Author Topic: Is there a limit to what you can ask a SO NOT to do?  (Read 7559 times)

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RavenousEdenFleur

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Is there a limit to what you can ask a SO NOT to do?
« on: August 23, 2013, 12:56:28 AM »
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?

Aeris

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Re: Is there a limit to what you can ask a SO NOT to do?
« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2013, 02:33:50 AM »
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.

SCMagnolia

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Re: Is there a limit to what you can ask a SO NOT to do?
« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2013, 09:26:42 AM »
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

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Re: Is there a limit to what you can ask a SO NOT to do?
« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2013, 01:35:55 AM »
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.
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Erich L-ster

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Re: Is there a limit to what you can ask a SO NOT to do?
« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2013, 02:33:02 AM »
"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?

Allyson

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Re: Is there a limit to what you can ask a SO NOT to do?
« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2013, 04:02:44 AM »
Well, I'm in a long-term relationship and go out for dinner with my ex all the time, it's definitely not a date! We're very good friends now, and there's no weirdness going on on either side. But, I can see how some people might be uncomfortable with that. For me in a relationship, I wouldn't want to date someone who wasn't all right with opposite-sex friendships. Not that there's anything wrong with having that boundary, it's just not one I would follow. My ex is one of my closest friends, so I wouldn't give up my friendship with him. But, I was friends with him from before I met my boyfriend, so it was always known.

I think it's fine to say 'This makes me uncomfortable for these reasons' and then discuss it. I'd always rather know if something was upsetting the person I was with. It doesn't mean I'd immediately do what he wanted, but we could at least have the discussion.

blarg314

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Re: Is there a limit to what you can ask a SO NOT to do?
« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2013, 08:27:05 AM »

This is one of those things that etiquette says very little about - from a manners perspective, you should ask nicely and directly, and answer politely and honestly.

From a relationship perspective - it's one of those things where every couple has to work out on their own (or not). Person A has a set of things they want/need/ask for in a relationship. Person B has a different set of things they want/need/ask for. Some of those are non-negotiable, some are optional, some are in between.

In a healthy relationship, they come to a point in the middle where both are getting and giving enough to be comfortable, and where neither person feels like they're overburdened or taken advantage of.

In an *un*healthy relationship, though, one or both of them is unhappy and resentful - because they're not getting what they need/want, or because they feel like they are being pressured by the unreasonable demands of the other, or always giving and never getting.

I have my own ideas about what is reasonable or not in a relationship. But I know that other people have vastly different ideas of their own. You can  definitely have people who are over the top unreasonable in one direction or the other, but you can also have two perfectly nice people who simply want very different things in a relationship, and should go their separate ways.

As far as duration - all I can say is that this is the kind of thing it's very important to figure out *before* marrying or moving in with someone - what each of you wants, how you go about asking for it, and how you handle compromise. If you don't, you can end up in a very messy and unhappy situation.

But no, there's no manual that tell you what you can ask for and what you have to give in a relationship, romantic or otherwise.


katycoo

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Re: Is there a limit to what you can ask a SO NOT to do?
« Reply #7 on: August 25, 2013, 11:00:34 PM »
There are limits but they come down to reasonableness, and they subjective to each circumstance.

Re the ex - if I trust my partner, I can handle a moderate amount of private contact with an ex.  Early in my relationship with my now-husband he was contacted by an ex who wanted to meet up for coffee.  He asked me if I was ok with that, and I was.  But a lot of that had to do with the fact that they were going to be in public, no drinking, not in a dark place.  That reassured me that they were planning to socialise and there was less likley to be a nefarious intention or other awkward outcome (like her coming on to him uexpectedly or something).

Re your ex - drinks and a movie seems a little personal, however it depends a bit on why they want to see a movie.  Is it a niche genre that both he and her share an avid interest in, and I was not interested at all? perhaps a lack of other friends who share that interest?
« Last Edit: August 27, 2013, 08:06:32 PM by katycoo »

shhh its me

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Re: Is there a limit to what you can ask a SO NOT to do?
« Reply #8 on: August 25, 2013, 11:22:29 PM »
  Everyone is going to determine their own "whats ok whats not ok"  The more restrictive and exact your list , the less people you'll be compatible with.  I think its also very helpful to understand the core of what you are expressing.  "Every Friday must be date night" may at its core be "its important we make time to be together , that it is a priority, that it is outside ours homes , that we put effort into having a romantic evening not just hang out"   

Taken an ex to drinks and movie , it would have to be really early in my relationship or I'd have to be friends with her too. 

I think its ok to do "I'm I being reasonable " checks with friends and/or internet forums :)

RavenousEdenFleur

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Re: Is there a limit to what you can ask a SO NOT to do?
« Reply #9 on: August 27, 2013, 05:09:25 PM »
Thank you everyone!Good advice all around as usual :)

Winterlight

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Re: Is there a limit to what you can ask a SO NOT to do?
« Reply #10 on: August 28, 2013, 12:23:03 PM »
Theoretically you can ask your partner to do, or not do, just about anything, whether it's to refrain from wearing orange socks or to not cheat on you. What you have to consider is "Is this a hill to die on or can I deal if zie says no?"
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blarg314

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Re: Is there a limit to what you can ask a SO NOT to do?
« Reply #11 on: August 28, 2013, 07:38:59 PM »
Theoretically you can ask your partner to do, or not do, just about anything, whether it's to refrain from wearing orange socks or to not cheat on you. What you have to consider is "Is this a hill to die on or can I deal if zie says no?"

The only appearance demand I've made to my husband is a strict "No Comb-over" rule.

Miss March

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Re: Is there a limit to what you can ask a SO NOT to do?
« Reply #12 on: August 28, 2013, 09:19:57 PM »
I've asked my husband not to order a meal made of rabbit in my company, as I had rabbits as pets growing up.  I realize it is not appropriate for me to tell my SO what he can and can not eat, but in this case, I have a hard time recognizing the meal on the plate as 'meat' and not as a 'beloved pet,' and he's been patient with me for that. I have made sure that he knows that he is free to order rabbit whenever he goes out to eat without me.
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Virg

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Re: Is there a limit to what you can ask a SO NOT to do?
« Reply #13 on: September 05, 2013, 09:34:05 AM »
Miss March wrote:

"I realize it is not appropriate for me to tell my SO what he can and can not eat..."

This is part and parcel of why the questions in the OP aren't etiquette issues.  In your case, it's entirely appropriate for you to tell your SO this, because the two of you decide what's appropriate for your relationship and nobody else.  Etiquette is for situations that don't normally consider deviation, so that strangers/acquaintances have a rule set to work within, but once you're close enough to someone else to establish your own exceptions, then etiquette as a general rule is no longer relevant.  The same concept that allows my wife to enter the bathroom while I'm in there lets you tell your SO not to order rabbit in your presence, and as long as all parties agree then it's all good.

So, the short answer to the question that titles this thread is, "The limit is whatever the relationship participants allow."

Virg

RavenousEdenFleur

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Re: Is there a limit to what you can ask a SO NOT to do?
« Reply #14 on: September 07, 2013, 03:35:57 AM »
That is the same with my mother,I love eating whole fish at restaurants when they have them...my mother gets physically ill even seeing it. I know better than to order it when she is around.