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Parallax - Advice            August 14, 2000

   Girlfriend's off for two months in Europe - without him

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My girlfriend wants to travel to Europe all summer with her friends. Some 'girl event' they say. We've been going out only a few weeks, and I think this is just asking for cheating. We would be apart for two months. She'll be hanging out with all the smooth European guys - I can't compete with that. She's asking me if I mind if she goes - asking me if it's alright. I hate the idea. I don't even know why she would want to be apart for two months. What can I say to fix this, to make her stay?

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Her view:

Dear Clumsy American,

Tell her the decision is hers. If she wants to go, then support that. You won't be able to keep her happy in the US for two months while her friends are off in Europe - you'd just be the bad guy. If she's comfortable being away for two months and not worried about what it will do to the relationship, then that is a signal to you that perhaps you are taking this relationship a little too seriously. Maybe you should make some fun summer plans of your own. Go rafting with different groups of friends, or biking, or whatever.

And if she cheats - then she cheats. Better to find out now. You can't stress out about potential for cheating - you'll have an ulcer within six months. There is always potential. The part you can impact is to have a healthy and supportive relationship with her. This way if there is temptation to cheat for some reason, she may come to you first and give you a chance to work it out.

So get your summer plans in action and tell your girlfriend to have a great trip. It will be a test of your relationship - I have a feeling she'll appreciate you much more when she returns. Those Euro guys aren't so fabulous anyway.

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His view:

Dear Clumsy American,

I know what my near-sighted colleague is going to tell you. Let her go and make your own fun plans. But no, no, no. That's not the ticket.

Listen, how dare she even consider asking you? I mean, of course we all know she can't wait to hop across the old Pond and land herself in some slimy Italian ragazzo's lap. Of course we also know she's got cheating as the number one sightseeing activity on her list. Have you checked her backpack? I'm sure it's stuffed with condoms - probably yours, too.

And two whole months? My God, how could anyone bear the thought of being away from you for such an extended period? She must be insane, or worse - she must not really love you.

Tell her she just can't go. Deny her. Teach her who's boss. Explain to her that even though there are people in this world who think they can just do whatever they want - they can't. And if she refuses, I say: Good riddance. What a relief. End of story. Adios.

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