I think you are asking the wrong question. More to the point is this: Why can’t two people who love each other and who have been together for 8 years figure out how to make both people happy on the weekends? You’ve been together quite a long time. My guess is that there is a natural push to either make a permanent commitment or move on.
As stated on Psychology Today’s website, “A good way of thinking about your relationships is that it is like a baby that you both created and are responsible for and tending to. When the baby gets sick, isn’t doing well, you both need to be concerned and step up. You both stay attentive and are committed to seeing it thrive and grow. It’s a combination of consciously keeping the negative from getting worse, and consciously making the positive a positive.”
They list some helpful tips to make that happen:
“1. Checking-in with each other. A common gripe is, “You never ask how I’m doing!” Again a symptom of disconnections and parallel lives. Don’t just complain, but step up and change the pattern: Proactively talk about you and what you are doing, rather than waiting for your partner to ask and getting resentful.
2. Don’t defend When your partner raises a complaint, try and avoid that easy response of defending – No, I didn’t – and then stacking up evidence to make your case. Basically what you are doing at this point is trying to convince the other that you’re right, he’s wrong. You then start to argue over whose reality is right, who is more the victim.
3. Don’t counter attack. Counter attacking is usually the next step in the escalating argument: “You’re complaining about this, but I don’t say anything about that…” This again is about power struggling, not good. Yes, your complaints may be valid, but save them for the moment.
4. Schedule couple time. Okay, enough on the negative. Think positive. Because it is so easy to go on auto-pilot and drift apart, you need to go against inertia and plan date nights, touch-downs, weekend trips. You both need to create positive shared experiences in order to counter the mundane, build good memories, and have something to look forward to.”
The issue around his friends is only the topic around which this much more important issue is being worked out. If you two can’t work out something so you are both reasonably happy with how you spend your free time, it raises the question of how you will work out a life together. You may have very different pictures in your heads of what adult life should be. I hope you both have the courage to talk about this directly instead of fighting about his friends. It’s a very important conversation.
I wish you well.
This article has been updated from the original version, which was originally published here on May 18, 2007.