We started this advice column as a space to hear and attempt to answer questions that our readers may be struggling with. While this column mostly focuses on dating, love, and sex, we will take a crack at answering any Sikhi related questions! These are all tough topics to handle alone and not all of us have friends or family to turn to for advice. We hope this advice column can begin to fill this gap!
I am a sophomore in high school and my boyfriend is a senior, we have been dating for almost a year now. Our relationship is long distance but he comes visit me at least once a month. I am planning on marrying him. The only problem is that he has many close friends who are girls (including his ex-girlfriend). The other girls do not seem to respect boundaries in the way I do. A month ago, he took another girl to Homecoming without asking if I was okay with it. I was upset and made him block her on Snapchat. I later found out that he still texts her and told her that he “cares hella about her.” I have almost broken up with him before but every time he begs me to take him back. He also mentioned that if his ex wanted to be cool with him again, that he would want to be cool with her too. I want to be with him and I want to make this relationship work. We finally started talking again but the facts that he has so many friends that are girls really bothers me. How do I deal with this?
Dear Morbid Mutiyaar,
It sounds like you are going through a lot. Thank you for writing to us about your experience. We want you to know that you are not alone in your situation. We know how difficult it can be and are all here to support you.
The central problem, as you have described it, is that your partner is friends with a lot of girls and this makes you uncomfortable.This is something that is tough for many people in heteronormative (boy-girl) relationships. The issues that you have identified are valid. We have chosen to highlight your concerns as they relate to the rights that you have in a relationship: the right to honesty, respect, and having your boundaries respected. We hope it is okay if we present you with some of our thoughts.
It sounds like you made it clear that you were upset with your partner’s communication with this girl–let’s call her Saheli. You did this by making him block Saheli on Snapchat. (Relationships over technology can be tricky. Check out ThatsNotCool.com for insight on engaging in a healthy relationship.) By continuing to talk to Saheli via texting, your partner was not only dishonest with you, but also dismissive of your concerns. While it is not always okay to demand who your partner hangs out with or who they can be friends with (whatever gender), it is important that your partner does act in a way that makes you feel comfortable. He seems to have done this at multiple points–first by taking Saheli out to Homecoming, and later by continuing to talk to her via iMessage. Your partner has consistently dismissed your concerns, made you feel uncomfortable, and been dishonest with you. In a relationship, you have the right to be heard and not be made to feel uncomfortable. You have a right to be with a partner who is honest with you.
Every relationship is different and, as such, the rules of each relationship are different. We are going to assume that you and your partner are in a heteronormative, monogamous relationship (a boy-girl relationship where you are emotionally and physically committed only to each other). In most (not all, depending on the understanding and agreement of those in the relationship) committed monogamous relationships, it is grossly inappropriate to tell another person other than your partner that you care for them in a way that implies romantic feelings. Being in a long distance relationship does not give your partner the license to use other people as substitutes for you; or take another person (in a way that implies romantic interest) to Homecoming without first having a conversation about it with you. Your partner has not been respecting the boundaries of your relationship. In a relationship, you have the right to have your boundaries honored and respected.
Being Respected Matters
While in a committed relationship with you, your partner said that he would get back together with his ex if she wanted. That is not okay and deeply disrespectful to the emotional commitment you both have made to other. Your partner’s declaration seems to indicate that he is not over his ex, or is not 100% committed to you. In a relationship, both parties have the right to be respected as human beings. You have the right to be respected.
You mentioned that you have a “bad feeling” about him spending time with one of his friends who is a girl. That “bad feeling” comes from somewhere (perhaps from a lack of trust) and should not be ignored. It seems that your partner has not been honest or respectful of you and your boundaries. This is likely where that “bad feeling” comes from. Learning to listen to your gut is one of the most powerful lessons of life you can learn. Trust yourself and what your gut is telling you; some people say that a “gut-feeling” is the result of the unconscious brain picking up on signals that the conscious brain cannot. It seems like you already know what you want–you mentioned trying to break up with your partner multiple times. In a relationship, we all have specific rights which include the right to be respected if we want to end a relationship. For more of these rights, check out your Relationship Bill of Rights. We understand that it can be hard to end a relationship. It took Social Justice Kaur a couple of months before she was able to work up the courage to end a bad relationship–similar to this one–for good.
Your Future Matters
You mentioned that you are planning on marrying your partner. As human beings, and as Punjabi women, we have been taught to dream of marriage and to find the perfect partner. So many of us have bought into this dream at the expense of our own selves–twisting and molding ourselves, often sacrificing our wants and needs and rights to make the person we care about fit. What many of us have not been taught is that a relationship has to work both ways. You mentioned that you really want to make this relationship work. A relationship can only work if your partner is willing to work just as hard as you. Learner Kaur recently went through a breakup and received some great advice from an older sister who said, “It may seem like he’s the only one who can care and love you, but that’s not the case. There are people out there who will care and love you, but most importantly, respect you.” You can have, and deserve a future with someone who loves, cares for, and respects you. But to have that, you must first let go of that which is harming you.
Your Time To Reflection
At Kaur Life, we neither condemn nor condone dating, but we do encourage thoughtfulness. We have done a lot of “talking” at you. What do you think your rights in a relationship should be? Are they being met? The purpose of being in a relationship changes over time. In high school, the purpose of being in a relationship may be different than if you are married and in your late 20s. What is the goal or purpose of this relationship? How has being in a relationship impacted other goals you currently have? If you are both committed to Sikhi, think about the Sikh goal of a relationship. There are several articles on the foundations of a successful Sikh relationship that may (or may not) be helpful to you. Check them out and see if any advice can be applied to your relationship.
We love and care for you Morbid Mutiyaar and wish the best for you. This year, we hope you get the peace that you deserve.
Some Sikhs With Some Thoughts
The advice offered in this column is intended for informational purposes only. Use of this column not intended to replace or substitute for any professional, psychological, financial, medical, legal, or other professional advice. If you have specific concerns or a situation in which you require professional, psychological or medical help, you should consult with an appropriately trained and qualified specialist. This column, its authors, Kaur Life, Kaur Life’s affiliates, and the publisher are not responsible for the outcome or results of following any advice in any given situation. You, and only you, are completely responsible for your actions.