I was wrong that he was feeling weird about it, because he was clearly taken aback when I brought up my discomfort.  He immediately felt terrible and apologized all over the place, so it took a while to convince him that he really didn't do anything wrong and that I wasn't upset with him, and in fact if I were in his position, I'm sure I would have behaved exactly as he did because I wouldn't have been prepared for that situation to arise (once I got this last part across, he finally believed me that I wasn't upset and he relaxed). 

With that out of the way, we had a somewhat awkward but respectful discussion.  I explained as best I could why I was uncomfortable (the insular nature of their sport, the fact that this was something they shared for five years with this group of people at the club, the fact that neither of us had a chance to think about or discuss in advance what kind of boundaries we would prefer in terms of this ex of his, and my specific issues with this ex based on some rudeness toward me in the past that isn't worth getting into here).  He offered to stop participating in the sessions at the club altogether if it made me unhappy since I make him happier than this sport does - which I told him was not at all what I wanted.  I asked him what HE wanted, ideally, including some of the questions Rashea raised - i.e. if folks were going out for drinks, including her, would he want to go?  (Answer - maybe if it was a big group of people, but if it were just her and a couple of others, he would not want to) and did he want to participate in the sport with her in the future if she shows up at these open-club nights?  The answer to that was, yes, because she's pretty good at the sport and he gets a higher level of competition from playing against her than some of the other folks who show up at the club. 

So, that last answer told me everything I needed to know - he enjoys this sport, is happy to be getting back into actively practicing it after a long hiatus, and she specifically gives him an opportunity to practice it in a more helpful / useful way than other folks (at least the folks who were there on Weds).  We didn't come to a joint conclusion because we arrived at our destination (and had a fabulous time, which helped diffuse any weirdness from the conversation itself), but my personal conclusion is that I will be getting over myself.  If she shows up, she does.  He invited me to come along with him anytime and hang out at the club, so I'll think about whether I want to do that or whether I'm better off going to play trivia with my friends or doing something else.

Anyway, thanks for all of the advice - I really appreciate it.
Title: Re: How to say I'm uncomfortable when I can't explain why exactly?
Post by: Yvaine on December 14, 2012, 09:27:04 AM
My now-husband and I faced a somewhat similar situation early in our dating relationship.  It was definitely different than yours (in that my DH's ex was actively trying to start problems with our relationship), but the way I explained it to him was that he had a lot of history with her that he didn't (yet) have with me.  For example, she knew his family and their issues, so talking to her about them was "easier" than talking to me and needing to give all the background, etc.  Essentially, I didn't want our new intimacy to be eroded because he started talking to her because it was "easier" than it was to build up that understanding and intimacy with me. 

This is actually a really good insight that's useful to my own life--thanks!
Title: Re: How to say I'm uncomfortable when I can't explain why exactly? - Update p22
Post by: MrTango on December 14, 2012, 10:11:11 AM
It sounds like you had a good conversation and both of you were able to talk about your feelings about this!

Awesome!
Title: Re: How to say I'm uncomfortable when I can't explain why exactly? - Update p22
Post by: Hmmmmm on December 14, 2012, 11:55:52 AM
It sounds like you guys have an extremely healthy and supportive relationship.  Glad you had a good conversation.
Title: Re: How to say I'm uncomfortable when I can't explain why exactly? - Update p22
Post by: bopper on January 04, 2013, 10:55:47 AM
I'll tell you why you were uncomfortable...one of the ways we fall in love is by doing fun things with people we are interested in.  When you are first dating you do lots of fun activities.  So your guy spent his time having fun not with you, but with an exGF.  That is not good.
Truly what you should do is find an activitiy that you both enjoy so your most enjoyable times are spent together, and not with others.
Title: Re: How to say I'm uncomfortable when I can't explain why exactly? - Update p22
Post by: Fleur on January 22, 2013, 04:45:14 PM
I'll tell you why you were uncomfortable...one of the ways we fall in love is by doing fun things with people we are interested in.  When you are first dating you do lots of fun activities.  So your guy spent his time having fun not with you, but with an exGF.  That is not good.
Truly what you should do is find an activitiy that you both enjoy so your most enjoyable times are spent together, and not with others.

I think that this statement is far too sweeping. I don't disagree that the OP and her boyfriend should spend a lot of time together, that is what relationships are about. But I think that a sign of a healthy and trustful relationship is not having to always be in each others' pockets, and be able to have hobbies and interests outside the relationship. It sounds as if the OP had a good talk with her boyfriend, and that she was able to get to the bottom of just why the situation made her uncomfortable. It wasn't that her boyfriend had an interest that wasn't tied up in her, it was that there was a social history with the ex and this sport. All that is required is for the OP's boyfriend not to spend too much time with the ex playing this sport. The OP has said that she has no desire for him to give it up altogether.
Title: Re: How to say I'm uncomfortable when I can't explain why exactly? - Update p22
Post by: Mental Magpie on January 22, 2013, 07:24:51 PM
I'll tell you why you were uncomfortable...one of the ways we fall in love is by doing fun things with people we are interested in.  When you are first dating you do lots of fun activities.  So your guy spent his time having fun not with you, but with an exGF.  That is not good.
Truly what you should do is find an activitiy that you both enjoy so your most enjoyable times are spent together, and not with others.

I think that this statement is far too sweeping. I don't disagree that the OP and her boyfriend should spend a lot of time together, that is what relationships are about. But I think that a sign of a healthy and trustful relationship is not having to always be in each others' pockets, and be able to have hobbies and interests outside the relationship. It sounds as if the OP had a good talk with her boyfriend, and that she was able to get to the bottom of just why the situation made her uncomfortable. It wasn't that her boyfriend had an interest that wasn't tied up in her, it was that there was a social history with the ex and this sport. All that is required is for the OP's boyfriend not to spend too much time with the ex playing this sport. The OP has said that she has no desire for him to give it up altogether.

I agree with Fleur 100%.
Title: Re: How to say I'm uncomfortable when I can't explain why exactly? - Update p22
Post by: gollymolly2 on January 22, 2013, 08:14:01 PM
I'll tell you why you were uncomfortable...one of the ways we fall in love is by doing fun things with people we are interested in.  When you are first dating you do lots of fun activities.  So your guy spent his time having fun not with you, but with an exGF.  That is not good.
Truly what you should do is find an activitiy that you both enjoy so your most enjoyable times are spent together, and not with others.

Agree with the others that this is alarmingly overbroad. Sure, if one partner has 100% of their fun with other people, that's concerning. But people have diverse interests and its probably healthiest for a couple to enjoy some things together and enjoy alone time/time with others together.
Title: Re: How to say I'm uncomfortable when I can't explain why exactly? - Update p22
Post by: gramma dishes on January 22, 2013, 09:46:58 PM
I kept reading and rereading and rereading the original post (and a subsequent one) and something about it made me feel very uncomfortable but I couldn't figure out what it was. 

It finally came to me that Kaymar says he hasn't participated in this sport for quite a while and that the ex-girlfriend also has not frequented the club or participated in the sport much, if at all, recently.

Suddenly out of the clear blue sky they both show up to participate on the exact same night after neither having done so for a long time? 

I don't doubt that the boyfriend had no idea his ex was going to be there.  But I don't feel as confident that ex-girlfriend didn't know he was going to be there. 

The timing seemed just a little too contrived to have been entirely coincidental.  That's what was making me uncomfortable. 
Title: Re: How to say I'm uncomfortable when I can't explain why exactly? - Update p22
Post by: cross_patch on January 24, 2013, 05:36:58 AM
I'll tell you why you were uncomfortable...one of the ways we fall in love is by doing fun things with people we are interested in.  When you are first dating you do lots of fun activities.  So your guy spent his time having fun not with you, but with an exGF.  That is not good.
Truly what you should do is find an activitiy that you both enjoy so your most enjoyable times are spent together, and not with others.

I don't understand- are you saying you shouldn't have separate interests from your partner at all?
Title: Re: How to say I'm uncomfortable when I can't explain why exactly? - Update p22
Post by: Yvaine on January 24, 2013, 06:58:01 AM
I'll tell you why you were uncomfortable...one of the ways we fall in love is by doing fun things with people we are interested in.  When you are first dating you do lots of fun activities.  So your guy spent his time having fun not with you, but with an exGF.  That is not good.
Truly what you should do is find an activitiy that you both enjoy so your most enjoyable times are spent together, and not with others.

I don't understand- are you saying you shouldn't have separate interests from your partner at all?

If I'm not mistaken, yes she is. She's deeply into a particular theory of marriage and relationships--she links to their website a lot--that espouses that belief. I really don't think it can be applied universally, though.
Title: Re: How to say I'm uncomfortable when I can't explain why exactly? - Update p22
Post by: Sterling on January 24, 2013, 08:25:23 AM
My husband and I love each other very much.  We spend the vast majority of our free time with each other.  However we have interests that we don't share.  I LOVE country music.  He LOATHES country music.  I had plans to see a very famous singer who I have enjoyed since childhood this past weekend but my mother, who I was attending with, got the flu the day before the show.  the show was in a city 4 hours away.  I had already purchased expensive tickets and prepaid for a hotel room.  I would have been out a sizable amount of money if I didn't go.  My husband once described listening to this music as less appealing than rusty forks stabbed in his ears.

I called up a friend and the two of us not only went to the show but stayed gone for a 3 day weekend.  I had a blast and in reality this was probably the last get way I will have for awhile since I just entered the third trimester.  My husband was happy for me and I got to share all the adventures my friend and I had with him.  He is taking a short trip next weekend for something similar.  And yes the friend he will be visiting in his far away trip is an old girlfriend.  Doesn't bother me a bit. 

All of that to say everyone has their different comfort levels in relationships and it isn't fair to say that one system of building a relationship or marriage will work for everyone.  some people are far to independent for that concept of sharing everything while it works for others.
Title: Re: How to say I'm uncomfortable when I can't explain why exactly? - Update p22
Post by: Nora on January 24, 2013, 08:32:48 AM
bopper: always having to do any fun thing you feel like doing with your spouse sounds more like prison than marriage. If we never experienced anything without the other one there DH and I would have run out of things to say around year 3.
Title: Re: How to say I'm uncomfortable when I can't explain why exactly? - Update p22
Post by: TurtleDove on January 24, 2013, 09:04:17 AM
All of that to say everyone has their different comfort levels in relationships and it isn't fair to say that one system of building a relationship or marriage will work for everyone. 

My relationship sounds like yours, and it is more fulfilling than any other relationship I have had.  That said, our relationship is based on solid trust and no jealousy because we are both secure and have no reason not to trust the other.  My BF could (and does) have women throwing themselves at him, but it just makes me giggle because I trust him, and vice versa.  In past relationships, where I did not fully trust, this would not be at all okay - I would be worried and anxious.  It's the trust, not the behavior, that is the issue, in my experience.
Title: Re: How to say I'm uncomfortable when I can't explain why exactly? - Update p22
Post by: thedudeabides on January 24, 2013, 09:13:40 AM
I'll tell you why you were uncomfortable...one of the ways we fall in love is by doing fun things with people we are interested in.  When you are first dating you do lots of fun activities.  So your guy spent his time having fun not with you, but with an exGF.  That is not good.
Truly what you should do is find an activitiy that you both enjoy so your most enjoyable times are spent together, and not with others.

I don't understand- are you saying you shouldn't have separate interests from your partner at all?

If I'm not mistaken, yes she is. She's deeply into a particular theory of marriage and relationships--she links to their website a lot--that espouses that belief. I really don't think it can be applied universally, though.

I guess I better tell my girlfriend that she can't go to her spin classes or knitting group anymore, because I'm sure not going with her...
Title: Re: How to say I'm uncomfortable when I can't explain why exactly? - Update p22
Post by: Amava on January 24, 2013, 09:46:53 AM
I guess I better tell my girlfriend that she can't go to her spin classes or knitting group anymore, because I'm sure not going with her...
You have a girlfriend? Then why are you talking to all us strange ladies online? How dare you!  ;D

In all seriousness, I think this can be discussed until the cows come home, but there will always be people who think a couple should spend all of their free time together, and on the flipside people who think independance and space is very important for a relationship.
Every person is different, every couple is different, and each couple needs to figure out what works best for them.
In my own relationship, we have a lot of activities we do on our own, but it works for us.
But I can imagine how "Try to find some activities you can enjoy together" (which is what Bopper said in the first place) is a valid advice if a couple feels they are not feeling close enough.

Doing things together and going to places together should always be for the reason that you /want to spend time together and bond/ , not for the reason of "wanting to keep an eye on each other in a controlling way."

I would not want to be with a partner who I felt I had to "control" to keep him from cheating and to keep him with me. And I also wouldn't want to be with a controlling partner. 
Title: Re: How to say I'm uncomfortable when I can't explain why exactly? - Update p22
Post by: Dalek on January 24, 2013, 12:37:53 PM
My hubby loves ( I mean absolutely LOVES) being in the woods and looking for reptiles. It's a huge part of him. I can't think of a worse way to spend my time. He's a member of a local group ( men and women) who do this regularly. I don't attend but I don't have a problem with him going without me. Sure we go do things together occasionally, but if I told him he could never do this again, he would be miserable. If he tried to force me to go, I would be miserable.  Neither of us want the other to be unhappy so we accept that because we have different interests we will be doing fun things with others. And that is perfectly okay. :-)
Title: Re: How to say I'm uncomfortable when I can't explain why exactly? - Update p22
Post by: Fleur on January 24, 2013, 02:28:47 PM
bopper: always having to do any fun thing you feel like doing with your spouse sounds more like prison than marriage. If we never experienced anything without the other one there DH and I would have run out of things to say around year 3.

Pod, pod and pod. I have never heard this idea that people can't have an interest outside their relationship. It is a very odd idea to me.
Title: Re: How to say I'm uncomfortable when I can't explain why exactly? - Update p22
Post by: katycoo on January 24, 2013, 11:00:47 PM
I'll tell you why you were uncomfortable...one of the ways we fall in love is by doing fun things with people we are interested in.  When you are first dating you do lots of fun activities.  So your guy spent his time having fun not with you, but with an exGF.  That is not good.
Truly what you should do is find an activitiy that you both enjoy so your most enjoyable times are spent together, and not with others.

I think that this statement is far too sweeping. I don't disagree that the OP and her boyfriend should spend a lot of time together, that is what relationships are about. But I think that a sign of a healthy and trustful relationship is not having to always be in each others' pockets, and be able to have hobbies and interests outside the relationship. It sounds as if the OP had a good talk with her boyfriend, and that she was able to get to the bottom of just why the situation made her uncomfortable. It wasn't that her boyfriend had an interest that wasn't tied up in her, it was that there was a social history with the ex and this sport. All that is required is for the OP's boyfriend not to spend too much time with the ex playing this sport. The OP has said that she has no desire for him to give it up altogether.

There's a third level to this beyond the views shared above:

Even if you and DH can share an activity together, skill plays a part.

Eg.  My DH enjoys squash, and is fairly good.  We have had a lot of fun together on the squash court, with him teaching me to improve somewhat, but these aren't lessons (I'm not interested in doing drills), more friendly games with tips.

Every now and then, I'll fluke a good shot and win a point.  This is usually followed by me saying omethign smartarse about how brilliant I am, him cocking an eyebrow at me, and proceeding to wipe the floor with me.

Reminding me, that he is playing down to my level so that we can have fun together.  And we do have fun together. 

But being challenged in something you are good at is fun too.  Which is why DH plays competition squash too.  If he had an ex who was better than me, and who play comp as well, and sometimes they drew a game aginst each other, well, it happens.  I probably wouldn't be excited about it - his ex's are largly insane.  I might prefer to try to be present to cheer him on those nights.  But I woudln't ask him to stop an activity on the off chance he might see her.

Couple should do things together and things apart. But I fail to see how asking my DH to give up something he enjoys, or only play at a low level against me, would add to his overall happiness.

Casue I do know - when he is happy, I am more likely to be happy.
Title: Re: How to say I'm uncomfortable when I can't explain why exactly? - Update p22
Post by: bopper on January 29, 2013, 03:04:06 PM
I'll tell you why you were uncomfortable...one of the ways we fall in love is by doing fun things with people we are interested in.  When you are first dating you do lots of fun activities.  So your guy spent his time having fun not with you, but with an exGF.  That is not good.
Truly what you should do is find an activitiy that you both enjoy so your most enjoyable times are spent together, and not with others.

I don't understand- are you saying you shouldn't have separate interests from your partner at all?

I am saying that you can have interests separate from your partner, but you should both be on board with that.  And if you spend your time more with other people than with your spouse, that isn't as good for a marriage.

Would it be better for you and your spouse to take up doubles tennis together or for him to go every Saturday to play golf with his buddies while you are at home with the kids?
Title: Re: How to say I'm uncomfortable when I can't explain why exactly? - Update p22
Post by: Moray on January 29, 2013, 04:14:09 PM
I'll tell you why you were uncomfortable...one of the ways we fall in love is by doing fun things with people we are interested in.  When you are first dating you do lots of fun activities.  So your guy spent his time having fun not with you, but with an exGF.  That is not good.
Truly what you should do is find an activitiy that you both enjoy so your most enjoyable times are spent together, and not with others.

I don't understand- are you saying you shouldn't have separate interests from your partner at all?

I am saying that you can have interests separate from your partner, but you should both be on board with that.  And if you spend your time more with other people than with your spouse, that isn't as good for a marriage.

Would it be better for you and your spouse to take up doubles tennis together or for him to go every Saturday to play golf with his buddies while you are at home with the kids?

Well, that's a false choice. For one, tennis is not golf. If my partner liked playing golf and had a regular group he liked to go with, heck yes!, I'd want him to go. Just because I'm home with the hypothetical kids that day doesn't mean that I can't go to book club, or pub quiz with my friends on Thursday night.

Furthermore, in this case the OP has no objections to her DH participating in Sport, and no objections to him participating in Sport without her. She felt uncomfortable with the ex showing up, and so discussed it with her DH. That's a healthy relationship, not one where "we both enthusiastically participate in [x activity] or it doesn't happen".

Title: Re: How to say I'm uncomfortable when I can't explain why exactly? - Update p22
Post by: HannahGrace on January 29, 2013, 05:43:20 PM
As the OP, it's interesting to see the directions this thread has traveled!  For what it's worth, I definitely don't think that couples need to or should coordinate all of their leisure time activities.  We spend plenty of time together and sometimes it is nice to have the house to myself!  In fact, this weekend he is traveling out of town to run an event related to the sport - I'm looking forward to getting my hair cut, watching movies he wouldn't care for, and seeing friends.  My issue related to my discomfort with this specific person as she relates to this activity and him.  As it happens, due to holidays and associated family time, as well as the flu, he actually hasn't been back for one of the open-event nights since I first posted.  But at this point, I'm truly OK with him sparring with her if and when they end up in the same place again.  I think part of it might have been my own pre-holiday stress making me a little emotionally short-fused, and also I felt better after getting the feedback here, so thanks again to everyone who weighed in.
Title: Re: How to say I'm uncomfortable when I can't explain why exactly? - Update p22
Post by: cross_patch on January 29, 2013, 05:55:43 PM
I'll tell you why you were uncomfortable...one of the ways we fall in love is by doing fun things with people we are interested in.  When you are first dating you do lots of fun activities.  So your guy spent his time having fun not with you, but with an exGF.  That is not good.
Truly what you should do is find an activitiy that you both enjoy so your most enjoyable times are spent together, and not with others.

I don't understand- are you saying you shouldn't have separate interests from your partner at all?

I am saying that you can have interests separate from your partner, but you should both be on board with that.  And if you spend your time more with other people than with your spouse, that isn't as good for a marriage.

Would it be better for you and your spouse to take up doubles tennis together or for him to go every Saturday to play golf with his buddies while you are at home with the kids?

Well, that's a false choice. For one, tennis is not golf. If my partner liked playing golf and had a regular group he liked to go with, heck yes!, I'd want him to go. Just because I'm home with the hypothetical kids that day doesn't mean that I can't go to book club, or pub quiz with my friends on Thursday night.

Furthermore, in this case the OP has no objections to her DH participating in Sport, and no objections to him participating in Sport without her. She felt uncomfortable with the ex showing up, and so discussed it with her DH. That's a healthy relationship, not one where "we both enthusiastically participate in [x activity] or it doesn't happen".

While I definitely agree with moray that it is a false choice, even if it were the same activity I would probably say the latter. Do you really think that partners shouldn't have time apart? I can't imagine how stifling that would be. What if your SO doesn't enjoy the activity? Should you be precluded from participating? It seems like forcing each other to spend all your free time together really only masks issues in a relationship- as though if you are together at all times, nothing can happen. But that doesn't change the fact that there are still issues there. I don't understand how that is sustainable. Is the idea behind it that the other person may cheat if given the opportunity? Forgive my ignorance, I have just not come across this idea before.
Title: Re: How to say I'm uncomfortable when I can't explain why exactly? - Update p22
Post by: cross_patch on January 29, 2013, 05:56:43 PM
As the OP, it's interesting to see the directions this thread has traveled!  For what it's worth, I definitely don't think that couples need to or should coordinate all of their leisure time activities.  We spend plenty of time together and sometimes it is nice to have the house to myself!  In fact, this weekend he is traveling out of town to run an event related to the sport - I'm looking forward to getting my hair cut, watching movies he wouldn't care for, and seeing friends.  My issue related to my discomfort with this specific person as she relates to this activity and him.  As it happens, due to holidays and associated family time, as well as the flu, he actually hasn't been back for one of the open-event nights since I first posted.  But at this point, I'm truly OK with him sparring with her if and when they end up in the same place again.  I think part of it might have been my own pre-holiday stress making me a little emotionally short-fused, and also I felt better after getting the feedback here, so thanks again to everyone who weighed in.

That's awesome to hear!
Title: Re: How to say I'm uncomfortable when I can't explain why exactly? - Update p22
Post by: LadyR on February 03, 2013, 10:06:12 AM
bopper: always having to do any fun thing you feel like doing with your spouse sounds more like prison than marriage. If we never experienced anything without the other one there DH and I would have run out of things to say around year 3.

I have friends where this actually contributed to the downfall of their relationship. He felt like he should share her interests, evn the ones thwt bored him and in the end she felt suffocated by never having space, plus his obvious boredom took away from her enjoyment.
Title: Re: How to say I'm uncomfortable when I can't explain why exactly? - Update p22
Post by: bopper on February 05, 2013, 08:48:20 AM
bopper: always having to do any fun thing you feel like doing with your spouse sounds more like prison than marriage. If we never experienced anything without the other one there DH and I would have run out of things to say around year 3.

I have friends where this actually contributed to the downfall of their relationship. He felt like he should share her interests, evn the ones thwt bored him and in the end she felt suffocated by never having space, plus his obvious boredom took away from her enjoyment.

Ah, but that is the thing...he is putting her happiness at the expense of his own.  He shouldn't do that. They should find ones they both (truly) like.
Title: Re: How to say I'm uncomfortable when I can't explain why exactly? - Update p22
Post by: TurtleDove on February 05, 2013, 08:58:22 AM

Ah, but that is the thing...he is putting her happiness at the expense of his own.  He shouldn't do that. They should find ones they both (truly) like.

This is so odd to me.  There are no two people that I know of who always want to do the exact same thing at the same time.  I agree with the posters who believe relationships tend to function better if each person is their own person first and the two compliment each other.  I would be miserable if my SO did everything with me, and so would he.  Common interests, yes.  Everything together, no.
Title: Re: How to say I'm uncomfortable when I can't explain why exactly? - Update p22
Post by: Amava on February 05, 2013, 09:26:36 AM
bopper: always having to do any fun thing you feel like doing with your spouse sounds more like prison than marriage. If we never experienced anything without the other one there DH and I would have run out of things to say around year 3.

I have friends where this actually contributed to the downfall of their relationship. He felt like he should share her interests, evn the ones thwt bored him and in the end she felt suffocated by never having space, plus his obvious boredom took away from her enjoyment.

Ah, but that is the thing...he is putting her happiness at the expense of his own.  He shouldn't do that. They should find ones they both (truly) like.

I respect that this lifestyle works for you, but it is just not for everyone.
Title: Re: How to say I'm uncomfortable when I can't explain why exactly? - Update p22
Post by: Tea Drinker on February 05, 2013, 09:31:41 AM

Ah, but that is the thing...he is putting her happiness at the expense of his own.  He shouldn't do that. They should find ones they both (truly) like.

This is so odd to me.  There are no two people that I know of who always want to do the exact same thing at the same time.  I agree with the posters who believe relationships tend to function better if each person is their own person first and the two compliment each other.  I would be miserable if my SO did everything with me, and so would he.  Common interests, yes.  Everything together, no.

POD this. I would rather have some interests I share with my partner, which we do together--in my husband's case it includes Scrabble (the actual board game), long walks, and some zoos and museums--and some that we don't share and each pursue individually (for example, he likes animated movies; I like crossword puzzles). It wouldn't make either of us happier to only do the things we both like. In fact, we both periodically want to have a few hours alone in our home; one way we do this is that he periodically says "would you like me to go see a movie this weekend?"
Title: Re: How to say I'm uncomfortable when I can't explain why exactly? - Update p22
Post by: Lynn2000 on February 05, 2013, 09:43:01 AM
We might be getting farther afield from the situation in the OP; but, I can agree that a couple ought to have some fun things they both do together, if not everything. Imagine if the OP had been that the boyfriend was having fun doing this sport with his ex, but there was no comparable activity that the boyfriend and his current girlfriend liked doing together. That could spell trouble for the relationship--he's always having fun with other people, not his girlfriend. So I think it would be sensible to suggest that the girlfriend try to find fun things they can do together as a couple--maybe trying something completely new to both of them, or making a fair compromise of their interests somehow. Not so that they can spend 100% of their time doing things together, but so they can have some fun things they do together, which might offset the girlfriend's discomfort with him doing fun things with his ex.

Of course, in the OP IIRC, the boyfriend also felt somewhat uncomfortable about sparring with his ex, and didn't he say he didn't want to do it again? So that's not quite the same thing, I guess.