Girlfriend Slept with someone else
March 15, 2017 9:43 PM   Subscribe

I've been dating my girlfriend for around 9 months. We got talking about previous sexual partners last night and she mentioned she had sex with someone else a week after we started going out. Am I wrong to be hurt?

Thanks for taking the time to read my question. As I've said, I've been with my girlfriend for about 9 months now. We've had our ups and downs, but we really love each other, and I really want to make the relationship work.

Yesterday we were having a conversation that somehow moved onto previous people we have been with. I knew that this wasn't a wise thing for us to be talking about as these conversations haven't tended to end very well in the past. This was no exception, unfortunately.

My girlfriend told me that she had sex with someone else about a week after we had met. People are likely to have mixed opinions on this, and that makes sense. I can certainty see the argument that we were not an official couple yet, and that she was free to be with who she wants. That doesn't seem to be the way my brain is thinking though!

The thing is, we really hit it off from the beginning. We met through online dating and, even before we met in the real world, we seemed to have an excellent connection. After a couple of days of talking online, I stopped talking to anyone else. We met after a couple of weeks of chatting, and we really hit it off as soon as we met.

After we met up for the first time, we kept chatting online, and the excellent connection we had seemed to have gotten even stronger, and it seemed to be on both sides. It wasn't long before we met up again, and again, and so on, and here we are 9 months later in love with each other.

After our first date, I was thinking to myself how much of a nice time I had with her and how I could see the relationship going places which, it has. There wasn't even a small part of me thinking of having sex with other people. If I'd had a random offer, I'd have most certainty turned it down. I was very surprised to hear that, despite seeming to have similar feelings to me, she had sex with someone else while she was seeing me, even if it was at the very beginning of the relationship.

I moved the conversation on quickly due to being hurt and not wanting to get into a big argument when I was (secretly) quite emotional about it. What I feel I really need to know is if it was just once with one person and if she is still in contact with this person.

As much as it hurts for me to think about it, I think the relationship will be over if she tells me that she was with him any later on in the relationship, or if she tells me she has been with others as well since we got together. I think the reason for this is because of how close we got very quickly, so I won't be able to understand how she could have been with them if she feels the way I feel about her.

Best case scenario is that she only had sex with one person one time a few days after our first date. I'll still not be happy about it, but I can probably live with it. That being said, it kind of puts a damper on things. We met on the 8th, and always go out and have fun in some way (meal, movies, bowling etc) on the 8th as a sort of mini-anniversary. Now I know she had sex with someone else shortly after we met, it kind of takes some of the shine off of it.

Do people think I'm right to be down about this? Any advice, opinions or sharing of similar experiences would be much appreciated. I'd like to hear opinions of those that have found out that their partner had a lot of sex with many different partners after you started to date them too, but to be honest, if it turns out that's the case with my girlfriend, I don't think I'll be able to trust her, and it'll sadly have to be over.

Thanks in advance!
posted by Coolcatjc to Human Relations (51 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Yes it sucks, but no she didn't do anything wrong. There's nothing for you to do now but enjoy the relationship you currently have.
posted by bitdamaged at 9:49 PM on March 15 [42 favorites]


I think the issue is with you. I do not think her having sex one week after you met with someone else means anything to her love for you now (or then). I am not saying you are wrong, but I am saying she is not wrong either and that you are over-reaching to expect her to have decided one week in that you are it, full stop. If it were me, I would not ask if she were still in contact with this person. I would want to be reassured that the relationship with that person is long over.

I am not one to jump to telling people to see a therapist, and I am not sure it applies here, but I would consider it if I were you just to understand where this viewpoint is coming from and help you address the feelings with the love of your life. It seems as if you view it as some sort of betrayal of your love at first contact thing.
posted by AugustWest at 9:53 PM on March 15 [9 favorites]


People have VERY different comfort levels with having multiple sexual partners at one time. For some people, sex and romance are very closely tied, and they can only have romantic/sexual feelings for one person at a time. Some people ONLY have open relationships, in which they have sexual and/or romantic feelings for multiple people, and I've heard from some of these people that it doesn't diminish their feelings for each partner independently. It's a spectrum. For you, having sex with someone else would be a reflection on how you felt about her. For her, this clearly was not the case, as she continued to date you and is now in love with you. Even if she was having sex with him until the day that you decided to be exclusive (which would be an 100% okay thing for her to do IMO), she STILL chose you over him.

Speaking of which- you've had a conversation with her about sexual exclusivity, right? It seems like you had assumed that sexual exclusivity necessarily follows from strong, mutual romantic feelings, but this is definitely not always the case in modern dating.
posted by quiet coyote at 10:06 PM on March 15 [11 favorites]


Neither of you is "wrong", but there is clearly a mismatch in your value system.

American society is all like "no one is exclusive until you say the exact words, and if you don't like that, it means you're insecure and need therapy!" But plenty of other societies don't operate that way. There will probably be future issues caused by this difference in values, the same way there would be if you came from different cultures.

This particular incident was in the past, but there will be future incidents that expose this difference. e.g. how much contact she has with exes. How she decides to handle it if she becomes attracted to someone new.

The same way that you would with any value / culture difference, you can either talk it through and come up with compromises, or you can bail and look for someone who shares your values, knowing that they may disagree on other values. Maybe if you found a different person, she'd share your views on exclusivity but have different attitudes towards money, or how you spend time, or how often she wants to socialize, or how to decorate your home. Pick which battles you want to fight.
posted by cheesecake at 10:08 PM on March 15 [25 favorites]


It's certainly understandable that you might feel hurt by this situation. You felt like you were having a love-at-first-sight thing and that she was sharing this with you, and you feel hurt to discover that at least at the beginning, she was not as instantly smitten with you as you were with her.

Recognize, though, that you are not being hurt by her actions but by your unspoken and quite possibly unreasonable expectations. She didn't do anything to you, she simply lived her life, you built up that first date as having some specific meaning to you that it apparently did not have for her.

She has since then grown to love you and built a relationship with you and wants to be with you. Those are all good things. Even if she was seeing other people when you first started going out, she chose you over those other people. Don't make her regret that choice by treating her like a cheater when she isn't.

If you sincerely can't get over this, though, breaking up with her is the right thing to do. Not because she wronged you, but because you need to work through this and not take it out on her while you do it.
posted by jacquilynne at 10:08 PM on March 15 [47 favorites]


You're not wrong for feeling how you feel. She's not wrong for doing what she did.

She picked you. Be here now.
posted by rtha at 10:14 PM on March 15 [38 favorites]


As a data point, the norm among my friends is to continue multiple sexual relationships, or at least openness to them, until there has been an explicit conversation about sexual monogamy with a given partner. Even if someone was "instantly smitten" or in love at first sight, it wouldn't be out of the ordinary to be having sex with other people too.
posted by quiet coyote at 10:16 PM on March 15 [5 favorites]


...And I just skimmed your posting history and I dunno. I'm not gonna say DTMF but at this stage things should really still be unicorns shitting rainbows, and it doesn't seem like it is for you. There's some combination of her not being the girl for you and you not being the boy and since you can't actually make her be different from how she is, or has been, you might want to think about what you're bringing that needs to change (in a relationship with her), or doesn't need to change, and work on that.
posted by rtha at 10:24 PM on March 15 [13 favorites]


For me, the beginning of a relationship is a very delicate time because I'm the type who focuses on one person at a time, and if I find out that the person I'm seeing has seen someone else, after having met and dated me but before any discussions of exclusivity have taken place, it ruins it entirely for me. I'm like an animal. If a guy has another woman's scent on him I lose interest entirely. Since you weren't exclusive, and she was obviously in a different headspace and enjoying a bachelorette's lifestyle instead of zeroing in on you at the time, she didn't do anything immoral. That being said, I wouldn't be able to continue my relationship if I found this out. Gross
posted by Avosunspin at 10:45 PM on March 15 [3 favorites]


Especially with online dating, I think this kind of thing is normal because it's a defense against getting hurt. Even if she really seriously liked you, she had no way of knowing that early if you genuinely felt the same.

Love at first sight is a romantic notion, but letting yourself indulge that impulse is more likely to lead to you crying your eyes out staring at a last text from someone who ghosted weeks ago than it is to a happily-ever-after. It is normal and healthy to give it a bit longer before you take things really seriously. This doesn't always mean actively dating or sleeping with other people, but it can. Online dating is different than meeting through other means, when you have more reason to think that the other party is ready to take the relationship seriously from the beginning. If you're going to be online dating in future, it's a good idea to either get used to that idea... or get used to the fact that you're going to have to say something up front about your expectations and this is going to turn some women off.

That doesn't mean it's bad that you feel hurt about this! It just puts it into the realm of "negative self-talk" if your brain isn't listening to reason, not necessarily "totally sensible thing to break up over". You might have other totally reasonable things to break up over, but it'd be better to deal with the negative thoughts first before trying to appraise that.
posted by Sequence at 10:52 PM on March 15 [4 favorites]


Strong vote to buck up and get over it. You liked her enough to be exclusive to her even before you met her, and you're now upset because you found out she didn't feel the same way about you at the very beginning.

You obviously understand on a mental level that there was no agreement of exclusivity at the time. But it's bugging you because this is making you feel less valued in the relationship and that's pretty uncomfortable for you.

This isn't about your value in the relationship. It's about her exercising her right and agency to explore relationships until the time you became exclusive.

Until you agree on exclusivity, when and with who and how many times and whether she enjoyed it simply don't matter. End of story.
posted by mochapickle at 11:00 PM on March 15 [11 favorites]


There's nothing wrong with what she did. At all. Having your feelings about the unwanted info is also OK. But, don't start treating her differently and letting this become a toxic thought. That's absolutely not fair and it's much worse to be speculating about her trustworthiness based on this conversation because now you're 9 months down the road and are in a real relationship. She was honest with you, don't punish her for that. Also, if you know that this is a bad topic for you, stop having this conversation. It's absolutely fine to say, "I prefer to not discuss this" and move on. Lots of couples take that road and avoid this snare.
posted by quince at 11:34 PM on March 15 [10 favorites]


I too remember your username and your last question.

It seems like at minimum, you and your girlfriend have different communication styles.
At medium, you have very different opinions about sex and sexual boundaries within relationships.
At most you're generally incompatible.

I'm leaning toward incompatible based off the questions and language in this ask.

I think it's fine to be upset when you had this idea that she was everything to you and she didn't necessarily feel the same. It can hurt. However, you never voiced that preference to her or were AT ALL exclusive. It's also quite normal to have multiple dates from online dating.

We've had our ups and downs, but we really love each other, and I really want to make the relationship work.

I've been there. You're trying to defend the ups and downs with love. When things move fast, sometimes those rushes of feelings can overwhelm red (or yellow) flags.

EVERY relationship has ups and downs. It's the nature of relationships. It's how BIG those ups and downs are. So when you specifically mention "ups and downs" they're probably a bigger issue than you'd want them to be or that is good for a long term relationship.

Again, I don't know your relationships, but language like that and past asks FEEL like things I said or friends said while in bad relationships.
posted by Crystalinne at 11:40 PM on March 15 [3 favorites]


these conversations haven't tended to end very well in the past
Depending on how "well" these conversations ended then I think it may be something you would want to look into. If you have a pattern of not dealing with something "well" then it may be indicative of some other issue you have irrespective of the details of your current relationship.
posted by fullerine at 12:02 AM on March 16 [10 favorites]


You don't have the right to make her feel bad about this. You two are close, and you could easily stab at her and hit home. You'd hurt yourself far, far worse by acting unprincipled and small-minded and foolish but you're welcome to do that, except for the part about it also hurting her, which you don't get to do.

Were you to ask me -- and you did -- I'd say that I do not think that you should discuss this with her at all until you've gotten some of the charge out of your fear and disappointment and anxiety. If you don't have a relationship with a therapist, you can still make an appt or three with one on a Right-Here / Right-Now / Bang-Zoom basis, sortof like going to the ER rather than waiting for the appt with your physician. A wise, close-mouthed friend would be a good stand-in here; this sort of situation is exactly why I have a mentor.

After you've reduced your level of fear and disappointment and anxiety, if you then decide to have A Talk with her about this, you absolutely have the right to tell her that when you learned what you did it jangled you, and has frightened you. (Keep it focused on *you* and not on her; ie: "I was jangled when I learned this. It really frightened me." and not "You're a big fat jerk, I hope you get hit by a bus.") You get to ask her where she is today w/r/t the love you share. You get to ask her what is her take on exclusivity with you from this day forward.

If she tells you that she's in it and it's all you but you find that you just cannot trust her (or if you find that you just will not trust her) then you've got to walk. The sooner the better. If you don't trust her but stay in it anyways, you'll be toxic to her and to yourself, everything will reek of vomit and decay. Don't do that. Walk.

I see this as one of those things that could mean danger or great good. You'll learn how to lay your heart open in the face of fear. You'll learn more about her, about yourself, and about the two of you together in a short time than you could in four years of your mini-anniversary dates on the 8th of every month. (Which, by the way, I think totally rock.)

tl;dr ~~ Discharge your fears. Then talk to her if that seems right. (Optional, but recommended: Get out "Combat Rock" and listen to "Should I Stay Or Should I Go.") Then make your decision.

Good luck.
posted by dancestoblue at 12:05 AM on March 16 [3 favorites]


You have answered your own question. It's a question of fit, and she doesn't seem to fit your needs. Keep in mind that over time your requirements in a romantic partner may evolve, but right now you seem to be looking for a reason to break up with her.

You can't change the past, so if the past weighs this heavily you could have a frank conversation with her about your feelings. Instead of letting the conversation drift, focus on how you feel. Don't try to make how you feel her fault. She isn't responsible to you for a connection she made in the early days of your relationship. (After all, her partner likely was someone she knew before she met you.) I get the idea that she can explain herself clearly. It would be a mistake to frame your conversation in such a way that implies that she needs to defend herself. I have no way to really understand how she thinks her conversations with you about previous loves are supposed to affect you, so I'll take your narrative at face value--she gave an honest account without trying to mess with you. I assume your impression of her affection for you is accurate.

In my world relationships are complex and don't usually have tidy symmetry. No two people are exact mirrors of each other in intensity or values. I've never separated from a romantic partner without misgivings; on the contrary, my earlier relationships were complicated by errors because I had mixed feelings, and tried to make a bad fit work, when it would have been better to part with whatever pride I could manage to salvage. I don't count some really stupid moves on my part, or nightmares with the Dragon Lady, just good times with good partners in relationships that simply didn't have legs.

You sound like a fairly young person. Don't beat yourself up over things that you don't control. Comparing yourself to other lovers is not a real good way to relate to your romantic partner--there are sooooo many ways that gets bad. If it's a deal breaker, though, then break the deal and get on with your life. I guess my wish for you would be that your notions of romantic partnerships would continue to evolve until you hit the jackpot.
posted by mule98J at 12:08 AM on March 16


This may be a bad comparison but...imagine you are looking for a job and you go on a really great interview. No job offer...yet...but a great interview. You get the call that you've made it to a 2nd round interview for that job. Exciting! Then you get a call regarding an interview for a totally different job. What do you do? You schedule an interview for the other job. Why? Because who knows what will happen with either job. Dating is like interviewing. It doesn't mean you got the job. A really great 1st date doesn't even mean a 2nd date will happen. And more importantly it doesn't mean a relationship will happen. You guys had a great 1st date. And it led to a full on...hopefully great relationship. But in the very beginning it was just a 1st date...like a 1st interview. She wasn't sure if she got the job or wanted the job. Your pain is understandable. If she slept with someone once you agreed to be exclusive then yes she's in the wrong. But that doesn't appear to be what happened. Forget about it. Enjoy the relationship...she's with you now. And she didn't have to decide to be with you after a 1st date. Even though you may have decided that.
posted by ljs30 at 12:16 AM on March 16 [22 favorites]


Assuming you two hadn't slept together before she did this, it's absolutely normal and to be expected. Try not to fret about it.

Personally I think that exclusivity should start once you've first slept together. After that point you're either exclusive or you're not, and if someone was still mucking me around after that I would end it. It's the way I dated too -- I was only ever "sleeping with" one person. If that relationship didn't happen I would perhaps start "sleeping with" someone else with whom I'd been dating, but not until I had broken up with the first.

It seems to me that she was "sleeping with" this other guy, then broke up with him and got serious with you. If she hasn't slept with anyone else since first with you then I vote she's done nothing wrong.

OTOH, from your previous question I would be tending towards DTMF anyway...
posted by tillsbury at 12:29 AM on March 16


Hey OP, I read your last couple of posts about this woman. You seem to once again be succumbing to the idea that your mate should meet your perfect ideal.

No one ever will. Not ever. All you will ever have in your life are very short relationships if you dump someone every time they reveal they are less than perfect.

Only you get to decide what value to place on this particular imperfect match of your and her sexual expectations. But please do note that at some point, you're going to have to start accepting SOME imperfections if you ever want to have a long-term relationship. You can't get out of that.

With that said, I'm hoping that you once again choose what you chose after your last AskMe about the facial hair. In your own words: "Thank you all for your comments. Even the potentially overly negative ones have helped me realise the bottom line - I love this girl and don't want to lose her, regardless of some hair on her face. She is the nicest, funniest, prettiest girl I've ever met and I'm done with being silly about this." If she's really still the nicest, funniest, etc. then you should focus on that and stop focusing on this latest revealed imperfection.
posted by nirblegee at 12:31 AM on March 16 [26 favorites]


Do you respect your girlfriend?
Do you respect that she is a grown sexually mature human who was not a virgin when she met you?
Do you respect her choices? Which include choosing to be with you, by the way...?
If you cannot respect her and love her FOR not DESPITE the experiences that have made her who she is, then break up with her so she can find someone who does.
posted by calgirl at 12:46 AM on March 16 [7 favorites]


I'm on team time to get off this merry-go-round. All the ups and downs! After already being bummed out that you're not her ideal sexual type/best lover ever, you're now struggling over another blow in the same department. Meanwhile you've also been struggling with your revulsion over her facial hair. It's not going to work out and I'm sorry, but there will be pain ahead regardless. Take what you've learned and move on.
posted by carmicha at 12:50 AM on March 16 [2 favorites]


Hi! I basically was your girlfriend when I met my husband. I had a lot of options, I was exploring them, and there were some loose ends. This did not mean I did not respect my husband, and I closed those loose ends down when I knew we were serious.

Huge thing. My husband accepted me for who I was when I met him. Couple of earth shaking arguments aside here we are. Committed.

Do you like your girlfriend? I ask this seriously because she seems to be pretty upfront about who she is, and you have seem to have asked multiple questions about your relationship with her. Do you actually like her?
posted by arha at 2:12 AM on March 16 [7 favorites]


As a data point, to counter the above, in my circles (educated professionals in large city), once sex happens, the relationship is exclusive.

As cheescake says above, different people have different value systems. Your feelings are valid, as are hers. You need to decide whether you can accept it or not.

While it's not your partner's responsibility per se, if I saw my partner was hurt and struggling with accepting a different value system I have, I would help guide them along the way, as I care for them and I want to bring them along for the ride. Your partner's reaction to your reaction will also be illuminating.
posted by moiraine at 2:29 AM on March 16 [3 favorites]


Dude, I would have thought after your previous conversation with her about other sexual partners (the one where she told you that you were not the best sexual partner she's ever had) you would have learned to stop wading into that shark-infested water. I can't help but wonder: why do you keep having these chats and more importantly, why do you keep ignoring your very valid feelings?

I get that you think that you like her but there truly seems to be some fundamental mismatch between you where you get concerned about a thing and ask for advice, but you're really asking us to validate your feelings, which is fine to a point but it seems you're kind of ignoring your instincts. That's not good. You've gotten a few moments with her where you feel like maybe she's not great for you, people here tell you that yeah, you're right and it doesn't seem like a great match, yet you're ignoring that advice then back asking again if you're feelings are right.

I mean, people here can tell you ad infinitum that your GF is okey dokey and you should stay with her, but then you'll be back in a few weeks with another question about some thing where you feel unhappy, but how would we feel?

The larger issue, and the one you're ignoring, is that you are 100% entitled to however the heck you feel. It doesn't matter how we feel about her and her actions. You need to accept that you feel however you do, and that's FINE. Your instincts are your little internal warning signals -- respect them and follow them. They seem to be telling you that this woman is not a good match for you.
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 2:35 AM on March 16 [17 favorites]


Am I wrong to be hurt?

Yes you are wrong to be hurt.

Do people think I'm right to be down about this?

I don't know if it's right but I do think it's normal for you to be down, it's something you didn't know that might have made a difference 9 months ago. You're wrong to do anything about it other than perhaps confirm what the parameters of your relationship are and whether she's slept with anyone else since you started seeing each other.

My wife and I both had overlap with other people right at the beginning of our relationship. It really doesn't matter what she or I did before we'd committed to one another.

If you girlfriend slept with other people since you started your exclusive relationship that would be a different matter. But it really doesn't sound like that's what she did because regardless of whether you'd decided to be exclusive, she wasn't in the same place yet.

If you take this too far I suspect you'll drive your girlfriend away, you say you love her so why on earth would you do that? Whoever this other guy was, she preferred you. You won. Congratulations. Now don't ruin it over something that doesn't need to mean anything in the long run.

(Other people have read your earlier questions and are taking those into account for more context. I'm not. I'm just taking this question as it is.)
posted by The Monkey at 5:51 AM on March 16 [1 favorite]


It's not the sex that causes me to pause so much as the telling you about it.
posted by Segundus at 6:18 AM on March 16 [1 favorite]


I absolutely and completely think you are in the wrong here. It sounds like there is more background to this story/relationship, but if you are asking about this specific issue? Others obviously have a different interpretation, but if I ever found out my partner thought he had any claim on me before we were exclusively committed, I would consider that a huge red flag, and would be out of there like a shot. Why on earth would anyone expect someone they just met to shut down their romantic social life? It's incomprehensible to me, and I'm not exactly a huge dater. You are perfectly in your right to have emotional reactions to things-- we are all human. But if you're asking a group of random people if they think there is any reason on this planet for you to feel justifiable miffed, then count me as someone who vehemently believes that people have no claims on the actions of others until there is mutual clarity about what kind of a relationship each party wants.
posted by thegreatfleecircus at 7:04 AM on March 16 [10 favorites]


I think your title should be person I'd only met once or twice, slept with someone else.

I would be hurt to find this out too. If you're only willing to date folks who have sex in comitted relationships, thats fine. But that's a different thing that what your post is about. She had no comittment to you of any kind, and it's totally unreasonable for you to have expected one.
posted by Kalmya at 7:16 AM on March 16 [4 favorites]


The film "Chasing Amy" is definitely problematic, but -- IIRC -- Silent Bob's monologue towards the end is exactly this. If the relationship is a good one, don't blow it up because of it. If you have other issues, you have other issues, but this shouldn't be a deal breaker.
posted by steady-state strawberry at 7:23 AM on March 16


knew that this wasn't a wise thing for us to be talking about as these conversations haven't tended to end very well in the past.
The lesson here is not to never talk about this stuff. The lesson is that you both need to work on your communication or maybe split up because good relationships are not built on avoiding subjects. Same for suppressing your emotions, this is not a path to a happy and mutually fulfilling relationship.

As for being upset: eh, I'd be a little upset, but this past partner is not as concerning to me as how you deal with it, and the bits above.
posted by SaltySalticid at 7:30 AM on March 16


I don't think she is wrong to have slept with someone else before you were committed, but you have this mental picture of the ideal woman that she will never be able to measure up to.

I have read your post history and believe that you should end this relationship because too many of your expectations are not met.
posted by Kwadeng at 7:31 AM on March 16 [4 favorites]


You are very in the wrong here. And judging from your last questions about this same person, please do her a favor and end it. If you think a few stray hairs, her not thinking you're the best sex ever, and her sleeping with someone else when you weren't exclusive are even problems, then please let her move on and be with someone else who doesn't have such wildly inappropriate expectations of her. She sounds like an awesome laid back girl, let her go find an awesome laid back guy.
posted by greta simone at 7:32 AM on March 16 [3 favorites]


I feel like a lot of people are jumping on your phrasing of "Do people think I'm right to be down about this?" and interpreting it as literally whether you or your girlfriend is correct in this situation. But that doesn't make a ton of sense in the context of your question and I don't get the impression that you're asking whether she did anything wrong because you already fully admit in the question that you know she didn't.

But you feel bad anyway, and I understand why you would. Not because she did anything wrong or broke any promises or anything but because she acted in a way that you wouldn't act, and the reason you wouldn't have acted that way is because the way you felt absolutely prohibited those actions. That means she couldn't have felt the way you did--if she had, her actions also would have been prohibited.

So when you look back on the beginning of your relationship, you see it in a different light now, because you thought it was one way and that she felt a certain way and now you have to re-contextualize. Obviously this doesn't bother some people, especially if they're certain that they're now on the same page with their partner, but it isn't wrong that it bothers you.

If you're both on the same page now and things are different and you can accept that, then that's how the relationship goes forward. But it sounds like maybe your communication isn't so good if you're only now discussing who you were seeing at the start of the relationship and you don't know when she started being exclusive to you. This may never have become a problem if you'd been having more direct and open communication throughout your relationship.
posted by Polychrome at 7:59 AM on March 16 [3 favorites]


After our first date, I was thinking to myself how much of a nice time I had with her and how I could see the relationship going places which, it has. There wasn't even a small part of me thinking of having sex with other people. If I'd had a random offer, I'd have most certainty turned it down. I was very surprised to hear that, despite seeming to have similar feelings to me, she had sex with someone else while she was seeing me, even if it was at the very beginning of the relationship.

Just because you were thinking about her a lot that week, that doesn't mean you were in a relationship with her at the time. She did not owe you sexual fidelity after one nice date based on the potential for a romantic relationship.
posted by desuetude at 8:31 AM on March 16 [13 favorites]


So you weren't at the same stage of commitment after the first date. So what? You're both there now, right?

Yeah, it's a bit of an ego blow, and your feelings are your feelings, but -- to cast this aside over something that ultimately doesn't matter? Dude, she chose you. Run with that. Forget this bit of blown protocol and go and enjoy love.
posted by Capt. Renault at 8:32 AM on March 16


I think the fact that you used the "cheating" tag when writing this question indicates how mismatched you are with this woman, when taken with the history of questions you've asked about this relationship. Most people don't commit to a full-blown relationship after one date, so no, she wasn't cheating on you. There wasn't a relationship that she was violating the boundaries of when she had sex with someone else after knowing you for a very very short time. I can sympathize with not being comfortable with this, but if you've already decided that this means she was cheating on you... I don't know, man. I think you need to walk away from this one.
posted by palomar at 8:48 AM on March 16 [17 favorites]


While it's true that there are different groups of people who use different criteria to determine when exclusivity should be assumed, you're apparently not deep enough into any of those cultures to just automagically find people who ascribe to your idea of when exclusivity should be assumed. It's not wrong to have opinions about when exclusivity should be assumed, but it can lead to the unraveling of relationships. It seems like you're down because some part of you wants her to have opted for self-imposed exclusivity almost immediately, and you're trying to map your own reasons for self-imposed exclusivity onto her decision to sleep with someone else after your first date. It seems a bit like a person who uses "next weekend" to mean one very specific thing, and they're upset that someone else uses it a different way. Which is not to say that anyone has to stop using "next weekend" in any particular way, but it helps to be aware that there are valid interpretations on both sides of the aisle.

Similarly, there are valid reasons for her to sleep with someone after your first date, even though that's not how you went about things. If things don't work out with this woman, it seems like now might be a good time to examine lots about exactly what you want and need from a partner with regards to exclusivity, and what the best way to achieve that is, because it seems a bad dating strategy to wait 8 months to find info about commonplace behavior, and then having that info swirl around in your brain so that you want to end the relationship.
posted by 23skidoo at 9:16 AM on March 16 [1 favorite]


So, look, this is the thing that I've realized that's helped: that people are distinctively a part of their own lives. No matter how synchronous the connection feels, the reality of it is that everyone – everyone – is coming from a different place when you meet them. And that means utterly different motivations, different valuations, and different actions, not contingent, per se, upon you. Point-blank, I want you to stop framing this for yourself like it's got to have specific meaning to you, because it really doesn't.

The thing about life is that it's messy. The thing about life is that we have differing opinions on where we should toe that line. The thing about life is that we have a choice to handle our hurt in ways that make sense to us! So please don't beat yourself up about this, either, because it's obvious it was important to you in the moment, and in retrospect. But also: the more that you can acknowledge that this is something you wanted to be true for yourself, and that it's actually okay that it wasn't: the closer you're going to get to having an actual, in-the-realness, you're-with-a-beautiful-imperfect-human-who-has-lived-her-life-too reality. And only you can decide what's more important here: your perceived incongruity in this slight, or your very relationship.
posted by a good beginning at 9:20 AM on March 16 [2 favorites]


You ask if you're right to feel hurt, and that's not the point. It doesn't matter if you're logically right or wrong, the point is that you DO feel hurt. Step back from the details of the history, and focus on what you want to have happen. You feel hurt, that's a fact - can she understand that, can she empathize, do you need her to act as if she was in the wrong or do you just need her to acknowledge that you feel hurt? Do you need to blame her for doing something wrong, or can you just acknowledge that it's upsetting when people do something you didn't expect in a situation and it's disappointing that the situation wasn't as well-defined as you thought it was? We don't have to give you permission, and she doesn't have to give you permission, for you to feel hurt. You just have to have a real conversation about what you want to see happen next.
posted by aimedwander at 9:34 AM on March 16 [3 favorites]


Here's what I would be thinking were I wearing your girlfriend's shoes...

JFC, why can't I ever tell this guy anything remotely personal or important without him getting all butt hurt? I can tell by his expression that he's dying to grill me about all the gory details and on the brink of saying that he can only continue to trust me if I vow to never see that guy in any setting ever again, even if it's by accident. Good grief, this is ancient history! Why is everything always about him? Sure, he can decide that this that or the other thing is unacceptable, but so can I. And being with a nice guy who, sadly, is also a big baby who constantly needs reassurance is unacceptable. I'm not here to manage his emotions. If he doesn't grow up, and soon, I'm out.
posted by carmicha at 10:24 AM on March 16 [7 favorites]


I have pretty traditional values when it comes to monogamy, and I am deeply uncomfortable and not okay with any sort of infidelity... but even to me this isn't cheating. You had ONE DATE. One. There is no betrayal there, there is no cheating or infidelity in this equation. I mean, think about it. By your definition, every first date is somehow a relationship and they cannot go on dates with anyone else because that one date somehow claimed them or bookmarked them in case something one day pans out with that date. Doesn't make sense, eh?
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 10:36 AM on March 16 [6 favorites]


If it bothers you so much, why didn't you clarify whether it was more than once, with more than one person, or further in to the relationship? If you are too scared to ask for clarification, then you are cheating yourself.
posted by itsflyable at 12:05 PM on March 16


I get the feeling that you may not have a lot of dating experience (the in-depth conversations about past sexual history when you find such revelations upsetting, the previous post related to a lack of awareness around women's facial hair), something which I also struggled during my first decade of "grown-up" dating (I was a late-ish bloomer by my peers' standards). So, from my perspective now 25 years into my dating life:

1. If I might find the answer to a question upsetting, I first think about whether or not I want to have that conversation, in what context, and what follow-ups I would want to ask (calmly) if the answer is something that upsets me. What are my deal-breakers, and why. What level of "we have different ideas about these things" I'm content with. Not "in order to keep this person" but in general, as a unique human being. I don't have to need the same things as other people - even other people I love. But I do need to know what I am OK with (if a bit anxious about - see below) in myself before I can decide these things in the context of a relationship. I had to tear myself away from anticipating such conversations with the idea of "the perfect/right answer" but instead a spectrum of possible answers and from there where I might want (or not want) to take the conversation. I mention this since I hear a hint of this in your writing as well.

2. In these types of conversations, when faced with the choice between making myself emotionally vulnerable or putting up walls, I err on the side of being open about my vulnerabilities (focusing on my true concern - see below) rather than their behavior or my gut reaction.

3. What I found it came down to for me, after some soul-searching, isn't jealousy or morality. I just wanted to know that my partner wanted me as much as I wanted them, valued me as much as I valued them, and - when presented with my vulnerabilities and weaknesses - would treat me with respect (and depending upon how irrational I was being to their mind, a measure of tolerance/kindness). The "better sex" or "overlapping early days" questions all came down to that for me. You might be different. But for me, it was about: I am so happy with you and wouldn't do anything to jeopardize what we have - do you feel the same? And because I find it a comfort, a hug and cuddle.

One other thing that occurs to me is that she is somewhat young and perhaps emotionally inexperienced herself - is it possible that she is making these remarks assuming a greater level on experience on your part, and perhaps poking at what may be her own anxiety about not being your "best sex" or you perhaps having attentions elsewhere? This, I find, also comes out when I'm open about my vulnerabilities (with a kind person), they are open in return with me. And it gives us the opportunity to be emotionally generous with each other. My only caveat there is a little curiosity as to whether or not she's trying to make you jealous - not to hurt you but to reassure herself that you care for her (if a jealous partner is what she's used to and perhaps comfortable with).

Good luck.
posted by pammeke at 12:07 PM on March 16 [4 favorites]


You shouldn't be talking about prior sexual or dating experiences in depth. (Nearly everyone learns this the hard way, so don't feel too bad.)

I strongly suspect this is a "learning relationship" for you, as several other people have already mentioned, and will eventually end.

Be sure you are learning the right lessons and not just unilaterally blaming everything on her. Really reflect on why people give the relationship advice they do (they also learned the hard way) and don't bring up these topics in your next relationship.

I also really agree with whoever mentioned upthread that your expectations for her to feel exactly the same way about you as you do about her are unrealistic and another thing that nearly everyone learns the hard way. That is a fantasy version of "falling in love" that does not really happen in real life. Very very unlikely two people experience the exact same emotions and level of commitment at the exact same time. Nothing wrong with that truth, either.
posted by stockpuppet at 3:02 PM on March 16 [1 favorite]


I don't think this means she doesn't have similarly strong feelings for you. Sometimes people don't trust their own hearts or they think "I'm just being silly," or just make a mistake. Some people are the kind who know immediately; others figure out what their feelings mean over time, or have their feelings grow stronger with repeated connections.

The side of you that has made this into a noble romantic story about love at first sight is beautiful, and I want to protect it and respect it in my comment here. But, when that side requires that unreasonable expectations be met, it makes situations ... unsteady. It puts things at risk. See if you can broaden the story in a way that makes things more resilient and accommodating to human imperfection. For instance, instead of wanting the story to be "we fell in love at first sight and lived happy ever after," maybe the story was "I knew right away, but for her, the feeling grew over time." People can even break up and then realize that they made a mistake and have that still be true, deep love. Find a way to make your love accept who she really is, not require her to have certain feelings at exactly the same time you do.
posted by salvia at 10:27 PM on March 16 [1 favorite]


Did you have 'the talk' prior to the 8th, that defined the relationship and expectations? If so, I think you're right to be upset. If not, then I think you should try and move past it. I can understand that knowing that she was still seeing other people past the date you two consider your anniversary is hurtful, yes. I'm actually surprised she considers that your anniversary-- however, you have to understand that hindsight plays into it too-- it's unrealistic to think that she could be 100% sure about you a week into your relationship. However, from the perspective of your relationship today, she does feel like that is a significant marker of your relationship. The fact she slept with someone else does suck, but appears so meaningless to her that she doesn't consider it a hindrance.

You have to understand, that 'anniversary' dates are arbitrary and are only decided if you guys actually become a couple. When I had my first real date with my fiance, he totally felt super strong about me-- I still kinda liked someone else. Despite that, because of the way we feel about each other now, that's still our anniversary, because it does indicate a milestone in our relationship. I love him, so I don't think that just because I was into someone else at the time, it renders that date meaningless to me.

Another story. One time my fiance had asked me to help sort out his art and poems for him while he was at work. I did so, reading the poems as I went. So far it was going well, but in amidst everything, I found a love poem. The love poem was for his ex, and it culminated in a diary entry. In it, he describes his past relationship and how deep his love went for her; how utterly perfect she was, his feelings, and got into things of a very graphic sexual nature, too. In great detail. He finishes with calling her his soul mate and is 'sure they'll be together forever,' etc. This was not just a hookup before we met; he thought he wanted to marry her. He'd said things about her that he claimed he'd felt about me.

I remember feeling a twinge of annoyance and hurt at it-- the idea of him with someone else kinda hurt my heart a bit, and I wondered did he just say those things to every woman? But at the same time, I knew it didn't mean anything. Because I know he loves me, I know that's the past, and I know he's with me now. At first I felt bad I'd read it and didn't want to tell him, but I did mention it-- we discussed it when he came home and he reassured me about it. I got over it very quickly. If anything, it's kinda funny to me now. Because I know he loves me. I know if she came along tomorrow, he'd never in a million years want her over me. I can feel this. So I don't feel threatened by his past.

Somehow I don't feel this describes you, and her.

I remember your other question, and I feel like this hurt is exacerbated in you because you're subconsciously always questioning the relationship. For some reason, you exude insecurity in this relationship-- and I don't really blame you-- she has been kinda callous about reassuring you in the past, she has definitely dropped TMI, and she's kinda unfavorably compared you to previous sexual partners, she mentions other people that are hot (including your brother). You shouldn't know half the stuff you know; moreover, you shouldn't feel threatened by it even if you do know. That does suck, and it did do a number on you. It's no wonder the relationship is unbalanced.

I said in my previous answer if she stops bringing up her past, and/or saying things without thinking about guys she likes and stuff, then it means she cares about you and your feelings. But if you're the one bringing it up now -- that's on you. Don't ask a question you don't want to hear the answer to, dude. Now you're just trying to get hurt, and/or compare yourself and punish yourself. Stop self-sabotaging. Why do this? If its because you're secretly unhappy then perhaps it's time to let go. But if not, you are slowly destroying something, here.

She seems like she loves you, and she cares about your feelings-- and as long as this rings true and she is with you now, then all you can do is move forward together. But mark my words. This insecurity is a self-fulfilling prophecy, and if you continue with it, you will drive a wedge in this relationship and it will end badly. Also, I think you will benefit from some CBT or things to pull you out of your head. It seems to me you over think. A lot.

Also others have said, love seldom is 100% equally balanced. There's always one that was more sure first, that said 'I love you,' first, etc. And just because she slept with someone after meeting you, doesn't mean she didn't feel strongly about you-- I get the feeling she treats sex as a different thing than you do-- you seem to attach a lot of emotion and meaning to it all the time-- but she doesn't. This is totally normal! For some people, sex is just sex, and doesn't always mean that much beyond mutual pleasure. You have to see this from her lens; not cloud it by looking at it through your lens.

Lastly, just stop talking about your past partners, etc. Some couples can have those conversations. You can't. And it's irrelevant. Your respective pasts don't matter; it's the future that matters, and those discussions that matter. Look ahead; not behind.

Good luck.
posted by Dimes at 2:51 AM on March 17


Wanted to mention one more thing. This?

The thing is, we really hit it off from the beginning. We met through online dating and, even before we met in the real world, we seemed to have an excellent connection.

Just no, dude. There is no "excellent connection" online. It's not real. It doesn't count. That means literally nothing. I honestly don't even count first meetings from online to RL as "dates" - they're just meetings to confirm the other person is actually human. DO NOT get invested prior to a first face-to-face meeting, ever again. You are definitely on the wrong side of that argument and she is the more wise/normal one to not have strong feelings right away for words on a screen.

After a couple of days of talking online, I stopped talking to anyone else. We met after a couple of weeks of chatting, and we really hit it off as soon as we met.

Meet waaaaaaay sooner in the future. Are you guys long distance or something? I used to just meet after like, two messages. Like:

-Dude sends short to medium length message, asks a question, says something funny, whatever
-I respond with a pretty short 2-3 sentence reply, answer question, riff a tiny bit, maybe go ahead and outright suggest a meeting IRL
-If I haven't brought up meeting IRL yet, dude does. If he doesn't I already feel like it's weird and definitely try to bring it up myself next message
-Scheduling and logistics details

That's it, we never message more than that because after/before the first "date" (meeting) we exchange phone #s.

After we met up for the first time, we kept chatting online, and the excellent connection we had seemed to have gotten even stronger, and it seemed to be on both sides. It wasn't long before we met up again, and again, and so on, and here we are 9 months later in love with each other. After our first date, I was thinking to myself how much of a nice time I had with her

All of this is super, super vague. "It wasn't long" and "after our first date" - are you counting first face to face interaction as a "date"? Nah, dude. Nah.
posted by stockpuppet at 7:34 AM on March 17 [1 favorite]


actually, a lot of people do consider that first face to face meeting a date -- not everyone uses online dating the same, obviously. so I don't think the OP needs to be dragged over that, as it's not abnormal to be calling that interaction a date or to have a pre-date interaction longer than two messages. but, OP, that does bring us back to the point of different expectations and interpretations -- obviously you felt a strong connection during your pre-date chatting. your girlfriend's feelings were in a slightly different place than yours at the beginning, and that's okay! that's how relationships work in the early stages, typically -- it's rare that two people are in exactly the same emotional place at exactly the same time, feeling exactly the same feelings and having the exact same expectations. it took your girlfriend a little longer to get to the level of intensity that you started out with -- that's normal, it's okay, it doesn't indicate that she doesn't love you now.

but i do think you need to take a step back and evaluate things pretty seriously, as i said in my earlier comment. if you can't get past this and reframe it so that you stop thinking of it as her cheating on you, then you need to end it.
posted by palomar at 7:50 AM on March 17


So.. you're kind of dealing with a double whammy, right? You just found out you're not the best sex she's had and now you're realizing she slept with someone after your first date.

I think it's totally understandable to be down about this, but at the same time, you need to realize she didn't do anything wrong -- at least not by sleeping with someone else before you were officially exclusive. Is there any reason why you didn't ask if she slept with this person later down the line?

I mean, it makes a big difference whether it was just a one night stand or if she kept sleeping with this other person and sleeping with you, too. You say you're wondering whether there were others, as well. Why is this so unclear and ambiguous? Have you simply asked her if she slept with anyone else during your relationship?
posted by Gray Skies at 1:10 PM on March 17


She is too much drama for you. Imagine living with her for years, and all the Askmes that could produce. That is not a judgement of her or you, just a statement of reality (as I see it).
posted by GeeEmm at 3:35 PM on March 17


While she didn't do anything wrong, I think I'd feel a bit sad about this in your shoes.

But I think my real concern would be- why did she tell you? It happened before you were exclusive and you don't have any right or reason to know about this, and she must know at this point that hearing this would hurt your feelings.

I'm a little wary of people who are frequently hurtful because they are so 'honest' or so 'tactless'.

I mean really, if she was this careless with everyone in her life, how would she hold down a job or have any friends at all?

But really, whether she hurts you all the time because she's thoughtless or because she's cruel, the result is the same- you feel terrible, and then feel guilty about feeling terrible.
posted by Dwardles at 5:47 AM on March 20


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