Question: Dear Luise: I have been with this guy for about half a year now. He was my first sexual partner and I liked him very much. About three weeks ago, my close friend died at the age of 23. I was upset, devastated, and depressed. My boyfriend (I should I say ex because I broke up with him) was supportive of me for the last past two weeks: coming to my place to talk to me, comforting me, and watching me cry. On Valentine’s Day, he tells me that he will be going away for a three days trip the following week. He had been planning to go on the trip behind my back while comforting me. I felt betrayed, hurt, and angry. When I got angry about his planning the trip without me knowing, he said, “Well, you were mourning for your friend’s death. When was I supposed to tell you? I thought you would feel a little better after coming back from the funeral. Why can’t I live my own life? Why do I have to drop everything and follow your pace? You’re asking me to shut myself off from the world while you try to seek normalcy is selfish and unfair of you!” He can live his own life. I did not tell him to 100% devote himself to me. But him going away and planning the trip when I could not do anything due to my friend’s death really hurt me. Who does that? I thought he did not genuinely care about me. If he had, he would not plan the trip with his friends especially when I told him that I would like to go somewhere. He chose to go because it was cheaper for him, he says. My sister tells me I am the selfish one. Did I make the right decision to break up with him? Am I really selfish? Z.
Answer: Dear Z.: We are all selfish to some extent; we have to be to survive. Your relationship was new and untested. I think your boyfriend held up pretty well and earned his trip.
It’s a horror beyond belief to lose a young friend…but it’s your horror, not his. Relationships often collapse due to unfulfilled expectations; you expected him to continue to defer to you…he expected to get on with his life. (Or something similar.)
To break up over it is a “my way or the highway” act. Apparently the relationship wasn’t worth pursuing in your eyes. I think you sister is probably right but a better word for it might be immature. Blessings, Luise