Must I jettison Jezebel?
November 20, 2007 7:04 AM   Subscribe

Should I be worried about my boyfriend and his smokin' hot new female roommate? Who has a tendency to sleep with her roommates regardless of their relationship status?

So I've got this new boyfriend, who is pretty much the bee's knees in my eyes. We've only been together a few months, the power dynamic seems equal enough, the sex is amazing and frequent, and even though we are total opposites (he's a cute frat boy jock and I've always been "that cool sarcastic girl" with her nose in a book who could stand to lose ten pounds) things have been going really well and I think I'm falling for him big time. He has frequently assured me -without me even once having to ask for assurances- that he is very into our relationship and has no interest in breaking up. However.

A few weeks ago he had a friend-of-a-friend move in to his place-- a gorgeous ex-sorority girl jock-ette, who shares far more of his interests than I do and, if I can just emphasize this-- looks like she could pose for Maxim. And he "loves her to death," always talking about what a great roommate she is, often inviting her along with us on dates because she doesn't really have her own friends yet, cooks her dinner when she's had a rough day, calls her daily to 'check in,' etc. He never knew her til she moved in, and now she's one of his posse. True my boyfriend is a super nice feller.. but this is starting to worry me.

And here's the kicker. The friend who introduced Senora Hottie to my BF told my BF and I that Senora Hottie slept with her last male roommate, even though he had a girlfriend at the time. And my BF rushed to her defense, saying "well it's great that she is still able to be friends with the guy, and that she didn't get weird or hurt when he returned to his real GF." Which I thought was an odd thing to say.

Basically I don't know whether I'm being crazy or rational to worry about the two of them alone in the house together all the time. I never ever play the role of typical insecure new girlfriend to his face, but inside I'm, of course, a typical insecure new girlfriend. There is no way in hell I would ever let him know I was jealous or insecure about her because I very much want to trust him and be cool with it. But I've been cheated on in the recent past by a long term boyfriend and I really don't want to experience that again.

Strangely in spite of all this, I genuinely LIKE her. She's not the smartest or most unique girl on the block but she is peppy and fun and has never been anything but friendly to me. And part of me thinks maybe he'd be better off dating someone like her over someone like me who is so different from the girls he usually dates. (Who.. um.. are just like her.)

So what should I do? Is this a ticking time bomb or just a case of me needing to chill out and trust this guy? If only I knew what he was capable of, I wouldn't have to ask the community. Suggestions or anecdotal experiences are much appreciated!
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (87 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Make sure he's clear on the fact that yours is not an open relationship, and that if he sleeps with her, even once, you will probably break up with him. Don't assume he knows how much it would hurt you.
posted by amtho at 7:11 AM on November 20, 2007 [2 favorites]

two's company, three's a crowd on dates where i come from.

your anxiety is understandable. there are some electronic surveillance options available to you which come complete with trust issues. how do you feel about bugging his crib?
posted by bruce at 7:13 AM on November 20, 2007

And my BF rushed to her defense, saying "well it's great that she is still able to be friends with the guy, and that she didn't get weird or hurt when he returned to his real GF." Which I thought was an odd thing to say.

That is an odd thing to say. But her past history gives you an opening to discuss this with your boyfriend without seeming unreasonably jealous (you will seem just a little jealous no matter what you do). You don't want him to know this? Get over that, if you've been dating for months already.

If only I knew what he was capable of, I wouldn't have to ask the community.

What, you think we're going to know better than you do? I'm not the one who's been dating this guy for months.
posted by grouse at 7:14 AM on November 20, 2007

I reckon he'll cheat; but there is no point worrying about it because there isn't anything you can do other than threatening to maim him if he cheats or preemptively dumping him which seems like cutting your nose off to spite your face. So trust him, and if he screws up move on.
posted by zeoslap at 7:14 AM on November 20, 2007 [9 favorites]

He is capable of sleeping with her. But that doesn't mean he will. I think it's prudent to give warning, but once you've done so, you'll need to trust him. Couch it in the terms of your own past hurts, not suspicion toward him.
posted by wzcx at 7:14 AM on November 20, 2007 [2 favorites]

If you distrust him enough to start electronic surveillance (jesus christ, what, is this the CIA?), then just go ahead and break up now.
posted by notsnot at 7:15 AM on November 20, 2007 [2 favorites]

the fact that he involves her in your life - she's a friend who he's not at all reluctant to invite along such that the two of you are exposed to each other - speaks (positive) volumes I think. Beyond that, there's always the possibility people will disappoint us, of course, and its not unreasonable for you to be a little cautious early in a relationship. But this guy sure sounds like he's doing everything right.
posted by phearlez at 7:17 AM on November 20, 2007

Ticking time bomb.

Even Jack Bauer would be freaking out right about now.
posted by rentalkarma at 7:17 AM on November 20, 2007 [7 favorites]

It really depends on your boyfriend. I moved in with an ex-fling who became seriously involved with another girl a few years ago. We remained friends the entire time we lived together and he is still together with that girl today.

You have every right to feel concerned, but so long as he spends most of his free time with you, not her, I think you will be ok. Time will tell, but keep your eyes open for any strange behavior.

It might help to think about relationships that you have/had with any attractive male friends. If you can maintain healthy friendships with those guys and still be in a strong relationship with your boyfriend, why wouldn't he be the same way?
posted by missjamielynn at 7:21 AM on November 20, 2007 [1 favorite]

typical insecure new girlfriend to his face, but inside I'm, of course, a typical insecure new girlfriend.

You have no idea what will happen. You can neither read his mind, nor hers. You can only control your reaction to it and how you deal with it. Your fears are not predictive. They do not constitute a detector. That's what your logical mind is for.

Is the situation causing you more pain than the enjoyment you get out of seeing him? That means move on.

Don't ask him anymore about it. Decide whether or not the current situation is a dealbreaker for you and then act. Don't hang on if you are hurting more than feeling good. It doesn't matter if he ends up cheating or not. If you are unhappy with the way he is treating you, you should break up.

Hang out with the girl just the two of you. Her reactions to that idea will go a long way in letting you know what her intentions are. Being her friend too is gonna make it harder for her to make any mistake. Plus he will be reassured by that--its the opposite of the jealous move. A bit confusing for the male mind.

Sounds like (fortunately) you are pretty young. There's millions of dudes out there for you and the minute you start really hurting, you can bail.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:23 AM on November 20, 2007 [5 favorites]

Machiavelli said it best when he said, "the roommate hottie should be neutralized".

1. Make sure you schedule enough time alone with the BF.
2. Start to invite the RM out for girl time, coffee, shopping, whatever. Make an effort to get to know her as well as possible.
3. Don't pressure the BF about her or anything else. Let it go.
4. Men living with women WILL NEVER WORK OUT. So, getting her out of there is a priority. But work from the inside.
posted by ewkpates at 7:25 AM on November 20, 2007 [2 favorites]

well, anything can happen, people are people. you can't stop them from sleeping together if they want to, but you can try to diminish these chances.

first of all, keep up what you're doing: be a good, outwardly secure and confident girlfriend to your bee's knees boyfriend. if you start accusing him of things and acting insecure, i'm sure you'll lose some of that equal standing you have.

second, be kind to the roomie. chances are that if she likes you and perceives you as a friend, she won't try to sleep with your boy.
posted by barrakuda at 7:28 AM on November 20, 2007 [1 favorite]

Something that helps me a lot is to voice my feelings in a non-confrontational way. I'm not expecting my boyfriend to make it all better, but I just want him to be aware of how I feel and that I'm trying to work it out within myself. As it has been said repeatedly in other relationship questions, you can only change your actions and reactions, you can't change another person's.
posted by spec80 at 7:31 AM on November 20, 2007

This is like giving a middle school boy a huge balsa wood airplane model and some illegal fireworks and wondering if there will be an explosion.

posted by neat-o at 7:32 AM on November 20, 2007 [11 favorites]

I wish I could say something like "Buck up soldier, trust you dude!", except in this situation I would also be upset.

Checking in on her? Inviting her on dates--do you guys have dates without her? Cooking her dinner once in a while would be OK, except then there's all the other stuff and that terribly weird comment. Presumably he's young, and sorority-peppiness and hotness hold a lot more weight the younger you are. This does stink terribly.

Talk about this with him. Lay down that you are uncomfortable with this new situation, and you don't think he's going to cheat but it is absolutely a dumpable offense if he does. And request that you guys get more alone time, you know, without her. But because he's a young frat boy jock it is quite possible he's going to take this as even more of a reason to cheat on you . . .

Yeah, neat-o said it best. Don't get too attached.
posted by schroedinger at 7:34 AM on November 20, 2007 [1 favorite]

Are there other roommates, or just the hottie? One-on-one is more worrisome than just a bunch of people together.

And are you still getting lots of time with just you and the boy, or is she invited along for everything?

Have you mentioned your concerns at all, even jokingly? I wonder if one joking question, framed to sound more confident than jealous, might make him aware that you're not blind to the possibility, but that you know he's your guy.
Or something like that.
posted by bassjump at 7:51 AM on November 20, 2007

The friend who introduced Senora Hottie to my BF told my BF and I that Senora Hottie slept with her last male roommate, even though he had a girlfriend at the time.

Note also that one instance does not a tendency make.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:52 AM on November 20, 2007

What's the old maxim? 'Keep your friends close and your enemies closer'? I'd go with that.
posted by Pecinpah at 7:54 AM on November 20, 2007 [3 favorites]

I will pay everyone here $1,000 if the fratboy boyfriend DOES NOT sleep with the Maxim centerfold. Feel free to PM me with your mailing addresses. I am completely serious. There is no way this does not happen.

Have the laws of physics been completely suspended? Are we all asleep and dreaming?
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 7:56 AM on November 20, 2007 [20 favorites]

I don't have much advice. Only an anecdote.

It's not inevitable that they'll have sex. I've been the boy with a very cute flatmate and a girlfriend. The flatmate was occasionally flirty to me but nothing ever came of it, in the year we shared the place. My girlfriend and flatmate weren't ever more than acquaintances. I don't think I have superhuman self-control or anything.

That said, be direct but not annoying. Don't couch your desires in a story about a previous boyfriend. If you tell that story, end it with "and this is how it applies to you: I insist that we both control the sexual aspect of each other's lives. You and I have fantastic sex. Think very hard before trading a relationship and sure-fire good sex with me for a temporary fling of unknown quality sex with anyone else. It's almost certainly a bad idea to make that trade."
posted by cmiller at 7:59 AM on November 20, 2007 [3 favorites]

I agree with schroedinger. Sexy new roommate? Natural to worry a little, but I'd say "forget it unless he gives you reason to worry." But:

And he "loves her to death," always talking about what a great roommate she is, often inviting her along with us on dates because she doesn't really have her own friends yet, cooks her dinner when she's had a rough day, calls her daily to 'check in,' etc... The friend who introduced Senora Hottie to my BF told my BF and I that Senora Hottie slept with her last male roommate, even though he had a girlfriend at the time. And my BF rushed to her defense

Yeah, I'd say you have reason to worry. At the very least, he seems more concerned with hottie's feelings than yours. I'd definitely have a talk with him, let him know you're concerned and would like some reassurance, and if he gets all offended and starts talking about how you're being uncool and should be more accepting, I'd start making other plans, because he wouldn't be sounding like long-term material.
posted by languagehat at 8:00 AM on November 20, 2007 [2 favorites]

Here's the thing, all the preventative action on your part is wasted here. Either you'd be covering up the fact that your guy is the type to sleep with his roommate unless he's constantly hounded into not doing it by constantly hounding him into not doing it, or you're constantly hounding him into not doing something he wouldn't have done in the first place, and you'll never know if it was his natural tendency or your constant hounding that did the trick.

So, sure, make friends with the roommate, because it's friendly, and because she's fast becoming one of your boyfriend's friends. And make sure your boyfriend knows you've been cheated on in the past and would find it very hurtful to have it happen again. Then let it go.

If he sleeps with her, he's not the man you thought he was. (And that will probably hurt, yes, but not nearly as much as say, marrying him and then finding out he's not the man you thought he was.) If he doesn't sleep with her, you'll know it was because he's a good guy who loves you.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:00 AM on November 20, 2007

Man. I feel for you. The problem is that you're justified in being suspicious, but that kind of insecurity is poison for any relationship, especially a budding one.

You need to reframe this and think about it from your own perspective. You know what makes you feel more secure and confident? Knowing what you want and asking for it, and making no apologies about being uncompromising about your own personal happiness.

Whether or not it's your past issues giving you these bad vibes, or his behavior that's making you feel this way, just remember that this is how you feel, and you should not judge or be judged for you feelings, only for how you act on them.

You might feel like you're being irrational or overly-emotional or a baggage cart with feet, but that's just how you feel, and it's understandable considering that you've been cheated on. So here's where you have to be honest and tell him that you're feeling a little insecure. It will be hard to be honest and vulnerable about that, but I'm pretty sure you'll feel better if you get it out in the open.

Don't be accusatory and use "I" statements, but also don't be apologetic or say things like "I know it's stupid, but..." -- because it's not. It's simply how you feel, and as your boyfriend, it's his job to be sensitive to your feelings.

I'm sorry you're feeling this way and I wish you luck!

Also, this may be as cheesy as it gets, but I was watching Sex & The City the other day with a friend, and I was totally heartened by this moment when all the women were at brunch. Samantha was counseling Carrie on her current relationship drama and said it so simply I couldn't believe it:

"A relationship should make you feel like this [[Samantha grins from ear to ear]]. It should not make you feel like this [[Samantha frowns and shakes her head]]."
posted by pazazygeek at 8:01 AM on November 20, 2007 [7 favorites]

cmiller: It doesn't sound like you called your roommate every day to "check in," invited her on dates, etc., which means your girlfriend didn't have much reason to worry about her.
posted by languagehat at 8:01 AM on November 20, 2007

Your post reads as though you have spent the entire span of your relationship expecting the next words out of his mouth to be, "We should start seeing other people." That's not helping things. If you want to stay in this relationship, you're going to have to start believing that he actually likes you, wants to be with you, and prefers you over other people. You've spent so much time doubting how he could be attracted to you, it won't be long until it wears on your relationship or at least your perception of it.

So, work on that. Figure it out. You have to realize that it's okay to be insecure, so long as you don't let that control your life. Right now, it seems like you're dwelling on your insecurities because you're terrified of them showing through... And that certainly isn't helping a situation where, wow, you have plenty of justified reason to be insecure.

You don't say so outright, but I get the feeling you haven't spoken to your boyfriend about your problems with roommate. That's the first step. Have a calm conversation in which you point out that you really like him, you really like being in a relationship with him, but you are having some doubts about what's going on with roommate. If you two are in a relationship, you should be able to work through this like a team. He should certainly be able to understand where you're coming from (and if he doesn't, or if he gets all defensive, I'd say that's a red flag). He should also be able to understand that there is good reason for him to be more concerned about you than about her.

There's a difference between constantly doubting your self-value and being wary of such an unusual situation. Noting that you are growing quite uncomfortable with his friendship with roommate is the latter, not the former. Allow yourself to express your discomfort; you deserve it. The result will either be that your relationship is strengthened or that you will find out that he's not good enough for you.
posted by Ms. Saint at 8:11 AM on November 20, 2007

If I were you, the thing that would worry me most about the whole situation is that he hasn't addressed this issue. As in, "hey, does this bother you?" or "should I try to find a new roommate?"

I'm a guy, but putting myself in your shoes, yeah, I'd worry about the situation itself; but I'd worry more about the fact that he either doesn't realize or doesn't care about how it makes you feel, at least not enough to discuss it with you.
posted by greenmagnet at 8:14 AM on November 20, 2007 [2 favorites]

It sounds like your boyfriend has two girlfriends. Does he introduce you as his girlfriend? How has he characterized your relationship to this new roommate?

If you hadn't told me that he is your boyfriend, I would assume that you had a friends with benefits relationship with you; thus freeing him up to lavish attention on this new prospect.

I also have to point out that it doesn't sound like he might sleep with her; it sounds like he already is. All of the behaviors he is engaging in: ... he "loves her to death," always talking about what a great roommate she is, often inviting her along with us on dates because she doesn't really have her own friends yet, cooks her dinner when she's had a rough day, calls her daily to 'check in,' etc... are boyfriend behaviors.

Does he do the same for you? If not, it sounds like this relationship is already over. I would suggest a serious sit down conversation, where you ask him whats going on and why he is behaving this way with her. I would tell him, in a fact of fact tone of voice (not too angry), that you are not comfortable with this situation.
posted by zia at 8:22 AM on November 20, 2007

As an insecure chick, I'm going to throw in my thoughts. I almost had a situation like this with my last boyfriend, and I say "almost" because, when I found out about the woman who might be moving in, I said flat-out that I couldn't deal with it. Either he was going to nix the roommate idea, or I was out of there.

Did I take it too far? Yeah, I'm sure we could have done without the ultimatums and such. We fought about this for days and finally he gave in and said no chick roomie. But... even though I got my way, the fighting was awful, it really put a serious strain on our relationship and I was never really forgiven for my rampant insecurities.

Who knows what might have happened if the girl had moved in with him? Maybe they never would have slept together. Maybe they would have, and kept it a secret. Maybe they would have, and he would have dumped me. The uncertainty alone would have eaten me up to the point of not being able to enjoy my relationship.

I guess what I'm saying is, based on my past experience, I don't envy you. There's really nothing you can do to stop it from happening, IF it's going to happen. And if you did, well, you'd still be with a man who'd cheat on you in the right circumstances. Not saying it's the right or best solution, but I'd protect myself and run like hell from the situation. Whether you stick it out and worry needlessly, or you stick it out and he cheats, it's a lose-lose situation.
posted by Ruby Doomsday at 8:24 AM on November 20, 2007 [2 favorites]

He likes her and wants her. Do you not watch the Real World? This situation is 99% of the show!

No idea if he'll cheat but I don't know many guys who treat their female friends like they are girlfriends-sans-sex. He either has one of the largest "must take care of women" genes in his body or he likes her.

That doesn't mean he'll cheat but yeah, this is a time bomb. He's already setting up himself to believe that if there's a one-night "oh we were drunk experience", he'll be able to live with himself and not think he cheated.

He's covering his ass. You should cover yours too.
posted by Stynxno at 8:24 AM on November 20, 2007 [2 favorites]

Men living with women WILL NEVER WORK OUT

This is BS. I'm a woman who has been living with the same male roommate for a couple years now. Several of our friends have opposite-gender roommates, and no issues.
We don't bring each other on dates, although when either of us are in relationships it's not uncommon for us to all hang out as a group.

The only issue we've ever had is from OTHER people who assume we're screwing behind closed doors.

However, that being said... normal reaction to someone sleeping with their opposite-gender roommate is "ow, bad bad idea!" not "how nice they're still friends." Normal calling of the roommate is "hey, stopping at the store, we need milk?" not "hey, I miss you" or whatever. So it doesn't sound like your guy and his roommate are acting like normal roommates.
posted by Kellydamnit at 8:25 AM on November 20, 2007

I had a female roomate for a while...I was close friends with her but despite that my girlfriend was a bit jealous. Everything turned out okay...depends on the nature of their relationship.
posted by UMDirector at 8:25 AM on November 20, 2007

So what should I do? Is this a ticking time bomb or just a case of me needing to chill out and trust this guy?

It's both! As such, it requires a two-part solution:

1) Keep dating him, assume he's not cheating, call him on weird shit he says but don't stop trusting him; in short, act like you would even if SeƱorita Mala-Morales wasn't in the picture. Reinforce the fact that you're monogamous, and tell him no more than once that you would be hurt if he cheated. Any more than once, and you've gone from information territory to mistrustful nag territory. Enjoy the relationship and try not to think about Jezebel's stupid long legs and her stupid shiny hair and that stupid giggle she does which hello is not even that cute anyway and what the fuck, dude.

2) Plant a series of small radio-activated explosives in the drywall of his place. (Google-search for "squibs" and "special effects" to procure these) You'll need to brush a thin layer of spackle over them, and match the paint color perfectly. Try to get them somewhere out of the way, where they're unlikely to actually hurt anyone. IF you eventually find out that he did cheat on you, tell him you're shocked, and need time to think about this new development. Go home, and during this time, do all the crying and talking-to-friends you'll need to in order to collect yourself. Get the explosive-activation device, then return to his place later. Have the breakup conversation with the device hidden up your sleeve. At a moment of great emotional intensity, midway through the conversation, activate the device, triggering the squibs. Perhaps you could shout, "I can't believe you could be so SELFISH!" with the explosions happening on the word "selfish". Then storm out.

So then he'll assume you have pyrokinetic powers. This means that not only is he unlikely to try to sweet-talk you into returning to him, you will be known around your school as "That Pyrokinetic Chick", which will guarantee that future boyfriends will be of much higher moral caliber.
posted by Greg Nog at 8:26 AM on November 20, 2007 [45 favorites]

Here's the thing.

Her? She's basically blameless in this situation. Sure, you shouldn't mow someone else's lawn, granted. But if he oops, trips and falls and sticks his dick in her, that's his culpability, not hers. He is the one that owes you something. I just wanted to make that clear, because so very many people put the blame in the wrong place when a loved one strays.

That being said.. I don't think there's anything necessarily inevitable about a hot guy and a hot girl living together. Hell, I know lots of hot gay boys who are roommates. Some sleep together, sure, but I'd say it's definitely the minority.

What you need to do is not sit here and ask a bunch of strangers and stew about the issue. What you need to do is talk to your amazing boyfriend. Sit him down and say "Hey, I know you like me, so no worries on that score. And I know we've got something good here. But, well, I have to confess to feeling a little uncomfortable about your roommate. I know you're not a jerk, don't get me wrong. It's just that even in the most secure relationships, it's easy to get worried over nothing, y'know? So what I'm saying is, I trust that nothing will happen, but once in a while I may need a little reassurance, okay?"

Or something along those lines. Be her friend if you want to be her friend, don't do it because you think (mistakenly, trust me on this) that being her friend will make it harder for her to sleep with him. It won't.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 8:26 AM on November 20, 2007 [2 favorites]

I can't give advice about your current situation, but if if he doesn't sleep with her? MARRY this one.
posted by methylsalicylate at 8:27 AM on November 20, 2007

The whole "keep your enemies closer" adage is right on here - if you become great friends with her, you'll neutralize it from the chick's end.

When in doubt, work the female-side cockblock. It works.
posted by mckenney at 8:30 AM on November 20, 2007 [4 favorites]

Men living with women WILL NEVER WORK OUT.

This is bullshit. I have lived with woman many times in my life, and have no sex to show for it. No orgies, nothing.

Mind you, I wasn't a frat boy living with a model.

Do you think your boyfriend is one to cheat or not? That's really all there is to it. Not all boys will try and sleep with their hot roommates. You need to figure out if your boy is one to do that sort of thing or not.
posted by chunking express at 8:48 AM on November 20, 2007

You're right to be concerned, but if you bring it up, I'd phrase it carefully, in a sort of "I know it's irrational because I trust you, but..." kind of way, as opposed to an Oxana Sagadiev-esque "If you cheat on me, I will snap off your cock" way.
posted by fogster at 8:48 AM on November 20, 2007

I dumped my last boyfriend for cheating on me. I made my zero-tolerance policy absolutely clear to my next boyfriend. Beyond that, there's no point in discussing it. I don't understand dirtynumbangelboy's response - your uncomfortableness is not your boyfriend's problem, PROVIDED HE DOESN'T ACTUALLY DO ANYTHING with hot roomie. Either bf's reassurance is enough for you or it's not. If nothing short of hidden cameras will suffice, get some therapy and move on (I didn't get this from your OP, just being slightly hyperbolic). Also, discussing your awkwardness with bf is not going to prevent him from cheating, if he's inclined that way. Either he's slimy or he's not. NOTHING YOU CAN DO.

It sounds trite, but if you're meant to be together, he'll only have eyes for you. It's normal for him to be attracted to hottie girl, but if he breaches your trust, then he's obviously not the guy for you.
posted by desjardins at 8:51 AM on November 20, 2007 [1 favorite]

You're toast.

posted by letahl at 8:51 AM on November 20, 2007

OP, please PM sexyFlanders with the results. I could use help with tuition.
posted by craven_morhead at 8:54 AM on November 20, 2007 [1 favorite]

Get over the trust and jealousy issue. This is your problem not anyone else's. Unless you have definite evidence to the contrary, like the BF said he slept with her, then you are going to wreck things with him. Try to work on a mantra to get your mind off its jealous intentions.
posted by JJ86 at 8:56 AM on November 20, 2007

I've been the guy with a one-bedroom apartment and a purely-platonic female friend that I let sleep on the couch for a couple of months when she fell into hard times. We were good friends but NEVER had any sort of romantic relationship or anything even close to that. One of those "we're not each other's type but we're good friends" things.

A month into this, I got a new girlfriend, who was terribly paranoid and convinced that I was bonking my "roommate" due to the sole fact that she occasionally went back and forth to the single bathroom in the apartment in her underwear or a towel (never walked around naked, etc).

The only problem I had with the entire arrangement was that a couple of times I came home to some dude that I didn't know sitting on my couch watching my TV. I finally had to tell the "roommate" that she needed to move in with her boyfriend instead of continuing to crash at my place.
posted by mrbill at 8:58 AM on November 20, 2007 [3 favorites]

I dunno, I was a jealous-psycho-boyfriend for a while when I thought that my s.o. was doing things behind my back (primarily because of his proximity to the opportunity to stray, which seems like your problem), and I don't think it is fair for other people to say that it is your problem because you are insecure and that you should get therapy and get over it. Come on! That's like putting a cat and a mouse in a room together, closing the door and saying: now you will never know what happens! It's enough to make you obsessed! They could get along fine with no problems, or there could be a bloody mess in a matter of minutes.

I wouldn't beat yourself up about this. Just be honest with him about your concerns, and then let it be.
posted by greekphilosophy at 9:10 AM on November 20, 2007 [1 favorite]

How do you know that Hottie is attracted your your boy? Sure, you think he's great/cute/sweet because you're dating him, but she might not be attracted to him at all. Just because she showed a lack of discretion in the past does not mean she jumps into bed with EVERYONE.
posted by slowfasthazel at 9:10 AM on November 20, 2007 [1 favorite]

"And he "loves her to death," always talking about what a great roommate she is, often inviting her along with us on dates because she doesn't really have her own friends yet, cooks her dinner when she's had a rough day, calls her daily to 'check in,' etc..."

I'm all for trust in a relationship and all that, but this is a quite weird.

The real challenge is going to be not letting this poison the well of your relationship (so to speak). If you assume he's going to be fooling around, normal friendly or mildly flirty gestures will metamorphosize into tells for unfaithfulness. If he feels like you think he's cheating, then he might believe there's no reason not to. It might be tough to remain objective, but it's important. Maybe there are other common friends than can observe their interactions and weigh in on whether he's just one of those flirty guys or if he's trying to play both sides of the field.
posted by Nelsormensch at 9:12 AM on November 20, 2007

It sounds like he's desperately trying to woo her, what with all the dinners and calling to check on her and inviting her on your dates so she's not lonely. I would seriously ask him what that last item is about.

I'm not going to say it's inevitable. If he doesn't cheat, and you're sure he doesn't cheat, it's because she doesn't want him.

And if she wants him, she'll sleep with him. It doesn't matter how friendly she and you are. That won't even enter the picture if they want each other. This whole 'be nice to the other girl to make her feel guilty enough not to help your boyfriend cheat' NEVER works. NEVER.
posted by winna at 9:19 AM on November 20, 2007 [2 favorites]

A couple of perhaps counterintuitive thoughts. First, his weird behavior might mean he has a crush on her, yes. But that might make it less likely that they wind up in bed together. Girls can smell that shit from miles away and rarely want to deal with it.

Second, it's possible she's learned her lesson from the previous roommate-boning experience and has resolved not to do it again. You don't really know what's in her head.

My advice is to be clear about your boundaries, but don't talk yourself into thinking cheating is inevitable, because that's just going to eat you up inside and poison the relationship, and there's no reason to think it's necessarily so.

There, now I can claim my cash if things end up working out for you.
posted by shadow vector at 9:22 AM on November 20, 2007 [1 favorite]

Make sure Senora Hottie meets plenty of single, attractive boys.
posted by Baud at 9:25 AM on November 20, 2007

Wait, so why is the introducer telling the both of you about Hottie's past indiscretions? Does Hottie know this chatter is going on behind the scenes?
posted by rhizome at 9:33 AM on November 20, 2007

Your guy definitely has a crush on this girl. Cooking her dinner, inviting her out with you two, defending her questionable actions, talking about how great she is, calling her to check in- there is definitely some interest there.

Has he taken in to a physical level? I don't know.
Will he? I don't know.
Could it be a harmless crush that he could get over? I don't know.

You could stick around and find out if this crush fades on its own or becomes more, or you could leave now.

Crushes are normal, even forsomeone who is in a happy relationship. If my bf had a crush a few years into our relationship, I'd be ok with it, knowing that we had a really stable base and level of trust and that the guy would get over it without acting on it.
The problem that I see here is that you've only been going out for a few months, and you are still in that exciting and new phase of the relationship. If he is thinking about someone else when you two are at your most thrilling relationship phase, I don't think that bodes well for the future.
posted by rmless at 9:41 AM on November 20, 2007

Risking being pegged as the kung fu/grasshopper guy, allow me to simplify: Relationships need trust. Trust requires honesty. Be honest with him. If he isn't honest with you in return, get out as fast as you can and stay out. Everything else is window dressing.
posted by mboszko at 9:49 AM on November 20, 2007 [1 favorite]

I don't like the advice to stop being suspicious, the jealousy is your problem, not his, etc.

You just don't sound paranoid to me. Sure, there are those girls who need to know where their boyfriend is and if there are cute girls there, but then you also have to recognize that Mother Nature gave you intuition for a reason, and stop ignoring it.

If you were feeling very grown up, I'd talk to him at a time and place when you're alone and the roommate isn't in the next room. Don't attack him. Phrase everything as "I feel" or "Sometimes it seems to me", etc. Maybe throw in a "If I lived with [cute guy friend], how would you feel? Do you really feel I have zero cause for concern here? Because I'm willing to trust me if you're giving me your word that I can trust you."

If you weren't feeling very grown up, I'd probably pretend I was kidding and go "So you realize that if you cheat on me I'll be devastated and break up with you, right? And you also realize that if you cheat on me with, I don't know, your ultra-hot roommate, you'll really, really break my heart? Ahahahahahaha."

That sounds sucky. Good luck.
posted by thehmsbeagle at 9:53 AM on November 20, 2007

My data set is limited to two, but every time a boyfriend of mine has discussed a female friend in those kinds of terms, he's been sleeping with her. YMMV, of course, and I'd be happy to be wrong.

Oh, and the befriend-the-hottie-to-block-her maneuver? Doesn't always work. I can vouch for that personally. If you genuinely like her, then befriend her, but if you are only doing it to block her out, it's unlikely to work. She'll know it's fake, and if she is interested in sleeping with your boyfriend (or already is) it won't stop her.
posted by ambrosia at 10:31 AM on November 20, 2007

You don't sound paranoid to me, either. You have cause for concern. Get the point across to him--clearly and non-accusatorily--that if he sleeps with her, he's toast. Make her your friend, independent of your relationship with him. And make sure you and he are getting plenty of time together without her around.

But set up Greg Nog's pyrotechnics, just in case.
posted by moonlet at 10:48 AM on November 20, 2007

Guys, even if he wants a threesome forcing herself to acquiesce to his wishes is not the answer. What kind of healthy relationship would she have if she just gave in to all of his sexual whims--whether she enjoyed those whims or not--because she was terrified he'd cheat on her if she didn't? That's fucked up.
posted by schroedinger at 10:57 AM on November 20, 2007

A) You feel insecure. See what you can do about that, without being needy (which is rough.)
B) He needs new friends. Some of yours.
C) See if she has any VD. Make it up if you have to. Be friends with her, but get her to confess as such.
D) Still, look, dates are dates. At least every other one is just you.
E) Be attentive but don't sweat it. If he's the sort that strays, you don't want him anyway.
posted by filmgeek at 11:00 AM on November 20, 2007

I'm with 23skidoo here. I would be paranoid as hell, and that's coming from someone who lived with a platonic male roommate for two years.

What I did during that time was give him a makeover, start introducing him to all my friends, taking him out and helping him figure out some things about himself. Everyone assumed we were bonking, but we were not. I was trying to help him find a great girlfriend because living with him, I saw how lonely he was.

I was never attracted to him.

That being said, if you can help set HER up with a few guys, and your guy no longer feels the need to act as her "standby boyfriend" or whatever he's doing now, his current weird behaviors may stop.

However, to be honest? The way you're describing things makes me think either something has already happened (like they kissed once before she ever moved in, or he had a crush on her or something already), because my spidey sense is tingling.

Get some interference going on her end, make her busy and your boyfriend will be all yours again.

Unless you want to ask him if you can move in, too. Cause, you know, as awkward as that would be, eventually Miss S H would get the message to move on, and he would hopefully be too scared to do anything to piss off two girls at once.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 11:22 AM on November 20, 2007

He's probably going to cheat on you, but this really has nothing to do with the hot chick living with him.
(mostly to do with the fact that he clearly sympathizes with cheaters, and the totally oddball phrasing when he was "confessing" his roommates last situation. Oh, thank goodness HER feelings weren't hurt when the dude went back to his girlfriend!)

Pretty much everyone cheats on pretty much everyone else, regardless of the ease of the situation, hotness of roommates, and etc. I would work on developing trust issues so that when it happens, you don't get stuck with horrible stds.

Yes, this is pretty cynical advice, but there you go. My two cents. Enjoy the good parts while they last.
posted by shownomercy at 11:31 AM on November 20, 2007 [1 favorite]

The only thing that will help you out here is having a good, long talk and paying very, very close attention to what he says.
posted by koeselitz at 11:31 AM on November 20, 2007

And you should start off by asking for a lot more detail about how it went down the last time this girl slept with somebody's boyfriend. By about the fourth or fifth question, he'll probably get the point.
posted by koeselitz at 11:34 AM on November 20, 2007

Pretty much everyone cheats on pretty much everyone else

I think its important to put this in perspective--Not everyone cheats. A signficant amount does and one must take this into account when one is dating. The key is not to overlook signs that your BF might be the sort of person who isn't very good at controlling his impulses or acts out when under stress. Those are signs of someone who will be a difficult partner to live with. Learn to accept that these things do happen--that their acting out and cheating has NOTHING to do with you and who you are as a person. That way you can see it as a regular hazard and not something intrinsic to you.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:36 AM on November 20, 2007

I don't think you are being irrational being worried, but at the same time I don't think it's a forgone conclusion they are going to hook up or that he would rather be with someone like her. If chosen you over his old "type" there is probably a very good reason he doesn't date girls like her anymore.

What you need to do though is become this girl's good good friend. This seems to be a case of keep your friends close and your enemy's closer. I also wouldn't jump to a lot of conclusions about her just because she hooked up with her old roommate. It's exceedingly common and doesn't necessarily mean she makes a habit of it and she may have even learned her lesson from it. Also, she is far less likely to hook up with your boyfriend if you two are friends and you can get to work finding her another guy to spend all her time with and then you can go on double dates rather than her just crashing yours.

Also, some people on here seem to talk like him sleeping with her is a forgone conclusion, I don't. For one he is telling you all about her and obviously not censoring himself. Guys who are seriously considering cheating on their gfs/leaving their gfs don't exactly sit around and tell said gf all about her and how great she is. Yeah this sounds like a schoolboy crush, but a pretty innocent one.
posted by whoaali at 11:37 AM on November 20, 2007

Yeah, he's probably going to sleep with her. But there's nothing you can do about that, so I guess the best you can hope for is to trust him until he inevitably disappoints you. Sorry.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 12:02 PM on November 20, 2007

P.S. Always use a condom.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 12:03 PM on November 20, 2007 [1 favorite]

I think you have to move out of your comfort zone. Stop trying to be cool and cute and hip. Don't apologize for your insecurities - claim your turf!

Tell him that he's flirting with her and that he should cut that shit out. Roll your eyes and scoff if he denies it. Tell him that you'll personally beat the crap out of him if he sleeps with her. Then tell him that if he wants you to be his girlfriend that Ms. Hottie has to go.

Read that chapter in The Girl's Guide to Fishing and Hunting where the couple is visited by the bf's hot ex for inspiration and a great literary portrayal of your dilemma.
posted by jasper411 at 12:18 PM on November 20, 2007 [2 favorites]

Jesus, without reading a few of the comments, I'll interject here and say that if your boyfriend doesn't sleep with her, hell I will.

Seriously, this is fucked up in a "writing on the wall" sort of way. I've seen this situation before with other roommates and closeness will exacerbate the situation. I hate to be one of the many to break this to you (and I'm sure you already have an inkling what to do) but this is bad situation ready to happen. This guy has it great; a roomate he can ogle and dote over and he has you for his, ahem, other needs. Not that that's unhealthy as long as it stays that way but criminy, I don't need a crystal ball to see where this is headed.

As others have said, tell him on no uncertain terms how you feel, give him an opportunity to either hang himself and move on or redeem himself and you can move on and trust that he's the type of guy that can handle these situations.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 12:23 PM on November 20, 2007

Personally I'd avoid starting with an accusing tone of voice but would start asking for information: "why isn't she your gf but are you with me". Pretty much openly discuss your point of view.
Only then, depending on the information you get and your judgement of that information can you move to either agreeing on relationship groundrules or putting down ultimatums or breaking up or working on trust issues etc.

It's my experience that ones thoughts and explanations of what make other people tick don't always conform to reality.
Unfortunately sometimes they do.
posted by jouke at 12:26 PM on November 20, 2007

I don't think the issue is about guys/girls being roommates as much as it's about the bf's current behavior:

he "loves her to death," always talking about what a great roommate she is, often inviting her along with us on dates because she doesn't really have her own friends yet, cooks her dinner when she's had a rough day, calls her daily to 'check in,' etc. He never knew her til she moved in, and now she's one of his posse

He sounds like he's dating her. Not even my closest guy friends would cook me dinner or call in daily to check up. Does he do the same for you? Or for any of his other gal pals?

If no, then you have your answer. He wants to have sex with her or he wants to get with her, consciously or subconsciously, otherwise, he wouldn't waste so much energy on her. He may or may not actually sleep with her in the future but he's already mentally cheating you. You either need to tell him that he needs to stop this because it's not respectful to your relationship or you need to dump him.

However, if he does cook, call daily, etc to all or most of his friends, then that's a different story.
posted by vocpanda at 12:41 PM on November 20, 2007 [1 favorite]

He may or may not actually sleep with her in the future but he's already mentally cheating you.

I'm mentally eating a sandwich. It's delicious.
posted by chunking express at 1:20 PM on November 20, 2007 [6 favorites]

You need to stop thinking of this guy as a person who is better than you. He is a person, you are a person, and he sees enough awesome things about you to be dating you.

I think people have a set idea of the range of people that are "within their league." Anything lower than that and you wonder if you're settling. Anything higher than that and you wonder when the sky will fall. There's nothing that says you can't date a movie star or a bum, but your comfort level with that arrangement will make a big difference on whether it actually works out. So I guess I think your confidence with this relationship is far more important than whether your guy has a hot chick living with him. If he cheats, it has as much to do with how he perceives you and how you perceive him as it does with her being hot and him having a penis.
posted by Happydaz at 1:24 PM on November 20, 2007 [1 favorite]

He's done nothing wrong... but it's still a bomb. Either learn to consider a poly situation or make a change.
posted by rokusan at 2:34 PM on November 20, 2007

The risk is very real, but will only be exacerbated if you get on your boyfriend's case about it. Mentioning it once or twice in as non-accusatory way as possible is acceptable, but repeated harping will guarantee a result you do not like. Whatever you do, do not compare yourself unfavorably with the roommate in conversation; nobody loves low self-esteem. You know this already I'm sure.

Making sure he knows that booty calls will get an answer could help mitigate the risk at least in the short term. I'm not sure it will make any difference as a long term strategy however.

Also, if he's the cheating type, it's probably already happened, and if he isn't it probably won't happen.
posted by BrotherCaine at 4:42 PM on November 20, 2007

Why don't you have your boyfriend set her up with a good friend of his? That way, he'd have to cheat on two people to mess around, and if you're lucky things will get serious and she'll start sleeping at his place and maybe just maybe, move in with him.

Also did you ever consider that maybe she has no desire to sleep with your boyfriend?
posted by shotgunbooty at 5:11 PM on November 20, 2007

JJ86: "Get over the trust and jealousy issue. This is your problem not anyone else's. Unless you have definite evidence to the contrary, like the BF said he slept with her, then you are going to wreck things with him. Try to work on a mantra to get your mind off its jealous intentions."


I understand how hard it is to deal with jealousy, but you know as well as I do that the centerfold-beautiful types usually don't have the brains or personality to make spending more 5 minutes with them a pleasant experience. I think if he has any brains, he'll realize how annoying and shallow she is, and attraction will fade. If he's not smart, what are you doing with him?

Think of it as a test, if he's gonna screw her, you two obviously didn't have that close of a commitment anyways and being a bitch to her or him is just going to push him away.

You people taking bets and proposing ultimatums are just sad. Have some faith in human nature!
posted by Mr. Gunn at 9:02 PM on November 20, 2007

Ask almost any guy and he'll tell you that if the opportunity is there, he'll have a very hard time refusing it. Good or bad, it's just how the Y chromosome is. Women would be well served to realize that although they don't have to accept this characteristic of men, they can't change it. It's like fighting gravity. And it's also folly to try to understand it...women likely will never be able to understand it from their X chromosome perspective. If you get a high from shopping, then just substitute the guy for you, and the store racks for the babe in question, and then you can perhaps get some sense of what goes on in that situation with a guy and a babe. I don't mean this in a sarcastic way. Our genes are just programmed in certain ways, Y to pursue, and X to ornament. None of us would be here if it weren't so.
posted by Dansaman at 9:22 PM on November 20, 2007

Wow, Dansaman, I guess you are a guy and you don't know many women if you really think ALL women want to go shopping. As to men not being in control of their own penises because of the overwhelming "must... hit... it..." urge they all feel - I guess I really just feel sorry for you that you have such a shallow, one-dimensional view of men. Would you like me to suggest a few good books to expand your horizons? The library is full of them and I think it may help you.
posted by saucysault at 11:23 PM on November 20, 2007

He's probably sleeping with her right now. I'd tell him it's her or you, and he'll probably choose her and save you any more trouble and heartache.
posted by triv at 7:07 AM on November 21, 2007

Saucy, re-read my posting, I didn't say all women want to go shopping. Although, now that you mention it, I would certainly say most do like shopping. And there's nothing wrong with that by the way. Just like there's nothing wrong with men being strongly drawn to attractive women. Your reply only goes to support my contention that women find that hard to accept and tend to use disparaging words ("shallow", "one-dimensional") to write it off as boarish behavior rather than appreciate it for what it really is, which is a manifestation of genetic programming that has served to perpetuate our species. Sure, some men are pigs, but just because a man lusts for a beautiful woman doesn't mean he's a pig.
posted by Dansaman at 8:21 AM on November 21, 2007

Dansamen, you said "Y to pursue, and X to ornament. None of us would be here if it weren't so." Your dismissing Saucysault's objection to your sexism based on your psuedo-science is laughable. I suppose the fact I don't enjoy shopping must mean my chromosomes are defective, right? Sorry ol' boy, but until they find the "shopping gene" your beliefs will be relegated to the Bucket of Retardation.

Also--if this world where men cannot control their desires and women love shopping exists, does this mean if women have to accept that men are going to cheat on them, men have to accept that women will max out their credit cards? What a delightful golddigging dystopian view you have of gender relations.
posted by schroedinger at 8:39 AM on November 21, 2007 [1 favorite]

I think, Dansaman, if you go back a few hundred years, you'll find that the socially accepted 'genetic programming' that was accepted was that women were naturally lustful and men were the rational, sober ones.

The study of history teaches us many things. Not least that what we think of as natural and normal is culturally constructed 99 out of 100 times, and that 100th time isn't all that conclusively natural.

The OP has a right, in our specific cultural context, to expect her boyfriend not to cheat on her. She has a right to expect this, and if he cannot fulfill that expectation she has a right to choose not to be with him. I would recommend she let him know that his behavior troubles her and go from there, not allow farcical pop evo-psych to force her to put up with something she doesn't want to put up with.

And I loathe shopping.
posted by winna at 9:17 AM on November 21, 2007 [4 favorites]

Uh, I didn't say she should accept it. All I said is he's likely to find it hard to resist. As a man who has spoken to many other men about truths that they wouldn't likely tell most women, I can tell you that many men, if not most men, given the right conditions, such as the one described by the poster of this question, would find it very tempting to follow the natural inclinations that are programmed into their genes. Women apparently don't want to hear this, it somehow disturbs or repulses them, but it's just the way men are. Why should it be seen as a negative thing that men are (programmed to be) this way? It's good that cultures tame and mold that inclination, but thank goodness they don't stamp in out entirely. And yes, I want the Maxim girl too...just like about every other red blooded guy.
posted by Dansaman at 9:58 AM on November 21, 2007

Men aren't programmed to do anything. They aren't computers. Perhaps you think that this argument, that men are helpless in the face of the hot woman, somehow absolves them of responsibility? Instead, I think it cheapens the value of masculinity. I'm not a dude, but I don't like to hear someone talking about men like that.
posted by thehmsbeagle at 10:17 AM on November 21, 2007 [1 favorite]

I am a man, and I posses the ability to not have sex with hot woman I am around. I thought this was normal, but apparently it actually makes me a superhero.

I am superman.
posted by chunking express at 10:23 AM on November 21, 2007 [12 favorites]

Yeah I think this is all crap, I mean by Dansaman's logic all men will cheat eventually because eventually all guys (well I guess not all but the vast majority) will be given the opportunity to cheat on their gfs with a girl they are attracted to. And while a lot of guys would, not all do, and I think it's pretty insulting to guys in general to say that men simply can't or won't turn down sex.

Also, I think a lot if not all women would at least be tempted if the situation were reversed, I know I would be, doesn't mean I would do it, but women are hardly immune from these exact same impulses.
posted by whoaali at 10:30 AM on November 21, 2007

Its very important that the poster realize that the dude who is arguing that "men are programmed that way" doesn't know shit.

Really? Where is this programming? What is the method of its action?

since fucking neuroscientists have no idea how the brain works and stores information, there's no way some dude "knows" this. He's just passing on the folk beliefs of him and his buddies.

The poster needs to understand that this is not inevitable, but it is a risk.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:05 PM on November 21, 2007 [1 favorite]

If I'd been dating someone for 2 months, I wouldn't assume that we were in a monogamous relationship unless we'd specifically talked about it and agreed that those were the relationship boundaries. I know a lot of people assume that if you've been dating someone for x amount of time and spend a lot of time with them, that means that you're inherently monogamous... but I think that's a dangerous assumption.

But if you've already talked about it and agreed to monogamy, your expectations have been clearly stated. Whether he prefers that or not or whether he has a crush on his new roommate or not is irrelevant; he's agreed to monogamy and if he doesn't follow through, DTMFA.

When I read this I hear more of a "how could a jock like this fall for a geek like me?" vibe. You obviously don't want to be a jock or else you'd be one, and there's no time like today to revel in your geekdom. If you don't already have attractive, single male friends who tell you on a regular basis how hot you are and discuss the books that you have your nose in, now is the time to make them. I'm not saying that you can't have a brilliant romance with someone who's your polar opposite. But you need to remind yourself that there are plenty of people who find curvy women who wear glasses to be much more exciting than jockettes. If you know for sure that if your boyfriend were to get dumped tomorrow there'd be men standing in line to take his place, it's a lot easier not to obsess about what he's thinking or doing. As far as her sex appeal and compatibility goes, there's no sense in focusing on the things you aren't and will never be. Surround yourself with people who love the things that you are and find you perfect and sexy as you are. Hopefully he's one of them, but if he's not, you haven't invested years of your life into him or anything.
posted by groovinkim at 8:28 PM on November 21, 2007

So people all through this thread have made a version of the "men can't help it" argument, saying that it's inevitable or has already happened, but dansaman is the only one that gets called out for it?

fools, all of you, holding the human race in low esteem

Talk about it or forget about it. Worrying gets you nowhere.
posted by Mr. Gunn at 9:39 AM on November 24, 2007

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