OK for him to make female friends at the bar?
August 6, 2009 12:27 PM   Subscribe

Is it appropriate for a guy in a serious, committed relationship to meet and befriend a group of random people (male and female) while out at the bar, exchange phone numbers with one particular woman, and then make plans to meet up alone for drinks with her at some later time?

I've seen some similar questions about girlfriends trying to control their boyfriends' communication with other women, and the general response has been "she's nuts, dump her". But I feel this situation is a little different, and wanted to get some opinions. Thank you in advance!

My boyfriend and I are currently in a long-distance relationship (ending in two months -- the long-distance part, I mean). Our relationship is wonderful. But there have been some trust issues along the line, not because either of us has actually done anything questionable in the current relationship, but rather because we were friends for years beforehand and during that time I pretty much had a front-row seat to him being a very sketchy boyfriend to his last girlfriend (there were some extentuating circumstances and complications...but still pretty sketchy). I was sort of wary about dating him to begin with, but it really seemed like he'd changed & was serious about me and our relationship. And, like I said, he hasn't done anything really questionable since we've been dating. Anyway, I'm totally head-over-heels in love with him, and I get the impression he feels the same way.

A couple weekends ago he went out to a bar with some mutual friends and got really, really drunk. He and his friends started talking to a group at another table. When his friends left, he stuck around with the random people they'd met (guys and girls). I'm not sure of the exact details, but I gather that they stayed at the bar till close, then sat around on a stoop outside until about 5am, and then he and this one girl walked part of the way home together because they lived in the same direction. At some point, they exchanged phone numbers.

When I talked to my boyfriend the next day, he told me he'd had a crazy night and ended up staying at the bar with random people. He said he was happy to have met some people who live in his neighbourhood, because his other friends don't. Then a week or so later, he mentioned that he'd been texting back and forth with this girl "Katie", and that they'd been talking about meeting up for a drink that evening (it was a Sunday), but it didn't work out in the end. About a week after that, I was visiting him in his city. We were out with some friends when he got a text from Katie (at about 1am) asking him to come meet up with her.

I thought about the situation for awhile and realized that it made me really uncomfortable. I have no problem with my boyfriend maintaining female friendships, whether old ones or new. My boyfriend is extremely sociable and he gets along very well with women. Several of his close friends are women he's been sexually involved with in the past, but I trust that they're platonic now and I'm okay with him hanging out with them, even drinking with them one-on-one. I trust that he loves me and wants to be with me, and wouldn't do anything to mess that up. But I feel like there's a difference between having friends who are girls, and getting some random girl's number when you're hammered at a bar at 5am. Am I wrong for feeling this way?

Anyway, we talked about it and I explained how I felt....that I didn't think it was really respectful of me or of our relationship to be meeting new girls that way; and that even if he meant it totally innocently, it probably didn't come across that way to the girl because guys in serious and committed relationships generally don't act like that. And the thing is, he totally saw it my way and agreed that he might have crossed the line. He said he hated that he'd made me uncomfortable, and that even though he knew it wasn't actually inappropriate (as in, nothing happened or would have happened), he could see how it looked sketchy.

The thing is, I never really thought he had cheated or would cheat on me. I was more concerned with how it "looked". Obviously his actual intentions are most important to me, but I also think the way you present your relationship to the world is important. And hanging out with a random girl until 5 in the morning, and then making one-on-one plans with her....even if it actually was totally innocent, that just seems really fundamentally inappropriate to me. But then I think....well, why shouldn't he make a friend who happens to be a girl? Why should it matter that he met her at a bar instead of at his job, for example, or through another friend? I know that he wasn't actually trying to pick her up or sleep with her...so why does it seem so wrong to me? But it does.

Technically the situation's resolved, but I can't get over this feeling that I might have been in the wrong for imposing my fears and insecurities on him. I don't want him to feel restricted by our relationship, but I also feel the need to be clear about what I'm comfortable with, and to set appropriate boundaries. What do people think?
posted by lalalove to Human Relations (77 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
I think you're right to be honest with him, but to set such discrete boundaries on someone that you mention yourself is a social butterfly is a pretty big imposition.

Couldn't you have just as easily set boundaries on the platonism of relationships that he develops? To tell him that he can't make friends on his own, or that he has to make them in certain ways (or with your permission) is going to eat away at him until he really feels a loss of liberty and may come to resent you. It's also a little possessive, and in my opinion there are far better compromises that you could have come to which would still satisfy your own sense of security.
posted by tybeet at 12:32 PM on August 6, 2009


But I feel like there's a difference between having friends who are girls, and getting some random girl's number when you're hammered at a bar at 5am. Am I wrong for feeling this way?

No, that's not appropriate. Numbers at a bar at 5 a.m. is a mating dance; your boyfriend doesn't have to think so, but the woman he's giving his number to might, and anyone watching will certainly think so.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:34 PM on August 6, 2009 [33 favorites]


Wrong is contextual to every relationship. BUT, there are sort of standardized rights and wrongs that apply to most people in most relationships such that you can get a ballpark idea of what would be decent etiquette or behavior in a situation with people you don't know very well, or at all. Generally speaking, the late night drunken stuff to me can be chalked up to "oh hey I was really drunk...." and then the big deal is what happens afterwards.

I do not personally think it's at all cool for your boyfriend to be in a situation where other women are texting him at 1 am asking to hang out. Unless you guys have a specific agreement and/or understanding and/or extenuating circumstances [i.e. he's a night watchman or something and sleeps days] then this is outside the range of "normal" even if it's allowed or okay. Even if your boyfriend is totally 100% on the level about where he's at with you and with this other person and with his group of friends, I think it's okay to ask that he not just not sleep with other people (this is a normal thing to ask) but that he not look like he's trying to sleep with other people (this is less normal but I think it's still in the range of normal).

You can be inappropriate without breaking the rules, that's why it's just inappropriate. Your boyfriend should be able to be friends with other women without having those friendships appear to be potential ramping-up-to-relationship situations which is what this feels like to you. He was sketchy in the past and you are trusting him to not be sketchy now and some of his behavior is -- rightly in my opinion -- setting off your sketch alarms and I think it's okay to do what you have done and let him know "hey I'm concerned about the boundaries you seem to have with other people and I'd prefer if you were a little more clear with other people that you're not really looking for other girlfriend stand-ins when I'm not around" or however it seems okay to say something like that.
posted by jessamyn at 12:38 PM on August 6, 2009 [8 favorites]


It's not "wrong" to be insecure, but to be completely honest, it sounds like he's trying very hard to be straight about the whole thing.

It's natural to be a little jealous/protective/whatever, but I don't think it's right to say that you're okay with him hanging out with ex-lovers, and then getting upset because he met someone out and about that he hit it off with. It's confusing to us guys (at best), and can make you look like a crazy, irrational woman (at...worst?).

Either be okay with him hanging out with women, or don't.
posted by chrisfromthelc at 12:38 PM on August 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


The thing is, I never really thought he had cheated or would cheat on me. I was more concerned with how it "looked". Obviously his actual intentions are most important to me, but I also think the way you present your relationship to the world is important.

Bravo for making this distinction!

There's no right or wrong here. You've identified something that is important to you. You need to explain its import to your boyfriend. If he loves you, he'll either cater to something that's important to you or discuss with you why he feels he can't.

Note: "how a relationship looks" tends to be more important to women than men (though there are exceptions, of course). I bring this up, because it might not naturally occur to your boyfriend that you care about this. It probably doesn't enter his mind as he goes about his business. This is another reason you should make your values super clear to him.
posted by grumblebee at 12:40 PM on August 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


if you trust your boyfriend and know he wouldn't cheat on you, then it doesn't matter how it "looks" to the outside world.

the fact is, you don't trust your boyfriend and you don't trust that he won't cheat on you.
posted by nadawi at 12:40 PM on August 6, 2009 [4 favorites]


You know, I think I would have been uncomfortable will all this too. Particualrly the text message from her at 1 am. And I don't think there's anything wrong with your feelings about the way things looked. Had I been out with your bf and noticed that he was drunkenly exchanging numbers with a girl at 5am, I might have thought there was something untoward going on. And yeah, you shouldn't have to care what others think if you know he's committed to you but that's just not the way all people are. I can certainly admit to caring what appearance are and have raised similar objections with my partner (well only similar in that I was uncomfortable with the way certain actions might appear to others but those actions had nothing to do with another woman).

I think it's good to be clear about your boundaries.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 12:40 PM on August 6, 2009


I just went through something similar to this, and I have to say that if you're not happy he needs to know it. Whether not something borderline is right or wrong isn't the problem. If you feel uncomfortable these boundaries need to be set, and if he doesn't like those boundaries then he should have a reason that is justified enough to not make you feel like this.
posted by semp at 12:41 PM on August 6, 2009


It probably feels a hundred times worse because you can't really meet this girl in person (at least until you next visit), so you're free to imagine her as stunningly gorgeous, hilarious, and otherwise attractive. How would you feel if you knew she was totally unattractive? Would this still freak you out? What if he'd been friends with a girl for a long time before you, and kept making one-on-one drinking plans with her?

I'm guessing, with my armchair psychologist hat on, that because you two were friends before you dated, you feel inherently mistrustful of his other female friends. Until he proves otherwise, though, he's not doing anything wrong. Some people might think it's inappropriate for men in relationships to be friends with women (and vice versa), but those people are missing out on a lot of friendships.
posted by oinopaponton at 12:41 PM on August 6, 2009


*Also note that this goes both ways. Over-the-lines jealousy over nothing doesn't work out either.
posted by semp at 12:42 PM on August 6, 2009


She texted him at 1am? Well, she certainly thought they were flirting. There's really only one reason you text a cute new guy you've just met at 1am. (Okay, maybe two reasons.)

Look, if he had too much to drink, exchanged numbers, and then that was it, I'd chalk it up to poor judgment while drinking. But he kept pursuing it. You need not feel bad about your reaction to this. Honestly, if I were this woman's friends, I'd say she had a date. That's what you see too.

A good thing to know (not that you should pursue this further with him necessarily, but): did he mention you in his conversations with her? If not, that's a red flag right there.

It sounds like you handled this okay, and it's settled between you guys, and now all you're dealing with is some guilt. Let that go. If things are fine, let them be fine.
posted by bluedaisy at 12:43 PM on August 6, 2009 [6 favorites]


people are getting too hung up on the 1am thing. for some people, they go to bed at 4am, 5am, 6am, 10am - so 1am could be the middle of the night or it could be the early evening. not everyone operates on a 9-5 schedule.
posted by nadawi at 12:45 PM on August 6, 2009 [3 favorites]


It sounds like you have boundaries within the range of normal (I would also think this crossed a line if a bf did the same thing) and it sounds like you aren't overreacting, but it also sounds like maybe your boundaries and his don't quite match up, so this is something you just need to talk through.

Try to identify exactly what parts make you uncomfortable and then tell him which things are ok and which you'd rather he not do. Ask him if he's being ok limited like that, since it seems like his natural state is to be a little more loose with friendships than you might like.

Personally, I would just ask him to establish with any new girls that he is taken before he exchanges numbers and starts making plans. I don't know if that is something that would make you feel more at ease, or if the part that sticks is the meeting up late at night or what.
I think in situations like this, you just need to make sure everyone is clear on expecations (you, him, the new friend).
You should break it down and think about things like if you are comfortable with him exchanging numbers, him going out late with a new friend, him meeting up alone with a new friend.
Sometimes it also helps to picture yourself making a new guy friend and thinking about what you'd say and do if new guy asked you to hang out alone, etc.
Maybe you could make it into some sort of protocol that you and BF are both comfortable with.
posted by rmless at 12:46 PM on August 6, 2009


How it "looked" is no one's business but yours and his, so I don't consider that a factor whatsoever.

Now, you're not wrong to feel a little uncomfortable: it's a perfectly normal reaction. That said, it's not inappropriate for numbers to be exchanged regardless of the hour: that's how friendships are made in the modern age. To TPS's point, it's also how romances start, but unless you can somehow read the minds of your boyfriend and Katie, you're just going to have to take your boyfriend's word that it's platonic unless proven otherwise.

Frankly, there will always be Katies. You need to decide whether you're comfortable with that.
posted by eamondaly at 12:48 PM on August 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


"if you trust your boyfriend and know he wouldn't cheat on you, then it doesn't matter how it "looks" to the outside world."

A lovely, romantic notion, but really, if you are in a committed relationship, it seems perfectly reasonable to me to not want your partner to project the appearance of something else to the "outside world." It's also reasonable to want a partner who doesn't, through any combination of obliviousness, passivity, selfishness, insecurity, and/or malice goes around leading other people on.
posted by Good Brain at 12:48 PM on August 6, 2009 [8 favorites]


so why does it seem so wrong to me?

Because he didn't mention the specific situation to you at all.

The next day if he had mentioned that the hung out 'till 5am and what they had talked about and been like "She's real cool, I'll introduce you guys when you're in town again. Hey isn't Brad single? We should set'em up with each other" you'd probably be more comfortable with the situation.

But he didn't do that and factoring in the sketchiness of past relationships, it's understandable that you're uneasy. This isn't about trying to control somehow, it's about diffusing potentially awkward relationships and putting your SO first. He didn't do thatand you're left wondering ("I'm not sure of the exact details") what the hell happened.

What happened when she texted him at 1am when you were there? Did he say "Oh hey, it's Katie, you want to go hang out with her or maybe invite her here?" Have you been invited to meet her at all? Does Katie know you exist? These are the sort of questions that need to answered.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:52 PM on August 6, 2009 [20 favorites]


It's okay -- as long as she knows that he's in a committed relationship with you.

And I do mean "YOU." Not a random relationship with an anonymous person; she must know that you have a name, and that the relationship is real.

This also worries me: I'm totally head-over-heels in love with him, and I get the impression he feels the same way.

It should be stronger than just an impression, but maybe you were just understating.

Question: this problem you have now, has he done this same thing in the past with any ex-girlfriend, and has that lead to him being unfaithful?
posted by jabberjaw at 12:53 PM on August 6, 2009


I'd feel a bit uncomfortable, too, but no more than that, I don't think.

I think you have to extend some trust at least once. I mean, assuming the evening played out exactly as described, as an accidental meeting with no intent and no salient bits left out of the story... what should he have done, really? NOT obtained any way to re-contact this person in future? Why not?

So, because it could be nothing to worry about, and because he didn't break any "rule" you had in advance, I don't think it's right to hold this one event against him. If you two come up with some sort of restrictive but still mutually-acceptable guidelines in the future, that's fine, but backward-looking? I can't see how he did anything wrong, here.

Now, of course, if this turns into a regular habit, where he keeps ending up with different "random" women somehow, and it's all just one big "accident" every time... well, then that might be a good time for your discomfort to blossom into full-blown concern.
posted by rokusan at 12:56 PM on August 6, 2009


It's also reasonable to want a partner who doesn't, through any combination of obliviousness, passivity, selfishness, insecurity, and/or malice goes around leading other people on.

we have zero indication that is what has happened. the OP never spoke to how much katie knows about their relationship. if katie knows he has a girlfriend and he hasn't done anything untrustworthy, then if katie is getting led on, that's all in her head and not his responsibility. if katie doesn't know than yes, he's not acting as a boyfriend should act.

the OP has already stated that she's fine with her boyfriend being friends with ex-lovers. why isn't she concerned about the way that "looks"? i would guess it's because she doesn't feel threatened by the exes because she trusts him with them. if she was overly concerned with the appearance of the relationship to the outside world, then any one on one time with a member of the opposite sex would bother her this badly. it doesn't. why not? my armchair opinion, because she doesn't trust her boyfriend with an unknown quotient.
posted by nadawi at 12:57 PM on August 6, 2009


I'd say that if this feels sketchy to you, it is because it might very well be sketchy. It would not be okay with me to have a woman texting a boyfriend of mine at 1am for anything except warning him that a comet was about to hit the city.

Question: Did your boyfriend make any attempt to introduce you to his new friend or include you in his friendship with her? If not, that is a red flag.

I think people have an innate sense when things are just not completely right, and that is when the alarms go off like they have here. It's like being motionsick. What you are seeing and being told doesn't match up with what you are feeling and it just isn't quite right. You seem to be going out of your way to make this about you having a problem and not the relationship having a problem, maybe because the latter has consequences that are more painful or inconvenient to deal with? Plans would have to be altered...feelings may be hurt... that's not easy to face.

I would take a long honest look at the facts and his behavior and see if it would be acceptable to you from an outside perspective. If it were a friend of yours explaining this to you with all the same facts, would you think it was just her paranoia or would you want something else for her?
posted by Edubya at 12:57 PM on August 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


What Brandon Blatcher said.
posted by Alt F4 at 12:59 PM on August 6, 2009


It's fine, provided two things are true:

1. You and he have determined that this is appropriate behavior, acceptable within the terms of your relationship;
2. The girl he's made plans with knows he's in a committed relationship.

It's that simple. The first is up to you and him alone, and is the kind of thing that people in relationships should be discussing on a fairly regular basis -- and if a scenario comes up that hasn't been discussed, hopefully the person involved will err on the side of safety. If not, it has to be discussed as you're doing now. The second is up to him to do, just to be (a) a decent guy to her, not giving her false expectations, and (b) not using it as a "hey, maybe if this works out I can dump my girlfriend" thing.
posted by davejay at 12:59 PM on August 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh, having said all that:

"Then a week or so later, he mentioned that he'd been texting back and forth with this girl "Katie", and that they'd been talking about meeting up for a drink that evening (it was a Sunday), but it didn't work out in the end. About a week after that, I was visiting him in his city. We were out with some friends when he got a text from Katie (at about 1am) asking him to come meet up with her."

Yeah, that's a red flag, both the delaying and the 1am-ness. Waiting implies lack of interest or guilt, and 1am-ness denies lack of interest, at least on her part.
posted by davejay at 1:01 PM on August 6, 2009


Response by poster: To clarify on a few points:

When I first said I felt uncomfortable, his first reaction was surprise. He said he'd talked about me with her (i.e. about the fact that he had a great girlfriend, etc.), and it wasn't a quasi-romantic type of situation at all.

Also, he did tell me the next day that he'd hung out with a group of randoms. And when she texted him, he told me about her specifically. Also, he said a bunch of them exchanged numbers afterwards. It's just she's the only one who actually texted him to meet up another time.

When I said I was in love with him "and I get the impression he feels the same", I was understating. He does feel the same. This is a real-deal-best-friends-LOVE-love type of relationship.

Also, he was completely and 100% understanding when I said how I felt about it. He said he hadn't looked at it from my point of view, and that since he knew it was totally innocent he didn't really think about it beyond that. But now that he did see it from my point of view, he realized how it could look & why it made me uncomfortable, especially in light of his past.

And yes, probably one of the main reasons it made me uncomfortable in the first place is because back when we were just friends this is exactly the kind of situation that would have taken place, but the punch-line would have been that he slept with the girl. He and his girlfriend at the time were in a crazy long-distance-type scenario (i.e. other sides of the world) and kind of had an understanding that their relationship was more "open" than others...but I still think he took liberties that she didn't know about.
posted by lalalove at 1:05 PM on August 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't agree with the push to meet/hang-out-with/be-friends-with the SO, either.

That's just weird to me, like you're running people past the screening department for approval.

(If a woman I was dating insisted on meeting all of my female friends, as well as any new female friends I made... well, I'd be done with that relationship quick. I wouldn't block some opportunity, but I wouldn't arrange a meeting just for the sake of meeting, either.)

Generally, my close friends don't know each other well (though not really by design, I've moved around a lot and so most are in different cities) and if I drew some kind of Kevin Bacon diagram, many would not even connect at all: they've never actually met, and know each other only through the overlapping me. Some do know each other, yes, but even then they're not close friends, more like acquaintances with a common point of contact. All this has been fine and low-stress for, like, decades.

Groups of people can grow into group friendships, I suppose, but the odds of that are exponentially worse than any mere two people getting along, and probably near-impossible when it's contrived or forced... so why mess up a perfectly good relationship and/or friendship by forcing people together?

Or to put that another way, decide this in advance: when the girlfriend and girl-friend don't get along... then what?
posted by rokusan at 1:06 PM on August 6, 2009


It might or might not be wrong for him to meet her at a bar at 5am, but her texting him at 1am asking him to come over is definitely her wanting to hook up with him, whether he realizes it or not. He needs to tell her, once and for all, that he'll come out for drinks with her and/or her friends, but that he has a gf, and they will never be hooking up. Then when you two are living close, when she or her friends invite him to come out he needs to invite you as well to meet his new friends. Make sure he doesn't act different around you when she's around, she'll see that you two have a very lovey relationship, and hopefully will stop texting him about hanging out at 1am. If she does text him at 1am, make sure it's not anything he hides from you, and just hope that his response to her is "sure, I'm with gf, you want to go to a diner?" or "I'm with gf now, how about we all hang out tomorrow?"
posted by KateHasQuestions at 1:07 PM on August 6, 2009


This comment really struck me: Frankly, there will always be Katies. You need to decide whether you're comfortable with that. I'm not going to say DTMF, because maybe you're into guys who will always be emotionally (and maybe physically) available to other girls.

I get such a squicky feeling about this whole thing. I don't know you at all, lalalove, or your boyfriend, but from what you wrote in this question. That said, there are so many worrying things that I hardly know where to start.

1) You say you're head-over-heels for him, but you don't know how he feels in return. That worries me.

2) He has a history of jerky behavior with past girlfriends, and yet you trust say you trust him completely. On the other hand, you're very worried about how this behavior will "look". Look to who?

3) If I were one of Katie's friends, I would say that a one-on-one outing to get a drink is a date, unless she's a lesbian or unavailable. That's not "how it looks", that's how it is.

4) We were out with some friends when he got a text from Katie (at about 1am) asking him to come meet up with her. Was this a general invitation or specific? Because it sounds like a booty call to me.
posted by muddgirl at 1:08 PM on August 6, 2009 [4 favorites]


This seems to be about the fact that you are not ok with the fact that you felt not ok about your boyfriends behavior. Ultimately, you need to define what type of behavior you are willing or aren't willing to accept from other people - and you need to be ok with the fact that to some you might seem "imposing" or "possessive" or whatever else some people might call your efforts to secure your own emotional well-being and self-respect. While it is extremely important to allow for your boyfriends independence, there is no need to tolerate second-rate behavior. Your boyfriend crossed the line.

"I was sort of wary about dating him to begin with, but it really seemed like he'd changed"

Man, this made me cringe. Be very, very, VERY aware whenever you hear yourself say that someone has "changed." As a guy who has been around the block and hung with quite a few charming, charismatic, chick-magnets...my experience has shown that if a dude has been sketchy in the past (with a previous girlfriend), there's a pretty good bet he'll keep doing it. With humans, in most cases, past performance generally guarantees similar future results. If you were wary at word go then you probably have good reason to be.

I guess that for some people, having your BOYFRIEND get a random girls number at 5am and then set a date to meet up for drinks one on one is "not a big deal." But for most people, this is certainly a cause for alarm. If my loved one displayed this sort of second-rate behavior it would be grounds for some immediate direct eye-contact and a huge "what the fuck?"

Either reassess the terms of your relationship (just how serious are you two?) or tell him directly that his behavior wasn't cool. Consider this a huge red flag and keep your eyes open.
posted by jnnla at 1:09 PM on August 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Response by poster:
Oh -- and he didn't tell me when she texted him while I was there. I (totally accidentally & not through snooping) came across the text while using his phone to text a friend of ours the next day. I can kind of see why he wouldn't have told me though, because at this point we'd already had this big discussion about how I was uncomfortable with the situation. And he didn't text back.
posted by lalalove at 1:10 PM on August 6, 2009


Or what everyone else said. Damn you preview!

And yes, probably one of the main reasons it made me uncomfortable in the first place is because back when we were just friends this is exactly the kind of situation that would have taken place, but the punch-line would have been that he slept with the girl. He and his girlfriend at the time were in a crazy long-distance-type scenario (i.e. other sides of the world) and kind of had an understanding that their relationship was more "open" than others...but I still think he took liberties that she didn't know about.

OK, I don't really believe in the transformative power of love. If he was cheating on past girlfriends, even if it was a grey area, then he's going to cheat on you. Boundaries are boundaries, and he's already shown that he doesn't really care about them.
posted by muddgirl at 1:12 PM on August 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


you accidentally saw a text with her name on it, read it, and also did the detective work to see that there was no reply?

you really need to own up to the fact that you don't trust him and go from there.
posted by nadawi at 1:14 PM on August 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Response by poster:
Hmm...people seem all over the board on this one. Which is funny...because that's how I feel about it too. I totally agree with EVERYONE. Which is impossible...and confusing.

Anyway, when she texted at 1am it was basically just "hey i'm out at a bar in the neighbourhood, wanna drop by?". Not "wanna come over for a booty call".

Also...I agree that if my boyfriend had been super-sketchy in the context of our current relationship, it would be naive for me to think that he was going to miraculously change. But our relationship is really different from his past one, and it's several years later, and he's never given me any reason to doubt him. He's been great. And he really went out of his way to be honest about all this. He didn't have to tell me he even met her, or that they had been in touch about going for a drink, or anything. But he did...without me having to ask or prompt. When I said I was uncomfortable with it, he said he understood why & wouldn't act like that again.

Anyway, thanks for the replies so far. All very helpful.
posted by lalalove at 1:17 PM on August 6, 2009


Response by poster: you accidentally saw a text with her name on it, read it, and also did the detective work to see that there was no reply?

you really need to own up to the fact that you don't trust him and go from there.



as i said, we've both acknowledged that there are trust issues, that they stem from his past behaviour, and that we're working on them.


OK, I don't really believe in the transformative power of love. If he was cheating on past girlfriends, even if it was a grey area, then he's going to cheat on you. Boundaries are boundaries, and he's already shown that he doesn't really care about them.

I'm not so sure about this. Is this the way most people feel? That's like saying everyone's destined to act the exact same in every relationship they ever have...even if the circumstances are totally different...and even if the feelings are totally different. It just seems like such a death sentence. I can't avoid the fact that my feelings are influenced by what I know about his past, but it seems wrong to actively hold his past against him.
posted by lalalove at 1:22 PM on August 6, 2009


I think you did fine. You didn't say "omigod don't text this woman, don't talk to her, don't have any contact with her cut her out of your life nownownownownow" -- I get the impression that you thought that meeting her for drinks one-on-one and having late-night texts may be sending that woman the wrong signals. I know it feels kind of lame to be thinking about how things "looked", but -- well, if they looked that way to you, maybe they looked that way to this other woman, and maybe she could have misinterpreted the situation too and it could have led to more misunderstandings all around for everyone if things kept going as they were, which would have been a thornier issue to pick through.

And I don't think this is necessarily about you trusting or not trusting your boyfriend -- we all have a comfort zone. You spoke up and said this was kind of blurring the edges of your own comfort zone. You're entitled to do that. I'm assuming that you're cool with him hanging out with her as part of a group, or if they do one-on-one maybe have it just be coffee during the day, right? Something that is pretty clearly not something that could be misinterpreted as "this is a date"? That sounds like you trust him, if you are cool with that.

And the fact that he quickly said "wow - you know what, you're right, I'm sorry," says a good deal about him -- and also about how reasonable you were being about this, too. I think you're cool.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:24 PM on August 6, 2009


lalalove - Thanks for the updates and answers. It sounds like you really don't want this to be a problem, and that you're seeking verification that it's not - and the way you are explaining things on behalf of your boyfriend is very fair to him.

I'm guessing that your insecurity has more to do with the fact that he has done this in the past to other women, and not so much of the specific facts in this matter. If he didn't have this history, likely you wouldn't be asking this question - am I right?

I think everything is kosher in this situation. You all have a good, open, honest relationship, and that's the key. He is going to be more mindful in the future of how his decisions affect you (even if they are truly innocent), because that's what a good romantic relationship entails. Honesty and empathy.

But - and I know this sounds contradictory - I wouldn't let my guard completely down quite yet if I was you; and hopefully he understands that. It's not wrong to consider his past poor decisions, but don't necessarily hold them against him. Good luck.
posted by jabberjaw at 1:25 PM on August 6, 2009


Oh -- and he didn't tell me when she texted him while I was there. I (totally accidentally & not through snooping) came across the text while using his phone to text a friend of ours the next day.

You know, that's kind of a big point.

Frankly this whole situation is starting to sound like soap-operish drama. Figure out what you're comfortable with. Articulate that to him, see if he's ok with it and if so, stick to that. If he messes up, talk about it. If you mess up, talk about it. If you can't come to a satisfactory conclusion, break up.

Good luck.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:26 PM on August 6, 2009


I thought about the situation for awhile and realized that it made me really uncomfortable.
This, and the fact that you're asking at all, say this goes into trust territory for you. Whether one of us would act as he did, or how we might feel about an SO who did, matters less than what you think and feel about your SO doing it. This is something you want to be on the same page about with your SO, because it is a trust issue for (at least) one of you. Talk about it. With him.
posted by TruncatedTiller at 1:27 PM on August 6, 2009


He and his girlfriend at the time were in a crazy long-distance-type scenario (i.e. other sides of the world) and kind of had an understanding that their relationship was more "open" than others...but I still think he took liberties that she didn't know about.

He will do this to you.

He said he hadn't looked at it from my point of view, and that since he knew it was totally innocent he didn't really think about it beyond that. But now that he did see it from my point of view, he realized how it could look & why it made me uncomfortable, especially in light of his past.

He didn't tell you about her specifically OR about the fact that she texted him at 1 a.m.--you had to find that out yourself when you used his phone. That's not him mentioning it becuase it's innocent, that's him not mentioning it because he doesn't want you to know.

I'm very sorry. I've dated this guy before. He will do anything to make it look like he "just didn't realize" or "didn't see anything wrong with it" when he knows full well that you would have a problem with it and why, and probably because he flat out doesn't want you to know about it. I get a VERY squicky feeling from your initial post and every update is making it worse.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 1:27 PM on August 6, 2009 [5 favorites]


Whatever everyone said.

Also, from personal experience, no one ever asks for a booty call outright with a person that they just met (unless they are especially clueless about social codes).

They do, however, text after 12 midnight, with some casual reason to meet up one-on-one. This is usually the universal code for BOOTY CALL.

Yeah, I think he acted well this time around. But there are so many red flags and alarm bells when I read your posts, and your later (rather defensive) responses, that I think that even if he didn't cheat or acted inappropriately this time around, he is the type of guy that would always continue to push physical and emotional boundaries with other girls.
posted by moiraine at 1:28 PM on August 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


I do think that it really depends on the context and since you weren't there, I'm not sure you can deem whether or not it is/was appropriate. If I were in the situation, I'd keep a watchful eye on things and ask to meet her in the future. I know that I'm the kind of girl who has made friends at bars, and if I friend a guy who I have no romantic interest in who is involved with someone, I make a bee-line for his gf/wife/SO when I get the chance to introduce myself and hopefully put her at ease. It is a tenuous situation, but until you see both sides of it, I wouldn't judge. You trust him, now you just need to trust her. Mostly you need to trust him to trust that he's not friending girls who are interested in him romantically.
posted by greta simone at 1:30 PM on August 6, 2009


Anyway, we talked about it and I explained how I felt....that I didn't think it was really respectful of me or of our relationship to be meeting new girls that way; and that even if he meant it totally innocently, it probably didn't come across that way to the girl because guys in serious and committed relationships generally don't act like that. And the thing is, he totally saw it my way and agreed that he might have crossed the line. He said he hated that he'd made me uncomfortable, and that even though he knew it wasn't actually inappropriate (as in, nothing happened or would have happened), he could see how it looked sketchy.

The most important part right here. You both talked. You explained how you felt, he did too, and responded constructively to your concerns. As long as that continues, it is all good!

If that stops, DTMFA.
posted by lazaruslong at 1:39 PM on August 6, 2009


My $0.02

1) Props for him for telling you about the girl and the one-on-one.

2) No single girl emails a guy (gf or not) at 1:00 am, except to hook up. Get real! Especially, since they met at a bar, were drunk, walked partway home together and exchanged phone numbers.

3) Yes, he can have his own female and male friends and you should be okay with that. But, the situation described here doesn't fit into the platonic, friends-only scenario. Nothing wrong with him meeting up with a female friend during the day for coffee or lunch, but meeting up alone at 1:00 am? I don't think so!

4) I would be totally uncomfortable if my boyfriend received a text from a girl at 1:00 am and had random single girls' numbers in his phone. What does he need them for when he has you?

5) He may be one of those guys who are totally clueless about their actions and how they are perceived. I've met men like this who are totally unaware of how the situation looks like in the real world. But, for some reason (maybe because of his past actions and cheating) it doesn't seem like this guy is naive on how hookups and cheating happens.

In two months you guys will be together, rather than long distance. Hold out until then and see what his behaviour is when you are with him constantly. This may have been a one-shot miscommunication on his end. Cross your fingers.
posted by kerby at 1:45 PM on August 6, 2009


Response by poster: He and his girlfriend at the time were in a crazy long-distance-type scenario (i.e. other sides of the world) and kind of had an understanding that their relationship was more "open" than others...but I still think he took liberties that she didn't know about.

He will do this to you.


Yeah, I think he acted well this time around. But there are so many red flags and alarm bells when I read your posts, and your later (rather defensive) responses, that I think that even if he didn't cheat or acted inappropriately this time around, he is the type of guy that would always continue to push physical and emotional boundaries with other girls.

Y'see, I AM totally defensive. Because these two posts basically spell out my worst nightmare...those voices at the back of my head that say "if he did it to her, he can do it to you"....and that he's always going to be the guy who initiates/maintains vaguely ambiguous friendships with other women.

None of you know him, or me, or my exact situation, so I know this will come out sounding trite, or pathetic, or just...very unoriginal. But this guy is really everything I've ever wanted another human being to be. I love the way his brain works, but I also want to tear his clothes off most of the time. He's understanding, and supportive, and when I have a problem with something, he hears me out and...actually communicates openly, which is something I've never really encountered before. We're weird in the same way, and funny in the same way...and he actually *reads books*, and just might be a genius, and challenges me intellectually, yada yada yada. And he loves me, he really does, I don't have any doubts about that. So yeah...I really don't want this to be a problem.

And in a way....I mean, maybe I'm the most naive person on the planet, but as much as my posting this question makes it look like I don't trust him....I really kind of actually do. It's more that all the other stuff (mainly to do with his past) makes me look at things rationally and wonder if I'm being an idiot for trusting.

And all these replies saying he's a cad, and fundamentally untrustworthy, and a cheater at heart...well, what do you really do with that kind of advice? In a situation where he's never actually cheated on me, or shown himself to be dishonest or untrustworthy? And when it's someone you love, and admire, and respect?
posted by lalalove at 1:49 PM on August 6, 2009


We were out with some friends when he got a text from Katie (at about 1am) asking him to come meet up with her.

Despite what your boyfriend's intentions are, I feel like the intentions of this lady are anything but innocent. Subtle, yes. She knows that he's in a relationship that he might genuinely care about. He really can't have some secret life with this other girl. One solution is for you to meet her and you to become friends, rendering him inviolable, but I doubt you'd want to befriend her
posted by scrutiny at 1:52 PM on August 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


It sounds like you've already resolved this issue with your bf and you're just looking for validation that you're not a crazy green-eyed monster.

From the sounds of it, you both handled the situation very well. Way better than most of the posters in this thread would have. You expressed your feelings about the situation calmly and maturely, he understood your point of view and agreed not to do it again. Katie could be interpreting his friendship as flirting (the fact that he has a girlfriend isn't always a deterrent, especially if she thinks he's flirting back), if he didn't realise that (some people can be kinda dumb about these things) then you needed to remind him.

Your request was totally reasonable, going out drinking 1 on 1 with a girl is inappropriate. Alcohol impairs judgement, even if in his heart he loves you, doesn't mean he wouldn't do something he'd regret if he's drunk, missing you and some pretty girl is coming on to him.
posted by missmagenta at 2:00 PM on August 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


what do you really do with that kind of advice? In a situation where he's never actually cheated on me, or shown himself to be dishonest or untrustworthy? And when it's someone you love, and admire, and respect?

You do the same thing you've been doing. Trusting him and giving him the benefit of the doubt, but explaining how you feel about the situation and being totally open and honest with each other. The cost of not trusting him is essentially the potential loss of a truly good relationship. This far outweighs the benefit of steeling yourself to some emotional trauma further down the road. Good, honest and open relationships are hard to come by and if you mess it up right now by not giving him a chance when he has yet to do anything wrong you will never forgive yourself if he does turn and then blames it on you. Trust in his goodness and see where it goes.
posted by scrutiny at 2:02 PM on August 6, 2009 [4 favorites]


Response by poster:
Thanks scrutiny. I really needed that.
posted by lalalove at 2:05 PM on August 6, 2009


Since we can't undo what happened at the bar, I think you both handled this very well by having an open and honest discussion. Yes, it's okay for you to be uncomfortable with this situation, because even if you don't think he would ever do anything, part of being a committed couple is having that commitment recognized by the outside world. There's nothing shallow about that. That's partially why we have things like weddings and engagement rings.
posted by katemcd at 2:10 PM on August 6, 2009


If he cheats on you its gonna hurt. Until then you can either be consumed with nagging doubts that will probably destroy the relationship anyway or you can be happy and trust him and enjoy the relationship while it lasts (which could be forever).

IMO no point worrying about maybes.
posted by missmagenta at 2:16 PM on August 6, 2009


OK, I don't really believe in the transformative power of love. If he was cheating on past girlfriends, even if it was a grey area, then he's going to cheat on you. Boundaries are boundaries, and he's already shown that he doesn't really care about them.

I think in your skepticism of the transformative power of love, you might be glossing over the transformative power of eventually putting 2 and 2 together and learning from your mistakes.
There are some people that are happy with themselves and their outcomes and never change their spots, but there are also some people who take a long time to figure out that they're an idiot, and that acting in their own long-term best interests isn't what they've been doing.
I have no idea which one this guy is.
posted by -harlequin- at 2:17 PM on August 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Consider whether, if he's always going to be having vaguely sketchy relationships with girls, you might be better off with a don't-ask-don't-tell-don't-let-it-interfere-with-my-life policy about his relationships with other women. You can trust him AND accept that he might have sex with other people, instead of doing this constant push-pull.
posted by kathrineg at 2:20 PM on August 6, 2009


Response by poster:
Consider whether, if he's always going to be having vaguely sketchy relationships with girls, you might be better off with a don't-ask-don't-tell-don't-let-it-interfere-with-my-life policy about his relationships with other women. You can trust him AND accept that he might have sex with other people, instead of doing this constant push-pull.

I would never be in a relationship with someone who was sleeping with anyone else. He wouldn't either. I don't know if you're being serious, but that's really not an option.

Also, I said it was my fear that he would always have vageuly sketchy relationships with girls, not that it was the truth, either now or in the future. I genuinely have no reason to believe that he's crossed any emotional or physical boundaries with women since we've been dating. He does have several close female friends, most of whom I've met and like, and he has some degree of (platonic) emotional intimacy with them, which I'm totally OK with. My worries don't come from the present, but rather from the fact that I know that in his past relationship he had friendships that sometimes crossed the line, and like I said he and his girlfriend at the time did have a sort of understanding so I guess it wasn't really cheating, but it still makes me nervous....nervous that those boundaries are inherently more flexible for him than they would be for other guys.
posted by lalalove at 2:29 PM on August 6, 2009


lalalove, judging from your profile, you're pretty new to MetaFilter. FWIW, almost every relationship thread ends up with most people telling you to dump the person you're asking about. As an example, here's a question I asked last year, and you can see basically everyone told me to dump him. I didn't, and he's still the best guy I've ever known, and I'm happy to be with him. One of the best answers to my question was this, from flabdablet:

Just trust him. He will either live up to that trust, or he won't. If he does, he's a keeper. If he doesn't, he wasn't somebody you want to be with anyway. In either case, you win.

People here have made a lot of good points about how this is borderline behavior, sketchy stuff. Personally, I wouldn't be okay with it, and you were right to make that clear to him. Your real question is, "What do I do with this?" and to that, I say you should take the very excellent advice I was given.
posted by booknerd at 2:35 PM on August 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


I might have been in the wrong What do people think?

I think you were fine and he reacted well and you can probably move on from there.

Don't let internet knowitalls make you think freak out about it again. You guys sound like you dealt with the issue. But of course, don't forget that it happened entirely.

In general on this issue I think it's 100% fine for men and women to have friends of the opposite gender, met in any way they choose, as long as it's done with tact--he should have introduced you two asap to alleviate this kind of weirdness.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:47 PM on August 6, 2009


More advice: Stop replying to every post in this thread, it seems like it's just frustrating you trying to defend yourself and your boyfriend. Most people online don't take the time to read things carefully or respond thoughtfully. Close this window and come back tomorrow once all is said and done, and you'll see that the majority or consensus of advice is probably helpful without your input.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:50 PM on August 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Lalalove, it sounds like as much as you and your boyfriend are a great match for each other, you have a hard time reconciling that feeling with the great big feeling of nervousness for the fact that his boundaries are "inherently more flexible for him than they would be for other guys", and clearly more flexible than for you to be comfortable with. Are you saying you're with your boyfriend who is "perfect except for this one thing"? Just some food for thought. Perfection in the context is quite subjective anyway.

I am sure you are very happy, and you are terrified of the possibility of this ending. You don't want this to become a "problem" because it will shatter the happy place that you know you are in with him, but you know what? You can't control him. It's not up to you to control someone's action, all you can control is yourself. The old adage that people don't change isn't because people are jaded or lacking in faith in other people, it's because people don't change because of someone else, they change for themselves. (Don't go down the slippery slop of "Well if he's happy with me then he would change in order to be with me.")

Don't rationalize that his behaviour in his last relationship was "not cheating" because they had an "arrangement". It didn't work out because it fell outside of the kind of "arrangement" that they had. If you give a teenager a little freedom, and then they show that they have no self-control, would you blame the parent for having "relaxed rules" and say that the teenager was not in the wrong? I presume you are not dating a teenager and a grown adult who is suppose to have a handle on his own behaviour and understand the concept of consequences.

That said, the above is really just food for thought. I don't know either of you, so I am making some conjectures here, feel free to ignore if I am totally off base.

As for what you do while you have no proof that he has done wrong? I guess you love him enough to want to give him the benefit of the doubt. They say that to love someone is to give them the power to hurt you but trust that they won't. Sometimes, we hurt each other not out of malicious intent, but just out of a moment of selfishness when we didn't consider it from our partner's perspective. Don't rush to feel 'better' about it, and I hope he isn't rushing you either. This is a milestone in your relationship. If you make it, you'll be closer together. If you don't, you were honest and true to yourself and you will know one way or another whether this is the guy you want to be with.
posted by margaretlam at 2:55 PM on August 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


I would never be in a relationship with someone who was sleeping with anyone else. He wouldn't either. I don't know if you're being serious, but that's really not an option.

Well, he already has been, but I see what you're saying. I was being serious but if it wouldn't work for you, that's fine. It does work for some people, if the problem is the potential betrayal of trust and not the actual sleeping-with-people part. If you're not into that, I completely respect that and want to echo the posters who are saying that you might as well trust him but keep an eye out.
posted by kathrineg at 2:58 PM on August 6, 2009


if he'd really spoken to her about you in the light he claims he did, why wasn't she aware you were in town when she texted him?
posted by june made him a gemini at 3:36 PM on August 6, 2009


No single girl emails a guy (gf or not) at 1:00 am, except to hook up. Get real!

If that's true, I have been hit on at least 700 times this year alone without even realizing it. And I'm sure some of those e-mailers and texters would be shocked to learn they were hitting on me, too.

Lots of people are alive, out, and active at 1am. Some of us are barely awake until 1am.

And this chick had every reason to expect that the boyfriend would be, since the last time they were out until 05:00. So in the context of their relationship to date, that was a "normal" time to be talking.
posted by rokusan at 4:25 PM on August 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


And in a way....I mean, maybe I'm the most naive person on the planet, but as much as my posting this question makes it look like I don't trust him....I really kind of actually do. It's more that all the other stuff (mainly to do with his past) makes me look at things rationally and wonder if I'm being an idiot for trusting.

I think you came here to sort that out. Why did this situation skeeve you out, with all the other good things you've got going and the trust you have in him? Because you're still uncomfortable with his past. So. Where to go from there?

How much have you guys talked about his past? It seems from what you're posting that you have vague information about it, and from what you see there, you don't like it. Clearly the situation was different, your relationship is different, but it's still nagging at you. It might be worthwhile to sit down and say, "I really appreciate our relationship, and I know it's different from your last one, and I know it's kind of crazy for this to be nagging at me. But it is. Can we sort through it? Can you tell me what exactly went down? And why I shouldn't be worried about you doing that to me?" He's the person who can assure you on this point. You can feel it out, and see whether it rings true to you. And perhaps, together, you can move past it.

And I'm glad that you're saying "Yeah but you guys don't KNOW him," because it's true, we don't. We know the details of the situation you've posted, and then we bring all our experiences and baggage and react to those details. So take us with a grain of salt. :)
posted by heatherann at 5:08 PM on August 6, 2009


i agree that it's ridiculous to think that people aren't out and about that "late" and that singles are always waiting to pounce, but it just seems odd in this situation that he would read the text and disregard it subtly (i'm assuming this is what took place, anyway) if Katie's intentions were to meet up with both of them or even just him in an innocent manner.

furthermore, in a situation like that, i would expect my boyfriend to mention that we may end up hanging out with his new friends -- especially if that included Katie, given that i'd just freaked out about and admitted such.

this situation is sketch either way, but he's human, and he's knowingly made similar mistakes in the past. perhaps he is trying to do good this time because he knows what he's got with you and a situation like this is what he needs to overcome future temptations. maybe he really did just try to keep things platonic between them and he ignored her text because he's realized since they met, she wanted more.

that said, it's also easy to relapse and even easier to assume such a fling is even more meaningless and less detrimental to your relationship than it really is. he's gotten away with it before and he may feel like he's "calmed the waters" with you as well.
posted by june made him a gemini at 5:14 PM on August 6, 2009


What do people think?

That this is a totally chat-filterly question trying to justify your own bias that meeting girls in bars is "sketchy."

Your boyfriend hasn't done anything wrong. The girl who is txting him at 1 AM? Maybe she's trying to get in his pants - but there's nothing you can do about HER. From my own experience: my partner has been beset by female friends who cross the line in terms of "friendly" flirting - phone calls at 2AM that aren't even pretending to be anything other than booty calls (from girls who yes, know he's involved), etc. I don't trust these girls farther than I can throw them.

But I do trust HIM and half the time, he gets that these girls have gone too far and ignores them. The other half? He honestly doesn't SEE that the girl is trying to get in his pants. He just thinks she's being "friendly." And since I trust HIM, it doesn't matter what the girl in the situation is up to, or what her intentions are, since I know that he would never in a million years cheat on me.

And hey, if he did, I would be crushed, but the relationship would end and I would move on.

So, that's your choice. You can trust him and say "Ok, I believe you" and let it go, or stress about it. If he blows your trust, walk away. As is now, this is like Schrödinger's Boundaries - you trust him, and you don't, all at the same time. Pick one and go with it. Trust him. Or walk away.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 7:14 PM on August 6, 2009


If he was cheating on past girlfriends, even if it was a grey area, then he's going to cheat on you.


I'm not so sure about this. Is this the way most people feel?


Sigh.

1. Some people who have cheated in the past cheat again in the future.
2. Some people who have cheated in the past quit cheating.

3. MOST people have a really, really hard time dealing with the ambiguity of 1 and 2, and so they come up with Laws of Nature to make their lives easier. If you decide that "once a cheater, always a cheater," then that's one less decision to make if you meat someone who once cheated. You don't date him, because you know for sure that he's DESTINED to cheat again.

Or you're the starry-eyed person on the other side the of the fence: the one who is always willing to give the cheater another chance -- even after his tenth "mistake."

Reality is more nuanced. People change or they don't. And there's no way you can know for sure about any particular person. There's no way a particular person can know for sure about himself.

So what can you do? All you can do is go with our gut about a particular person. Your gut seems to be telling you he won't cheat. Go with that. It's the best guide you have.
posted by grumblebee at 8:36 PM on August 6, 2009 [4 favorites]


It seems to me that you don't have a problem with his other girl friends because you know them. You don't know Katie. So it isn't so much that you don't trust him, it is that you don't trust Katie. And that is a completely valid feeling to have (how can you trust someone you haven't even met?). Trust in your boyfriend to set the agreed appropriate boundaries with Katie.
posted by saucysault at 9:27 PM on August 6, 2009


There is no right way or wrong way to have a relationship. Each one is unique. You do have to know what you are uncomfortable with and your partner should respect that.

I second, that it will probably make you feel better to meet her.
posted by psycho-alchemy at 9:44 PM on August 6, 2009


I think one important thing to consider, intentions aside, is the kind of situation he might be putting himself in.

I love my girlfriend very much, and I would never do anything intentionally to hurt her. To that extent, I personally would not feel comfortable receiving texts at 1am to come hang out with a girl I met while smashed at the bar. That just sets up the potential to do something (especially with alcohol involved) I would regret.

My girlfriend is very trusting, and I doubt she would have a problem with the situation. I however would prefer not to put myself in that situation so as to avoid the possibility of making a mistake. He can still have a social life without putting himself in the kind of situations that risk your relationship.
posted by NeonBlueDecember at 9:59 PM on August 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


No single girl emails a guy (gf or not) at 1:00 am, except to hook up. Get real!

If that's true, I have been hit on at least 700 times this year alone without even realizing it. And I'm sure some of those e-mailers and texters would be shocked to learn they were hitting on me, too.


I don't know Rokusan. What about this little tidbit, from your profile? J'accuse!

If you get an e-mail from me at 1am, it's probably best if you consider it a booty call. And that goes double for MeMail.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 2:27 AM on August 7, 2009


I ran this question by Mr. WanKenobi, who very much values his autonomy and independence (as do I), and he said that if he were in this guy's situation, his first thought would be "This is going to look really bad when my girlfriend finds out about it." Not that he necessarily did cheat, but it's behavior that seems sketchy (particularly not telling you about the 1 a.m. text) and is bound to invite scrutiny because of that.

Take this from someone whose formerly long distance mate just moved in: one of the most important long distance skills for both partners to learn is to generate the appearance of couplehood, of being in a relationship, even when you're apart. It helps set boundaries for both you and the people around you. Don't put yourself in situations where there might be potential for "mistakes" and don't lead other people on. Whether your boyfriend actually cheated, his behavior here is careless and a little dangerous: it sounds like Katie thought he was flirting, even if he didn't.

(And I don't really understand anyone who says a text at 1 a.m. is probably chaste. First of all, texts seem to be the preferred method for flirting these days, if my single friends are any indication, and any girl I know who would invite a boy to a bar at 1 a.m. would really likely be hoping for a hook-up as a nightcap. It seems really naive and obtuse to think otherwise.)
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 5:15 AM on August 7, 2009


Response by poster:
I have to agree that I'm not sure the 1am-ness of the text is necessarily a bad indication. He lives in a city where last call is 4am, and where our friends generally don't even get moving until 11 or 12.

Anyway, I just wanted to say thank you for all of the thoughtful replies.
posted by lalalove at 7:58 AM on August 7, 2009


What do your friends do when they're out at 1 AM and they genuinely want their platonic friends to come out and hang out and not have sex?

They generally don't, particularly with a guy they've only known a week or two, who wouldn't really qualify for the "platonic friend" tag yet, anyway.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:42 AM on August 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh, and if this were a totally normal thing for you guys socially, why didn't he just invite the girl to meet up with all of you? That would have been both the most normal response and the response most likely to diffuse the tension in the situation, unlike hiding the text, which just escalates things.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:47 AM on August 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


He went to a bar, that is a very normal activity. He got drunk, that is what people do at bars. He talked to people at the bar while drinking, again very normal. He made plans to hang out with these people again, very normal. I dont see what the problem is. You mentioned he has close female friends. So he gets along with at least some females. I dont understand waht the problem is.
posted by ihope at 9:28 AM on August 7, 2009


If he continues to push emotional and physical boundaries with girls (going out alone; being flirty with girls; seeking opportunities to be in cosy, intimate settings where there is a strong possibility of hooking up), he is tempting fate. We are all human, and one way to avoid temptation is to consciously *avoid* situations like this. He sounds like he isn't avoiding situations like this -- red flag. Past behaviour -- red flag. You are acting defensive, which is probably no fault of yours, but rather possibly picking up a strong undercurrent of future infidelity -- red flag.

How many red flags do you need?

Anyway, some girls are okay with their boyfriends being flirty with other girls. They accept it. That's cool. But you are not okay with it, rather, you seem to be rationalizing and explaining away his behaviour.

Dunno, if you need confirmation and support that he is not cheating on you and he never will be and that your gut feelings are wrong etc etc etc, this isn't probably the place to ask your question. Because Mefites will give you the situation as they see it, being impartial outside observers and all.
posted by moiraine at 10:21 AM on August 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


Bottom line, right or wrongness of your reaction aside: Do you want to be with someone who may always be toeing the line between what you feel is okay or not okay? Do you want to always be waiting for the other shoe to drop, tensing up for the next worrisome circumstance? Or would you rather be with someone who makes it a point to never make you wonder or worry, someone who lays things on the line with you because he has nothing to hide and your relationship is worth that honesty?

I think that people will often show you who they are if you let them. It seems pretty clear that, in this case, he's throwing some pretty sketchy signals. Notably, these warning signs aren't shocking behavioral aberrations, but rather sound entirely consistent with his long, documented history of past inappropriate behavior with girls, even in situations when he was engaged in theoretically meaningful romantic relationships. I don't know you, but I'm going to hazard a guess that you are far too awesome to be wasting your fine self on someone whose shady behavior makes you feel paranoid, insecure, or uncertain. If a guy loves you the way you love him--and you say he loves you--he will take great pains to never, ever make you wonder if what he is doing with other girls should make you uncomfortable. He will not text back and forth with girls he meets in bars at 5 am, and then forget to tell you that said girl texted him at 1 am when, if everything was on the level, she should have known that he would be busy doting on you during your visit and either a) texted with an invitation for both of you or b) caught up with him another time. No, he will make sure you--and everybody else--know how crazy he is about you, always, because you are his girl. This goes beyond saying "I love you", and actually showing you through his actions, consistently.

My general rule of thumb these days for evaluating the behavior of boyfriends is this: am I impressed? Is he impressing you right now with his behavior? Or is it giving you an icky feeling in your stomach that you should probably listen to? I'm guessing the latter. I know it's hard to move on when you love someone, but you deserve to be impressed. If he can't deliver that, then why not find someone whose ideas of boundaries and appropriate, loving, respectful Relationship Behavior are more in line with your own?

(I am not your relationship advisor or therapist--just a girl who has been in your shoes before.)
posted by teamparka at 10:59 AM on August 7, 2009 [7 favorites]


You know, I dated and fell in love with a guy who right before our relationship had kissed a friend of ours in front of her then-boyfriend. I rationalized it so many ways: he was recently divorced and the siren song of drunk kissing is quite potent, the friend didn't really publicize that she and the other guy were together, so maybe he really didn't know, it was a one-time sketchy lapse of judgment, etc.

Eventually our relationship ended when he realized he was still too recently divorced to think about being in a serious relationship again, but what I eventually realized was this: some men would never ever have gotten in this situation in the first place. It just wouldn't have occurred to them. And I wanted to be with someone like that.
posted by MsMolly at 12:35 PM on August 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


If your friends never try and get their friends to come out at 1 AM, then of COURSE they're going to think that the only reason for a 1 AM text is a booty call. But other people do this. Other people are out at 1 AM and go, "Man, it's still early, I'm going to text someone who I have no intention of having sex with and see if they'll hang out with me."

It's entirely possible that they're squares, but most girls I know, if they were only interested in a guy non-sexually, would be at least a little bit concerned about leading a newly friended dude on, particularly after staying up with him until 5 a.m. chatting at a bar because, well, two weeks after meeting someone, boundaries and such can be a bit fuzzy.

Well established, clearly platonic friends are another story entirely. That's not what Katie and OP's boyfriend are, though.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:00 PM on August 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Let me guess the order in which things were revealed to you.

1. "Yeah, I was at the bar till 5 am."

Gets a text at 1 am a week later from a female.

2. "Oh, yeah, that's a person I met at the bar."

Let me shorten this out for you. Your boyfriend cheated on you. I would bet money on it, and I would get money from the bet. First off, from your post, he's a sketchy guy to start with. You got involved with him, or hung around him showing interest while he was still with his last girlfriend, and you knew her? Well, then here's to foreshadowing.

Now, what really happened. He went to a bar. His friends left. He stuck around. He hit on the blonde. He went to her place. He had a screw. He left and went home to you. You said 'where you been?' He said 'oh, at a bar till late.'

Come on, 5 am? Who stays at a bar till 5 am with strangers that came with friends? Is your boyfriend an alcoholic or degenerate? No? Then what's happened? It all sounds fishy.

He cheated on you with this blonde number. You know it. That's why you feel uncomfortable. Think about how this story gels:

"He went out with friends. Those friends went home. He stayed. He made friends with a woman, and walked home with her. He got a text from her at 1 am a week later."

Sure, I make friends with people. Don't text them in a week at 1am. Also, when my friends leave a bar, I don't know if I don't go with them. I mean, he stuck around having a ready set, contradiction free alibi. But he didn't really stay at the bar till 5am. What are closing times like? When's last call? He went by her place. Had a screw.

It reeks of it. Everything you said about him makes him seem suspect. I can't explain it coherently right now, but I'm entirely certain he's messed around on you.

Too sketchy. Way too sketchy.

Anyways, even if he didn't, there's really know way you can trust him, as evidenced by your post. He's too sketchy a person, and you're too capable of being worried about things like this. Best to call it off and find someone that won't drive you to paranoia, or re-assess yourself. But the way I see it, there's nothing particularly wrong with you.
posted by happysurge at 7:04 PM on August 7, 2009


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