Ask the Therapist: Something feels off in my relationship

I have been with my boyfriend for 5 years now and since May he has gotten a new job position with a lot of responsibility.  He now has a female co worker who he calls his partner…He spends a lot of time with her everyday even after work hours, she always wants to take him to dinner or to lunch and buy it for him … She supposedly always wants to spend time with me and get to know and I’ve meet her twice at work events and she’s only said about two words to me.

Recently my boyfriend got invited to wedding that’s in another state through a mutual work friend and his female co worker got invited too and a few other females co workers .  He told me that there weren’t anymore extra tickets for me to come.  So I tried to include myself on the trip because I had relatives in the area of the wedding .  (And also his female co worker told him she’ll pay for 90% of his trip which seemed wrong.)

When he told me about the wedding I felt uncomfortable with him going to wedding to a couple he’s never even told me that he was close to.  He was acting very interested in this wedding.  So I told him I wasn’t comfortable with him going and that he should give his invite to his co worker who is newly divorced and seems lonely.  It seems like she wants him to be her date.  

He’s never traveled with another women’ and it’s just odd … But I put my foot down that it made me upset.   He then got me an invitation to the wedding saying it’s our trip (including his female co worker )… It got to the point were he was making me feel like I was imposing on his trip … And I’m his girlfriend …

I’m not to sure how to respond to the situation because something feels off , I don’t like feeling pressured to spend time with someone who never actually reached out to me before to hang out with me but always talks about how much they want too (I’m referring to his female co worker ) .. He’s making me feel like she’s matters more than me .. I wanted to drive there separately and meet all his co workers up at the wedding and spend the next day with just me and him … But he told me that they already made plans .. By the way my BF is 29 and his co worker is 40 so I know there’s a age difference but something feels off to me … And I don’t like feeling this way and I’m not sure how to make him understand that he needs boundaries with her .. I believe that no committed man should be traveling with all women co workers for a non work event.

Lisa’s thoughts:

Instincts are there to serve you as are healthy boundaries in relationships.  You and your boyfriend have been together a long time now and hopefully in that time have developed healthy behaviors encouraging emotional safety, good communication and expectations around needs from each other.  His female coworker seems to enjoy spending time with him and in the beginning appeared to want to know you too but it’s unclear based on her actions whether she’s being authentic

Your gut has told you that you weren’t invited wholeheartedly to this wedding and there hasn’t been much flexibility in using this trip as an opportunity for you two to have some time together (but rather resistance in things already being planned, etc).  The truth is he might not want his girlfriend there and instead wants to hang out with his friends (who happen to be female). That being said, this is a rather odd venue to make this choice.  Most people bring their long term partners or spouses to weddings. And why would his co worker offer to pay for his trip?  

The bottom line is you’re feeling something isn’t right and it might not be.  But stay open to the possibility that you have it wrong and your boyfriend is simply not doing a great job of managing this situation in a way that leaves you feeling secure.  At the very least, this issue needs to be addressed.  Hopefully nothing more is going on but more information is needed.

A healthy relationship allows partners to come back and forth to each other without worrying or having trust issues come up. You’re reacting to something and your feelings are valid.  Get to the bottom of it.

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Lisa’s responses are not to be considered “therapy” but rather educational; her thoughts are based on the limited information available. Please seek a local individual, couples or family therapist if it is therapy that you seek.

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Lisa is offering Online Therapy and Counseling services to individuals seeking help with their marriage or relationships. California residents only to adhere to state licensing laws.