Ask E. Jean - Tormented? Driven Witless? Whipsawed by confusion?

Advice Vixens

I’ve been seeing my boyfriend for a year, we met last Christmas at a party. We hit it off immediately and had a great spring, summer, fall, spent a lot of time together, got to know each other, and we get along well. In Oct, I saw some texts on his phone from other women-friends, a lot of back and forth messages. What happened was, we were looking at his calendar on his phone together, and when he arrowed back to the menu, I saw some names in his messages, so naturally I was curious and wanted to see what it was about. He handed me his phone for me to look, and when I scrolled back in the messages from several female friends, I was flabbergasted – the whole time we’ve been together, especially in the first six months of our relationship, he was initiating contact on almost a daily basis to these women, making plans to meet up, inviting them to do things (movies, concerts, things he bought their tickets for), many of the things they said YES and they went, but I never knew about any of it! He never mentioned that he “saw his friend today”, and we talk daily, spend the night at each others’ houses, refer to each other as boyfriend/girlfriend. In addition, it was HIM initiating contact and asking THEM, and pushing it, too. Like he was pursuing seeing them and wanted to see them. He never mentioned any of this to me and I was really surprised to be reading it.

I really reacted because we’ve been in an exclusive, intimate relationship through that entire time, we weren’t seeing each other casually, and this is really dishonest. So I said, “Why would you be initiating contact and asking out other woman so eagerly when you were in a relationship?” His answer, “They’re just friends.” Me: “That’s not the problem. I have friends too. Why didn’t you tell me about it? Or even ask if I mind? Or invite me to go, too?” Communication and honesty are the most important things in a relationship. It led to a big argument so I let it go. He wasn’t even sorry.

Now, a couple of months later, it’s still been bothering on and off and I feel like I can’t trust him, so I wanted us to go in to the new year with this resolved, with a clean slate. So he agreed to talk about it last night. I thought we would work it out and move on. Instead, he was headstrong that he did nothing wrong by not telling me, and even said, “I don’t tell you when I go to the grocery store, do I??” It’s just disheartening; I thought he’d say he understands he should have told me and that he’ll tell me what’s going on from now on. That wasn’t the case. He also kept saying, "That was a long time ago!" Me: "But I just found out about it." I feel like the relationship is over and nothing is resolved. What do you think? What do I say to him?

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    Personally, what I'd say to him is, "Goodbye."

    He initiated dates with other women, regularly, behind your back (maybe still looking, even though he was in a relationship with you). And who he never mentioned to you until the cat was out of the bag. Then he claimed they were friends, but somehow he never got around to introducing any of them to you. And when you brought this up, his reaction was to attempt to invalidate your feelings on the matter. Those were not the actions of a decent, honest, mature person.

    He's shown you his character, or rather his lack of it. Is this truly what you want?

    There are plenty of decent guys out there who will be actually worth your time; my best advice is to wipe this guy off your shoes and move on.

    reply to Jill
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    The key to me is that this was done behind your back, and with women you don't know. If these women were actual friends, you would have met them...because they're *friends*. He'd want to introduce them to you, with everything above board.

    So ... he absolutely, unquestionably did something wrong by not telling you. Furthermore, he *knows* he did something wrong, and is doubling down on a gaslighting strategy of making *you* feel responsible.

    This gaslighting is actually more problematic than the initial act(s) of arranging for dates. It means that his strategy in life is to lie, lie, lie, then deny, deny, deny -- and to blame you for his transgressions.

    Sounds like a relationship that's well over to me!

    reply to Kal
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    I agree with Jill and Kal, but not only because he was doing these things with women.

    I am the last person to advocate for couples to live completely in each other's back pockets and your guy is right that he doesn't tell you every time he goes to the grocery store.

    But, concerts and movies are kind of a big deal. They are not an every day occurrence, or even a regular thing like putting gas in the car or getting a haircut. If my fella was going to concerts and movies and never mentioning it to me -- even if he was attending with his male friends, family or alone -- it would tell me that he doesn't see me as an integral part of his life.

    The fact that he is doing it with other women is just shady on top of it. An honest man who respected you would make sure that there is no way you would feel threatened or disrespected.

    So, what it looks like to me is that this guy wants a source of easily accessible sex and emotional support while basically still dating.

    And that would have been fine if he had told you about it upfront so that you could decide whether or not that was the kind of relationship you want. What he did instead was allow you to believe that y'all were on the same page as far as monogamy while he went off and did his own thing. That is not only dishonest, it is deliberate manipulation.

    The fact that he feels no shame or remorse should tell you all you need to know about what kind of guy he is. He believes that his wants and needs come first, and if you don't like it, too bad and there is obviously something wrong with you.

    You can't have a healthy adult relationship with someone that selfish and immature. I would let him go.

    reply to Robynne
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