Monday 24 June 2019

Ask Brian: My boyfriend went home with the office bike after the Christmas party

Our no-nonsense agony uncle gets straight to the point of your most pressing issue

(Stock image)
(Stock image)
Brian O'Reilly

Brian O'Reilly

It was my boyfriend's Christmas party last Friday, he works for a big company and it was an open bar all night.

When I woke up on Saturday morning he still wasn't home. This isn't particularly unusual, he has a habit of letting late nights turn into early mornings when he's on the sesh.

But he still wasn't home by the afternoon. I tried ringing and his phone was going straight to voicemail.

I've been out with his work colleagues a few times so messaged one of them on Facebook to find out what was up. He said the last time he saw him in the early hours he was bringing a girl from his office for a taxi. They've previously referenced this girl in my company as 'the office bike'.

Now this isn't the first time this girl, let's call her Hagatha, has come up.

I saw messages from her flash up on my boyfriend's phone one night, he insisted it was about a presentation they had the next day, so I let it go.

I'm not a paranoid person, and I always try to give him the benefit of the doubt, but at this stage I was really suspicious of where he was.  

He eventually came home on Saturday evening, and said he'd spent the night in friend's and that he'd been sleeping it off all day.

I said I knew he'd spent the night in Hagatha's, and told him it made me wonder what was going on.

He flipped out, he accused me of being paranoid and trying to control him and who he could be friends with. He said I was being emotionally abusive and trying to cut him off from other people. That really wasn't my intention, I think I was being reasonable in wanting to know why he spent the night in another girl's house and didn't bother to contact me all day.

The next day he said he'd forgive me for accusing him and he was willing to forget about it.

I just can't shake the feeling he did something wrong and I need to bring it up again, how do I go about it?

 

Brian replies:

Let's just cut to the chase - your boyfriend is a ho ho ho (that will be my only festive pun, I promise).

This is classic gaslighting - he's trying to turn things around on you and make you believe you're wrong and you've done something wrong. If anything, he is the one who is being emotionally abusive here.

He definitely deserves a lump of coal in his stocking, and that's being polite. Dog poo in the post would be more my revenge style.

You are well within your rights to ask him where he was when he disappears unaccounted for such a long period of time. The fact you have information that he could have gone home with another woman only cements this.

His complete over reaction to polite questioning is very concerning. That he has the gall to tell you that he's forgiven you for asking is thoroughly laughable.

He is trying to exert control over you by making you believe that you are in some way overreacting - when all you have done is ask perfectly reasonable questions.

Look, people can drink too much; phones get lost, batteries die -  it happens. But it's not unreasonable to expect that he tells you what happened. Many people in your position would have gone charging in when they found out he might have went home with another woman, but you approached it from  position of trust in an attempt to give him the benefit of the doubt. 

Yes, you're meant to trust each other in a relationship, but not blindly. You can ask questions, and if he gives reasonable answers you believe him and don't badger him.

You deserve more from him.

I really think you should get out of this relationship now, these emotionally abusive tenancies will only go stronger over time if he feels he can get away with it.

Give it another week if you wish - it's a tough time of year to try and deal with a break up and he's already bought your presents. Personally I'd hold out for the presents and then sending him packing.

 

Do you have a problem you'd like some advice on? Email askbrian@independent.ie  to submit in confidence.

Twitter: @Brian_O_Reilly

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