Couple Crisis - She’s Always With Her Pals

Should Couples Socialize Separately?

She wants to go out…without her guy. Is a little space healthy or hurtful for a relationship? Judge Marilyn Milian from The People’s Court decides.

By Judge Marilyn Milian

Relationship case #4: “Do we always have to go out together?”

Plaintiff: Elizabeth, 28
Your honor, thank you for hearing our case. I love spending time with my boyfriend Anthony, but sometimes I want to go out with my friends—alone, without him. I can tell he’d rather come with me, so I do invite him along most of the time, but he almost never has fun, and I spend a good part of my time worrying about him instead of enjoying my time out. However, to not invite him would probably make him more upset. He thinks couples should do things together, but I think it’s better if we branch out. How should we handle this?

Defendant: Anthony, 30
Your honor, I don’t mind if Elizabeth goes out sometimes and does her own thing. But we are together after all, and you’d think she would want to share most of her life with me. I feel that as a couple, we should want to do different things than we did when we were single. We should have "couple" friends and do "couple" things with them—or do things just with each other. The reason I don’t have a good time going out with her in groups is because she’s often with her single friends, who have different priorities. I feel like she’s hanging onto the past when we’re around these people. How can we grow closer as a couple if she’s shutting me out?

Judge Marilyn weighs in:
There’s nothing wrong with Elizabeth wanting to spend time with her pals, apart from Anthony. Without socializing with friends, some people may start to lose their identities, which isn’t good for the relationship. But that all depends on where Elizabeth is going out—and how often. If she’s hitting bars and nightclubs every weekend, then that’s a clear statement to Anthony that “I like you, but I’m still looking.” She may argue she’s just going where her friends want to go, but that’s a crock—deep down, she’s looking, period. But if she just wants to go out occasionally and if it’s usually for lunch dates, shopping, or for dinner, then Anthony’s got the problem. After all, Elizabeth is inviting him along, so it doesn’t seem like she’s got anything to hide or that she’s trolling for some male attention.

The Verdict:
So long as their time apart doesn't start to surpass their time together, I rule in favor of the plaintiff. Elizabeth has a right to go out alone—and should not feel obliged to invite Anthony every time. Just tell him, “Tonight’s my night;” otherwise you’ll to end up resenting him for tagging along and infringing on your girl time. Likewise, Anthony shouldn’t feel like he has to breathe on his girlfriend 24/7. If he’s going just so he can spy on her, then that’s silly. He’d be better off just hiring a private investigator or better yet, moving on if he so mistrusts her. Over time, couples should want to spend more time together. But hey, you two are still young. Enjoy the freedom while you can.

In 2001, Judge Marilyn Milian became the first female judge to preside over The People's Court (, the original court TV program now in its 20th year. She lives in Miami with her husband and three daughters.

Got a relationship problem you need Judge Marilyn to solve?
Send us both sides of your story, along with both of your names, ages, email addresses and phone numbers in case we have further questions about your case. We reserve the right to edit your case and feature it in a future issue of Happen.

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