My Boyfriend Asked Me To Watch His Dog Over Christmas Instead of Inviting Me to Join His Family. WTF?

My Boyfriend Asked Me To Watch His Dog Over Christmas

I’m 31 years old and my boyfriend is 40. We’ve been together for 5 months. We’ve exchanged “I love you’s”, we’ve met each other’s parents, gone on vacations together and spend 4 out of 7 days of the week together. With the holidays approaching, I extended an invitation to him and his parents to join my family for Thanksgiving. Logistically, it wouldn’t work out. However, I was hoping he would extend an invitation for me to join him at his house for Christmas. He recently mentioned his plans to book his Christmas travel and asked if I wanted to watch his dog for him while he was away. Clearly, he was not planning to invite me with him. To me, an invitation to spend the holidays with your family is indicative of how serious you are about your significant other. Especially since it gives them a chance to see where you grew up and who your friends are. Should I express my disappointment to him? Should I assume this is a reflection of how he feels about me?



There are a few things we don’t know about your boyfriend. Has he been married before? Does he want to get married? Is he close with his family? Has he brought lots of people home to meet his family before?

The answers to these questions matter, and without them, I am only left to play devil’s advocate about what your boyfriend is thinking. I do this by putting myself in his shoes.

Now, as you said, he’s a good boyfriend. Says he loves you. Sees you three times a week. You both sound happy. Which would indicate to me that there’s nothing “wrong” here. The only thing “wrong” is that you had a set of expectations that went unfulfilled, not that he is inherently dissatisfied with you as a girlfriend.

The most relevant anecdote I can think of to parallel this situation was when I RSVP’d to an out of town wedding after my wife and I were dating for a few weeks. I didn’t include her because I didn’t know if we’d still be together 4 months later. Well, as it turned out, we were, but I’d already sent in that RSVP and booked a flight without her.

The only thing “wrong” is that you had a set of expectations that went unfulfilled, not that he is inherently dissatisfied with you as a girlfriend.

Personally, I didn’t think it was a big deal. I was going to be around a bunch of old college friends, she wasn’t going to know anybody, and I felt she could have an entire weekend to herself while I was gone. I misjudged my girlfriend’s feelings. Not only was she upset that I didn’t invite her to the wedding (even though we were only dating for a few weeks at the time), but she was upset that I didn’t remedy this afterwards. Evidently, she wanted me to tell the groom to add her as a plus 1 and book a separate flight for her to join me.

That’s not what happened. I went to the wedding in New York, texted my girlfriend regularly while I was there, and acknowledged that it would have been more fun to have her by my side. It wasn’t until I got home that she confessed that she was hurt that I didn’t make a greater effort to bring her. Yet despite my massive insensitivity, eight years later, we’re still together.

Is this the exact same situation? No, of course not. But I believe the feelings are similar.

  • He is a guy who is not used to being in relationships or thinking for two.
  • He doesn’t see this as a big deal since you probably have your own family to go to for the holidays.
  • He feels that your relationship is strong and that you have made many strides towards integrating your lives over the past five months.
  • He probably hasn’t thought very much about it at all, doesn’t see why it’s a big deal, and would be very surprised to learn that you’re this upset by it.

That doesn’t mean that you are “wrong” for getting upset, only that you’re jumping to the wrong conclusions about what this all means. You think this is a reflection of how he feels about you and that he is trying to exclude you from meeting his family.

I can say pretty safely that if he sees you 4X a week, tells you he loves you, and you’ve already met his parents, this means absolutely nothing.

I can say pretty safely that if he sees you 4X a week, tells you he loves you, and you’ve already met his parents, this means absolutely nothing – except that he trusts you with his pet.

If I were you, I’d enjoy your Christmas with your family and his dog.

And if you feel the need to say something, it’s cool. Just don’t be too surprised if he has no idea why you’re upset.

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  1. 1

    I think I agree with you Evan that he would probably be surprised to learn that she is upset.
    But I don’t think I agree with you that this means absolutely nothing. To be perfectly honest, I think it is tilting the scale a bit on the insensitive side to ask your girlfriend to watch your dog while you go away, without ever even having a conversation with her about the possibility of her coming with you. She invited him and his family to come and spend Thanksgiving with her family, so the subject has at least been broached. Yet he specifically chose not to invite her to his family for Christmas.
    Look, if I were the girlfriend, knowing that I have these sorts of expectations, I would not have invited him and his parents to spend Thanksgiving with my family. That to me seems to smack of a “giving to get” mentality. I would have waited to see *if* he invited me to spend any of the holidays with his family, and then if the time came and went with no invitation, used it as an opportunity to have a conversation with him about how I feel about these things and see if we are on the same page.
    Honestly though, I think this may be another situation where the guy and the girl are not on the same page about how committed they are. Saying “I love you” is not the same as a commitment. Spending Christmas as a couple with each other’s family is certainly part of a committed relationship.
    If I were her, I’d have a gentle, no pressure conversation with him about it to get his views and see if they are on the same page, or whether this can be easily rectified. And I’d say no to looking after the dog 🙂

  2. 2

    Why does it matter in this case “if he wants to get married”?

    1. 2.1

      “To me, an invitation to spend the holidays with your family is indicative of how serious you are about your significant other.”
      The OPs question is valid.  If the man wants to get married to her someday, he will need to introduce her to his extended family.  But after 5 months, it seems that her biological clock and desperation for marriage is ticking a lot faster than his.  The OP desperately wants to marry this man and take the relationship to the next level of legal commitment and babies.  OTOH, the BF seems to hesitate to make that next jump and introduce her to his family.  I’ve heard that the Holidays are a common time for breakups because it forces the Women and Men to determine how serious their future is together.  A woman’s biological clock starts ticking fast after 30, and it seems like this guy is not willing to make the commitment just yet.  Honestly, she should wait 1 year before marriage, but I think she wants marriage/engagement now. 

        1. jay

          Hah, most of the single women I’ve met over 30 start having a strong desire for marriage and babies.  Sure, she can wait until 38 to get married, but in reality she just wants to hold onto a good husband before he dumps her, and she gets old and ugly.  Her statement of: “To me, an invitation to spend the holidays with your family is indicative of how serious you are about your significant other.”
          Gives me the impression that she is looking for an indication that he wants an LTR/Marriage/Commitment.  She wants to meet his friends/family and take the relationship to the next level of social commitment and social pressure.  For whatever reason, he doesn’t want or doesn’t expect to spend Christmas with her.  She could always turn the tables and ask HIM TO SPEND Christmas WITH HER FAMILY.  There are plenty of older divorced guys that just don’t want to get married again or want to wait 1 year before marriage.  She just has to slow her roll and stop being so needy.

        2. Evan Marc Katz

          @Jay You’re offensive: “Sure, she can wait until 38 to get married, but in reality she just wants to hold onto a good husband before he dumps her, and she gets old and ugly.”

          Another comment like that and you won’t be allowed to post here anymore. This is a place for women to learn, not to get verbally abused by anonymous strangers.

  3. 3

    Usually i love your posts but this one… Cmon, i dont mind you not inviting me to your gathering but asking me to watch your dog?? Selfish or using mE?

  4. 4

    Was he even interested in what you are doing for Christmas? Did he ask you if you had any plans? And you cannot take care of his dog because you are also going away for Christmas.

    1. 4.1

      Am I the only person who read she extended him an invite 1st? To me that would indicate that he is assumimg she already had set plans with her family so why would he extend an invite? Just to be polite and prove himself? Is
      n’t that the basic thinking/expectation that gets us girls disappointed time and time again?
      I don’t see an issue with watching my s/o pet vs them boarding them if I will be in town – after all she most likely wont be staying over her folks house if they are all in the same area. I think she is being overly sensitive and not looking at it logically.


  5. 5

    Why are guys so freakin clueless?  Sounds like it was more important to find a baby sitter for his pooch rather than share the holidays with the woman he says he loves.  I guess saying you’re sorry is a lot cheaper than paying boarding fees. 

  6. 6

    Yeah, I’m going to have to side with the OP on this one. A five month investment is long enough to expect an invite to the folks’ for the holidays, or at a minimum, to have a frank conversation about why she isn’t getting one. There may be good, legitimate reasons (“But honey, cousin Jack will be there and I’m afraid you’ll see him and think I come from a long line of freaks and dump me!”), but to say he’s just a clueless guy is giving him a free pass, in my opinion. I think we’ve all dated some clueless jerks and we’ve all dated some very thoughtful, caring men who would never have treated us like a free “service professional,” and I bet we can all agree on which were the better relationships!

  7. 7

    I’d be annoyed at being asked to pet sit for a holiday. I have pet-sit my boyfriend’s pet on random weekends when he is out of town, but for the holidays, I would not feel comfortable bringing someone else’s pet into my family’s plans for the holidays. That seems presumptuous to me. 

  8. 8

    I usually agree with most of your comments Evan, but I disagree on this one.  I really agree with what Clare said.  He’d be surprised to know how upset she is, but I don’t think it doesn’t mean something.  He’s not in the same place she is in terms of level of commitment and desire to enmesh their lives.  We’re always told to believe a man’s actions more than his words.  His actions (or lack of) speak.  Does it mean they are doomed?  No, I do think a conversation needs to be had… just because he’s not where she is at this point doesn’t mean he won’t be but he needs a little more time to get there (or to decide).  But it is important to clarify that they have mutual long term goals for themselves generally (ie: does he ever see himself committed/living together/married, etc…?

  9. 9

    I think,that /Clare/ – saying “I love you” means the world..means Everything,means commitment and going forward and thinking on “two” instead of one.. You do not go and say I love you to everyone on the street,do you.. Those words are escalation of something- friendship,companionship etc… They are Special words and Mean ALL. And one have to think twice when saying them and who to say it to.. This brings me to the conclusion that this man is Player – you can Not truly Love some one in 4 months.. you did not see anything from him/her to say those words.. So,he said it Only to hook his  own personal service woman – dog or bed or whatever he wants… What a … Xmass with family is not something that is planned with years and is something where IF you really want and really love, you can bring this loving person.
    So, no, he does not love you . Look after his dog If you love dogs,but not to free him up doing what he bloody wants.. He can take his dog to his family Xmass as well.. I would tell him to go to hell

    1. 9.1

      Those words mean something, yes, but they do not necessarily mean commitment. You can say “I love you” to a friend, to a family member. Hell, you can even say “I love you” to a Friends With Benefits. I’ve had several ex-boyfriends say they still love me. You can say the words and truly mean them, but it does not equal a commitment.

  10. 10

    If they have been dating for 5 months, this would be their “First Christmas” together as a couple.  This in itself is pretty important to a woman… it’s the whole reason Hallmark makes all those cute ornaments (we can’t wait to have a reason to buy) with the year on them symbolizing this special landmark in a relationship.  How could he ask her to spend their First Christmas with his dog instead of with him?  To me, it sounds like he is just looking for a dog-sitter, making his own holiday more convenient… a selfish-side at Christmas-time is not a good sign… at least not to me.

    1. 10.1

      Because it’s NOT their “first christmas”…it’s the first christmas to occur since they started dating a mere twenty weeks before. If they dated once a week for the first month or two, that’s at most EIGHT DAYS together, plus the days since then (which she says is 4/7 days, NOW). So at most they’ve spent some 64 “days” together (and who knows how much time on each of those days). Not really all that much time, actually.
      Are you seriously advocating he take home a woman he’s known for only twenty weeks? I’ve had JOBS last less time than that – he doesn’t yet know she’s going to be around another twenty weeks yet.
      Just because she invited him and his family for Thanksgiving is meaningless – that’s what SHE wanted to do – her assuming it’s what he wanted is just that – an assumption. Her pointing this out sounds like she’s trying to force the situation. Besides, who invites the famil of a 40-year-old guy (who you’ve known for 20 weeks) to Thanksgiving?

      1. 10.1.1

        you sound like the guy I met who IMMEDIATELY told me on the first date, yes FIRST date, in August one year, that he and his brother always went hunting in Upstate NY every November for 3 weeks, and that NO women were allowed and that NO woman was going to travel with him period. I wasn’t even interested in him. It was about an hour into the dinner conversation that he brought that up out of the clear blue sky…. so obviously, that had been an issue a few times before and he assumed and he made a point and I’m so glad there was NO chemistry with him…hehe.

      2. 10.1.2

        JoeK,  so if you were working with a company for 5 months, would you be hurt if they didn’t invite you to the company Christmas party?  It’s not just about the time of the relationship,  it’s about the closeness of it.  Perhaps he assumed she’d be with her family, but why shouldn’t he be expected to communicate with HER about why he’s not inviting her?  He could have a valid reason,  but it doesn’t mean she’s not entitled to feel hurt over it.

      3. 10.1.3

        Spot on! Imagine trusting your beloved four -legged friend to a person you’ve only known for 64 days…

  11. 11

    I feel the need to say that 5 months into a relationship is just scratching the surface for most people.  You barely feel free to hiccup in front of them, never mind say “I love you.”  My current flame started saying “I love you” — I don’t know —  way too early for me.  I did not respond until not responding in kind was becoming a problem.  Truthfully, neither one of us believes that we love the other, it is just something that he believed he needed to say after being with me for a certain period of time, and I felt pressured to say after a while in response.

    Love takes time.  Especially if you’re older and you don’t go thru that whole limerance thing that younger people get to enjoy.  You find yourself looking at each other and thinking:  Well, he’s nice but no sparks are going off.  Maybe if I stick with it, something good will happen.

    I think the OP is moving too fast for her partner.  Five months, some reciprocal “I love yous” (who said it first?), lots of dates, met the parents, gone on vacation:  this sounds like a formula you’ve read somewhere.  Love and relationships, do they really follow a formula?  Or do you have to bend like a willow based on the particular relationship you are in.

    Personally I would say:  “Gee, I’m sorry, I like your dog but I’m going to be too busy to take care of him properly.  See you both when you get back.” 

    I have a suspicion this will be a deal breaker for the dude.

    If not, then best of luck continuing the relationship with honest and open communication. 

  12. 12

    It all depends on context, but I can understand why the OP is confused and hurt about not being invited to spend Christmas with him. It may have to do with travel expenses, having space to stay in the same house, his fears that his family may scare her off (because we all have our dysfunctions), or any number of other reasons that have nothing to do with her or his feelings. But the holidays are important milestones in relationships to most women (myself included) and guys just don’t seem to get that.
    Last Christmas, my boyfriend of 6 months spent the day with his ex after arguing that, essentially, she wanted it more. I asked him to spend at least part of the day with me and my family, but she cried and made vague suicide threats, so she won. He’s usually a caring and thoughtful guy who goes out of his way to show me how important I am to him, but he really dropped the ball on this one. He was genuinely flabbergasted to see me dissolve into tears Dec. 23 when he told me that we couldn’t see or talk to each other Christmas Eve or Day. He also spent his birthday with her this spring but at least let me make him dinner that weekend to celebrate with me. He doesn’t understand why I was bothered by that either. In his mind, it was just a free plate of pasta that it would be a shame to not take advantage of. We’re making progress, though. He said he would spend Thanksgiving with me but never showed up. But at least he didn’t go see her that day. I have no idea what he’s going to decide about Christmas, so I guess I’ll have to wait and see. Holy hello! Having typed all that out, I realize this sounds like a joke. This is actually a true story. I put up with a lot of shit from men, don’t I? I think it’s time to consider getting my dump on.

    (Kind of – EMK)

    1. 12.1

      You should cut him loose and then he can spend all the time he wants with his ex and find a guy who appreciates you as you deserve because this one is a clown.

    2. 12.2

      Wow, Rachel.
      He “let you make him dinner that weekend”? How nice of him. I agree with zyl, let him go to spend all the time he wants with his ex. Move on.

    3. 12.3
      Rosemary White


  13. 13
    Karl S

    It could be possible that his whole thought organization around Christmas is fixed around a pre-existing idea that blinds him to considering his girlfriend in that regard. Allow me to explain.

    Before I met one of my (now ex) girlfriends I booked a yearly subscription to a Major theatre company, with all the plays and nights organized ahead of time. A few months later I needed to alter one of the nights I was seeing a play and change the ticket. My then girlfriend, who I’d been dating for a few months, got really upset when I mention that I’d changed the ticket without thinking to invite her along or get one for her. I didn’t do that on purpose – it was because I was only thinking about those plays in terms of the yearly subscription I’d bought before I met her. The whole concept was compartmentalized separately from my “having a girlfriend” thoughts. I think guys do this a lot, or at least I do. Maybe that’s what happened with Christmas for this guy.

    1. 13.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      There’s a lot of talk about what he “should” do from women’s perspective. I prefer to talk about what he “did” do and come up with possible explanations. He could be an emotionally disengaged player who is just using her as a dogsitter…but then why would he tell her he loved her, meet her family, and take her on vacations? Seems to me (by her description) that he’s a good boyfriend who just did something clueless/insensitive/benign that was taken in a much more serious fashion than he realized.

    2. 13.2

      I agree that Mulligans should be given generously but xmas is a pretty serious holiday and should be spent with those who are close to us. He seems to be excessively clueless in this case.
      To exaggerate a bit, it would almost be like him asking her to watch his dog on their anniversary so he can go out with his friends. 

      1. 13.2.1

        Well said Scott!

  14. 14

    Hmmm… I just started following your blog and I’m surprised at the advice you gave Allison: “Enjoy your Christmas with your family and his dog. And if you feel the need to say something…”  Not very helpful, in my opinion, and a bit insensitive on your part.  How about giving her some pointers about how to broach the topic with her boyfriend?  

    Allison, perhaps you can respond by asking him to clarify what, if anything, his Christmas plans mean about the status of your relationship.  Seek first to understand before being understood.

    1. 14.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Actually, it’s quite helpful. I just gave Allison a plausible explanation about what her boyfriend was thinking. She can now do whatever she wants with this information. She may understand his perspective and relax. Or she may say something with the knowledge that he wasn’t trying to offend her but simply didn’t see this as some sort of relationship test.

      Seems to me that you think the only “helpful” advice would be to make the boyfriend out to be some ogre although I don’t believe he is one. Fact is: until Allison comes back and tells me I was wrong, my take on things is as valid as yours – and, from a man’s perspective, more likely to be true. Doesn’t mean he’s a jerk, insensitive, or is planning on leaving her – that’s what you’re assuming. This only means that, after 5 months, Allison thinks that holidays should be spent together and he doesn’t. If she chooses to dump him over this, it’s her prerogative. But she’d be dumping a man she loves who seems to treat her well.

      Successful relationships are built on understanding and validating the perspective of your partner. Both Allison and her boyfriend need to acknowledge that good people can agree to disagree. You would seem to get this with your last line, yet you don’t think he has a position worth understanding.

      1. 14.1.1

        I didn’t say anything about him being wrong or an ogre or not having a position worth understanding.  I suggested you offer her a suggestion on how to talk about the topic with her boyfriend and I suggested to her that she seek clarification from her boyfriend; to seek first to understand where he’s coming from.    

      2. 14.1.2

        Evan, as a woman in this position I appreciate your perspective. Most of the replies disagreeing with you are from women, to me that highlights how differently the genders see this issue. I am definitely hurt by the fact that my boyfriend of 7 months didnt invite me home with him for the holidays. I made a “joking” remark about it and his response was “but your family is here, won’t you be with them?”. Given how he treats me on a daily basis I think its safe to say that was insensitivity, and not callousness. Like many of the women on here it is very easy for me to make negative asaumptions about his intentions amd revert to feeling angry and hurt, so thank you for your insight, I am going to choose to take it in and take my man at face value. He messed this one up, and maybe I will tell him how it made me feel, but I dont believe it carried a deeper message. Thanks for helping keep me level!

  15. 15

    Sure i’ll take care of ‘champ’, $50.00/day, lets mix pleasure with business. Allison you need to see the great catch that you are and let Mr. insensitivity know of his crassness you will not put up. Men respect you when you show some ” moxy”

  16. 16

    Well I believe when a man loves a woman he wants to be with her.  Did both verbally agree  that they were in a committed relationship.  Did they agree to only date each other?  If not then it sounds like friends with benefits. You can love each other as friends.  Have sex say I love you meet everybody but what words were spoken to say you are a couple.  If nothing was said just assumed then you don’t have the relationship you think you have.  But if you do have that relationship and it has been made clear….I would kick him to the curb.  I am almost seventy years old and I wouldn’t give a man like that five minutes of my time.  I love dogs too but I would say good bye as soon as he picks up his dog.  There is a man waiting just for you that will be happy and proud to take you many places with him.  He will appreciate you and you would always be one of his top priorities.  Don’t waste your love on a man that doesn’t treasure it.

  17. 17

    For Rachel,  my dear stop being a door mat.  You are worth so much more.  This man that visits his x wife is not in love with you.  He obviously has issues and he needs to know that he is not responsible for his wife if she commits suicide.  That is one way she is able to control him.  I worked with mentally ill patients for many years and I don’t see any future with this guy except a lot of heart ache for you.  I suggest you look in the mirror every day and say “I am beautiful, I am special and I am loved” and not only by God but by the man that is right now looking for you.  Every time he isn’t with you because he is with her or some where else tells you that you are not important enough to him.  Open your eyes wide see it like it is cry get angry  what ever it takes.  Go through the emotions and be refreshed hold your head up high.  Rachel is beautiful and don’t take second best or another woman’s  left overs that isn’t really yours.  He sounds unsure of what he really wants he hasn’t put the past behind him.  Right now he has no present and no future because he is still living in the past with his x wife. I wish you the best.

    1. 17.1

      I don’t know that he enjoys being with her so much as he is allowing himself to be held hostage by a sick, toxic person. He feels he owes it to her because she bore him two children and they have so much history together. Personally, I believe that the three affairs she had would eclipse a few hours of grunting and sweating to push out a couple of babies that may not even be his, but maybe I don’t understand the whole kid thing.
      Men, do you want to weigh in here? Are you so completely awestruck by labor and delivery that any woman who would be willing to do this amazing thing “for you” is elevated to some otherworldly plane of greatness that no other woman could hope to achieve? I mean, it’s a beautiful thing when a man reveres the faithful wife who carried and lovingly cared for his children, stretch marks and c-section scars and all. But when she spent their childhoods getting drunk and sleeping around, it would seem that he would feel a little like he doesn’t even want to acknowledge her existence. And that a good woman who treats him well could easily take priority (not over the kids, but over the ex). What am I missing? What is so inherently great about the mother of my children?

  18. 18

    IMO 4 months is too soon to join the family at Christmas.  That to me means (at that age) an unofficial announcement that marriage is on the cards.  There is a difference between saying ” I love you” to someone and letting your parents know this person is on the “marriage track”. The OP has too many expectations at this point. Christmas includes sleepovers…that’s too intimate for a new relationship. It sounds like the OP is too anxious for ‘the ring’.  Real commitment takes at least some time… 

    1. 18.1

      Brilliantly put.
      Yes, at that age taking someone home to meet family is a serious signal – so clearly he’s not at that point yet.
      THe OP is pushing the agenda.

  19. 19

    Darling, what do you want to do for the holidays? Your boyfriend has said and done what he wants to do, and it doesn’t include you, aside of watching his dog.  You two are not at all on the same page as to where your relationship is.  You are in coupledom, and he is living the life of a single man who has a reliable FWB. 
    You aren’t his girlfriend, and you should make some awesome plans of your own for the holidays.  If he should happen to catch up with you in your holiday swirl, cool.  But, he can find his own dog sitter.  And, please, stop sleeping with this clueless and insensitive 40 year old child.  Don’t be that girl. 
    I haven’t checked Evan in a long time.  I don’t think I’ll be back. 

    1. 19.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      “You aren’t his girlfriend”?, “He is living the life of a single man.”

      “My boyfriend is 40. We’ve been together for 5 months. We’ve exchanged “I love you’s”, we’ve met each other’s parents, gone on vacations together and spend 4 out of 7 days of the week together.”

      The facts don’t suit your narrative, Erin. The OP knows her boyfriend far better than you do. She can choose how to handle this based on available information. But one family Xmas without the girlfriend does not make him a bad boyfriend. Both my wife and I are grateful she didn’t dump me because I went to a wedding without her after 4 months together. And if you would blow up a good relationship over such a grey issue, it says far more about you than it does about the guy you’re dating.

      1. 19.1.1

        Lets be honest.. Its not the same, you got a solo invitation cause you where single at the time, you can not invite to a wedding whomever you like, thats just rude! But you sure can invite your girlfriend to your family, you don’t need RSVP for that… only an extra chair

  20. 20

    You are absolutely right that ending a relationship where my needs are not being met says a lot about me.  It says that I will not be a doormat. 
    Obviously Allison knows her boyfriend better than I do.  However, a 40 year old man in a committed relationship who does not want to spend the holidays with his girlfriend is acting like a single man.  He says he loves her, is with her 4 of 7 nights and they have taken vacations together/met the parents. Awesome. Then why is he not wanting to wake up with her on Christmas?
    He could be great.  He could also hate being alone, which explains the 4/7 nights together. And it sounds like he went a little too fast in the beginning stages of the relationship with vacations together and meeting each other’s parents.  Taking the holidays solo could be his way of dialing back the relationship that he now feels is going too fast.
    So, what is Allison to do? Boyfriend has made plans to do him over the holidays.  Allison doesn’t need to brood over why her soi-disant boyfriend chooses to not be with her during the holidays. No way. However, she does need to get on the horn with doing her over the holidays. I believe you refer to this concept as Mirroring.   

  21. 21

    i’ve lived here for  years, and in my culture we don’t meet the parents until engagement or ready for marriage. i’ve never understood why Americans involve their families so much. it’s either spend holiday with me or with your family. 

  22. 22

    It’s only been 5 months. That’s in the range of pretty normal to NOT invite someone to spend the family holidays with.

    You’re 31. Grow up. If you wanted to spend the holidays with him you should have brought it up in a conversation. No subtle hints. No empty gestures of inviting his parents to spend Thanksgiving with you. Don’t expect men to read your mind.

    I’ll give you the watching the dog thing might have been insensitive. IF you had plans of your own. Otherwise how would have you felt if he didn’t invite you AND had a friend watch the dog? 

    1. 22.1

      I do agree with you there Morris.  I just do not understand why women just don’t speak up for themselves.  It’s Christmas time and kids are quick to tell Santa what they want.  So if you want something for Christmas and don’t ask for it, don’t get in a tizzy when he doesn’t give it to you.  If you think he’s your boyfriend that loves you, why be afraid to “talk to him”.

  23. 23

    Hmm I’m in the middle on this one–although I like giving the benefit of the doubt, in fact I was one of the minority who told Amy not to worry about her bf sharing an apartment with his ex, in Evan’s post several weeks ago.

    I don’t think he’s a horrible bf. But I don’t think she should get her hopes up too much. Saying ‘I love u’ is easy and common for some guys. Some guys use those words lightly, and they may even mean it, but they say it to every girl they date for a few months. To many people, asking someone on a holiday isn’t a big deal either. Many friends and guys I’ve dated casually have asked me to vacation with them. For me, agreeing to vacation with someone is a huge deal, largely because I have odd sleeping hrs and I’d have to compromise and maybe be tired. But to ppl who find living and sharing space with someone easy, vacationing with others  is just fun and requires little sacrifices. 

    He spends 4 out of 7 days with her? That means a bit more, but then some pple are extroverted and hate spending an evening alone. Plus hey, there’s sex right? I think it’s a bigger deal for a Woman to be willing to spend 4/7 days in week with a guy.

    I think the main ‘bad’ thing I see here is that he flippantly put his needs before hers. Maybe it’s partly since I’m young and relatively inexperienced in dating, but so far, any guy who loved me never seemed to place his needs above mine, and never inconvenienced me for his own sake. I thought when pple are in love (especially at this fairly early stage), they would be kinda nervous about messing it up. Saying “I can’t spend Christmas with u and your family. Can u watch my dog for me?” doesn’t sound like a man who is crazy about a woman. 

    All that said, I don’t think this makes him a horrible bf. But not a fantastic one either.  

    1. 23.1

      Another thing, and call me nutty if you want, but it depends which 4 nights out of those 7 it is. If it is Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, I definitely wouldn’t get excited about this relationship. If it is most Fridays and every Saturday, however, that is a much bigger deal. The “day of the week” test for a relationship never fails, trust me.

      1. 23.1.1

        Clare, yes that’s true. And that’s not nutty, actually I just gave the benefit of the doubt that she was often dating him on the weekends. It would be really suspicious if a woman’s boyfriend wasn’t regularly spending his weekend with her. :p 

  24. 24

    I find this discussion fascinating – more for the comments than the actual post.  Regarding the post, she first invited him (and his parents) to her family for Christmas.  They declined due to logistics.  Why would she expect him to invite her to his family?  Wouldn’t he logically assume that she would be with her own family, as per the original invitation?  That was the assumption I made when I read the post.  He likely made the same assumption.

    Much more interesting (to me) is the number of comments, mostly from female commenters, insisting what a big deal this is. How this shows that he is a bad boyfriend.  It reinforces the idea that women communicate by context while men focus on content.  The content of this post is benign.  Assumptions of malice are being made based on the context of the man’s remarks……and he likely meant nothing by it, since that isn’t how men communicate.  

    Yes, men need to look at context and consider how women communicate and interpret comments (I know my wife always tells me to do so).  But it is also a good skill for women to learn (IMHO) to listen to what a man says, not how he says it or the context.  We tend to actually mean what we say, without subtext. 

    1. 24.1

      EDIT – just re-read the post, and her invitation was for thanksgiving.  Notwithstanding that, though, it is entirely possible that he thought she would want to spend Christmas with her family rather than a boyfriend of 5 months.

      1. 24.1.1

        I think you may be onto something there, Jeremy.  IMO it’s entirely possible that since she invited him and his parents to join her family for Thanksgiving, that gave him the impression that her spending holidays with her family is important to her, and that he assumed that would extend to Christmas as well.  Since he’s leaving town, he figures she might as well feed and walk his dog, since she’s staying in town.

  25. 25

    Some of these responses are so surprising! All of the uproar about how he’s a bad boyfriend because after FIVE MONTHS he isn’t bringing her to a family holiday (and, I would think in most families, the biggest holiday of the year)? You guys sound nutty to me. For one, 5mos is definitely not that long. Two, them having met each others parents’ already is great- and she (the OP) should be very happy that they’ve reached that step. Super appropriate after 5mos. Same goes with the “I love you’s” …5mos isn’t a long time to be dating, and since we dont know if they knew each other before they started dating, it especially isn’t a long time! She got the “L” word out of him! You go, Glen Coco! I’d chill back on the mushing family plans thing… he loves you, he spends his time with you, and we can all but assume he’s been great other than this. Meeting one another’s parents isn’t the same as spending a big holiday with the WHOLE family, either. Who knows what his whole fam is like; OP might kick herself years down the road for wishing to spend this extra time with them! (kind of joking on the last bit; then again…)

    AND- as a dog mom and animal lover- OP should feel flattered to be asked to watch his dog! I would NEVER ask some random guy/chick I was simply dating, whom I didnt actually care about and trust, to watch my dog! He must at the least trust her to take care of his pet…amiright?  

    1. 25.1

      It sounds nutty to me. These women sound like the kinds who regularly have their friends throwing grenades at good relationships/boyfriends for minor oversights.

      I’m like, did people miss the part where they have traveled and met each other’s families? Heck, I know people who sometimes travel solo to their respective families post marriage for a myriad of reasons…culture, distance, how a person feels about in-laws,having a spouse who doesn’t like to travel (this is usually pre-kids but have a good friend whose husband is really a homebody so she and her kids travel solo). I also know people whose wives take family trips with their own families that the men aren’t invited to. They aren’t mad about it and just make their own plans.

      But there is plenty of time to spend Xmas with his family if you get engaged, but a LOT of people don’t take girlfriends or boyfriends home mainly b/c yes, you probably are spending it with your own families. 

      If there are problems in this relationship, I don’t think they are because he didn’t invite her home for Xmas. 

  26. 26

    Allison, I totally get your worries. But, Evan is right. You are reading in meaning behind your boyfriend’s actions that might not be there – and probably isn’t given everything else good you say about the guy. If you want to be with him during the holidays, this is something you can tell him. If you do not want to look after his dog, you can tell him that too. But it is very problematic and unfair and in the long run destructive to NOT express those things but silently draw a negative conclusion about his motives instead.

  27. 27

    Bottom line is communication.  If it bothers the OP, than she needs to let him know that.  And if he cares about her feelings, he will respond accordingly and with understanding.  If he does, I would say he’s not a bad bf at all, just a little clueless.  But, if he becomes defensive and disregards her feelings, than I think OP needs to re-evaluate.

  28. 28

    To me, 5 months doesn’t seem very long.  I’d be disappointed to not be spending it together.  At the same time, give the guy the benefit of the doubt (that he wasn’t intentionally trying to hurt her feelings/exclude her).  For some people (like me) the holidays aren’t such a big deal.  This is a great opportunity to communicate in a constructive way (I felt left out) improve understanding, and bring them closer together.  

    When my boyfriend has to tell me something that is bothering him (typically something I’ve said or done unintentionally that has hurt his feelings) he gives me a huge bear hug, and tells me while I’m in the hug.  It makes it sting less and prevents hurt feelings.   

    There are things he does at times that would have upset me in my younger years (I’ve been upset with past boyfriends who’ve done similar things), because I’d assume that it was a sign of insensitivity or not caring about my feelings.  And of course, that made them *so* wrong, I’d remember and add it up.  After a while it’s harder to appreciate the good qualities.  

    Now it doesn’t bother me at all as I know it is not his “job” to never hurt my feelings or to always know what I want / need.  The vast majority of the time, he is wonderful.  And I’ve inadvertently hurt his feelings as well.  

    I’d tell the OP to look at the big picture — is this a “one off” or a pattern?  In either case, talking about it would be a step in a positive direction.   

  29. 29


    you don’t say how far away your boyfriends parents live, it must be out of state if air travel is the only way to go. You did invite him and his parents for thanksgiving knowing it wasn’t going to happen logistically so why did you do that? What was your motive for extending that invitation? 
    You’ve only been going out for 5 months which isn’t that long and his Christmas holiday plans may have been made before you started going out with him. As with a lot of families all spread out these days this may be the only time they can all get together once a year. 
    If he’s a good boyfriend and from what you say he is and you both have long terms plans to stay together, why get all bent out of shape over one Christmas when there is another 40-50 years of Christmas holidays coming up if you eventually get married, have kids and build a life together.
    You are thinking very short term here and if you are going to dump your boyfriend because of his dog I would tend to think you’re being rather superficial here and a bit precious and I would have to ask how much you really do like this guy. If you have a solid relationship none of this would matter, if you don’t …….
    Unfortunately it’s part of life that you and a partner can be separated at times, you aren’t joined at the hip and you have to learn to take things in your stride or you won’t get very far.
    So send him off with a big smile and a hug, buy his dog a squeaky toy for Xmas so he doesn’t feel left out and give the poor dog some TLC while his dad is gone for a couple of days, it’s not the dogs fault your nose is out of joint.


    1. 29.1

      That’s a good point–he may have bought his airplane tickets after a couple of months dating her.  After only a couple of months’ dating you probably don’t know whether you’re going to want to spend Christmas with a person, let alone whether or not you’ll still be together by then.

  30. 30

    I’m in the same boat as the OP and I’m pretty hurt by my bf’s actions. I feel like it’s a bad sign-if he saw a future with her, he would want her there. Period. Evan completely missed the boat on this one.

    1. 30.1

      I have to agree with you Dana. A guy who’s into his girl is going to want to spend Christmas with her. If he really is in a situation where this was all pre-arranged before she came on the scene, at the very least he should be aware that she might be hurt or a bit upset that she didn’t get an invite. The fact that he didn’t explain anything to her, just said, “Here’s my key, watch my dog. See ya!” tells me that he’s just not into her. I agree five months isn’t a long time to be discussing, say, marriage plans, but an invite to see the fam at the holidays? Especially when they’ve already met? C’mon! That’s not just being “clueless,” that’s being rude/deceitful…I dunno…definitely NOT something I would want to deal with for the rest of my life. What’s next for this “clueless” guy? “Oh, sorry I forgot to feed your cat when you went on that business trip for two weeks. Ha ha–I’m just a silly clueless guy!” Or for their 10th anniversary, “But I thought you wanted a vacuum! Well, that’s me, your goofy guy who doesn’t know anything!” And what’s after that? “You’re upset I slept with your sister? I didn’t think you’d mind. Hee hee hee, silly ol’ me!” Sorry, dudes, not buying it. I’ve dated enough men who had their wits about them and didn’t try to play that “I’m just a big, dumb guy” game to know that the ones who DO play the game didn’t care enough about me to bother NOT being clueless. 

      There’s a better guy out there for you, Allison. One who wants to spend Christmas with you, or if he can’t for some reason, will respect you enough to explain why (and then NOT use you as a service provider!).

      Maybe your deciding factor in whether or not to stay with this guy should be how big a tip he gives you for watching the dog! If it ain’t 20%, get outta there!

      1. 30.1.1
        Evan Marc Katz

        Yes, Wendy, “I’ve slept with your sister” is the exact same as “Have fun with your family at Xmas. Can you watch my dog while I’m gone.” If you’re going to use straw-man arguments to make your case, at least choose ones that aren’t so eye-rollingly over-the-top and dismissable.

        1. Wendy

          It’s called “exaggerating to make a point.” I didn’t want any “clueless” guys to miss the sarcasm. 

        2. Evan Marc Katz

          Except your exaggeration undermines your point. You are always on the side of vigilance because you don’t seem to trust men. As a trustworthy man, I am on the side of giving men the benefit of the doubt until they’ve no longer earned it. This appears to be an isolated incident from her otherwise excellent boyfriend, and you’re telling her to run. I find that irresponsible. She should break up because her boyfriend is consistently making her unhappy, not because he thought she’d be responsible enough to watch his dog while they were away with their respective families for the holidays. You seem to look for any questionable decision by a man as evidence that he’s low character and a terrible boyfriend. I try to illustrate to you that things aren’t as black and white as you’d think.

      2. 30.1.2

        “he should be aware that she might be hurt”
        And YOU should be aware of everything HE’s thinking then.
        See…back to the “men should” statement. So long as you think “men should” whatever, you’ll always misunderstand what’s really going on.
        If she didn’t speak up and TELL HIM that she was disappointed by his not inviting her, then she has nothing to blame him for. He has no idea she’s upset about this, if she doesn’t say so. Sounds like she lacks communication skills: if she dumps him, then he’ll be dodging the bullet of having a partner who’s fickle and immature.

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