General Etiquette > Dating

How to say I'm uncomfortable when I can't explain why exactly? - Update p22

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Kaymar:
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!
 

Surianne:
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.

MrTango:
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.

bah12:
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?"

JenJay:
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.

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