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I didn't cheat. SO thinks I did. What happens now?
September 13, 2012 6:21 AM   Subscribe

A few days ago, I came back from a week of vacation. Despite my calm and honest reassurance, my SO is wondering and worrying that I cheated.We've already talked, but she's still very anxious about it. This is the first time I've ever dealt with this kind of situation. MeFi, what else should I/we be doing or talking about? Did I do something wrong, and if so, what should I do differently in the future? I feel terrible, even though I didn't do anything to cheat at all.

I am male, 25, and she is 18. We've been seeing each other for two months exclusively and it's been amazing. We had planned to go together, but I ended up going solo due to various reasons. Before going on the 9 hour drive to stay at my friends' house to help out with their wedding, I had told my SO that contact would be sparse, because phone and internet access would be limited. We managed to exchange a few messages during the week.

The first thing I do upon returning is stay the night out at her place; I shared pictures and detailed accounts from the vacation, including my first visit to a strip club, with the bride-to-be and her friends and how unimpressed I was. She shares how stressful her week had been, and we enjoy each others company.

Today, my SO texts that she has barely slept at all because I might have cheated and said it would be OK if I admitted to anything, and that I had been awkward, over-excited when we talked. SO goes on to say that there are so many pictures added to my Facebook (by other people) that have the same girl (married girl in the wedding party) posing next to me, and another one hugging or dancing next to me at the reception (not risque at all).

I texted from work, and called back to explain how I knew everyone- my visits there are once a year, and reminded her that I hadn't slept all night before coming home due to partying and babysitting partiers. I have been politely adamant that nothing at all happened that would be cheating- nothing physical or emotional.


tl;dr Danced and partied with co-ed wedding party, went to strip club, girlfriend suspects I cheated even though I didn't.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (45 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
You didn't do anything wrong at all, and you shouldn't feel terrible. Your girlfriend is insecure - it's her problem, not yours. If she can't get over it, then I'd move on since it's only been two months.
posted by barnoley at 6:28 AM on September 13, 2012 [17 favorites]


Seven years age difference isn't that big a deal, unless it's the difference between 18 and 25.

Your girlfriend is still a child. Thus she's acting dramatic and drumming up drama because she is still very young and doesn't really have the experience or the right wiring in her brain to take these things in stride.

All you can do is re-assure her, and after that, if she won't let it drop, you might need to break up, because feeding this monster will be the worst mistake you'll ever make.

"Lisa, I know you feel insecure because I had a great time with my friends at the wedding. I assure you, that while we had a blast, I didn't cheat, it never even occured to me. I think you're awesome and our relationship it too important to me for me to risk it. You are my steady girl and you're all I want."

If you say something like that, but she still hocks you about it. Let it go, she's not mature enough to be in a relationship with a fully-baked human just yet.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:28 AM on September 13, 2012 [101 favorites]


She's 18, it's going to be hard to force emotional maturity onto her
posted by MangyCarface at 6:30 AM on September 13, 2012 [5 favorites]


Okay, so, this is why adults should not date teenagers. Now, bear with me for a second over the thousand furious MeFites typing out how they were in your situation and everything was fine because, clearly, you are not.

Teenagers in relationships are incredibly insecure. They don't know what they're doing, and, based on their peers, they know that something awful is just around the corner. Why? Because, socially, teenagers are awful. Ask any high-school teacher about the dating-related interactions between people your girlfriend's age and her peers. Or, hell, just think back to the stupid things you and your friends did. "Cheating" was probably rampant because relationships were so poorly defined, boundaries unestablished and hooking up was a lot more exciting than going steady.

Add the age differential to that and unless she's a exceptionally mature 18-year-old, she's probably seeing you as a Man of the World or whatever. I'm trying to think back on what I thought of people our age at 18 and it was nothing realistic.

Nothing is going to fix this except time, maybe. You're looking at an inherent aspect of a seven-year-gap in a relationship with a teenager. These are the breaks.
posted by griphus at 6:32 AM on September 13, 2012 [44 favorites]


All you can really do is exactly what you just did. Be kind, be reassuring, listen to her, try to understand her side, and find some areas of compromise (maybe even ask her what you could have done to make the situation better). I mean, these are the sorts of things to do, if you want to make the relationship work.

As others have mentioned, the age difference is a little a problematic, but if you really want this for the long-haul then you will have to be the adult and sort of pull both you through this.
posted by yeahyeahyeah at 6:37 AM on September 13, 2012


I'd move on. It's a pattern. You don't want to go there. You will be forever ringing her and being rung by her to make sure you're not cheating. You will not be able to enjoy a night out with friends. You will not be able to keep female friends unless in secret. Get out now or establish some really clear - sit down and shut the fuck up while I tell you about trust and how this relationship is going to function from your perspective.
posted by the noob at 6:39 AM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Your friends are getting married and she probably still keeps her stuff in a locker. Nothing you can really do except wait for her to age.
posted by Patbon at 6:42 AM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Your girlfriend is acting immature because she's 18.

I hate to be an age difference puritan, but eighteen is really young. Seven years alone is not a big deal - 21 to 28, for example, doesn't strike me as weird - but eighteen is young.

Date girls - er, sorry, date women! - closer to your age. Maybe you'll find that dating for two months exclusively is usually just the blink of an eye to most adults, and that a woman who is not fresh out of high school won't freak out if you go to a friend's wedding.
posted by ablazingsaddle at 6:42 AM on September 13, 2012 [5 favorites]


This kind of drama is normal to teenagers and tiresome to anyone older. You may or may not put this fire out but if you do another will only spring up at some point, especially if she gets concessions this time round. As gently as you can tell her it is a trust and maturity thing and go and find someone closer to your own age.
posted by epo at 6:47 AM on September 13, 2012


I agree with others that your girlfriend's age is probably a factor here. That said, there are plenty of insecure older women out there as well.

As the more mature person in this relationship I'd say your main responsibility is to treat her kindly while modelling good healthy behaviour. Have the conversation suggested by Ruthless Bunny with her once and once only, try not to be patronising. If she does her best to knock this stuff off then just keep modelling that trusting, grown-up behaviour. If she can't stop then you'll need to end this. Try to be gentle and to make it very clear that you are not and never were cheating but that trust is a fundamental element of loving, healthy relationships.
posted by Dorothia at 6:51 AM on September 13, 2012


Age doesn't always matter.

Some people are naturally suspicious and insecure and are always going to think the worst when separated. I know married couples that share email accounts and Facebook accounts because they are always scrutinizing and looking for something that the other may have done. If you're not like that too, that's no way to live.

If she's still going on about it in a few days, I'd say to gently let her go. Sure, she may grow out of it in a few years but that's a few years of you having to explain everything you do and everyone you know until she's legally allowed to come with you to bars and over-21 hangouts.
posted by kimberussell at 6:58 AM on September 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


You're going to have to strike the difficult balance between reassuring her and not catering to drama farming.

Good luck with that.
posted by valkyryn at 7:00 AM on September 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


That said, there are plenty of insecure older women out there as well.

Age doesn't always matter.

Here's a good analogy. It involves pet ownership and please, please please don't misunderstand and think I am directly comparing being in a relationship with a woman to owning a pet. It's just the best one that I can come up with:

You don't want to adopt a baby turtle as a pet because they generally carry salmonella. Now, does every single baby turtle have salmonella? Probably not. Can other pets carry salmonella and give it to you? Of course. But there's reams and reams of reports out there saying "it is a bad idea to adopt a baby turtle because of the high salmonella risk."

Relationship insecurity is limited by no age, race, creed or class. However, it sure does like hanging out around teenagers.
posted by griphus at 7:03 AM on September 13, 2012 [10 favorites]


Is this the first time she's accused you of cheating? Or is this a pattern? Were you awkward and over-excited when you talked to her? And what did she say to your texts and conversation this morning where you reassured her?

I'm just not seeing a big hullaboo here, really. Unless she has a pattern of being suspicious of you, or persists in asking you about this, nothing happens now -- you just continue on as you did before.
posted by sm1tten at 7:05 AM on September 13, 2012


I had found in my younger day, when I was around many young women and got to know a lot of them, that a girl became a woman at about 22 (average) in that she was able to make sound choices, knew who she was and what was going on in the world. I kn ow this is a simplistic age pick, but based on what I had noted, it seemed (at that time) valid. I note that now, many years later, things may have changed.
posted by Postroad at 7:07 AM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Have her write down exactly what she thinks indicated you cheated. Then point-by-point explain why it isn't true.

After that, it is up to her. It will fade.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:17 AM on September 13, 2012


She sounds like she's projecting. What was SHE up to while you were on vacation?
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 7:22 AM on September 13, 2012 [19 favorites]


I have a feeling that all the reassuring in the world is not going to convince her you were faithful. This is teenage drama. And the folks I know who engaged in this kind of teen drama when we were teenagers are still pretty much like it in their thirties.
posted by futureisunwritten at 7:25 AM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sometimes, a person who speaks often about cheating in a paranoid context is the one who is thinking most about cheating. Perhaps, deep down, it's not your cheating she's concerned about.

Obviously I know nothing more about the situation, so no warranty or recommendation is implied. Just a thought for the pile.
posted by nickrussell at 7:26 AM on September 13, 2012


Seconding These Birds of a Feather, the only time I've ever been accused of cheating was a situation very similar to yours where I found out later that it was actually THEM that had attempted to cheat on ME. The stomping around and huffing were all a show to distract me, or ease their own bad feelings, or whatever.

And, not shockingly, this happened when we were both around 18/19.
posted by Dynex at 7:27 AM on September 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


It doesn't matter that she's 18 - that is just what MAY be causing this particular insecurity. What matters is that it is there, and that it is not your job to fix this two months into something with her. If she can't accept polite assurance, then politely send her on her way. Continuing to engage is not doing either of you any favors, it just validates unhealthy behavior in someone young enough that they may still be learning the ropes.

Tread carefully.
posted by skrozidile at 7:28 AM on September 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Kids this age are super drama llamas. My friend was ill-advisedly dating an 18 year old a few years back, who would, on a weekly basis, stage a loud and screamy break up with him in the middle of the street and storm off into the night, usually for such heinous crimes as leaving a decent tip for a waitress or holding a door open for any female human being of any age other than herself. All these things, in her mind, equaled "cheating" on some level. We all gave him a lot of space until they finally broke up.
posted by elizardbits at 7:33 AM on September 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


What? I completely disagree with all of the above answers and I am actually pretty shocked that everyone is talking about how immature and insecure she is, acting like her worries are totally wack and blaming this all on her age.

I am not 18, I am in my late 20s with a professional career and lots of bills, so, I'm not someone whose biggest worry is what was in the note Linzzie passed to Traylor or whatever.

I would feel EXTREMELY uneasy if someone I had been dating exclusively for a few months went on a solo trip, and came back announcing that they went to a strip club for the first time, and I saw a million pictures of them with one particular girl glued to his hip all the time.

First of all, about the strip club thing, honestly, I would call off our dating entirely just based on that. Going to a strip club still one of those things where if you're dating someone exclusively, you should talk to that person before you do it. Not because you need to "get their permission" but very simply because adults who are in relationships find out where each other's sexual boundaries are (including highly sexualized activities that don't necessarily involve actual physical contact) and decide with respect whether they can live with them or not. Not just do whatever and then announce it after the fact. It sounds like you didn't find out if she was okay with that or even mention it at all to her until afterwards (if this is not true it's not evident from your post). That very fact alone, that you just went ahead and did this highly sexualized thing with a group of women, and we didn't even talk about it, would cause me to end the dating relationship instantly.

And if I were her, and you HAD brought it up beforehand, and adamantly wanted to go, I would have ended the dating relationship then too. Not because you did anything "wrong" or strip clubs are "wrong." Just that if I am in an exclusive sexual relationship with someone, I am not interested in having that with someone who is going to strip clubs. That is my boundary and there is nothing immature about it. And if that is your girlfriend's boundary there is nothing immature about it either just because she is 18 and there is nothing wrong with it.

You know, women get told all the time that their boundaries are wrong or too prudish or, coming from the other end, too whorish, and women are made to feel all the time like they are not supposed to have boundaries at all, and definitely not insist upon them or get "upset" if they are crossed. That is a billion times more true for very young women, so that's why I'm shocked to see some of the answers here.

Okay, now about the girl in the pictures. This is something that is on a completely different level than the strip club thing, because the strip club thing is a problem in and of itself.

But you know, I've had that experience many times in my life before where a girl was acting like a circling vulture around someone I was dating. (Sometimes single girls, sometimes girls in their own relationships.) It has just so happened that every last time I have observed this, I have found out later that the girl made an overt sexual play for the guy I was dating. About 50% of the time that this has happened in my life, the overt sexual play succeeded.

But before it got to the point, or before i knew it got to that point? I was told that I was just paranoid, that I was worried too much, that I was making things up out of nothing, that nothing happened, and so on, and so on. Which I usually just tried to accept, because again, that's a message that women get over, over and over, especially very young women. That their own perceptions are just faulty and wrong and just should not be trusted. But here's the thing. SOMETIMES, women are just paranoid about the things they think. But I think way more often their perceptions are 100% accurate.

I feel like people's knee-jerk reaction, when a woman has a perception they don't like or don't agree with, is to invalidate the woman and her perception ability. Call her paranoid or overly worried, or, hey, immature or insecure!

For you, I think it would be much, MUCH better to just talk to your girlfriend about this in a way that RESPECTS her without arguing about why she is immature or wrong.

About this thing with the girl in all the pictures, you could say to her, "You know Caitlin, I honestly didn't notice until then that she was in so many of my pictures, but honestly, now that I am looking at it, I do see it looks like a lot. I am not interested in her at all and that is why I didn't notice. But if there is someone who is kind of hanging around me a little much like this in the future, I would be interested in your thoughts on how to handle it. I would like to make sure you are comfortable and feel respected in these situations.
posted by cairdeas at 7:33 AM on September 13, 2012 [40 favorites]


And by the way, about the age difference, I would say THE reason that people are concerned about young women dating much older men, is the tendency of the older men to unilaterally set the terms of the relationship, and always be telling the young woman what it is okay for her to think and feel and what her boundaries should be or not. And the frequent inability of the young woman to push back on any of that. I think you should be very, very mindful about that big problem if you continue dating this 18 year old.
posted by cairdeas at 7:44 AM on September 13, 2012 [26 favorites]


I'm not going to touch the age difference part as that's well noted above.

The facts: You went to a wedding, went to a strip club, were in very little communication, you did not cheat, there are Facebook photo's of you with people of the gender you are attached to.

One of these facts is paramount to you "I didn't cheat". The rest are really important to her.

Do I think she is being reasonable? No, but that doesn't matter. If you thought this was clear deal-breaker you wouldn't have asked this question.

I suggest a sit-down conversation, ask her about how she feels see if there is any reasonable assurances she would accept. Maybe strip clubs are 100% not ok with her? maybe that's the issue. I don't know and neither will you until you frankly talk about this. Try and keep a cool heard and listen why she is upset.

This could simply be "I don't like being apart, I don't like being out of touch, I don't like strip clubs" manifesting itself in a really ugly way. If however she is just SURE you cheated, well that sounds tedious as hell.
posted by French Fry at 8:06 AM on September 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


This is why I hate the kneejerk reaction on the green to accuse the Asker's SO of "gaslighting" -- because dudes, sometimes people's reactions/feelings are unreasonable.

I think, anon, that regardless of whether this is an age thing or not, your SO is being absolutely unreasonable. I'd go so far as to call her crazy, but apparently it's not nice to call women that.

You know that you've not done anything wrong here (I disagree with cairdeas' notion that you screwed up by not clearing all of your activities with your SO first). I'd sit down with her, and try to figure out why she is jumping to these crazy conclusions, but I wouldn't make compromises that amount to her controlling your life (like, if you enjoyed the strip club and might want to go again, don't promise to never do it again, but maybe agree to let her know immediately before or after).

If she insists on being that controlling/needy afterwards -- DTMFA. You can do better.
posted by sparklemotion at 8:14 AM on September 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


First: The sense I'm getting from what you wrote is that she didn't seem, to you, to have a problem with the strip club, and that what's bothering her is the Facebook photos. I guess I'm assuming that she knew ahead of time you'd be going to a strip club, and if not, it's maybe a little boneheaded to just go to one without even mentioning it to someone with whom you're in an exclusive relationship beforehand. Anyway.

On the one hand, yeah, she's eighteen. She's on the late side of teenage relationships but there it is. This is often a teenager kind of thing - "My friend says she saw you at the mall with this other girl! What's going on?" And so on.

On the other hand, if you'd said that she's ages with you, it's not like my reaction would have been, "Wait, something's not adding up - that's something only teenagers do!" Her age is an easy thing to blame but I wouldn't go around guaranteeing you she's going to grow out of this.

Her response is one of insecurity (she sees women in the same photos as you and is reading a whole lot into that), and it's not something that reassurances will fix. If anything, it would demonstrate to her that displays of insecurity like this will give her the reassurances she wants. Maybe she's been cheated on before. Maybe the week apart with minimal contact gave her a lot of space for her imagination to run to bad places. Maybe she met someone in the week you were gone and/or she's kind of done here and looking for a way to hit the eject button.

Long story short, there are a million possible reasons why this happened and few of them have anything to do with you.

So:

MeFi, what else should I/we be doing or talking about?

"Hey, check it out: I think you're awesome and things are amazing with you even though it's only been two months. I didn't cheat on you. I didn't do anything even a little untoward. Basically you need to make this choice: Believe me or don't. Nothing short of a recording of my every waking moment will be able to prove to you that I didn't cheat. Please tell me what would convince you that I didn't cheat, and then, like I said, believe me or don't, but no line of questioning is going to change the fact that I didn't cheat, and I'm kind of done being cross-examined."

What she should be talking about: If she had misgivings, she needed to maybe ask some questions before just flat-out saying she thinks you might have cheated on her and insisting that it's okay to just tell her if you did. Regardless of whether or not her uncertainties are unreasonable (I could go either way on that one, really), it's worrisome that she went right to that accusation. She needs to cool it.

Did I do something wrong,

Assuming she knew about the strip club beforehand, no. If she didn't, then you probably could have given her a heads up at least; if she didn't know then this might have been the thing that set her off. Have a discussion with her about this and try to figure out what specifically is going on here and decide from there.

and if so, what should I do differently in the future?

See above re: strip club. Other than that, nothing.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 8:15 AM on September 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


Since she is younger, she may not know much about strip clubs. When I was in my teens they seemed mysterious and transgressive. If my boyfriend had gone to one, particularly during a time when he was out of contact with me, I would have been very worried and upset, and I would have wanted to understand what it was all about. It feels different when you get older.
posted by gentian at 8:25 AM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


my SO texts that she has barely slept at all because I might have cheated

Assuming you're not editing out conversational details or posting your interpretation of what she said, and it really played out like that: Red flag. When someone makes you responsible for their negative feelings/consequences, it is at minimum refusal to see their own emotional accountability ("because of your behavior, I couldn't sleep and XYZ bad things happened, which are all your fault" rather than "my reaction to your behavior is why I couldn't sleep"), at worst a justification for abuse ("you made me do this horrible thing, I had no other choice") and almost always manipulation at every stage in between. And unfortunately, taking accountability for your emotions and how you manage your reactions to people is not necessarily something that comes with age.
posted by lily_bart at 8:28 AM on September 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


Unless there's something you're not telling us, this really doesn't sound like a reasonable response to me at all.

I think that asking her to stop accusing and blaming you would be fair enough. At a certain point you just have to trust people. I wouldn't be keen on your going to a strip club, but you say you weren't either; nor would I react to the presence of another woman with suspicion based on what you've written here.

Which I trust is accurate and truthful, yes?
posted by tel3path at 8:29 AM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Something else that she might not be aware of is that from my experience of participating in weddings, if you're in the wedding party, you tend to get paired up with someone from the other group. From what I gathered it's strictly for tactical reasons.
posted by Sphinx at 9:32 AM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Aren't lots of bachelor parties at strip clubs? I'm not getting why that is a big deal for some people in this thread. Yeah, I think it's a gross custom, but it's a pretty widespread custom (in the US at least) and asking your partner for permission to go to a bachelor party because it's being held at a strip club seems completely unnecessary to me.

And the "you're in too many photos with this other person who's also in the wedding party" also seems like not something it is at all appropriate to freak out about.

So, yeah, she's insecure and that's her thing to work on. I don't see that you did a thing at all wrong.
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:58 AM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh, bachelorette party was at strip club? That's a bit less usual, but still. You're hardly going to be getting your full perve on with your female friends right there.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:00 AM on September 13, 2012


I would wonder if a previous SO cheated on her. This reads to me like "baggage". Have you asked about that angle and assured her "Hey, I am not Billy Bob, the bozo who did this to you previously"?
posted by Michele in California at 10:16 AM on September 13, 2012


She's young and (presumably) relatively inexperienced. At her age, I thought that strip clubs were essentially brothels, and believed that men who went to strip clubs engaged in some level of physical contact with the performers there (if not full sex in the "champagne rooms" I'd heard about). You might want to tell her what actually happens there, the atmosphere (was it laughing with friends, basically like watching a nudie cabaret with expensive drinks? that's been my experience at venues like that), etc. At her age, I also had no straight male friends. If she's in a similar boat, you may just need to reassure her that cross-gender friendships become more common as people get older. Just my two cents, as someone who was once a relatively sheltered teenage girl.
posted by pammeke at 10:26 AM on September 13, 2012


OP, I have a bunch of questions you may or may not be able to answer. How long have you known her? Has she cheated/been cheated on previously? What did she do the week while you were on this trip? You say it was stressful-- work, school, friends?

This strikes me as possibly pure projection on her part, which could explain the sleeplessness and the push back onto you any feelings of frustration or guilt that she might have.
posted by RainyJay at 11:53 AM on September 13, 2012


I texted from work, and called back to explain how I knew everyone- my visits there are once a year, and reminded her that I hadn't slept all night before coming home due to partying and babysitting partiers. I have been politely adamant that nothing at all happened that would be cheating- nothing physical or emotional.

I feel like you would have gotten more relevant answers if you had finished this narrative- how did she react to this information? Still upset, but believing you? Not believing you? Hanging up? asking to talk in person? Without knowing how this went, it's hard to tell you what to do. However, I don't think her behavior at this point is a deal breaker, and she's certainly not crazy. She's just looking at pictures of you having fun without her and feeling insecure. If you care about how she's feeling, meet her in person, tell her how you feel about her and mean it, and let her know you'll truthfully answer any questions she has and it's up to her to make up her mind how she feels about it and if she wants to believe you or not. Then go from there. Face-to-face is always better for these sorts of conversations.
posted by oneirodynia at 12:17 PM on September 13, 2012


Potential factor that hasn't been mentioned yet: The influence of her friends/social circle. I'm just guestimating here because facebook was a college thing for me, but the whole social network drama/gab could be a factor. Maybe she's hearing it from her friends. (OMG who is that girl, tropes about older guys preying on younger women, etc.) Just as a point to consider if this all seems to be not much like her or some such.
posted by Feantari at 12:18 PM on September 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Her friends are filling her ears with scenarios. They're jealous.

Ask her if this is the case. I bet I'm right.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 12:27 PM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


On the one hand, age doesn't always matter.

On the other, I was jealous as fuck when I was 18, and now, five years later, I rarely get jealous outside of extremely fishy situations. Nothing really happened, I didn't consciously try to be less jealous, I just had experiences and time to reflect that made me take things in stride and accept the risks of trust. Also because I was more emotionally mature and in control of my impulses, I was willing to believe that other people were too. She might still be really poor at understanding consequences in order to make decisions for herself. (If she couldn't help herself, how would you be able to?)

Sometimes, a person who speaks often about cheating in a paranoid context is the one who is thinking most about cheating. Perhaps, deep down, it's not your cheating she's concerned about.

Thus, I agree with this-- not necessarily that she has cheated or wants to cheat, but at this point she might not even realize what it means to be emotionally mature enough not to be preoccupied with cheating. When she imagines herself in a similar scenario she can't imagine feeling at all detached or "jaded" by experiences that have become routine, it seems like you would be having the time of your life and going balls-out and flirting and doing a lot of other things that teenagers still do to figure out who they are. She might not understand how you can be in an exciting "new" scenario and not be torn between that and leaving everything else behind. (See: going away to college.) This isn't to say that things won't work out, but you might be coming from very different places with regard to long-term thinking.

If I were you I would do what has been suggested above and tell her you didn't cheat, you don't want to cheat and never have, and she simply has to trust you. And actually, if you remember watching any movies or TV that depict guys being unimpressed by strip clubs, you might want to bring that up-- even in popular culture men aren't always the public sex hounds that young women are brought up to believe they are.
posted by stoneandstar at 12:45 PM on September 13, 2012


Oh, and yeah, she's probably used to high school boys who are by and large flaky cheating assholes (ok, not really, but if she hangs with a certain crowd at that age she's probably used to guys being kind of shameless). So yeah, it might be hard just to believe that not everyone is like that.
posted by stoneandstar at 12:47 PM on September 13, 2012


In rereading your post, your reiterating that you've been really "polite" to your girlfriend about this raises a lot of red flags about you, and the fact that this relationship is only 2 months old likewise raises a couple more. Please follow up and clarify some of the questions asked of you in this thread so we can do more to assist you.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 2:29 PM on September 13, 2012


This sounds annoying. Break up.
posted by oceanjesse at 4:54 PM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


"And by the way, about the age difference, I would say THE reason that people are concerned about young women dating much older men, is the tendency of the older men to unilaterally set the terms of the relationship, and always be telling the young woman what it is okay for her to think and feel and what her boundaries should be or not. And the frequent inability of the young woman to push back on any of that. I think you should be very, very mindful about that big problem if you continue dating this 18 year old."

THIS

If you can't be bothered to not blithely skip over her - totally reasonable and standard - boundaries, much less figure out what they are, then you have no business dating this woman. It sounds like her sense of her boundaries is not really fully developed yet, or communicated ahead of time, and that by necessity makes her a really complicated person to date in an ethical and honest way. If you search your heart and find that you are dating an 18 year old because 18 year olds tend to not have a good sense of their boundaries, and so don't comunicate or enforce them well, then you really have no business dating anyone for a while until you can sort through that shit because it is not ok.
posted by Blasdelb at 8:54 AM on September 14, 2012 [5 favorites]


I'm a dude, and I didn't get the teenage jealousy out of my system until I was around 24. I look back and note that I was neurotic and stupid and probably sabotaged relationships that had lasting potential. Either she'll learn in the short-term and you guys can keep going, otherwise (and more likely) you will be the memorable experience that teaches her a valuable life lesson.
posted by el_yucateco at 6:53 AM on September 17, 2012


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