“My boyfriend is going sailing with his ex while I stay at home”

Dear Richard

My boyfriend is an avid sailor and often goes out for a few days with his parents on their little yacht. He has the use of the boat for about a week later in the summer and wants me to come with him. But even though I’ve been day sailing with them and there were some moments that I loved, I don’t understand the physics of them at all, so I have to be given instructions at a really basic level. Also, I get claustrophobic going “under”; I also hate the food they make on the boat and can’t even imagine being able to sleep on board. So I politely declined.

My problem is that he didn’t even catch his breath before inviting three friends, including an ex-girlfriend, to accompany him instead. They’re all going to have a good old time on the high seas while I’m sitting at home. I’m really bored and don’t know what to do to occupy my mind – going on vacation alone isn’t really appealing. Should I have said yes or asked for some kind of compromise? Am I right to be upset?

— Niki, Cornwall

Dear Niki

I don’t think you should spend one more second of your precious life time feeling irritated, upset, resentful or angry about it. This, Niki, is the relationship you are in. He lives for sailing. You rather hate it. Things are what they are, and they are neither his fault nor yours.

Many, many people have a relationship with a partner who has a constant interest or passion which means they spend time apart. It could be anything. Mountaineering, investigative journalism, politics. Or sailing. The important thing is to decide, early on, whether or not you can adapt to such a diverse lifestyle.

That’s what you need to focus on now, Niki. Do you love this person enough to accept that their passion for sailing doesn’t just mean time away, but spending time with other people, including other women?

Only you can answer that. But until you do, you’ll be living in a kind of halfway house, a no man’s land of suspicion and resentment, and it’s a recipe for endless misery and discontent. You have to decide what you want and what you can live with. Preferably before the end of summer. Good luck.

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