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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?

Kay

Kay,

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.