If your boyfriend would rather be with his friends instead of you, there is no need to despair. There are many hidden benefits related to spending time apart, including that his behavior could actually strengthen your relationship.Do your best to understand this potentially baffling behavior and use it to benefit you and your relationship.
Occasional Back Seat
If he prefers to be with his friends occasionally, then it most likely means that he simply needs some time to hang out with his friends. Perhaps he’s neglected his friendships since he’s been in a relationship with you. Try to think about it objectively: Everyone needs to have worthwhile friendships outside of romantic relationships. If he didn’t have fulfilling friendships outside of your relationship, then this situation would probably put too much pressure on your life as a couple. No one person can fulfill any other person’s entire social needs.
Friends are a great source of social support and can contribute to better mental health. In a study published in the February 2009 issue of “Journal of Family Psychology,” researchers found that people who have fulfilling friendships are happier. Ultimately, it can be more satisfying in the long run to be in a relationship with someone who is happy. In other words, remember the value that outside friendships bring to your romantic relationship.
Too Much Time Away
If this happens frequently, then it may indicate trouble in the relationship. So, try to figure out the reasons why he prefers his friends right now. Perhaps he needs some space in the relationship. However, there’s no way to know until you talk to him.
Try to arrange a time when you are both alone and having a good time. Bring up your concerns about his behavior. Focus on how this situation makes you feel. For example, you could say, “When you continue to make plans to be with your friends every weekend, I miss you and worry that you don’t want to spend time with me.” Statements like this will minimize him feeling attacked and defensive.
If he has a difficult time seeing your point of view or becomes overly defensive about this issue, this may indicate a problem in your relationship.
Regardless of the frequency with which your boyfriend is with his friends, this can be an opportunity for you to grow as an individual. Perhaps you can begin working on ways to feel more confident in your relationship. One powerful way to do this is to make sure that you have fulfilling outside relationships as well and to focus on your own happiness.
Alternatively, if you are truly unhappy with his behavior, then you may want to take some time to think about whether this relationship is right for you.
- Journal of Family Psychology: Validity and utility of a multidimensional model of received support in intimate relationships
- Psychological Bulletin: The need to belong: Desire for interpersonal attachments as a fundamental human motivation
- Personal Relationships: Behavior expectations in cross-sex friendships, same-sex friendships, and romantic relationships
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