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Ok, we seem to like each other...now what?
December 9, 2009 1:37 PM   Subscribe

I met a girl the other night. Problem is, my girlfriend was there, too. Hopefully less scummy than it sounds.

My girlfriend and I were invited to a party by a friend of a friend, who was the only person we knew there going in. The girl who invited us has a roommate, to whom I was instantly attracted to, both physically and for her personality. No big deal, but as the night wore on, it became clear that she was into me as well.

Everybody got nicely drunk, and this girl began flirting with me. Lots of touching, upon finding out that my girlfriend and I weren't married leaning in close and saying, "so you're saying I have a chance," and draping herself over me in group pictures to the point that a stranger looking at them would never guess that she wasn't my girfriend and the girl standing next to me was. She kept drinking and eventually headed to bed. A few of us stayed up way too late and then left with promises of doing it again soon. Everybody at the party seems to have loved my girlfriend, and I don't blame them, as she really shines in social situations like that.

I sent the flirting girl a positive/neutral Facebook message a couple of days later saying I had a good time, and she sent back a positive/neutral message saying we'd have to do it again soon. I am at a loss as to how to proceed, or if I should even try. Obviously the alcohol was an influence on her behavior, re:lowered inhibitions, but I wouldn't think a girl would be that overt in her behavior (even when drunk) unless she was very interested.

So much for the situational stuff, now for the relationship background. My girlfriend was aware of the flirting and its extent, but she is not at all the jealous type and thought it harmless. We have dated for a few years with a break of several months a couple of years ago. We both dated in those months, and after unhappy breakups for both of us fell back into our relationship. We generally have a good time together, but we have different goals and conflict styles, and we have discussed and agreed on many occasions that our relationship must and will end at some point, but as for the most part things are ok and we still care about each other deeply (though the fire is more or less gone), neither of us has had the balls to pull the trigger. Lately (prior to the party in question) I have been thinking more about breaking up.

Is there any tactful way to pursue this other girl? Have you ever been in or heard of a similar situation that turned out well? Obviously, doing anything to pursue the other girl involves putting an end to my current relationship. Thanks for your time. My AskMe throwaway email address is myaskmethrowawayemailaddress@gmail.com. Thanks for your time.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (44 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Break up with your current girlfriend FIRST and then pursue new girl. It's the only way to be fair to everyone involved.
posted by youcancallmeal at 1:40 PM on December 9, 2009 [48 favorites]


Is there any tactful way to pursue this other girl?

Sure. First, break up with your girlfriend. Second, realize that she was drunk-flirting at a party and that there may be some less charitable reads of her behavior - for instance, someone who flirts with someone else who is clearly in a committed relationship may be a little enamored of drama or have a competitive narrative going on in their head, or may have a real problem with boundaries, or may just have been idly drunk-flirting at a party. In other words, if this is the signal you need to finally bring your relationship to an end, do that for its own sake - but don't do it because you think there is definitely a future with this girl. Her behavior doesn't seem to indicate much seriousness about you.
posted by Miko at 1:41 PM on December 9, 2009 [56 favorites]


Is there any tactful way to pursue this other girl?

I don't think being tactful is the issue here. I think behaving honorably is. That means something pretty simple: if you want to be with the other girl, and you realize that that will involve ending the relationship with your current girlfriend, then you break up with your current girl first. She deserves that much respect and decency from you.
posted by scody at 1:41 PM on December 9, 2009 [7 favorites]


Ok, well, it is clear to everybody (including your girlfriend) at this point that you are into this other girl. However that almost takes a back seat to your secondary question which is whether you should break up with your current girlfriend or not.

I'm curious what you think would be reason enough to do so since if I were in your situation I would have done it already. If the fire is not there, and there's been acknowledgment that this relationship is not going to go the distance, then why drag it out when there is a potential for one that might?

Just my .02, I think you have some bigger things you need to figure out.
posted by Elminster24 at 1:43 PM on December 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think you should pull the trigger and break up with your girlfriend, even if you don't pursue the new girl.

Also, don't be surprised if the new girl has no interest in you once you're actually available. There are a million reasons why she may have decided to throw herself at you when you weren't really hers for the taking.
posted by cabingirl at 1:45 PM on December 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


Hopefully less scummy than it sounds.

Geeze, dude, sorry, but this is exactly as scummy as it sounds. Cut it off with your current girlfriend, then pursue the other girl.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 1:45 PM on December 9, 2009 [25 favorites]


Or, what Miko said.
posted by cabingirl at 1:46 PM on December 9, 2009


If you wish to experience personal growth, you will deal maturely with your current relationship on its own merits, rather than using new girl as an excuse/opportunity to just bail.
posted by yarly at 1:46 PM on December 9, 2009 [5 favorites]


Does shit like this happen often? If so, is an open relationship an option?
posted by NoraReed at 1:47 PM on December 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Everybody at the party seems to have loved my girlfriend, and I don't blame them, as she really shines in social situations like that.

I'm going to predict that once the shining gf is gone, the interest of the new girl will be gone too.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:49 PM on December 9, 2009 [9 favorites]


Obviously the alcohol was an influence on her behavior, re:lowered inhibitions, but I wouldn't think a girl would be that overt in her behavior (even when drunk) unless she was very interested.

Quite frankly, this isn't true.

I've known my share of females who would behave this way with anyone and everyone when drunk and feelings toward the person they were paying these attentions to was not a consideration.

This was one night of flirtation and may or may not lead to something --- I suspect more than anything that it won't if the girl's the roommate of your girlfriend's best friend. That's a recipe for another AskMe. But if you do pursue this girl, some of the tact involved in doing so would involve waiting a bit. Since she lives with your girlfriend's best friend, you may be putting her in an awkward and unhappy situation by pursuing her too soon after the break up.

And if you want to break up with your girlfriend, don't use that night or that girl as an excuse for it since you were thinking of breaking up beforehand. Leave the party and the other girl out of the break up.
posted by zizzle at 1:50 PM on December 9, 2009 [5 favorites]


Bah, just break up with your girlfriend. If both of you are waiting for something to force the issue, this is as good an issue-forcer as any.

You should be aware, though, that flirty-girl may have just been flirting with you with no intentions of anything else. Breaking up with her and then being all "Sooooo, I just broke up with my girlfriend" miiiight come off as a little bit creepy, even if she was interested in you in earnest.
posted by 23skidoo at 1:50 PM on December 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Thirding Miko's advice.
posted by craven_morhead at 1:57 PM on December 9, 2009


I would question the "quality" of someone who flirts so shamelessly with someone she knows is there with someone else.

Think hard.

Is this the kind of person you want to be with? When you two are at a party and she's flirting hard with someone else there, are you OK with it?
posted by Danf at 2:02 PM on December 9, 2009 [8 favorites]


You should be aware, though, that flirty-girl may have just been flirting with you with no intentions of anything else. Breaking up with her and then being all "Sooooo, I just broke up with my girlfriend" miiiight come off as a little bit creepy, even if she was interested in you in earnest.

A better tactic would be to break-up, change your facebook status, wait a week or two, and message her and say "let's hang out!"

But you gotta start with the break-up, anyway.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:03 PM on December 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


A better tactic would be to break-up, change your facebook status, wait a week or two, and message her and say "let's hang out!"

Yeah, all I meant was "Don't make it so obvious that you are breaking up with your girlfriend in order to try and date her."
posted by 23skidoo at 2:08 PM on December 9, 2009


I sent the flirting girl a positive/neutral Facebook message a couple of days later saying I had a good time....

Unless your girlfriend is open to you seeing other people, you've already gone too far right there. Nothing else can happen here unless your current girlfriend is accepting of it, or you break up.

She's okay with flirting, which is nice and mature of her, but you'd better be sure she's okay with going further before you do so. That's just common manners, there.

Is there any tactful way to pursue this other girl?

Not if part of that pursuit is hiding her from the current girl, no.

I'm in a relationship where I can say "I'm thinking about screwing Cindy." and my long-term SO would (at worst) roll her eyes and tell me to use a condom. But most people are way more possessive than that.

Do it honestly, or don't do it at all.
posted by rokusan at 2:08 PM on December 9, 2009 [4 favorites]


Mr. Have Your cake, Meet Mr. Eat It Too...

If you don't break up with your girlfriend now you will be diving head first into "scummy"

Regardless of this other girl.

You guys are just going through the motions. That is extremely bad.

Then, after the break-up has settled, pursue "new girl".
posted by French Fry at 2:09 PM on December 9, 2009


Is there any tactful way to pursue this other girl?

Step 1 would be to break up with your girlfriend. I don't know if step 2 would be to date a girl who likes to hit on people in relationships, but that's your call.
posted by chunking express at 2:10 PM on December 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


If you genuinely know that things are not going to work out long-term with your girlfriend (and you are sure you are not just "rewriting" your perception of the relationship while in throes of infatuation with Party Girl) you might want to just go ahead and break up so that the next time you meet somebody, you'll be free to pursue without all the complications. Because if you are really not into your girlfriend you can pretty much count on variations of this situation happening over and over.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 2:11 PM on December 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


If your girlfriend is really okay with it, why not just be honest all around? Why not ask her to open your relationship and let her know you're thinking of dating other people? And the other girl already knows you're taken and didn't seem to care.

However, I want to add my own word of caution to what people upthread were saying about the motivations of people who flirt with taken people.

There was once a girl who fought tooth and nail to get my boyfriend, flirting it up right in my face, secretly sleeping with him behind my back. When I found out, and broke up with him? She suddenly became unavailable, and had a new boyfriend within weeks. What she was after wasn't him, it was the thrill that came from him being in a relationship.
posted by Ashley801 at 2:13 PM on December 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Some people are just flirts. Add alcohol, and they become obnoxious, clingy flirts. If it wasn't you, it'd be someone else. You were the new guy... fresh meat so to speak.

My advice -- don't go changing your life over one drunk party interaction. If you want to break up with your girlfriend, then break up with your girlfriend. If you want to date other people, then break up with your girlfriend, and --maybe-- this girl can be one of those people you date. But if you're going to break up with your girlfriend to specifically date this girl, well... you might be setting yourself up for a whole lot of hurt.
posted by cgg at 2:13 PM on December 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


I would be a bit wary of someone who flirts so shamelessly with someone who she knows is involved. Do you want her flirting shamelessly with someone else when she gets bored with you?

My take: This is not the sort of girl you should be expecting a committed relationship from. Also: If you want to be involved with her, break up with your current girlfriend first.

But I would be wary of giving up on something that's a sure thing for a fling with a girl who, quite frankly doesn't seem especially trustworthy.
posted by dunkadunc at 2:15 PM on December 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Everybody got nicely drunk, and this girl began flirting with me.

You were drunk too, right? (Not that there's anything wrong with that.) If you were drunk it's possible--even likely--that you're overestimating how attracted she was to you because you were attracted to her.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:23 PM on December 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Your story reminds me of the plot of Divorce, Italian Style (except that you aren't married). I am not going to ruin the ending but you might get some sense from the comments above.
posted by special-k at 2:23 PM on December 9, 2009


we have discussed and agreed on many occasions that our relationship must and will end at some point ... neither of us has had the balls to pull the trigger.

Pull the trigger. Pull the fucking trigger. Pull the god damned trigger.

Have you ever been in or heard of a similar situation that turned out well?

Yes, this one time I was in a relationship with this one girl and I wasn't feeling particularly fulfilled, so what I did was I broke up with her. I've also had girls do this to me. In both cases, it turned out well.
posted by Greg Nog at 2:32 PM on December 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


This is about you, not about the new girl. After all, supposing that she isn't really interested, someone else will come along.

I'm also going to go out on a limb and say that your story sounds fishy. I believe that you are telling it correctly, but "so you're saying I have a chance" is not a typical female thing to say to someone whose girlfriend is standing right there unless there is something else going on. I don't know what it is... maybe you were a challenge, maybe she had just met your girlfriend ten minutes before and disliked her and wanted to make her pay, maybe she is actually an agent sent indirectly by your girlfriend to get you to break up with her, or to give her an excuse to break up with you.

Just don't count on this new girl becoming your new girlfriend. I would be really surprised if that happened. Best case scenario, you have sex with her one time and then she turns out to be crazy.
posted by bingo at 2:52 PM on December 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


If you both think your relationship is just some kind of space-filler and aren't really that emotionally tied to being together, you either need to break-up and just be friends, or you need to ask her about having an open relationship.
posted by ishotjr at 2:53 PM on December 9, 2009


Also, this new girl sounds like one to be careful with. She sees a guy with a girlfriend as essentially single, and fair game to hit on, so long as he isn't married? Um, what? I'm sure your reciprocation egged her on, but it's a little bit of a red flag.
posted by ishotjr at 2:55 PM on December 9, 2009


Also sounds like you're trying to describe your relationship with your girlfriend as no big deal at all just to make us think "this guy should so go for the new girl!" Are you sure your girlfriend feels the same way and wouldn't care about breaking up? I'd be a little more careful of her feelings.

Either way, definitely break up with her before doing anything with the new girl. And then depending on what kind of relationship you want to have with the new girl (just hook up? or real relationship?) either just flirt heavily and go out for drinks, or flirt a little, casually mention the break up and meet up to hang out in a couple of weeks after the break up.

And like everyone else said, unfortunately there are wayy too many girls out there that just like the chase of someone who is taken.

But either way, sounds like if you're willing to consider cheating or dating a new girl, you should break up with the girlfriend, unless you're totally sure she'd be okay with an open relationship, in which case you still have to tell her, if your genitals are going to be touching someone else's.
posted by KateHasQuestions at 2:59 PM on December 9, 2009


And yea, what ishotjr said, if a guy decided to flirt with me and say "oh so you're not married, I still have a chance?" when I said I had a boyfriend, I'd be so disgusted by his behaviour that I wouldn't be interested in him regardless of how much attraction there was before.
posted by KateHasQuestions at 3:00 PM on December 9, 2009 [5 favorites]


Keep in mind that some people like to flirt with people in relationships because it's "safe". She may have just been having fun and flirting with someone who she thought couldn't or wouldn't reciprocate.
posted by electroboy at 3:06 PM on December 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


What this girl at the party did is super-common and not always actionable. This is called partner poaching. She wants to feel desirable and have attention. You want to have all the self-esteem boost and sexual conquest this girl has seemingly offered you while ruling out any potential negative consequences.

You'd probably feel stupid if you went after this girl now and she rejected you (especially while sober) because at the party, she was more or less feeding off the ego boost of your attention and little else except alcohol. Everybody else noticed, even your girlfriend. Do you think your lady won't notice all the subtle nonverbal cues that go along with fucking this other girl... or being rejected by her when you DO try something? Everybody will know whether you did anything or not, based on the social situation you already described above.

You don't know if want to break up with your current squeeze because you're young and don't want to go long periods of time without having a guaranteed date for ____ event or getting laid. That's understandable. Why search all the time for strange when you don't have to? I mean, not when you've got Temp Girlfriend right here, still bangable, and willing to be your holdover until Definite Next Girlfriend comes along?

This isn't REALLY a question about a girl at a party. Although you might think that, and be a really horny guy, which is 100% normal and understandable.

If you wanna fuck around in college or whatever, do it. Just don't put too much emotional baggage at the end of your dick while doing so.

Short answer: break up. Being alone isn't that big of a deal. Then you can fuck whomever you want. Current girlfriend is comfortable, but so are Birkenstocks with sandals, and they're not always the right choice for every situation.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 3:18 PM on December 9, 2009


If you have reached the point in the relationship where you're this close to ending it because of a night of flirtation by some drunk girl, then the relationship is already over, and the drunk girl has nothing to do with it.

Do the right thing. Dump the current girlfriend. But honestly, even if the girl from the party is interested in you at all once you're not "safe," that one won't last. Sorry.
posted by Etrigan at 3:18 PM on December 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


If your girlfriend is really okay with it, why not just be honest all around? Why not ask her to open your relationship and let her know you're thinking of dating other people?

I would suggest that, for many people, there is a huge, unbreakable line between "being understanding about flirting at a public party" and "interested in an open relationship".

And what Miko said. It sounds like you're looking for an excuse to break up with your current girlfriend, so you should do that with a minimum of drama. Just make sure you do that on its own terms, though, with no expectations about what may or may not happen with Party Girl. I have to say, one night of drunken "safe" flirting doesn't sound like much of a connection. It's possible she only flirted with you because you were taken - it was a safe, silly thing to do because it was fun and you both knew it wouldn't go anywhere - and that doesn't necessarily indicate interest in an actual relationship.
posted by Salieri at 3:31 PM on December 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Sure, start dating this person. Pretty soon you'll find yourself at another party watching her nuzzle someone else. If you're cool with that, then go for it.
posted by cymru_j at 3:37 PM on December 9, 2009


Obviously, doing anything to pursue the other girl involves putting an end to my current relationship.

Well, given that you already answered your own question, I'm not sure exactly what you're looking for here. Permission? Granted. Go break up with your girlfriend and pursue flirting girl. Just make sure you do it in that order.
posted by ook at 3:59 PM on December 9, 2009


I don't usually respond to relationship-filter questions, but I couldn't resist this one. This is where you went wrong:

Obviously the alcohol was an influence on her behavior, re:lowered inhibitions, but I wouldn't think a girl would be that overt in her behavior (even when drunk) unless she was very interested.

Girls (and guys too) will do things when they're drunk that are completely unrelated to what they would do when they aren't. That is, just because she was all over you while liquored up doesn't (necessarily) mean anything.

If you're happy with your girlfriend, forget about the other girl. But this may make you rethink your current relationship.
posted by Simon Barclay at 4:07 PM on December 9, 2009


What she was after wasn't him, it was the thrill that came from him being in a relationship.

This is so true. But whatever you do, break up with your girlfriend first. If after that you pursue dating this new girl, beware that she might do this kind of thing alot.
posted by anniecat at 4:10 PM on December 9, 2009


Look, everybody's responses here (that you should deal with your current relationship on its own merits and not depend on the new girlfriend to pan out) were totally predictable.

I think that you want to break up with your current girlfriend, but inertia is difficult to overcome. So you came here for a little push.

Consider yourself pushed. End your current half-assed relationship, and then try to start something with this other girl. Don't be too upset if it doesn't pan out, but at least you will have made yourself available for something better going forward.
posted by zachawry at 5:47 PM on December 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


Ask your girlfriend what she thinks. I had one of my co-workers ask if she could be my "second girlfriend." I asked my girlfriend, figuring I'd give it a shot, and she gave me an emphatic "no." Never hurts to ask.
posted by Slinga at 10:17 PM on December 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Drunken flirting one night at party does not ever guarantee a relationship will come of it, so if you're planning to trade one relationship for another, be aware that it might not work out as you plan. You also seem to be missing the point that ego is playing a big role here. She's getting an ego boost by flirting with someone who reciprocated, even though he has a girlfriend (which is likely even more points for her, in her book), and your ego is boosted by the fact that this girl was paying attention to you in a way that your girlfriend doesn't. It doesn't necessarily mean anything at all.

I am, however, struck by this comment from you: "Problem is, my girlfriend was there, too." Is that really what you mean? Are you saying that you would have hooked up with this other girl if your girlfriend weren't around? I think you need to examine your motives and circumstances, and yes, break up with her anyway.
posted by runningwithscissors at 9:10 AM on December 10, 2009


I'm going to throw a slightly different answer in here. If you already know you have to break up with your current girl, and you're sure that this new girl is worth pursuing, and you're also aware of and comfortable with the fact that she could flirt/sleep with/date other guys while going out with you, then here's my suggestion:

Wait. No one likes being dumped because their partner found someone "better." As tempting as it might be to throw away the old and immediately jump into a new pursuit, you're still dealing with people, and one person with whom you presumably shared a lot with and have come to care for. Break up not because someone new caught your eye, but because you have admitted that this relationship isn't going anywhere for you.

Break up, then wait a few weeks before initiating any serious contact with this new person. Her being a roommate of a best friend makes this a tricky situation, and nothing is going to stay secret for long within this group. For you to be tactful, you would have to hold your horses. Don't contact her immediately with anything, not even light facebook posts that mean nothing. Jumping from one girl to another is very scummy indeed - and though technically this is what you're going for, take this transitional period seriously. No one here can predict how the breakup with go down, and you yourself might not know how long your girlfriend (or you!) might need for the dust to begin to settle.

Being tactful would mean acting as a gentleman with both of your intentions and feelings taken into consideration. So give it time, think long and hard about what things you want and their possible consequences, then give a final show of respect to your current relationship by not forgetting all that it involved the very next day.
posted by Tequila Mockingbird at 12:19 PM on December 10, 2009


follow-up from the OP
Thank you, everyone, for your responses. Although much in this thread is a bit off-point (hat-tip to Zambrano), there is also a lot of good, sage advice. You've all given me a lot to think about.

I'm not sure where the misconception that Girlfriend is best friends with Party Girl's roommate came from. I stated pretty clearly in the beginning of the question that the roommate (who invited us) is a friend of a friend, so any worries of trouble between best friends are unfounded. All that out of the way, I'd like to say that I took some of the advice in this thread and discussed the whole thing with Girlfriend, and she was 100% supportive of the idea of me having sex with Party Girl, and when I raised the possibility of maybe developing feelings for Party Girl at some point, she said, "Well, we'll talk about that if it happens." She also knows about the Facebook messages, and thought it was cute. Regardless, the perspectives and opinions in this thread were very valuable and helped me see that my reaction to the events of the party was immature. I'd like to single out Miko, Unicorn on the cob, and Tequila Mockingbird for "best answers," though I'll stress again that almost everyone was helpful in some way (clearly, especially those who recommended talking openly about this with Girlfriend). I've obviously got some serious thinking to do, and while I never really expected "answers," you all at least helped me figure out what I need to think about. Thanks again.

posted by jessamyn at 5:59 PM on December 10, 2009


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