Dear Wayne and Wanda,
I am hoping you can help me settle an argument with my boyfriend. A bunch of us have been planning a couple nights at a big cabin to celebrate New Year’s. There will be skiing, snowboarding, family-style meals, bonfires, hot tubbing, games — the usual cabin activities. There will probably be a dozen of us total. Most of the people going are good friends. I just found out my boyfriend’s ex will be there.
They were only broken up for a couple months when he and I started dating. She is really flirtatious and frankly I find her annoying. I don’t think she respects my relationship with my boyfriend at all given the way she is so chatty with him when we cross paths. I know they have remained friends and while that has been an issue that we have argued about, I have at least accepted it and haven’t demanded he quit talking with her. However, I draw the line at spending two nights together in a remote cabin. I don’t think I’ll have any fun.
He, on the other hand, thinks it’s a great chance for her and I to “bond” and get to know each other better. He says he’s chosen me, she’s not interested in him anymore, and I’m overreacting and being paranoid.
Maybe I am, maybe I’m not, but either way, I am not excited about celebrating New Year’s with her and I think he and I should skip it and stay home. Am I being crazy?
No one should blame you if you bail on this big urban family gathering. Being trapped at a remote cabin for two days in the dark Alaska winter with your arch-rival? At best, it sounds like the premise of a rom-com, and at worst, it could be a baseline plot for a horror movie or dark comedy. Either way, who wants to ring in the new year with all that noise?
But — what if it wasn’t horrible? What if you give this a shot and find out that Miss Ex isn’t so bad after all? Arguably, if your boyfriend remains friends with her, she can’t be all bad. While it can be challenging when our partners are friends with exes, it isn’t unheard of or even uncommon, and if you want to maintain harmony for the long haul, you should pick your battles carefully.
The getaway you guys have planned sounds fantastic. Most Alaskans have enjoyed these kind of rural low-key weekends, which are typically filled with tons of laughter and merriment. Great memories are made, friendships are formed or deepened. It’s possible this very New Year’s scenario could set the stage for you and your nemesis to start anew, maybe even have fun together, and definitely come to better know and understand each other.
Your boyfriend sounds like he’s earnestly committed to you, he’s honest about his friendships, and he hasn’t done anything to lose your trust. So give him the benefit of the doubt and consider giving this a shot.
New Year’s Eve — what a perfect opportunity to take a new approach to old annoyances, as well as a chance to loosen up a little. Like giving your BF’s ex a chance and entering this classic AK weekend away with a positive attitude.
It’s also a great reminder for gratefulness: Imagine how many amateur hour drinkers will be packed into loud, packed, steamy bars as the clock counts down ... Or how quiet and boring your house will be when you know all of your friends are having a good time. Suddenly a weekend away doesn’t sound so bad, right?
And it’s not like you two have to be besties. You also don’t even have to try to “bond” if you really don’t want to. Just be cordial ... heck, be friendly. Who knows — maybe she’s overcompensating with the flirty, chatty routine because she’s doubtful and nervous, too.
Either way, remember: This weekend isn’t about her. It’s about you, your boyfriend, your friends, and enjoying a good life. Plan a few adventures with your boyfriend each day to get away from her and everyone else — hit the slopes, sneak in a private drink or two at the lodge, grab some hot tub time before everyone takes over. Then party and talk and dance and eat and play in the snow with everyone, and start the new year by kissing your boyfriend at midnight without another care in the world.