“Only IF YOU want to”

I think I’m in that part of the relationship where the two parties involved really like one another and only want to do things to make the other person happy and suggest/invite/plan for things without the other person feeling the pressure of obligation. Good ol’ honeymoon phase we meet again.

The Teacher and I had a lovely date night planned last night. We’ve recently started incorporating more midweek “get togethers”, especially now that my job stopped requiring me to work 80 hrs/week and I can see straight again.

Anyway, on our way to dinner, we discussed plans for a weekend get away at the beginning of next month. We have sort of been casually (and hypothetically) speaking about this for the better part of 2-3 weeks (mostly while one or both of us are sauced out of our minds), but finally made firm and concrete plans as of this past weekend. Since he has a little more time than me right now (school is out for the summer), he’s planning the logistics of the trip (when we’re going, where we’re staying, whose car we’re taking (probably mine since I have 4×4 and we’ll need it in the mountains), what we’re doing when we get there, etc) and only asked me to just confirm with work that I could get the Thursday and Friday off that we’re planning on being out-of-town.

Done and done. Our first trip, should be oodles of fun, hopefully.

Towards the end of the conversation he apologized for requesting to cut our trip short by half a day (coming home Saturday night instead of Sunday afternoon) due being invited to an old friend’s birthday dinner that Sunday.

His mention of this dinner didn’t even phase me. I just assumed he had plans with friends, have fun. I’ve never been the kind of person to tell my S.O. that they can’t go do things with their friends solo. That’s absurd. Plus, two solid days in the mountains is plenty, his apology seemed unnecessary.

“Yeah, my friend such and such is having a birthday dinner that Sunday. You haven’t met him yet actually. You’re more than welcome to come ONLY if you want to.”

Pause.

If I want to. ONLY if I want to.

what me

Obviously I know what that *really* means, but if I’m looking at the statement completely out of context (and without any sort of emotion) it comes across more of choice or an option on my end almost as if he’s saying, “you get to decide if you want to go, but I won’t be phased either way”, which is fine, but doesn’t really communicate the underlying notion of maybe him wanting/needing me to go if for no other reason just to make an appearance? Or suppose it went the other way and he genuinely didn’t care if I went. Why would I want to go somewhere with someone who doesn’t care if I’m there? This is obviously somewhat important to him or he wouldn’t have mentioned it or be cutting vacations (that he initiated) short to go. And suppose I had no interest in going and took his statement to face value he would absolutely be phased AF and probably suppress his anger over it until “snapping” one day over an argument about juice.

juice

Yes, I said juice, even though neither one of us cares for juice.

So ok. I’m being a bit facetious–sorta. I’ve been around him enough at this point to know that these things really do matter to him and he probably would be legitimately offended if I chose not to go and I don’t blame him. That would be fucked up of me unless I had some legitimate reason for not being able to attend. When you’re a couple it’s just sort of assumed that you’ll make attempts to be as selfless and accommodating as possible and sometimes that means really understanding how important something is to your S.O., being there to support them and compromising.

Am I excited about this party? Hard to say to say at this point–but I’m not really focusing on how I feel. It matters more to me at this point to do whatever makes him happy and if that means accompanying him openly/publicly as his girlfriend and rubbing elbows with whatever friend of his I’m meeting this time, bring on the party favors. I’m all for it with a smile on my face. I think I left my response,

“If you genuinely want me to go–like if you’re asking if I’ll go with you, like your ‘plus 1’, I’d be more than happy to go with you…that sounds exciting, I appreciate the offer 🙂 .”

D’aww. But seriously, he’s used the, “only if YOU want to” phrase a little too much lately…he’s even used it during–well, that’s TMI. and it’s slightly starting to become a pet peeve of mine. Of COURSE I want to, we’re in a fucking relationship! If I’m genuinely dead set against doing some activity–like robbing a bank, I would speak up and say that (and I have and with tact). I’ve said this to him a few times (maybe jokingly), but communicating something he needs comes across better if he’s not framing it in a passive aggressive , “it’s up to you” sort of way, though I think that’s just part of his non-confrontational personality in general. Perhaps he doesn’t want to come across needy.

This can definitely be worked through, but I think it also comes with time and comfort level on both sides. I know I created this “monster” from how aloof and emotionally detached I came across a few months into casually dating him. I’ve really been trying to make up for it by overly expressing my feelings or gratitude, but I still feel like I’m not doing enough. The guilt consumes me daily.

 

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