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Insecure or lack of boundaries?


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Recently I made a post about my boyfriend whom I have been with 8 years. He has recently started 1:1 cycling once per week with a woman 20 years his senior from work. He hardly knew the woman from work prior to the cycling (she works in a different department). After two cycling sessions he cancelled a third due to weather and she sent him a text. About half the people on my previous thread thought this text was forward and suggestive of her being romantically interested in him, despite knowing about me. The other half thought I was reading into it, and probably insecure.

 

I am writing this post to kindly ask for more advice. Since my last post, it's been two weeks, and two more cycling sessions. My boyfriend drives to her house after work where they begin and finish their cycle. Due to rush hour, the round trip of driving to her house and then back to our house, is taking him an hour and a half. I think this is crazy.

Secondly, yesterday after their cycle the woman invited my boyfriend into her house for a cup of tea, so he stayed there an extra half an hour doing that. If I didn't have it in my head that this woman was "after him", I obviously wouldn't have been bothered about something so trivial about a cup of tea. However, this upset me.

 

After this woman sent my boyfriend the "ambiguous" text, my boyfriend found it strange and said he didn't know what possessed her to send that when he hardly knew her. But since then having cycled twice more, he says she is not flirty whatsoever in person so he is satisfied she has no untoward feelings and wants to continue the cycling. However, I feel disrespected and the longer this carries on, the worse I feel.

 

So my question is, should my boyfriend be putting up better boundaries / being more considerate about the fact this ongoing friendship is causing me distress and cut her off (I will not ask him to cut her off, but have made my feelings absolutely clear).

OR do I need counselling to address my insecurities and have I made this into a huge thing when it isn't so that now I'm reading into everything?

 

*Please note, this woman is not lonely - she is part of running and cycle clubs (loneliness was a suggestion in previous post).

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After eight years together, he should respect how you feel, and stop doing it.

 

I'd not tolerate it. Not seeing it as insecure on your part. If they were cycling on lunch hour, maybe. But he's purposely going to her house. He's making you feel insecure with it. Don't take that burden and self blame.

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To me, having read your previous post it’s impossible to say if there is any ulterior motive on her part, but she certainly hasn’t crossed any lines.

 

No he shouldn’t cut her off. He has no reason to. If you both have concerns that her motives are ambiguous then perhaps entering her home for a cup of tea wasn’t the smartest idea.

 

Discuss with him how the new relationship is causing you anxiety because you’re worried he won’t enforce boundaries to display his commitment to you and she might therefore see that as an opening for more than he is willing to offer. You can then discuss what kind of boundaries you both feel are appropriate.

 

For example, could he suggest they do a cycle route from where you live on occasion (that is only fair if he usually travels to her), could he suggest they meet up with her/his cycle buddies for a route as a group occasionally? He could invite her to yours for a cup of tea so you could meet?

 

Tbh if she is active and sociable in general (it sounds like it) I don’t think she will be pining after some boy she met at work and is likely just happy to be enjoying her health and new friendships.

 

If your partner is taking on board how you are feeling, starts going on group outings and invites you to meet but you are still feeling uncomfortable with his friendship with her (and her interactions with him remain platonic or ambiguous rather than suggestive or lewd) then yes perhaps you are a little insecure.

 

Like previous commenters have said, if you truly trusted your partner to enforce correct boundaries you wouldn’t be posting. If it wasn’t this friendship it would be another, tell him how you feel and hopefully he will put your mind at rest by ensuring his interactions with her are unambiguous.

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How late is he coming home on these days? How many times a week is this going on? It may be best to approach him with this aspect rather than the jealous aspect. Do not wait up or have dinner waiting etc. Do your own thing when he is out and go out with your friends much more so it sinks in that sitting home alone for another's hobbies may not be that much fun.

My boyfriend drives to her house after work where they begin and finish their cycle. Due to rush hour, the round trip of driving to her house and then back to our house, is taking him an hour and a half.. Secondly, yesterday after their cycle the woman invited my boyfriend into her house for a cup of tea, so he stayed there an extra half an hour doing that.
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After eight years this it just seems kind of silly.

 

You either trust him or you dont.

 

We’re not psychic we don’t know what it is that he is doing the only person on this planet who is responsible for himself and whether not he respects the boundaries of your relationship is him.

 

this whole idea of all he’s too naïve to know that she’s trying to “take him” is ridiculous he is a grown man. You can’t take what’s given willingly.

 

Whether it’s boundaries or insecurity I think the biggest issue is communication. Either you haven’t talked to him about any of this and you’re anxious about whether or not you should or you have and he’s disregarding your feelings.

 

If it’s the first, you have every right to establish your boundaries, but you have to stick to them, boundaries are like warning shots not leashes, he either respect them or he doesn’t and if he doesn’t you have a choice to make. If it’s the second well again you have a choice to make.

 

But two posts just to establish if she’s shady? It’s gonna be a much quicker solution if you pull up your big girl pants and face this with your partner.

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I absolutely cannot fathom being with someone an entire 8 years and being intimidated by a cycling buddy 20 years their senior. Different department is a good professional connection, and if she's in a number of cycling clubs, she sounds like a good connection to expand his hobby as well. One text that's mildly flirty at the very best shouldn't be driving you to guilt him out of what appears to be a perfectly fine and healthy way to let off steam once a week. I won't say that you absolutely need therapy, but I do consider it unfair to continually spill your guts to him about something he's at least seemingly doing no wrong about. You say you've already let your feelings be known, so that's kinda that. If it comes down to you not being able to successfully internalize and resolve your insecurity over it and you are determined to make this work, then yeah, you might want to see if a couple sessions with a professional can help you adjust your perspective.

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As far as I'm concerned, couples need to match on what their boundaries will be as far as male/female friendships are concerned. I've been married to my second husband for 7 years. When we dated, I discussed my boundaries with him and he agreed. If he hadn't, I'd probably have discontinued dating him. I told him I don't believe in giving my phone number to any guy, be it a co-worker or otherwise. There is no reason for any guy who isn't a relative to be texting me or asking if I want to get together. I work with mainly men, and of course I enjoy making small talk with particular ones, it doesn't go beyond that. I might go eat lunch with one or two in a blue moon at work just because of tagging along, but I'd never make it a regular thing with one particular man. I expect the same behavior from my husband.

 

Male/female friendships just have a different dynamic. Even if I knew the woman has a hatchet face and the friendship was totally platonic and I have complete trust in my husband, I'm just not comfortable with him investing regular time and emotional energy into a woman who is not a relative. There are people who could care less about who their significant other is hanging out with. If that works for them, great. But that's not me and I feel what I feel.

 

As for your man, I'm sure he could find local meet up groups who meet for cycling closer to his home, and if he frequented a local bike shop, could probably find listings of men who enjoy that activity in your area.

 

In your shoes, if you feel as I do, I'd tell him that you trust him but you don't like him spending weekly time with another woman and that's just how you feel--that you want to be the only important woman in his life besides his female relatives. Some people would find this a reasonable request and some would find it highly unreasonable. The thing of it is, is that it's your life and you should live it as happily as you can, under your rules. You will have to think long and hard if, after your discussion, he continues on with his friend despite your feelings, of what you will do. Good luck and take care.

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Since he is coming to her house, inviting him in would be normal. You need to stop focusing on the woman and focus on the actual problem - what your bf is up to. Yes, he is making an awful lot of effort to hang out with her and you should be questioning that. I kind of assumed that they just meet up at some parks to go cycling. He is going quite out of his way for her and her convenience and when a guy does that, it's not just because he is so gosh darn nice.

 

After eight years, I also agree with the above poster, that you have a right to put your foot down and demand that he respect your feelings. As you said in your previous thread, you've never had a problem with his female friends, co-workers, etc. It's this particular situation and I do think that in this case, your gut is trying to tell you that something is rotten for a reason. You might not be able to put a finger on it, but something is off with your bf and this woman and you know it.

 

Quite a few posters are focusing on her age. Thing is that if she is running and cycling, she likely has a hotter body than most 20 year olds and do I really need to say that men are visual? Anyway, cougars are real and younger men do go for that. Not really out of this world. On that note, OP, have you met her? Perhaps seeing how they interact and meeting her would help you decide if there is anything there to be concerned about. Have him invite her over to your place to go cycling and meet her, invite her in after their thing. Observe how they are around each other. It might put your fears to rest or confirm what you suspect.

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But two posts just to establish if she’s shady? It’s gonna be a much quicker solution if you pull up your big girl pants and face this with your partner.

This post isn't about trying to decide whether she is shady so not sure where you got that from? The post is to decide whether I am overreacting and need to deal with my feelings on my own, or whether my boyfriend is disrespecting me and ignoring how I feel about this situation, and maybe not enforcing boundaries. Also I have stated I have spoken to him about how I feel, please re-read my post.

 

Have him invite her over to your place to go cycling and meet her, invite her in after their thing. Observe how they are around each other. It might put your fears to rest or confirm what you suspect.

He won’t do this – he says he always has to go to hers because she only knows the routes round that area and neither of them know any routes near where we are.

 

After eight years, I also agree with the above poster, that you have a right to put your foot down and demand that he respect your feelings.

By doing that he says I am not respecting his feelings. He does not want to feel like I am controlling who he can/can’t see, and when he puts it like that it makes me feel awful.

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How often is this happening and how late is he coming home? "You're controlling" is a great defense if he ever does want an affair, although this particular situation doesn't seem like it.

 

Is your relationship ok? It doesn't sound even. It sounds like he does as he pleases and you must shut up and put up, if you can't have a mature discourse on things without the "you're controlling" card being pulled.

He does not want to feel like I am controlling who he can/can’t see.
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How often is this happening and how late is he coming home? "You're controlling" is a great defense if he ever does want an affair, although this particular situation doesn't seem like it.

 

Is your relationship ok? It doesn't sound even. It sounds like he does as he pleases and you must shut up and put up, if you can't have a mature discourse on things without the "you're controlling" card being pulled.

It's happening once or twice a week. I asked him if he could reduce it to once a month but he said no because he enjoys it, and again that would be too controlling. He suggested once every other week. Our relationship has been very good until this past month where it has just been continuous arguments about various different things. Perhaps because I am on edge over all this. The first of arguments happened before this text - when he told me he was going cycling in the morning, would be back at lunch time and we would do soemthing together in the afternoon. But then he didn't come home until 4pm and was uncontactable all that time as he doesn't cycle with his phone. This woman took him on a huge route. So there's been a few occasions with things like that happening where I have felt he's not been very considerate. Generally after work when he goes cycling he will be home around 8pm, that's because he stops cycling once it gets dark. It may be later in the summer and sunny evenings but he's only started cycling with her recently.

I asked him to join a cycle club but he says he prefers the flexibility of being able to cycle whenever is convenient for him with this woman.

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This post isn't about trying to decide whether she is shady so not sure where you got that from? The post is to decide whether I am overreacting and need to deal with my feelings on my own, or whether my boyfriend is disrespecting me and ignoring how I feel about this situation, and maybe not enforcing boundaries. Also I have stated I have spoken to him about how I feel, please re-read my post.

 

 

He won’t do this – he says he always has to go to hers because she only knows the routes round that area and neither of them know any routes near where we are.

 

 

By doing that he says I am not respecting his feelings. He does not want to feel like I am controlling who he can/can’t see, and when he puts it like that it makes me feel awful.

 

Oh really? That's a ridiculous excuse and he is blowing smoke up your you know what. Have to ask the same question as Wiseman - has it always been this manipulative, his way or the highway, dynamic between you two?

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I wouldn't like this situation, rational or otherwise. It would not sit right with me. It's expanding from a cycling buddy to now tea at her house after. Sure, if he has to use the restroom after that's fine, if his water bottle is empty and he fills it and chugs some before he heads out, fine. But now it's beyond "cycling" and soon the half hour will be drinks for an hour or "oh you might as well stay for dinner". Etc. I don't care about the age difference. I would care if she was married or coupled and her partner was home at that time so it was just people hanging out for a brief time after a bike ride -that's different -or if they stopped at a convenience store to get hydrated and chatted for a few minutes before parting. He's giving her the impression that he is going out of his way -far out of his way -to spend time with her including at her house. Inappropriate IMO.

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I think you're overreacting. From what you were writing, I thought your boyfriend was over there every day! If you're a cyclist, you're cycling once a day or once every other day. Telling him to cycle once a month with her is silly. Does he cycle at other times and do you sit by the window waiting for him then too?

 

Also this woman is old enough to be his mother. Maybe it's like a surrogate mother relationship. How many friends does he have? How many female friends does he have? How many do you have that you can spend time worrying about how long he's out cycling? He might view this as a "safe" female friendship that wouldn't upset you, but you're upset over a middle-aged woman who he likes to cycle with and talk to.

 

He's not having an affair with this woman, but it does sound like you're jealous that he's spending any time with another woman, even an older lady. It's time to stop bringing up something he enjoys doing and causing arguments. Just leave him alone. It sounds like a harmless activity.

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It's happening once or twice a week. I asked him if he could reduce it to once a month but he said no because he enjoys it, and again that would be too controlling. He suggested once every other week. Our relationship has been very good until this past month where it has just been continuous arguments about various different things. Perhaps because I am on edge over all this. The first of arguments happened before this text - when he told me he was going cycling in the morning, would be back at lunch time and we would do soemthing together in the afternoon. But then he didn't come home until 4pm and was uncontactable all that time as he doesn't cycle with his phone. This woman took him on a huge route. So there's been a few occasions with things like that happening where I have felt he's not been very considerate. Generally after work when he goes cycling he will be home around 8pm, that's because he stops cycling once it gets dark. It may be later in the summer and sunny evenings but he's only started cycling with her recently.

I asked him to join a cycle club but he says he prefers the flexibility of being able to cycle whenever is convenient for him with this woman.

 

 

If he compromised to doing it every other week, he is compromising with you.

Honestly, if i am on a bike, i am not answering the phone. I suggest unless you want more tension, don't mircomanage him about the time he comes home. Sit back and see how this plays out -- if he is doing this once every other week, i doubt if they are having an affair.

 

btw 8 years....no plans to marry?

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By the way, 1.5 hours is 45 minutes one-way. I commute that long weekly for the benefit of a decent football / soccer field to play on. Could play somewhere in my borough, but it's congested and the pitches are pretty bad. I'm willing to stack a few extra minutes on my trip if it means better enjoying the hobby I'm actually making the trip for, and if there more and better conditioned routes on that way, it would make sense for him as well.

 

And is 4:00 not afternoon for you? If my wife she'd be back from something by afternoon, I wouldn't be arguing over her coming home at 4:00 instead of 2:00.

 

Yes, managing his time and how often he pursues his hobby or hangs out with somebody is controlling. Even if you've got the best of reasons to want to, once you're at that point, you've got much bigger issues to tackle than him having a cycling buddy.

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By the way, 1.5 hours is 45 minutes one-way. I commute that long weekly for the benefit of a decent football / soccer field to play on. Could play somewhere in my borough, but it's congested and the pitches are pretty bad. I'm willing to stack a few extra minutes on my trip if it means better enjoying the hobby I'm actually making the trip for, and if there more and better conditioned routes on that way, it would make sense for him as well.

 

And is 4:00 not afternoon for you? If my wife she'd be back from something by afternoon, I wouldn't be arguing over her coming home at 4:00 instead of 2:00.

 

Yes, managing his time and how often he pursues his hobby or hangs out with somebody is controlling. Even if you've got the best of reasons to want to, once you're at that point, you've got much bigger issues to tackle than him having a cycling buddy.

 

Agreed. I would most definitely not be okay with being in a relationship with someone that told me it wasn't okay for me to do hobbies or hang out with people of the opposite sex. I am a grown a$$ adult and fully capable of being faithful, trustworthy, and loyal to whatever partner I happen to have in the moment, no matter who I am hanging out with or texting, and I certainly don't need to be "managed" by anyone else in my life... nor do I need to micromanage theirs.

 

At the end of the day, you either trust your partner or you don't. Controlling or managing their interactions with others won't stop them from being disloyal if that's what they want to do, but it will eventually push them away from you.

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Agreed. I would most definitely not be okay with being in a relationship with someone that told me it wasn't okay for me to do hobbies or hang out with people of the opposite sex. I am a grown a$$ adult and fully capable of being faithful, trustworthy, and loyal to whatever partner I happen to have in the moment, no matter who I am hanging out with or texting, and I certainly don't need to be "managed" by anyone else in my life... nor do I need to micromanage theirs.

 

At the end of the day, you either trust your partner or you don't. Controlling or managing their interactions with others won't stop them from being disloyal if that's what they want to do, but it will eventually push them away from you.

 

I think this is different. He is practicing his hobby with a single woman who has sent him text messages with "X" and it includes visiting with her at her home "for tea" afterwards which has nothing to do with cycling. He should cycle as much as possible. And there are many opportunities to do so that don't involve these private meetings.

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Focus on the inconsiderateness and respect for your time and feelings, not on her or that he's cycling with her. Also do not bargain or try to control when he cycles or manage him joining clubs, etc. Was he always unreachable when he goes cycling before this new situation? Was he ever inconsiderate with your time//feelings before all this?

 

Again do your own thing evenings when he's cycling and do not make dinner or wait for him. Go out with friends and do not be there when he gets back. It makes no sense that he goes cycling without a phone if there could be an accident, etc.

 

It does sound he could be having an affair, but not with this women. She is a decoy/cover, that's why he showed you the texts. This alone is strange. And it worked because here you are suggesting he join clubs and describing this woman, etc. And take note of what he's not showing you. This is why you should not focus on her or suggest cycling clubs, etc and focus on unexplained lateness and not being reachable.

The first of arguments happened before this text - when he told me he was going cycling in the morning, would be back at lunch time and we would do soemthing together in the afternoon. But then he didn't come home until 4pm and was uncontactable all that time as he doesn't cycle with his phone. when he goes cycling he will be home around 8pm
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I am always saddened by how our culture doesn't understand or trust male/female friendships. I think it keeps genders divided and at odds with one another. If a man only knows women as sex partner, romantic partner or family, then it slots women into roles that men aren't, and nothing else. And the other way around. I think it's important to have cross gender friendships. And it always bums me out how many people think hetero monogamy means you should never be close to someone of your spouse gender ever again. I tend to be attracted to men who have a lot of close female friendships. To me? That means they can be respectful to women and can see them as full people instead of a role.

 

As for biking? I would always go to the person's house who is by the best routs. For biking it's not just about having a pretty place to do it (although that is really amazing) but it can also be about how dangerous it is. Cars are real. Good long rides can be hard to find.

 

I think it's my job as a partner to work on myself instead of limiting my partner. I don't want my insecurities to limit someone I love.

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I am always saddened by how our culture doesn't understand or trust male/female friendships. I think it keeps genders divided and at odds with one another. If a man only knows women as sex partner, romantic partner or family, then it slots women into roles that men aren't, and nothing else. And the other way around. I think it's important to have cross gender friendships. And it always bums me out how many people think hetero monogamy means you should never be close to someone of your spouse gender ever again. I tend to be attracted to men who have a lot of close female friendships. To me? That means they can be respectful to women and can see them as full people instead of a role.

 

As for biking? I would always go to the person's house who is by the best routs. For biking it's not just about having a pretty place to do it (although that is really amazing) but it can also be about how dangerous it is. Cars are real. Good long rides can be hard to find.

 

I think it's my job as a partner to work on myself instead of limiting my partner. I don't want my insecurities to limit someone I love.

 

Absolutely! And that’s why I’m so pleased my boyfriend has dozens of female friends that he texts, goes for lunch with on an almost daily basis, and meets for dinner at Christmas time when he goes back to the town he used to live.

 

For me, my boundaries mean I don’t want to be in a relationship with someone who:

a.) is in contact with ex girlfriends

b.) hangs out with women who are trying to romantically pursue him

 

Obviously there are plenty of people on this forum for whom their boundaries include the opposite. That’s fine, but there is little point in you commenting on my posts. You can shout and scream at me all day, I’ll never ever come round to your thinking and will ignore all your posts. Thankfully you can date people who don’t have these boundaries and I can date people who do.

 

The reason for my post here is because I don’t know if this woman fits into my criteria of (b) - a woman trying to pursue him. none of his know, it’s too ambiguous. Therefore I find it difficult to know how to proceed - work on my insecurities and keep them private, or ask him to respect my feelings. I’m here because currently I don’t feel like he is respecting my feelings and I’m not sure how to deal with that. Or if I need to - as maybe I’m overreacting.

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I am always saddened by how our culture doesn't understand or trust male/female friendships. I think it keeps genders divided and at odds with one another. If a man only knows women as sex partner, romantic partner or family, then it slots women into roles that men aren't, and nothing else. And the other way around. I think it's important to have cross gender friendships. And it always bums me out how many people think hetero monogamy means you should never be close to someone of your spouse gender ever again. I tend to be attracted to men who have a lot of close female friendships. To me? That means they can be respectful to women and can see them as full people instead of a role.

 

As for biking? I would always go to the person's house who is by the best routs. For biking it's not just about having a pretty place to do it (although that is really amazing) but it can also be about how dangerous it is. Cars are real. Good long rides can be hard to find.

 

I think it's my job as a partner to work on myself instead of limiting my partner. I don't want my insecurities to limit someone I love.

 

I highly value male-female friendships. Always have. And if two people are monogamous and committed I think the proper boundaries are that the person should be given the opportunity to meet the new friend of her partner, the new friend should be supportive of the relationship plus there shouldn't be date-like activities (and this goes for whoever has the friendship, man or woman or two men, etc). I don't think stopping off for tea is date-like and I think because it's happening at her home, and she is a new person in his life and it's a twice-weekly thing, and she's sent him texts with kisses it's starting to raise some concerns.

 

I don't think having concerns with this particular arrangement should be taken as broadly as you describe it. It's not about insecurities but about acting in a way that is consistent with the commitment. For example, my husband wanted to use his female colleague's room to shower because he had to check out of his hotel room before he would have the opportunity to shower. I don't know his female colleague. I was totally fine with it -the only reason we discussed it was whether it was appropriate for him to ask her this favor. Had he asked me instead whether it would be ok to sleep in her room even in a separate bed I would have said I was uncomfortable with it because it's tentatively playing with fire. Worth the extra $ to stay an extra night in the hotel room. Not about trust but about not putting yourself in potentially compromising situations. Just like when my male boss invited me to watch a movie in his hotel room one night. He was much much older than me and married. And I said no. Again, I would have sat in a chair but it would be silly of me to put myself in that kind of situation out of an abundance of caution. I am sure he wouldn't have made a pass at me. I am sure I wouldn't have been attracted to him. But yes it's about the "appearance of impropriety too" (and yes I think I had a boyfriend back then, he knew my boss and no I wouldn't have asked his permission and yes he would have said "up to you").

 

Another example -many years ago I used to meet an ex boyfriend for dinner including after he got married. I got along with his wife but we didn't really click. He and I worked near each other and we'd meet every few months after work. We'd dated a few months years earlier. One night time got away from us and our dinner lasted 4 hours. Neither of us drank (if we did it was a bit of wine- no tipsy or buzzed situation at all) and there weren't cell phones back then. She was livid with him that he got home much later than she expected. Back then I was surprised she was mad. He asked if I'd speak to her and I agreed but then she didn't want to.

 

Now, years later, I get it. He was much later getting home, I am an ex girlfriend (I was at their wedding) and she probably felt insecure. Because it's human. And when my husband spent 4 hours at lunch with a female friend who was attractive (and this happened a few times, different women) you know what -I didn't love it. One was a professional colleague and one was not. I just felt uncomfortable. But I didn't put limits also because we don't live in the same city as them. So why get into it. But yes some insecurity is normal, sometimes couples change their behaviors if the insecurity is of a certain degree and it's easy enough to compromise. It's not so set in stone.

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Hey, I'm sorry if you were feeling attacked. I wasn't pointing that at you. I was pointing it at the whole conversation I was reading.

 

I can understand your boundaries. To me it just seems odd that from one text (that he showed you) you are questioning this friendship so hard. But I say stuff like "i was looking forward to seeing you" to my work friends often. So it's hard for me to even read that as flirting.

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Absolutely! And that’s why I’m so pleased my boyfriend has dozens of female friends that he texts, goes for lunch with on an almost daily basis, and meets for dinner at Christmas time when he goes back to the town he used to live.

 

So why are you upset that he's friends with someone who's old enough to be his mother? It doesn't make sense.

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Hey, I'm sorry if you were feeling attacked. I wasn't pointing that at you. I was pointing it at the whole conversation I was reading.

 

I can understand your boundaries. To me it just seems odd that from one text (that he showed you) you are questioning this friendship so hard. But I say stuff like "i was looking forward to seeing you" to my work friends often. So it's hard for me to even read that as flirting.

 

Oh I am sorry too!!! I did not feel attacked at all or singled out! She put kisses in her text. And she barely knows him. And she invited him in to her home for tea and he accepted. There are some concerns here IMO.

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