His Friend Will Always Come First

His friend will always come first
Family, Self

Dear Dr. Romance:

Recently my boyfriend had to help a male friend who was going thru marital problems. The friend was moving out and needed a place to stay. As a result all of our plans were put off in order to offer support for his friend. This of course was fine until dates (plural) had to be canceled in order to help said friend. I was understanding at first, but when more than one date had to be canceled among phone calls being non-existent, I had enough. After talking to my boyfriend he basically stated that his friend will always come first, which upset me. I too have a best friend since childhood but I would never forsake one relationship for another. I realized that men and women seem to handle this situation differently. Women do tend to put their relationship with their significantly other before any other.  On the other hand, I feel if we as women don't take care of our mans' wants and needs; this may be used as reason to stray to another woman.  Therefore men feel they should always be put first.

I wouldn't dare desert a friend in need but I feel there should be a balance in all relationships. It shouldn't be an all or nothing choice. I've been lucky to have a best friend that understands that sometimes couples need quality time together and if needed I am there for her no questions asked.

My question is how can I get him to understand that I wish to be a priority as much as he is to me. I even asked my boyfriend if his friend had to choose between his wife and his friend who would he choose, his reply was his best friend would choose him over his wife. I was stunned and taken aback. I understand their relationship was there before me and will be even after I may go. But I also believe your spouse should always be your number one priority above all else.  I am not asking him to choose between us. But don't totally ignore me so you may do some hand -holding for a grown ass man. Am I being selfish?

Dear Reader:

Your boyfriend may be doing you a big favor by showing you what his priorities are.  I agree that there could be a much more mature way to handle this.  You don't say how long you have been together, but I suggest you take a stand now.  If he really thinks he has to desert you to help his friend (there's no way you can do it as a couple?)  perhaps he's not ready for a marital commitment.  Offer to negotiate this problem with him (see my book, How To Be a Couple and Still Be Free) and figure out some solutions that will satisfy both your needs.  If he won't work with you, he's telling you what your future relationship will be like, and you should pay close attention.  Try canceling a few dates with him because one of your friends needs you, and see what he thinks about that.  That way, you'll find out if he's got a double standard or not.  If he doesn't like it, you can point out it's what he did to you.  If he doesn't mind, then it's his definition of how significant your commitments to each other are.

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Either you're not is important as his friends, or he's not ready for a mature, adult partnership.  A healthy relationship requires teamwork, and you need to begin building a team now, if you really want this romance to work.  Make a strong attempt to work this out with him, but if he won't budge, then the writing is on the wall, and this relationship will not go much further.  Read "Couples Can Cooperate for Success" for more help with this.

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