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Neighbor dating drama conundrum!
December 12, 2008 5:06 AM   Subscribe

All's fair in love and war? A guy I am dating has pitted me against my neighbor, do I ditch him?

So I met this great guy and we really hit it off, you know all that sort of stuff. I felt a lot of chemistry with him and I was so happy that I had met someone who enjoying doing the same things I do. Problem was that when we started dating I was going away for some time. When I left he said he would miss me, but we didn't really ever talk about exclusivity because it had only been a week.

We live in a strange little place out in the country with about 500 other students. It's kind of isolated and drama is admittedly rampant. Apparently, while I was gone he had a little fling (involving sex, of course) with a next door neighbor (I have about 16 of those) while I was gone. He made it clear to her that it wasn't serious, but she developed feelings for him and when he told her that he couldn't see her anymore because he wanted something serious with me, she was pretty angry. He claims that he always made it clear that this was a fling, but she thinks he lead her on.

This neighbor and I aren't really friends, but we have some common friends and they all tell me to not resume dating him even though before this incident some of them told me that we were perfect for each other. On one hand I think it's pretty sleazy to date my neighbor while I'm gone, but on the other this place is pretty weird and I and many other victims/residents here have done similarly sleazy things that we wouldn't normally do because it's a little crazy here. Also, we didn't have an commitment when I left and well...everyone is a neighbor here.

I really like this guy and he now wants to be exclusive. We had also planned a trip and everything is all booked...and I was really excited because there is so much we wanted to do together that my past boyfriends never would have done. And while this group of girlfriends is nice, I haven't been friends for them very long and during this time they haven't really had my back (left me alone after I drank heavily, etc.), so I'm not sure I want to sacrifice a potentially good relationship for them. Both this guy and I come from a different country and we are going back there in four months.

Ack, I'm really torn about this because I know this place is insane and makes people do crazy things, but I'm also a little worried about what this says about his character. Should I tell him I can't date him anymore?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (26 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
I can't see anything that would make me doubt his character. You weren't exclusive when he had the fling. Not dating guys because they have the potential to have flings would seem to me to be bad decision making, as a lot of men would not assume a commited relationship after one week, and enjoy the odd fling.

The fact that he told the other person he wanted a serious relationship with you speaks well of his character and of relationship potential.
posted by Not Supplied at 5:21 AM on December 12, 2008 [2 favorites]


How crazy is this neighbor? Your mutual friends? Is this the kind of thing they will shrug off, or hold against you for a while? None of these things should be deciding factors, but they should be in the back of your mind.

Another thing you don't mention is if you two had had sex before he had this fling with another girl. That, honestly, would make me feel pretty weird.

If you are truly okay with the circumstances that his fling fell under and all that jazz, I say go for it. Go on your trip, and start something lovely with him. If, however, any of it makes you feel off or uncomfortable, it may be a good excuse to walk away.
posted by piratebowling at 5:37 AM on December 12, 2008


Dude. You were dating for about a week, he had a fling with someone else, and then told her that he didn't want to be with her anymore because he wanted something serious with you. Think about that again for a minute.

He's not pitting you against your neighbor; you're just caught up in the middle of all this drama because you live in drama's Grand Central Station. You have a choice not to perpetuate it, but freaking out about the guy's past sexual history (which is what it is, especially now since he said he wants to be with you and not her) is a not good way to keep things calm. Be cool.
posted by sugarfish at 5:59 AM on December 12, 2008 [5 favorites]


Ack, I'm really torn about this because I know this place is insane and makes people do crazy things, but I'm also a little worried about what this says about his character. Should I tell him I can't date him anymore?

Maybe. I think other answerers are missing the issue. The issue isn't that he dated someone else while you were away; the issue is that he dated someone he didn't really like just to fill the time until you got back, hence his insistence from the beginning that it was "just a fling". Can you be with someone who does that? I think that's the issue you really have to think about, and I think it's telling that all the people who know the both of you think you should drop him.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:59 AM on December 12, 2008 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I am with TPS on this, do you dig being with someone who will love based on proximity or in hippy song parlance, "if you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with"? kind of thing.

Now, you say that circumstances dictate behavior that is not the norm for many of the people there, similar to some sort of emotional Lord of the Flies, so you might want to ask yourself whether it is a good idea to feed into what someone called upthread, "grand central station" of drama by being with someone who is into drama and your friends think may not be great.
posted by jadepearl at 7:10 AM on December 12, 2008


I think it would normally be telling that the people who know you both tell you to drop him. But I don't think the people who are telling you this are your friends - it was dangerous that they left you alone when you were drunk, which indicates that they don't care about you very much. What they seem to want is drama, and the way for them to get that is not for you and he to be getting started in a happy relationship.

In terms of the fling, I also don't think the guy did anything very wrong as you weren't exclusive. He was up front with the other girl from the beginning.

I say go for it. Or at least follow your heart and don't worry about what people who aren't your friends think of your choices.
posted by hazyjane at 7:14 AM on December 12, 2008


Maybe. I think other answerers are missing the issue. The issue isn't that he dated someone else while you were away; the issue is that he dated someone he didn't really like just to fill the time until you got back, hence his insistence from the beginning that it was "just a fling".

Wow, where are we getting that he didn't really like this other girl? It's possible to like someone even if it's just a fling (or "just a fling").

What dating strategy should he have employed in anonymous's absence, assuming that he knew he wanted a serious relationship when she returned?
posted by 23skidoo at 7:38 AM on December 12, 2008


Maybe he is sincerely interested in exclusivity now that anonymous is back. Who cares what he did when she was gone, if it wasn't with her BFF or sister. Give a guy a break.
posted by thinkpiece at 8:11 AM on December 12, 2008


Answering a question with a question:
If he wanted something more serious with you, why was he screwing the neighbor?
You may live in a crazy, freaky place, but everybody's still in charge of their own actions, right? You are perfectly capable of choosing not to play along with the craziness if you don't like it.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 8:20 AM on December 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


I say - go and enjoy your trip! Seize the day, enjoy the romance, etc etc.

But keep a bit of distance if you can, in your mind. You can't really know what parts of him came out that your friends saw and you didn't. There is something a little cold about keeping up a purposefully casual sexual relationship while waiting for her neighbor/roommate to return from abroad.

Keep an open mind. Don't rush into a commitment with him. Be discreet around your neighbor and your mutual friends. Did I read right that you two are from the *same* other country? If it's still going well you'll learn more about him when you're both back there. If it really has the potential to be a good relationship, a little caution/slowness won't mess it up.

I would say be as respectful as you can of the feelings of your neighbor and friends. Spend time at his place, etc. But what's the worse that can happen? You're going home soon anyway. Either your heart will get broken or it won't. What else is new?
posted by Salamandrous at 8:31 AM on December 12, 2008


If he wanted something more serious with you, why was he screwing the neighbor?

Because one has nothing to do with the other? Sex is often just sex, and it sounds like he was laudably honest with all parties. If the neighbor hadn't gotten all clingy and weird about it the poster probably wouldn't be as freaked out. It's understandable that she's concerned about the timing, but it doesn't sound like he did anything untrustworthy, just horny. If you are the type of person to be sketched out by man's (or woman's) periodic desire to have one night stands, you should work on getting over that, in my opinion.

Hell it might even speak to his commitment to your burgeoning relationship that he wanted to get busy real quick before jumping into monogamy with you.

Results: DNDTMFA.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:32 AM on December 12, 2008


Sex is fun, people have it, it wasn't great judgment to have it with your neighbor, but on the other hand he seems cool so...

Proceed with caution, as per usual. Don't decide RIGHT NOW that HE IS THE ONE. Observe his character as you date and see if he's a jerk or not. That's what dating is for.

& it seems that these "friends" are just jealous that he's not getting with their friend. Oops, too bad for them.
posted by sondrialiac at 8:38 AM on December 12, 2008


If I was sincerely interested in dating someone I knew would be back after a short trip, I probably wouldn't sleep with their neighbor. That's kind of stupid. I mean, unless you were gone for months and months and months, he probably should have exercised some self control. Unlike Potomac Avenue, I'm not sure people who need to have crazy sex before "committing" to monogamy are worth your time.
posted by chunking express at 9:03 AM on December 12, 2008 [4 favorites]


And I'd also ignore the advice of your 'friends' that don't sound that nice. Find friends who will help you out when you get really drunk or need to move or ...
posted by chunking express at 9:04 AM on December 12, 2008


He seems OK. Made a bad decision by having a fling w/the neighbor, but it sounds like he's been honest throughout the entire situation (and an awkward one at that). Go for it if you like him.
posted by PFL at 9:15 AM on December 12, 2008


If you are the type of person to be sketched out by man's (or woman's) periodic desire to have one night stands, you should work on getting over that, in my opinion.

I don't. I think it's valuable to know your values and to choose the people you date in-line with those values, whether we're talking about sex, money, family, religion, anything right on down to the color of your socks. You are perfectly within your rights to not be interested in "casual" sex, and it's OK to not want to date people who are.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:19 AM on December 12, 2008 [3 favorites]


I'm with the DNDTMFA crowd.

But then, I can't even figure out what he supposedly did wrong, so I might be the wrong person to ask.
posted by small_ruminant at 10:31 AM on December 12, 2008 [3 favorites]


ThePinkS: Yeah I could have phrased that better. It's certainly ok to not enjoy casual sex and try to choose a partner who shares your values. BUT in this case she already found the dude and likes him. Is it really any different from dating someone for a while and then going "Oh hey have you ever had a 1 night stand?" and when he says "Yeah a few years ago, it was fun but not something I do all time" getting creeped out by it. That's more like sexophobia and practically just sounds unfair to yourself and your partner.

But I could be just broadcasting my wishful thinking, so take my advice with a grain o'salt. I would hope a lady I really liked would never break it off with me because of my whorish past, but instead would judge me only for who I am today, and break up with me for that.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:31 AM on December 12, 2008


Is it really any different from dating someone for a while and then going "Oh hey have you ever had a 1 night stand?" and when he says "Yeah a few years ago, it was fun but not something I do all time" getting creeped out by it.

Yes, it's very different- he had a "fling" with someone after they had started dating (not exclusively, I know), he had admitted that he really liked her, and the barrier to their relationship was short (I think?) and had a clear end-point. If I were in our poster's shoes, I'd think, huh, if he liked me so much, why did he need to get involved with somebody else? That would make me feel a lot less valued. So that's stike one. And then we find out that the "fling" has resulted in a falling out. It would be one thing if he had slept with the neighbor and they were still friends, but for there to be a negative situation after the fact would make me think that maybe this fellow doesn't have very good judgment- he's not good at reading other people, he's not good at communicating, or both. Strike two. Throw in all the mess with the friends and the strange little cult community, and I'd be over it. No thank you. I think it's in the poster's best interest to stay outside the whole mess. There's no reason to say, well, when in Rome, and throw yourself to madness.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:06 PM on December 12, 2008 [2 favorites]


he had a "fling" with someone after they had started dating

Seeing someone for a week, and then bailing "for some time" doesn't even count as dating.
posted by small_ruminant at 1:05 PM on December 12, 2008


1. Guy meets girl.
2. Guy really, really likes girl.
3. Girl goes away.
4. Guy knew girl was going away, and wants to get serious with girl when she gets back.
5. Guy boinks girl proximate to girl-he-likes-who-is-away.

*scratches head*

I mean, it's not a breach of ethics, but it wouldn't jive well with me either. I lived in a poly household for a while (I was a friend-of-a-friend who was renting a room) and I had no issue at all whatsoever with all of that boinking, so it's not like I'm a prude.

I just kind of think: if he honestly liked you and wanted to have a relationship with you, he couldn't have WAITED? Even if he didn't know what was going to happen - what, it was going to fall off if he didn't sleep with that girl right that minute?

Part of it for me is that he had to know you were going to get caught up in residual drama. I ask myself, what if he had boinked someone you didn't know and you never heard about it - i'd still ask myself the questions above, but at least in that case it had no chance of hurting you, even tangentially, or putting you in an awkward position.

so leaving aside anything else, it just seems like a sleazy move.
posted by micawber at 1:46 PM on December 12, 2008 [2 favorites]


Yes, it's very different- he had a "fling" with someone after they had started dating (not exclusively, I know), he had admitted that he really liked her, and the barrier to their relationship was short (I think?) and had a clear end-point.

How long do you think that anonymous was gone for? She says she was going away for "some time". I was thinking like 6 months.

Hey anonymous, how long were you gone for?
posted by 23skidoo at 2:00 PM on December 12, 2008


I second micawber. The insta-hookup also gives me pause, even if he's been honest about it all.
posted by jenfullmoon at 2:22 PM on December 12, 2008


So do you live on Wisteria Lane or something?

You guys weren't exclusive right? If you've only been figuring things out for a week then its not like you guys were in a serious committed relationship. He was free to have to fling. If you really want to pursue this guy then go for it. (As long as he is as serious about this as you say he is). I wonder why your common friends (with the fling girl) are against you dating him. Is there something missing? They don't sound very nice since it seems you're saying they're not very supportive.

(Unless they live in a crazy world where, the woman a man slept with should be hers. But then this leads me to think this 'neighbor' girl of yours is a little bit of a bitch. Did she know you two were hitting it off? It seems that way since your common friends know about. And also because he made it clear to her that YOU are the one he wants, not her. She had to have known! She was probably waiting for you to leave so she could snatch him up and get the mutual friends to back her up!!..okaayy maybe not but you see where I'm going here?!)

You already made plans with him and I really can't point out anything he did that was wrong. He slept with a girl and made it clear it was a fling and he TOLD YOU. He isn't pitting you against anyone, his choice seems to be quite clear.
posted by guniang at 4:00 PM on December 12, 2008


You could be right in your reluctance, this guy's dalliance with one of your many neighbors during your absence could signal a fundamental incompatibility. Or, you could be wrong, it might tell you nothing about your future together. You might grow old together, you might break up in 2 years because he develops an addiction to durian during some trip you take together, and the smell becomes too much for you.

Given that you don't have a lot invested thus far, you really have no way of knowing what it means. So, you could just cut bait now, because you don't have much invested, or you see if you can get past your misgivings and give it some time to see whether you two are compatible.
posted by Good Brain at 11:23 PM on December 12, 2008


The only thing that skeeves me out is him wanting to get his exclusive on. Wtf's with that?? Because like technically it's been a week. Go on your trip and have an unrestrained kick ass time but exclusive as in a relationship. No way. It's been 1 week!

*Also... I suspect this instant connection thing is nothing new to him. It's still fun! But don't read too much into it :) I believe them both. Yeah he told her and then ditched her before you got back. But it's possible there was fantastic chemistry by which she was led to believe that this was the beginning of something...
Yes, I am drawing inferences -- you're not mad, although you explore that option in a way that a sexually blasé person wouldn't. To me - strongly indicating he's one of those people. They are charming beyond words and really really fun, but it hurts you if you take it too seriously. Think of it like a Chameleon. For the time that little guy is perched on your jacket rocking your world with what he does best - it is totally real. But yeah.. :) *

The trip seems to suggest like plans for the future...
The suddenly (...does the timeline fit had you not left? v) wanting to get exclusive seems distasteful. To be offensive to her? Some kind of twisted "I know I fucked up but I only want you," kinda thing? I don't know but if it was all so casual, seems it should still be just casual?? Don't punish him over it - look forward to your trip. You're going to have a great time!! But.. serious, exclusive relationship is not the next logical step here. (Not ruling it out but... yeah, wtf?)
posted by mu~ha~ha~ha~har at 4:16 AM on December 13, 2008


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