1. Kids & Family

Be candid with boyfriend about hurt feelings

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Don't hold back in telling boyfriend about hurt feelings

Q: My boyfriend of five years is going to a major family function and didn't invite me. So, I made other plans while also considering how exactly to approach this with him — it is very much his personality.

Then, last minute (literally), he asks me to go because some friends decided to attend the function. I said no, but I'm hurt and even more upset than before.

It's the principle of it — I'm only invited if other people we know go as well? I don't even know where to start a calm and rational discussion.

Not Invited and PO'd

Carolyn: Why are you with him? Not a rhetorical question; I'd really like to know what you're getting out of this, since it doesn't sound as if he keeps you close to his heart.

Not Invited again: I'm with him because he makes me laugh, we share common interests and we enjoy being together. He's kind (this instance notwithstanding) and generous. It's also the most drama-free relationship I've ever had.

He's not the best at emotional intimacy; I've accepted that sometimes that's the way he is, and we've worked through various aspects of it as it goes past my tolerance level. I know he loves me, but I thought we were past this stuff.

Carolyn: Thanks for writing back; it helps.

You're past "this stuff" when you can say on the spot, "You're not inviting me? What the heck?"

When you're quietly fuming, you're not past it.

Please tell him how you feel about this whole debacle — and be honest with yourself, too. You've been with this man for five years but you (a) still need him to invite you to his family functions, and (b) can't just say, "I'm hurt you didn't include me." Instead, you have to think ahead and formulate a "calm and rational discussion."

Or: Choose the alternative to saying how you feel, and genuinely let it go, by accepting that a relationship with someone intimacy-challenged means you're going to be slammed out in the cold sometimes. That you will have fun with him, get your laughs and companionship, but on his schedule and subject to his whims.

Those are the only two non-crazy-making options.

Not Invited, Part 3: When he does something like this, I do try to bring it up as soon as possible. In this case, I just assumed I would be going, and then he bought his tickets without mentioning anything about my attending, so I chalked it up to his cluelessness. I didn't want to make it seem like I was forcing him to take me, and I didn't want to ruin his experience, so I made my peace with it.

It was the "It's okay for me to go now that other people we know are going" aspect that got to me, because that seems more like a deliberate decision to not invite me.

Carolyn: But don't you see? "I didn't want to make it seem like …" — you're holding back, trying not to upset him.

When you're snubbed and you care, then speak up. And if you feel that way often, then it's time to admit you can't roll with his standoffish ways as you'd hoped, and so it's time to go.