36

In the middle of the year (around June) my girlfriend mentioned that she would go to a friend's party. She didn't mention the exact date, she didn't know when it would be.

In the last couple of weeks, we made a deal, that we would first go out to spend a weekend with her nephews (that was last weekend) and then the next weekend we would go out just us. We booked a place and planned the stuff.

But then she came to talk to me yesterday and said we would have to cancel our trip because of this party.

I did not put fight into it, I just said "OK". But now I think I'm still a bit upset about it.

I'd like her to know I'm still upset. How could I best communicate my upsetness to her?

UPDATE

Thank you all for the answers, last night i brought the matter up with her and we settled this for good. She thoroughly explained the situation that she told her friend she would go to the party previously and we get into an agreement to reschedule our weekend together. Im accepting @anongoodnurse answer as is address my question the best, but i also liked @Astralbee because it gets better to the point that i was into.

  • 2
    Why can't you go with her? – dvc.junior Oct 25 '17 at 13:04
  • @dvc.junior maybe because she'll go with a friend and bringing a boyfriend would be a bit awkward to the friend, i guess? didnt discuss this matter yet. – NaiceGuy1 Oct 25 '17 at 13:10
  • Are you also going to the party? Can you decide to do something super awesome on your end if you don't? – user2907 Oct 25 '17 at 16:26
  • @MicroMachine probably not going. maybe. – NaiceGuy1 Oct 25 '17 at 16:37
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    Is this a one time thing? Or is this one example of many? – corsiKa Oct 25 '17 at 17:24
60

I assume you are two adults, and that you're together because you are at least fond of each other.

Close relationships inherently come with a lot of conflicts, such as this. How you handle conflict either brings you closer together or drives you apart. Each conflict can do this.

Keeping something bottled up for the sake of peace usually leads to resentment and feeling like you are the one who makes all the sacrifices (we remember our sacrifices better than we remember those of our partner.)

So have a talk with her. Tell her you were looking forward to time alone together, etc., whatever it is you had hoped for. Be honest. Then listen to her, and what she has to say. The best outcome is that you're both understanding and supportive of the other. Hopefully a compromise will be reached.

The goal here isn't to get her to change her mind about the weekend; if it is, that's a different kind of talk, and not the kind of conflict solving that brings people together.

Some things you need to remember:

  1. She expressed how important this party was months ago and admitted to not knowing the date of the party.
  2. You planned this weekend together; she has as much a right to change it as you do.
  3. Being in relationship involves give and take. This might be one of the "give" times, this might be one of the "take" times, I don't know, because I would need to know about the rest of your relationship.
  • thanks for the answer, based on the answer here the best thing is not to let it go. just your first point is that i cant quite digest it yet, that is holding me back i guess. – NaiceGuy1 Oct 25 '17 at 12:47
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    @NaiceGuy1 - Most people are conflict averse, because conflicts bring up a lot of emotions, not all of them pleasant. So you're in good company. But holding your peace, while it is one way to settle matters and is sometimes the wise choice, is not good for growing together as a couple. Conflict doesn't have to be terribly unpleasant and usually isn't when approached maturely and with a desire to learn and share. – anongoodnurse Oct 25 '17 at 12:51
  • @NaiceGuy1 That's excellent advice right here. You probably have a ton of feelings (anger, rejection etc.) right now and might consider issues like trustworthiness or loyalty. Issues that often lead to anxiety when not discussed. Talk about it and voice your feelings. Some times simply naming our feelings to our partners is a really good way to grow. – Xander Oct 25 '17 at 12:57
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    @Xander indeed, i think naming what i feel can be refreshing, but i think they'll go away only after all of this to pass – NaiceGuy1 Oct 25 '17 at 13:13
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    Probably better for her that you do this too. Otherwise, she's liable to be walking around thinking it doesn't bug you at all when she cancels plans with you in favor of other social opportunities. Perhaps you don't even really need any time alone with her. Some people that isn't very important to. How does she know you're not one of those? – T.E.D. Oct 25 '17 at 14:11
15

Sound like she didn't mix things up on purpose, but you seem bothered more by how she went on to deal with the conflict than the actual mix up itself.

There is no formula for deciding which of two events is more important. Try not to read too much into it. For me, sticking to my word is of primary importance. If I said yes to two conflicting events, I believe that morally the right thing is to attend the first one you agreed to. It is reasonable to tell someone that you have to cancel because you had previously agreed to something else, whereas telling someone that something better came up is generally not cool. By this standard, your girlfriend did the right thing.

I don't agree with previous answers suggesting that you use the incident to your advantage. Love isn't a turn-by-turn strategy game. If you actually believe your girlfriend consistently puts her friends ahead of you then perhaps it is time to analyse the relationship. But if this is an isolated event then you could let it go, or talk to her about it in a non-confrontational way. Don't make it about you - perhaps say you were wondering why she put her friend's party above seeing her own nephews? The answer will probably be the trip can be easily rearranged with you and them, but a party is not so easily rearranged.

  • Well, to me not having an exact date to the event isnt agreeing to go, its the same as if i say "hey next year we'll have a trip" and then book something right on top of another event. ok not the same as it would be all me. And the nephews was that part that we already did, and that i went just because she wanted actually – NaiceGuy1 Oct 25 '17 at 13:24
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    Like I said, there's no formula to this, there are so many factors she could have considered in a heartbeat. Is the friend throwing the party liable to get upset if she cancelled on her? You are only going to find out her reasoning if you talk to her about it. – Astralbee Oct 25 '17 at 14:20
  • The one throwing the party probably dont even care, the one that wants her to go maybe. – NaiceGuy1 Oct 25 '17 at 14:22
  • Fantastic answer - is this a one time event? From the sound of it it, yes. But if it isn't, there are bigger questions to ask. Also, friends tend to initiate the reschedule if they cancel - basically, if I say no to David due to another event, I'll reschedule it and take responsibility. I would expect the same in a more serious relationship, so if she does that, I don't see a reason to be upset. Unless there's something else going on. – FalseHooHa Oct 26 '17 at 20:13
14

TL;DR - You should talk with her about it but it was not her fault.

You mentioned that she told you about the party long ago and she did not know the date and that you recently arranged a weekend for you both.

If you think about it, she arranged that party before your private time.

In another note, relationships are based upon trust. With this, I think you should talk to her since you are upset about cancelling your private time and check on how she feels about it as well.

Why don't you postpone it? I know you booked a place already and it's busy work to cancel and that kind of stuff but could be a solution that could please both you and your GF.

Edit: If you really want to get rid of that pesky feeling, the best way to do it is to talk to her. Express your feelings. Something along the lines of what you said already.

Hey, I know that party was already planned long ago, but it didn't have an exact date and it ruins the moment we planned for us. I am very upset. I feel like [We should carry on with our plans / How do you feel about it?]

Of course, this depends on the relationship you both have. All are different and I never had one :^)

Anyway, have a talk with her and good luck :)

  • 2
    I agree partly with you. she told about the party long ago, ok, but if she doesnt know when its gonna be, and we plan something, and then the party comes up suddenly just when we planned then i think its matter of priority tbh, but yeah, the postpone part might work, but as i said, im a bit upset to think of something right now :/ – NaiceGuy1 Oct 25 '17 at 12:21
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    @NaiceGuy1 The objective of my answer is that you have the right to be upset, but you have to understand that the party was semi-arranged as well. It's an unstable ground. That's why I think the best way to resolve this and give yourself peace of mind it to express your feelings to her. Work something out together. – OneEyedBandit Oct 25 '17 at 13:17
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    @OneEyedBandit well yeah, about your edit there is no carry on anymore, but we surely can work on something else. – NaiceGuy1 Oct 25 '17 at 13:26
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    @NaiceGuy1 the party is impossible for her to do at another time, but you and her can probably make your plans for another weekend. – Tom.Bowen89 Oct 25 '17 at 16:13
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My answer is about your main question "How could I best communicate my upsetness to her?", not about who's right, how to make her change her mind, or whether you should try to.

First, ask yourself why you are upset. (More than an emotion in its own right, feeling angry or upset is a signal that other feelings are calling for attention.) What do you feel and what's the need that's expressed through that emotion? For example, do you feel

  • sad or disappointed because you looked forward to what could have been a nice weekend?
  • alone because you need your girlfriend close?
  • rejected because you think you're not as important to your girlfriend?

Second, tell her what you observed while trying not to interpret her behavior. Say something like:

"You told me you wanted to cancel our trip, which I thought we had agreed on."

Don't say something like:

"You bailed on me or You let me down (again)."

In other words, avoid blaming.

Third, tell her about your feelings and needs with regard to that observation:

"Since you told me you wanted to cancel our trip, I feel a bit sad, because I was really looking forward to spending time with you, honey [or whichever need and emotion applies]."

This and the second step can actually go together.

Finally, you may want to add an actionable request with respect to your need. For example,

"... Do you think we can discuss another trip for just the two of us?"

But perhaps you don't need the last step, because you're satisfied to connect with your girlfriend and receive her empathy.

  • i probably feel a mix of what you quoted. – NaiceGuy1 Oct 25 '17 at 18:18
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    I really like this recipe for dealing with it. The only slightly jarring thing is "which I thought we agreed on", because that risks the blaming thing you specifically wanted to avoid. You can just drop that part and it all still works... – GreenAsJade Oct 26 '17 at 23:45
  • @GreenAsJade It's true. This sounds a bit 'blamey', as if implicating that she broke a promise. I hesitated but then included the part, because it tells the girlfriend what OP thought was their agreement and thus what he expected. – user510 Oct 27 '17 at 7:02
5

First, tell yourself that you're only human and that your feelings are completely natural.

And that having unresolved feelings doesn't mean that you want to argue with your girlfriend. Having unresolved feelings just means that you have unresolved feelings.

And yes, if you're upset, you should tell her you're still upset. You could try denying it, but what would be the point. Our emotions can manifest themselves in many different ways. And there is no point in denying our emotions to a person who knows us well and who can already read us like a book.

Second, unresolved feelings may not seem perfectly rational either. And by that, I don't mean to deny your feelings, nor do I mean that your feelings are invalid. They're certainly not. I just mean that feelings don't seem to always respond to logic and that they can be hard to decipher on occasions.

For instance, imagine two (almost) identical universes where the same incident occurred. In one universe, the boyfriend gets upset. In the second universe, the boyfriend doesn't get upset. When dealing with emotions, those two seemingly contrary outcomes are perfectly plausible.

What was the initial difference between those two universes do you think? Well, there is an infinite number of possibilities, but if I had to come up with one possible explanation.

I might suggest that the second universe contained a boyfriend that had other potential plans for that same weekend, and that when he heard that the weekend was canceled, that he might have actually been delighted to hear that he could attend to those other plans.

This is actually one of the reasons I said in my earlier answer (to the previous question) that he should focus on himself, his interests, and his hobbies. Depending on himself for his own needs is a way for him to replenish his own personal and emotional energy.

And I know CoffeineConverter interpreted my post to mean that he should "shut himself away", but on the contrary, that couldn't be further from what I was advising him to do. When I said "himself, his interests, and his hobbies", I didn't mean that he should wallow in his self-pity, stay home all weekend, and just play video games or watch TV.

My apology if that's what you understood. What I meant is that he should go out hiking, canoeing, camping, sailing, etc., all by himself or with his friends, and try to enjoy himself even if his original weekend plans with his girlfriend got canceled.

But at the same time, I don't think he should partake in planning the next weekend. He was already emotionally invested in the first weekend. He doesn't need to be emotionally invested in a second weekend outing too.

He also needs to find out if the girlfriend is really interested in going to such a weekend event herself. It could just be that she said 'yes' initially because she felt pressured into it by her boyfriend's enthusiasm.

And last but not least, young people in a couple tend to love taking turns challenging and teasing each other. That's how they have fun. This is why this cancellation could be used as an opportunity instead. Now that the boyfriend got canceled on, he could take that opportunity to challenge the girlfriend to make it up to him.

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    This is the most undiplomatic answer I've read in a long time. You know that in a relationship its not about who was right or wrong, or who owes someone anything. I believe the advice you gave is contra productive. Yes it may have been wrong of her, except if she stated prior that the party was important, I for my part would be understanding as this normally doesnt happen often. In the case that this behaviour happenes frequently things have to be done, but through dialog and not shutting yourself away. – MansNotHot Oct 25 '17 at 12:01
  • We planned, together. – NaiceGuy1 Oct 25 '17 at 12:15
  • @CoffeineConverter, You're right of course. Relationships are not about who's right or wrong. Relationships are about play and relationships are about challenging each other. I realize you may not agree with that point of view, but this is where I am coming from when I am offering this advice. – Stephan Branczyk Oct 25 '17 at 12:26
  • @Tinkeringbell, Thanks for the heads up. I'll need to digest the new question. – Stephan Branczyk Oct 25 '17 at 12:38
  • @StephanBranczyk In what context do you mean "challangeing each other" ? What is that supposed to mean? To make it hard for your partner in alternating turns? Sorry if i sound ignorant, but i would like it if you could explain that concept to me i just might not understand – MansNotHot Oct 25 '17 at 12:39
1

Should I just let it go?

Are you important? Is your happiness important?

What beliefs do you hold regarding her cancelling at the last minute? You are upset, why? Because she did not put effort into planning, including the party? Because she did not let you know in advance her plans? What could you have done differently ? Is your belief rational regarding your girlfriends ACTIONS (not motivations or anything else that you want to read into it)? How could you look at it differently?

So NO, you do not let it go, because with your current beliefs you can not. And from question, you truthfully believe your girlfriends action needs to be addressed. How you approach your girlfriend depends what you want accomplished? That she is involved with planning more, plans herself better, what do you want the outcome to be?

  • i like your answer, but i didnt quite understand what u meant to say about my girlfriend actions or how could i look at it differently. i guess there is no true outcome here. maybe feel better about this situation. – NaiceGuy1 Oct 25 '17 at 12:39
1

Read this book: Crucial Conversations.

Follow the advice and have the conversation with her. Probably write out your opening statements while looking through the book after you've read it.

It will NOT be a conversation about how she did something wrong. It CAN be a conversation that leads to more understanding and closeness in the future.

Communication is probably the single most critical thing in relationships because we all see the universe differently. This book outlines a skill set (and caring attitude) that is better than anything I've seen. It's worth your time if you want the relationship to be a great one.

Also - women love a man who can communicate!

No - I have no affiliation with the authors or their companies.

1

Dude. first of allI feel you. Second of all, the fact you took the time to write this shows the relationship may not be the healthiest regardless of the details.

There's one thing that matters outside of actually caring for the person: trust.

It doesn't sound like there is trust in the relationship. Relationships without trust end painfully - more painfully as time goes on. It blows.

I could be wrong. But it sounds like you need to get right with yourself. My humble advice: Get to the point where you are secure, totally and completely. Most importantly, understand that letting things outside of your control, things exactly like this, will drive you mad. Once youre to this point, then youre ready for a relationship where you can be happy, like all the time.

I feel for you! Keep your head up.

protected by A J Nov 17 '17 at 5:09

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