My boyfriend is upset about my friendship with another guy

I have a friend that who I used to be in a relationship with. It was brief and turned into us being just good friends.

I spent the weekend with him and it upset my boyfriend. Was i wrong?

Rossana Magalhaes
Rossana Magalhaes
Couple & Family therapist

It is not the case of being right or wrong, in my view. If you are asking, I believe you truly care for your boyfriend. It seems like he is having difficulties in establishing trust in this relationship. The ideal would be to come closer to his upsetness and to show him that you are there for him. I hope all goes well. Rossana Mag.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
David Routt
David Routt
President and Clinical Counselor at Totius Therapies

The most important thing to ask yourself here is, "how did this action affect my relationship, and is it worth the consequences?" Regardless of your intentions in this action, your boyfriend is uncomfortable with this type of behavior. From here, we can objectively decide if spending time with your previous partner (because that is likely what your boyfriend sees them as) is worth harming the relationship you currently have. It is very rare that a person would be comfortable with their partner spending more than a very little amount of time with their exes. Many times, it just gives the wrong impressions. It is very possible that your partner may believe that since you spend so much time with them, that they are still a contender for the most intimate relationship you have to offer, and truth be told, they kind of are. The best intimate relationships, are friendships first and foremost. 

It is also a good thing to consider what you are getting out of the relationship with your ex that you are not getting out of the relationship with your current boyfriend. If you go to this person for emotional support before your boyfriend, then it is very likely you're involved in some "emotional infidelity". When we turn to others instead of our partner, it is as if we "ran into another person's arms" instead of theirs. No matter who you are, that hurts. 

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
David Klein
David Klein
Humanistic Psychotherapy for Individuals & Couples

Depends on your definition of "wrong" on this one. Was it objectively wrong to spend the weekend with a good friend, who also happens to be an ex? Probably not. But, it upset your current boyfriend, and he is entitled to his feelings if you are in a relationship with him. He may be out of line if he assumes that anything happened between you and your ex that would compromise the relationship, however your boyfriend being upset might also mean that he wanted to spend that kind of weekend with you and did not get to do that.

Long story short, it might help your relationship to understand more, and be curious, not judge-y, around what is upsetting for him. Perhaps having empathy for his experience of the behavior could help him to feel more secure with you having relationships with your ex(es).

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Allison  Velez
Allison Velez
Is your relationship worth it?

While you can't be responsible for your boyfriend's feelings, relationships do come with expectations.  

Both people in a relationship bring their own expectations into it.  These expectations are usually unspoken, but result in conflict as you are experiencing here!  Your boyfriend expects you not to spend the weekend with this guy.  He may expect you not to spend the weekend with any guy at all.  He may expect you to spend every single weekend with him!  

You'll have to decide if his expectations are ones you can live with.  Relationships do require some compromise out of concern for our partner, but you get to choose how much you compromise. 

We get upset about things that make us feel insecure.  You spending the weekend with an ex makes your boyfriend feel insecure.  That doesn't mean you did anything wrong.  It just means that you have to decide if it's more important for you to maintain your freedom to spend weekends with whomever you wish, or to help your boyfriend feel secure in your relationship. 

Good luck!  Hope that helps,

Allison 

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Shawn Thomas Berthel, M.S., LMHC
Shawn Thomas Berthel, M.S., LMHC
Step into your new life path.

Hello. There are a number of factors playing into this situation. A former romantic partner coming back onto the scene during a current relationship; you spending alone time (and spending the night) with that former partner; and the uneasy feelings experienced by your current partner (boyfriend). Now those are the ones you have openly expressed. There are very likely other issues that prompted this behavior on your part. You ask if you were wrong. It is not a question I will be able to answer, because it is not one I am meant to answer. It is up to you to find that truth. Now, if you are feeling guilty, was it because of some sexual engagement occurred when you spent the night? If so, you might want to look at why that happened. Do you feel secure in your current relationship? Is this the relationship you want, or do you want to be with the former boyfriend?

Important questions, but ones you need to ask and answer. Odds are, there is something that triggered this event to occur and it becomes a focal point in discovering any unexplored discomfort or other issues with your current boyfriend. Seeking relationship counseling can be effective in sorting this out, so be open to that possibility to help you clarify your thoughts and feelings.

Best of luck to you.

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Sherry Katz, LCSW
Sherry Katz, LCSW
Couples and Family Therapist, LCSW

Ideally you and your boyfriend will reach a balance point where you and your boyfriend are each happy with the level of involvement you have with your former boyfriend.

Start w a discussion with your current boyfriend as to what specifically he doesn't like about your friendship with your former boyfriend.

It is possible that you can answer his concerns as well he can find out from you more as to what the friendship is all about.

As a therapist, I've never seen a former romantic relationship become only a friendship.   As sincere as you may be in your intention to only keep the friendship with the former relationship partner, if  your former boyfriend secretly has romantic feelings for you, then at best, you've got an unclear friendship with this person.

The obvious possibility is to socialize together with your current boyfriend and your former one. If neither guy would go for this, then this would show there is an undercurrent of competition for your romantic attention.

Basically make your romantic partner's feelings and your own, the major considerations and discuss from this perspective.

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Kelly Mulroy, LMHC, NCC, DCC
Kelly Mulroy, LMHC, NCC, DCC
Clinical Hypnosis and Psychotherapy

This can be a very complicated situation. The boundaries of relationship include the rules to follow in the relationship. It is important to follow the rules of your relationship  in regards to each person being able to spend time with exes. If you and your boyfriend agree upon a rule about spending time with exes, then there should be no problem. 

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Anna McElearney
Anna McElearney
Helping Couples Build Stronger Relationships

Thank you for submitting this question. I think this type of situation can be common for many couples struggling with how to keep friendships with past relationships while being in a new relationship. 

For me, more information is needed here...but given the information provided, the way I interpret the question is...I'm assuming your boyfriend didn't know you were going to spend the weekend with your good friend?  

Working off of this assumption, I would suggest beginning an open and honest dialogue with your boyfriend about what specifically upset him? And to talk about your point of view regarding spending the weekend with him. I would also suggest talking about how you both envision your relationship when it comes to spending time with others. 

If you feel like you can't have this conversation without it going off track, please consider seeing a couples therapist. They can help you begin these important conversations that can help shape and develop the relationship you and your boyfriend long for.  

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Catherine Hodge
Catherine Hodge
Licensed Mental Health Counselor

That is a difficult situation and there is no right or wrong. You both need to discuss it and come up with a solution that works for the both of you. You want to spend time with your friend but your boyfriend  may feel betrayed by you spending quality time with another man you have been intimate with. There may be a way for you both to get your needs met. Maybe you only spend short periods of time with your friend, not a whole weekend. Or you check in with your boyfriend  periodically when you see your friend. It really depends on the two of you. If it becomes too difficult, you may need a neutral party to help you establish appropriate boundaries around this issue. Good luck!

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Jill Barnett Kaufman
Jill Barnett Kaufman
Psychotherapist

It's completely understandable that you would have male friends and that you would want to spend time with them.  When you cross over from friends to a relationship, it does change things.  Some people are very easy going and wouldn't feel threatened by what you did  Others would be upset.  If your boyfriend is upset by you spending time with this male friend, then you need to talk about it.  Each of you needs to express your feelings about the situation and listen to the other with patience and respect.  Then you can make a decision on what is best for you and your relationship.  Maybe he wouldn't be upset if you saw this friend while you were with your boyfriend.  Or maybe your boyfriend would feel better if he got to know this person better and could trust him.  Most likely you can come up with a situation that will make both of you comfortable going forward.  

You didn't do anything "wrong" because it doesn't sound like you intended to hurt your boyfriend.  But if you really care about your boyfriend, then you probably care about making him upset.  Instead of looking at this issue as a problem, try to look at it as an opportunity to connect.  If you can both listen to each other and understand each other, your relationship can become even closer.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

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