Ask Wendy

Do I Have to Go on a Group Trip?

Friday, January 6, 2017
Hey Wendy,

I’m married and six months pregnant. My husband and I are raising his daughter 50% of the time. So when he came home and asked me to go away with him over New Year’s Eve, I was thrilled. This is our last chance for a quick child-free getaway.

Last evening as we had dinner with his coworkers, one of them turns to my husband and says, "Hey, the NYE plan sounds fun, we should set that up."

Record scratch What?

So when we’re alone I ask him about it and he was flippant about it, like "Oh yeah, I must have just forgotten to tell you I invited them." I told him I wished he’d let me know it was a group thing, I thought the getaway was just for the two of us. He said it was fine, that we don't have to go. But made me feel like I was being a party pooper.

Am I wrong? Should I just suck it up and go with the group? I feel like the third wheel in my own relationship, and I’m disappointed that we’ll miss romance during our last child-free holiday.

Frankie D. — San Francisco, CA

Hey Frankie,

Wow, that sucks, I’m sorry!

Let’s start with, “Am I wrong?” That’s a question to ask yourself when you’re calculating a math problem, or when you’re the only one standing on the platform at the train station, but it’s probably not a great question to bandy about in your marriage. Playing round after round of who’s wrong complete with a tallied score card is a slide right into the dismal dumps. It creates discord in your relationship and will turn your husband into an opponent instead of the one who has your back. A more useful question to ask is “Does this work for me?” If you are looking at life from does this work for me (or does this work for our family), I guarantee you’ll find more peace and harmony in your marriage.

Now, let’s move on to your thwarted sexy getaway. As adults, we get to decide how we spend our time and with whom we spend it with. “The more the merrier” is a motto for some, and your hubby might live squarely in this camp. That’s all good, but what’s missing is the full buy-in and consent from the others joining the party—namely you.

I recommend you make a deal with each other: When there’s an invitation to something, all the details are provided. You know, like “There will be twenty people coming including your old high school nemesis,” or, “We’re going on a getaway, but we’re sleeping in the back of the Jeep, still want to go?” No surprises; surprises are overrated.

We have an “all the facts” policy in our house, and if something changes, then we re-ask each other if we’re both still in for the adventure. It’s super common for things to change: A friend wants to join, the timeline is altered, or a stop along the way is added in. Changes to the master plan shouldn’t be something that one of you has to just shut up and put up with, either—agree it’s one hundred percent okay to opt out.

Now for the tricky part. If one of you says, “Nope, if that’s the plan, I’m out,” the other has to respect it. No pouting, no bullshit passive-aggressive behavior or making the other feel like a party pooper. R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

As for your latest situation, I’ll say this: In my not-so-distant past, I’ve been on vacations where others were invited against my wishes. I sucked it up, and in every case, I regretted it. Just sayin’.

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