Adapted from a recent online discussion.
Dear Carolyn: I’m in a relatively new relationship (six months), and I can’t shake the feeling that we always do things on “his time.” If he suggests a time to get together, I typically say yes unless I have other plans, and he does always honor that time. But generally, unless I suggest something well in advance, he typically declines when I ask him to spend time with me, even if he doesn’t have anything specific going on. A couple of times I’ve said that it was important for me to spend time with him in the next few days or something like that, when I just really wanted to see him, and he’s gone along with it, but I have gotten a little business from him about it while we are spending that time together. He’s super busy (as I am … as is everyone, right??) and I really do get that downtime is important. I don’t think I could be accused of trying to monopolize his time. I feel a little icky that we seem to be operating on his schedule. Would love to know if I am missing something here or stuck in my own perspective. Thanks!
On “His Time”
“A couple of times I’ve said that it was important for me to spend time with him … and he’s gone along with it, but I have gotten a little business from him about it while spending that time together.”
This job has beaten out of me just about any rigid notion I might have had about how things are “supposed” to be between two people, but there is one little thing that has withstood the, what, 18-year assault of differing viewpoints:
You want the person you’re with to want to be with you.
The text in the fancy italics up thar does not say “wants to be with you” to me. It says, “You’re lucky I’m here,” and I’d feel icky about that too.
Re: His Time: If he wanted to spend time with you, he’d squeeze it in whenever he could and not make a fuss about who planned it.
Yep, exactly, thanks.
Dear Carolyn: I’m leaving for a four-day stay with my mother-in-law. I can’t win. If I allow her private time with the only child who really listens to and acknowledges her, then I am being standoffish or rude. If I stay in the room to participate, then I am nosy and inconsiderate of “her time” with her son. Ditto for being in the next room, and add eavesdropping to the list. Just smile and count down till we leave?
No Place to Hide
You know what? Who cares? Who cares what she thinks of you? Be in the room when you want, leave the room to go read a book when you want, help out by cooking/doing dishes/running errands when you want, go off and do your own thing when you want. When you can’t win, yes, you can see that as always losing — but you can also see it as freedom from having to play.
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