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Partner wants sleepover with friends in the city

DEAR AMY: My partner, whom I have been living with for two years, is a loving, wonderful man. We live in the country, about an hour outside of our home city. A few weeks ago, he asked if I would mind if he spent the night at a friend's place in the city after a night of board games and drinks. I do not want to be a "controlling wife," so I reluctantly told him it wasn't a big issue. Well, this week we opened that conversation again, and it is a big issue to me. I was raised with traditional values, and my partner and I attend church Sunday mornings. Not only does this sleepover seem unusual for a grown man, but he would be missing church. I applaud him for making the responsible decision not to drive after drinking, but living out in the country was our choice. A part of that choice means sometimes accepting that an all-nighter with the pals in the big city may not be appropriate anymore. The men in my family never did things like this, and I am confused because I wouldn't do it either.

-- Confused in the Country

DEAR CONFUSED: There is no one way to have a happy partnership. Some couples find balance in taking occasional fishing trips or theater weekends away from each other.

But I will say this: Anecdotally speaking, the happiest, strongest couples I've studied seem to want to sleep with their partners by their side, and would stay sober and drive through a blizzard to get home after a night with friends.

Your job is not to control your partner. Reject the idea that you are "letting" him do something you don't want him to do. Say to him, "Honey, I'm not in charge of you. I find this plan a little strange and baffling. But you should do what you want to do."

I notice that despite your "traditional" upbringing, you are not married to your partner. This could be a crossroads for both of you. If you are truly miserable with the prospect and the reality of this, then, everything else aside, you might not be with the right person.

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