Dear Wayne and Wanda,
Before the pandemic, when my boyfriend and I got together, it was rarely just the two of us. We used to always go out with huge groups of friends. Living together during COVID made it so we got so much quality time together just the two of us. I loved it!
But now that things are calming down and most of our friends are vaccinated, things are shifting again. Rather than do things just the two of us, it feels like his friends are always over. And when we have ventured out to eat or go to the bars, there’s usually a group text beforehand so everyone shows up.
Don’t get me wrong, I definitely missed my friends and I’m excited to see them all again. But I also miss doing things just with him where we didn’t have to invite everyone, every time. I brought this up, and he didn’t get it at all. He said I was being selfish and wanted to monopolize him. But what if I don’t want my old life back exactly how it was and want quality time with my boyfriend. Am I wrong?
Oh dear. Sounds like the COVID bubble of this past year delivered you to your own little island paradise — an island of two, complete with quality time, cuddles and more. But for your fellow pandemic castaway, it might have felt more like a deserted island, without his ever-present posse in tow.
I’m not saying your boyfriend was miserable, but his recent behavior is telling. It says he was riding out a temporary situation until he could have things back to the way they were. Meanwhile, you were getting to appreciate the way things are and feeling positive about charting a course of two toward the future.
Don’t call this relationship a shipwreck just yet. Try some positive thinking: his enthusiasm about hanging out with his friends again is not a rejection of you or your relationship. You two made it through your COVID year together! That’s no small accomplishment considering how the pandemic affected our daily lives and how stressful it was at times. But you do need to talk through what’s next. There’s no reason you can’t hang out with friends again and also carve out some sacred time for just the two of you. Be open-minded about his needs and feelings and be willing to compromise.
Hello #VaccinationProblems! Too much fun with too many friends that you haven’t seen in like forever. Oh, if pre-COVID you could only hear you now, I’m guessing she would be very, very disappointed …
But hey, that’s life, that’s growing up, and that’s also the kind of thing that happens after a crazy year. You’ve evolved and it seems like your relationship has, as well. Or at least for you it has. And you are not wrong in wanting a healthy balance of time around friends and alone time with your BF.
He clearly doesn’t feel like spending all of his time with you now, though, and is having a blast changing things up and reconnecting with others. How soon he forgets who was there with him, hunkered down, and connecting for the past year. Post-COVID him should be very, very disappointed.
And you have a right to be disappointed, too. He needs to be a little more flexible and appreciative of you, at the very least. You’re just asking to spend time alone with him every once in a while, not do a performance art rendition of The Year of COVID Togetherness. And he definitely needs to dial back the tone and language he uses with you: Selfish? Monopolizing? I might give him a pass for being enthusiastic about the newfound freedom and fun, but I’d also make sure that type of communication does not continue, especially coming after a year in which you were pretty much the only person he had to talk to.