When Do I Draw The Line When He Parties With the Boys?

partying with the boys

My boyfriend loves partying weekends and some weeknights with his friends. We are in our late 20s and I party a bit too but don’t consider it extremely important. I think it’s a bit immature (he’s the oldest in his social group) and he seems to feel like women are somehow “not allowed” in their space when socializing. It really bothers me. We’ve been friends for several years and recently started dating, he apologizes for it and says things like his guy friends are embarrassing and they -but not him- are sexist. I know that he’s the oldest there, which sets the culture a bit, and I feel that he’s not being exactly honest– maybe with me or them. He’s always been more comfortable around men, and had few female friends as long as we’ve known one another.

I’ve been compassionate about the discomfort around the women thing but also have been really hurt by the bro-culture party in the past. I feel like him treating drinking with his friends like it’s his job is kind of offensive and might be a sign of immaturity. I also don’t want to get in the way of people he cares about or overreact. It’s a pretty new relationship, and he’s been really cool when I want to go out with my friends (which is less often, and unlike in his case, if he wants to join us he’s welcome), I care about him a lot, things are really romantic, he acts otherwise considerate and committed. He jokes about marriage and it’s cute, but the thought of not seeing him all night because he’s gotta get wasted with the guys on a park bench in 20 years sounds like a total drag…

What do you think, is there hope?



You’re using “party” as a verb, which tells me pretty much all I need to know.

You’re definitely more mature than your boyfriend.

You’re just less mature than you think.

Is your boyfriend on the cusp of being a man? Yes.

Has he figured it out yet? No. Not even close.

He’s not ready to be the husband/father/breadwinner guy you may want him to be. He’s halfway between college and adulthood, and he hasn’t fully let go of his past to think about how to build a future. Fact is: his young, dumb, drinking buddies are kind of fun. He doesn’t want to give them up. Then again, you wouldn’t want to be around them anyway, so why should he ask you to hang out? It doesn’t really add up. It’s like you want an invitation that you would prefer to decline, just to feel good about being invited.

One of the saddest aspects of dating in your twenties is that you feel mature. And yet most twentysomethings are lost, confused, flailing and trying on things for size…

In my opinion, one of the saddest aspects of dating in your twenties is that you feel mature. You have a job. You’re having sex. You live on your own. You are technically capable of being a wife and mother. And yet most twentysomethings are lost, confused, flailing and trying on things for size: new cities, new careers, new boyfriends. Which is to say that even if you wanted to get married, you shouldn’t, because you both have a LOT of changing to do between now and when you’re, say, 32.

So that’s my recommendation to you. If you like this guy and want to have some temporary fun, enjoy yourself, knowing full well that he’s not your husband. If you want to fall in love and settle down, break up with him ASAP and start all over.

However, I suspect that even if you met a husband/father/breadwinner guy, you wouldn’t know what to do with him. You know why?

Because that guy is a mature man, and you’re not yet a mature woman.

If you were, you would not be currently dating a guy who gets wasted with 24-year-olds on a park bench.

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  1. 1

    Evan, very, very interesting point!!! Get me thinking about my choices! Good job as usual!

  2. 2

    Touche Evan!   So glad I made it past my twenties.

  3. 3

    Wow, I had a totally different gut reaction.   “He’s be pretty cool when I want to go out with friends?”   I can’t imagine a relationship in which I tell my boyfriend how often he can go out and what he can do – I’m not trying to be his mom – and I’d be incensed if he tried to control me that way.   Unless he’s driving under the influence, ruining his health, or spending money he doesn’t have, he can make his own decisions.   If he didn’t make time for me or didn’t treat me well, I’d move on, but if he wants to spend some of his time doing stuff I’m no in to, I’m just happy not to join in.

    1. 3.1
      Not Jerry

      Relationships are about what you are willing to give up.

      1. 3.1.1

        Not Jerry said: “Relationships are about what you are willing to give up.

        If you are not getting something back out of the relationship, then why are you in the relationship?
        The net benefit must outweigh the net loss, otherwise it is not a worthwhile relationship.

        1. Not Jerry

          Absolutely, it has to be worth it.
          Or you wouldn’t be in the relationship.

          I would never be in a relationship where what I gave up to further the relationship was not well worth it to me.
          It always has been!

          I have talked to people who didn’t want to give up anything for their new relationship.   They wanted to keep doing everything they had done before.
          That leaves no time for your relationship.
          Relationships can be time consuming, can’t they?

        2. DeeGee

          Not Jerry said: “I have talked to people who didn’t want to give up anything for their new relationship.

          Same here.
          I have met a few women who insisted I quit my job, sell my house, and move to where they live in order to even begin a relationship.

  4. 4

    I am a psychotherapist and have told most of my 20 something clients (who are mostly women, but some men, and they tend to be mature, that’s why they are in therapy) That dating in the 20s decade can be a complete waste of time if you are seeking a life partner. I think what Evan said is sadly true, but this is a new era……

    1. 4.1

      It’s not about maturity, young men don’t get anything out of a relationship that why most young men don’t want to marry.   About 70% of men in the USA and Japan do not want to get married.

      I suggest you read Men on Strike by Helen Smith.    Men are acting rational because there isn’t enough benefits to a relationship if anything at all.

      1. 4.1.1
        Evan Marc Katz

        “70% of men in the USA do not want to get married” – a statistic that is belied by reality.

        http://www.yourtango.com/200926789/study-most-americans-married-40 – 80% of men married by 40.

        http://time.com/3584827/pew-marriage-divorce-remarriage/ – more men want to remarry

        http://www.prb.org/Publications/Articles/2010/usmarriagedecline.aspx – and even in this devastating take on the decline of marriage, “The probability of an adult getting married at some point during their lifetime is still nearly 90 percent.”

        Sorry to hurt your feelings with my facts, but really, no one cares if you don’t like women or don’t want to get married.

        Go back to the manosphere and celebrate how you tore me to pieces with your shoddy statistics and logic.

        1. MikeTO

          Here you go considering you recommended getting the age around their 30’s this would be the most relevant.

        2. MikeTO

          Your link proved my point. Men under 35 aren’t interested in getting married. Also the divorce rate is growing from 35 years of age and up.

          I can’t blame you for trying to defend yourself because you are selling products. If women knew that most men aren’t interested in marrying then you would lose sales. Even on POF this woman asked if men in their 60’s would marry. The response, negative.

          Men are waking up to the fact women are more likely to divorce. Also after the first marriage the chance of divorce has risen.

          In fact you are proving my point because you sell products because women have difficulty getting married. This wasn’t true for my parents generation or my grandmothers.

        3. Evan Marc Katz

          Tell me something I don’t know, dude.

          All your article states is something that I applaud: people don’t feel “forced” to marry, nor to stay married, out of shame. No one says it was better in the 1950’s when closeted gays married more, when women didn’t work or have their own means of support, when the average age of marriage was 23, when unhappy people stayed together because divorce was frowned upon, and so on.

          People have options. And guess what? There are still 100M married people in the US. 80% of people get married before the age of 40. And married people self-report as happier than single people. So, for the umpteenth time, go your own way. A guy with your view of women and marriage doesn’t really make a good husband for anyone.

  5. 5

    Evan, Kay may be immature.   However, it sounds like she’s maturing.   Her boyfriend isn’t anywhere close.   I feel sorry from him.   Sounds like Kay is ready for the next phase of her life.   You go Kay!!!

  6. 6

    Evan, 100% agree wih you.
    Kay shall turn this page and find another relationship with a bit more mature guy.  

  7. 7

    Ugh. This explains why, at 28 years old, I have few friends. I enjoy a cocktail or two and great conversations, but I simply cannot accept this party lifestyle that many 20-something’s ascribe to. When I was single, having guys meet up at the bar as some sort of quasi-date was the norm. I’ve even had boyfriends resent me for not embracing their partying ways. I don’t understand…😩

  8. 8

    The only thing that I will say to the OP is that people change.   I wasn’t a party animal but I had many social engagements through my 20s and I was always “busy”.   I actually had what could have turned out to be a promising relationship end over this perception.   We were friends who had grown up together and lost touch during our university years so by the time we connected again at 27 and he asked me out, I had changed a great deal.   I worked long hours and played hard.   I was always doing something…going out with friends, participating in sports leagues, travelling but I never failed to make time for him.   There were a couple of scheduling conflicts because of work (which I couldn’t change) but I took great effort to make him a priority and to let him know that I really enjoyed spending time with him.   In any case, our dating days were extremely short lived.   He was convinced that my lifestyle was too busy and fast paced for him when the truth was that I had already begun to slow down.   We were attracted to each other and there were many other intersections when it came to compatibility.   I liked him but there was no emotional investment and I let him go without offering explanations or trying to convince him otherwise.   8 months later, I started seeing my husband who is also my opposite when it comes to socializing.   The interceding 8 months had probably done their work in slowing me down further and this time around, I DID have an emotional investment.   We had been friends for two years at that point and we worked together, spending time each other every day.   I really, really liked him and even though I definitely didn’t stop seeing my friends, quite frankly, I enjoyed spending time with him more than anything else.   I am confident that I would have gotten to that point with guy #1 if he had given it a bit more time.   In any case, I have no regrets because if I had ended up with guy #1, I wouldn’t have been with my husband and that is unthinkable :).
    I make no guarantees for your boyfriend and I completely understand how you feel as now, at the ripe age of 32, some of my friends who don’t seem to have quite grown up mystify me.   Going to bars every week lost its appeal a long time ago.   My only point is that if you give him a bit of time, he may surprise you.   Only you can decide whether he is worth the investment.

  9. 9

    “Which is to say that even if you wanted to get married, you shouldn’t, because you both have a LOT of changing to do between now and when you’re, say, 32.”

    Important Caveat:   If you want kids– especially  if it’s  kidS, plural– you don’t have the luxury of spending the next four or five   years maturing until you’re ready for marriage at the age of 32.   You need to be looking for husband/father material now, not boyfriend material who may or may not someday mature into it, and if you’re not wife/mother material now, you need to be on the fast track to getting there.   That’s just the harsh unfair truth of declining fertility rates at work.

    If you’re among the growing cohort of folks for whom a perpetual DINK (dual-income no kids) lifestyle sounds really good, on the other hand, by all means take your time.    

    1. 9.1

      That’s the truth, if u want kids, what are you waiting for? to be 30/40 something and having troubles to get pregnance, it will not always be like that, but then… childrem come with congenit deseases.    
      20 something might sound young, but it’s the right age in nature for having children  

  10. 10

    Thank you for your advice Evan. I have been a fan of your blog for a long time. Kay, I was recently in the same position as you and I decided to leave that relationship for something better. I am 27 years old and my ex-boyfriend was 24 years old. When we met, I was just starting grad school and just wanted to have fun, so we partied together and had lots of fun. Last year, I found myself reconsidering my life because I was going to be graduating this year and I wanted to settle down. I realized the man I was with was not ready for deeper commitment because he still wanted to go out with his friends. He told me he would be ready to have children in 3-4 years and the guys in his family generally do not get married. I also never met his parents and whenever I asked he always had excuses. Finally after a big fight , I decided to leave him. I think the fight stemmed from my frustrations with the relationship, after  a year and 6 months, I just couldn’t handle it any more.  I still miss him, cause its been only three weeks post break up, but I know God has a better man for me out there, who will want to settle down and build a family with me. My advice to you Kay is to get out now before becoming frustrated.

  11. 11

    She should start dating other men. She doesn’t has to dump this one completely, but he needs some competition.   He rightly thinks that she’s going to just sit around waiting for him while he goes out all of the time getting wasted with his buddies.   She should be dating other men and looking for someone more mature and wants to invest time into the relationship.   If there’s no competition, this guy will never even consider stepping up and marrying her.   He’s complacent and taking her for granted, and she’s wasting her precious child bearing years on a frat boy.

    1. 11.1

      This was kinda of already discussed in a previous post, but I don’t think she should do that. He may consider that cheating and break up with her. If that’s what she wants, great, but frankly, if she wanted to break up, she can do that without risking her reputation. Also, if he finds out she’s with other men behind his back, he may not take it so well. We don’t want unnecessary problems.

      She can date all she wants when she officially breaks up with him.

    2. 11.2

      LOL Good luck with that.   Sane men will not choose their male friends over a woman who can divorce you.

  12. 12

    If she waits until she’s in her 30s to look for a husband she’s gonna be SOL unless she wants some guy who’s 50+. We all know from reading this blog that most men want women who want children won’t go near a woman in her 30s.

    1. 12.1

      I’ve only read a few articles on this blog, but what you’re describing is true in general. I can’t say I see it on this blog, but I’d kind of expect it if there are a lot of honest male readers.

      Most men really don’t take a woman in her 30s seriously. As a woman once described it to me, dating is like parking. If you get there late, the only good parking spots are the handicap ones. So it’s kind of dumb how in modern society people in general won’t get married young, and then even if they do there is so much pressure to implode the family unit with easy divorce because one partner is “bored” or would be financially rewarded for doing so.

      Add to that the extreme materialism in society today, and the rigged results that also generally occur later in life, and I really am not surprised at how things are turning out.

      Policy does matter. For family, hiring and economic directives. They all do matter. There is a problem when education requirements are so high, there is a lot of debt, taxes are high and so are property costs. Costs need to come down, and/or young people have to be able to become stable much sooner. Well…that is only if we care about people being happy and forming healthy marriages and families. If we don’t care, we need more of the same, as it’s destroying all of that.

      1. 12.1.1

        Well, it’s an interesting dilemma, @Gronald.   I do believe that many good men are married in their 20s or, in their early 30s are looking for wives in their 20s.   So, you are right that those of us (women) who left it “too late” are disadvantaged in some ways.  
        However, many women (myself included) would not have been mature enough in our 20s to have made wise marital choices or to have been good wives.   So, it’s a toss-up.     Marry when we have lots of choices due to our firm little bodies, lack of baggage and fertility… or try to marry when we attract few men but have a better sense of who we are and how healthy relationships work.   Neither option is perfect or easy.

        1. Wendy

          @Henriette: This is precisely why we have “starter marriages”. We marry the person we think we love and have crazy chemistry with in our 20’s, start families, and then divorce once we realize we didn’t choose a long-term mate. Then we spend a few years having fun and sleeping around, then marry again once we realize we miss not having a real connection with someone. Hopefully the second one will stick (for emotional support through health concerns that come along as we get older, financial security in old age, etc.). But this is why I think marriage, by its traditional definition, is no longer valid. There is no such thing as “for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, ’til death do you part” anymore. It’s sad, but marriage as our grandparents’ knew it is dead and gone for the most part. Now everyone is just in it for what they can get out of it and the spouse can go to hell if they don’t like it.

        2. DeeGee

          Wendy said: “It’s sad, but marriage as our grandparents’ knew it is dead and gone for the most part.

          Everything you said is good.   And somewhat reflects my life.
          As someone single and still looking, I just personally find the reality of it, expressed the way you did, as extremely depressing.

  13. 13

    “I do believe that many good men are married in their 20s or, in their early 30s are looking for wives in their 20s.”

    I don’t really find this to be true. In my 20’s, I knew some men and women who married. Sometimes it was because they “loved” each other, other times because they accidentally got pregnant. Well, guess what? One of these couples is divorced now and cut contact from one another. The couple that got married because they got pregnant are miserable and the woman nearly cheated with a coworker. Then the other couple, the guy parties a lot (they have one small child) and his wife is unhappy but she just puts up with his immaturity because she loves him. she has asked him to spend more time with Her and the child and he says he will, only to ditch them last minute.

    so, do I think “good” men/women get married in their 20’s? NoT really. In fact, i find them to be more immature/unintelligent, if anything!! They’re not very wiwe or self aware!! Getting married young is generally a bad
    decision because you do not know exactly who you are yet!!

    1. 13.1

      Kell said: “Getting married young is generally a bad
      decision …”

      Getting married at any age can be a bad decision, relationships can be a mine-field.   As a man in his 50’s who is divorced for almost 20 years and trying to date, I often find it discouraging.

      From all of the couples I have known over my life so far, unfortunately as far as I can tell not one couple is happily married.
      Most of the wives are overweight and complain that their husbands are not attentive; most of the husbands complain that they haven’t had sex in years and the wives only spend money and whine.
      To me it just looks like cause and effect on both of their parts.

  14. 14
    Faith Makena

    I am in such a situation only we have a two year old. He’s always hanging with out with his ‘boys” over the weekend and sometimes on weeknights.Its bad coz he gets home in the morning Friday through Sunday and no matter how much i have expressed my dislike in this, nothing has changed.I am 28 and so is he…

    1. 14.1

      Faith Makena said: “… no matter how much i have expressed my dislike in this, nothing has changed.

      I would wonder what indicators and/or red-flags were visible while you were dating him.   Too often we give the person we are dating a pass on bad habits that are going to only be worse in a long term relationship.

  15. 15
    Joe Johnson

    Women should marry in their 20s and not wait until their 30s for biological reasons.

  16. 16
    Sarah Lund

    A man who once told me many times, that he’d look after me, and that he “loved” me, had me feeling suspicious of him. When I lived with him, he was trying to have sex with other women in the same house. I know about this, because even though I wasn’t meant to know, I would hear them. From then on, I took him for the sleazebag he truly is. He thinks I don’t know about it. Well tough luck, mate, I found out, and leaving you to rot in he’ll. Why would I bother meeting his precious Natalie and Beverley, after that?

    1. 16.1

      sarah what the hell are you typing about??? this has nothing to do with the post

  17. 17

    Not everyone meets the right partner in their 20s, and there is your life track to consider. Vast majority of 30 something births are completely healthy, rushing into it for biological reasons is counterproductive for there is no guarantee that they will stick around until you have kids or even take care of them when they are born. 30s is not a curse for fertility, it is astounding how many tell this while witnessing plenty of healthy births by women in their 30s, be it firstborns or later kids.

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