General Etiquette > Dating

Is there a limit to what you can ask a SO NOT to do?

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I've been thinking a bit lately about etiquette and general decorum of conversations and not bringing things up that might be uncomfortable for someone in a group situation etc.. then I started to think about an ex of mine, and how often times his family members would make comments towards me that were not very nice and I would ask him if he could talk to his family about it.. or if he would mind if I was a bit firm and polite and change the subject?

Then I started to think about behaviors and going out.. is it okay to ask your SO not to go out a certain night because you REALLY want to spend time with them and it is your only free night? I also have an ex who was friends with an ex girlfriend and he wanted to go see a movie and have drinks with her, I wasn't thrilled with that idea. Something about it irked me. I let it go but would I have been in my right to say "I would prefer you not to go"

Does marital status enter into it? Length of dating? Cohabitation?

Honestly, none of these are remotely etiquette issues. There is an etiquette to dating, but all of this falls under the heading of 'actual relationship stuff', for which there are no rules.

So, it's ok to do or ask for or demand any of the things you mentioned. It's also ok for the other party to decide that that's not a thing they want in their relationship. Both people propse the 'rules' of the relationship, and both people decide whether or not they agree with the rules the other has proposed.

There are no definitive answers.

I would like to think that if you have been with someone enough to consider them a "significant other",  they should know what your schedule is and would know that you have only one free night that particular week.  In a perfect world, an SO would honor that and want to spend time with you, but since this is a not-so-perfect world, I see nothing wrong with playfully suggesting that "Hey, honey, things are nuts at work this week and since Thursday is my only free night, what do you say to getting takeout and vegging on the couch all night?" Or something to that effect. 

Basically, if you want to spend time with your SO, tell him so.  Don't make him play mind-reader!

As for the going for drinks with the ex-girlfriend, that would make me rather uncomfortable, too, especially if I had been in that particular relationship for a length of time.  Again, don't expect your SO to figure it out on his own, let him know, nonconfrontationally, that it makes you feel uncomfortable.  If this is a long-term relationship and he still decides to go, I think it would raise a few red flags for me, but only you can decide what you can and cannot tolerate in your relationship.

Tea Drinker:
I think that you can ask for more things than you can demand or expect. "Can you please save Thursday for me?" is OK unless I already know you have made plans for that Thursday. (Asking someone to cancel existing plans has other etiquette issues.) And different shapes of "no" might have different implications: "I'm not going to make other social plans, but you know what my job is like" or "but I might need to bail and spend the evening alone with a book" would feel different from "I don't like to make plans in advance" or "how can you ask that, I might be offered tickets to a ballgame?"

Personally, I wouldn't give a partner the level of veto that is implied in a flat "I don't want you to see your ex," but I would listen to "I don't want you to go out with so-and-so because REASONS." And it would depend on what the reasons were: "she's your ex" wouldn't be sufficient, but "she's your ex and did XYZ unpleasant things" or "you're always really stressed when you see your ex, and I'm tired of having to deal with that." I also know there are other people for whom "because you used to date" is sufficient reason. I wouldn't date such a person, but that's okay: people are different, and there's more than one good way to have relationships.

Erich L-ster:
"I also have an ex who was friends with an ex girlfriend and he wanted to go see a movie and have drinks with her"

So...basically, go on a date with her?


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