Dear Dr. NerdLove,
I was introduced to you unintentionally by my boyfriend (let’s call him “P”) that loves watching videos on dating, flirting and how to pick up women, (despite being in a relationship with me for almost 3 years), but P also watches many others videos on how to keep himself looking good too (yay!), P is 56yr old. I enjoyed reading your articles so much that I now come and visit you almost every day to see what’s new and yes! He will read this.
Why am I here? Simple! I cannot accept my partner being friends with his ex, whom he claims was just a FWB for over 3 years and things ended nicely about a year or so before we met. I get the scenario of being friends, because I have witnessed it on someone else, when my sister’s ex-husband’s partner became a good friend of my sister (I’m sure because of my niece). But you know that saying “keep your friends close and you enemies closer”? Just saying.
Ok, let’s back up on things here for a minute…. I come from a wide range of abusive and toxic relationships, ranging from physical abuse like being kicked to the point of giving birth and having an emergency C-section, to being raped while my kids slept on the other room. Not to mention being mentally abuse, controlled and cheated on time and time again.
TRUST is hard to give base on my experiences. Yet, I gave it to this man. I had reached a point in my life when we met where I had said to myself being alone is quite ok for me at this age and then I fell in love with him. Go figure!!
For two years everything was great and amazing, then one day we finally crossed paths with his ex, which I had expected due to places we frequent when going out on dates. Mind you, we were actually on a double “date night” with his friend J and J’s new lady, S. We were at a small music venue where there are various seating arrangements. We were on table for four and the stage was to our left. There was an empty high table for two to our right. I was on the left side of our table and P was to the right.
In comes the ex — call her M. I noticed her right away, my heart started racing, but I kept calm. She walked around and came back to the empty table to our right. She wasn’t alone, maybe with a date. That’s when P saw her and said “Oh! Hey there M”
He quickly introduced us; “This is my girlfriend so and so, this is S and you already know J.” Ok, cool, right! NOT! He then decided to turn himself around (his back to me) and started a catch up conversation with her.
Hello! We are here with 2 other people; you’re here with me… Even his friend J noticed how rude P was being that he made a troubling remark — “Oh he’s digging himself into a hole” — that just made my blood started to boil.
I honestly do not recall what I said to P (shocking!), but I turned myself around to him and I whispered something in his ear about what he was doing. He then stopped and turns my way, music was great and he tried to touch me and caress me after that. Then at the end of the show he turned once again to her (his back to me again) and whispered something to her, because she smiled and nodded her head to him. Grrr! And guess what? We didn’t speak for days after that.
We then had the conversation and I expressed my feelings, the whys and how disrespected I felt. He, on the other hand, didn’t think he had done anything wrong. Still, he understood where I was coming from. We patched things on and all good. We encountered her again 2 weeks later, but it was minor and due to the amount of people around us neither of them got closed enough to talk. No big deal.
A few months, something else happened with a lady coworker where I got signals of attraction between him and the coworker, so I broke into a rage. My bad! I admit I know I can have a bad temper (Puerto Rican Bi*#^$! once someone said) when put on a defensive situation.
When we talked to solve this other issue the M topic came up again. He told me he believes he shouldn’t have to stop talking to his ex, because things ended nicely — to the point where they meet every year in January for a dinner to celebrate birthdays… hers, her daughter’s (adult) and his. I clearly expressed my boundaries once more, and how I found that disrespectful when you’re in a relationship especially after what had happened. Just so you know he invited me to that dinner next year, because my birthday is in January. Honestly, at that point, I opted for letting it go, why fight about something in the future.
OK! Fast Forward to today!!!
He got a phone called later in the day last night, not typical for him due to his work scheduled. He answered and the tone of voice went down and softer, not his normal louder voice. I was in another room the door was ajar, I could hear the voice but not closed enough to hear what he was saying and I told myself “just let it be”. BUT My gut felt tight (not good). Later at night, I broke my own promise and I (for the 1st time) checked his phone (UGH! I know). I saw that this number had called more than once, either dialed or received. I called it the next day.I was praying to hear a male voice, and M answered me. I didn’t speak, I just hung up. I felt so little, so betrayed!
I asked him later that day who had called him the night before, he right away said M. I expressed my irritation and how we had talked about her. He keeps insisting that is nothing that I shouldn’t worry about her, that he would’ve not asked me to move in with him if he wanted to do something with her or any other women. He insists on how he’s not interested on her, or M in him, and that this is all innocent. M only had called him days before to ask him on how to get to a restaurant they had been before. Moreover, that he had called her a day before that night, because it was her birthday. And lastly, that M’s called to him that night was by mistake, yet they spoke for a good 10 minutes hhmm!
I was raised with strong values like respect and honesty among many others, and I feel this is breaking my boundaries and what my values on a relationship are. Yes! My personal hurts have a lot to do with it, but my parents taught me better.
I believe they are both, P and her breaking my boundaries. She clearly knows he is in a relationship and by now (I am sure) knows that I moved in with him a few months back. He is clearly choosing (fairly knowing my take on this) to continue the relationship with her despite my feelings. Listen, I’m not saying to be rude, if we encounter her. I’m not saying wishing a happy birthday is bad, but when I see the many continues contacts between them two – MY “I’m gonna get hurt” WALL comes up with a vengeance. Is a defense mechanism, right?!
I am a 48 year old at a lost and tired of fight childish crap, but do I want to accept her presence like nothing or do I take a risk on this relationship and stand up for myself and for what I believe is right for me. I give my 100% respect, honesty and more; and I sure want the same.
Hell No! I’m not perfect, then again nobody is. Please, please, please give me your insight!
Thank you for your time Sir.
Wanting My Respect
Hi Doc, I wonder if you can write on the topic of getting over women’s sexual histories, especially when they’ve gone through long hook-up/casual dating periods and a man has not. Or maybe about guys who’re plagued by feelings of not measuring up in experience, number of partners, degrees of wildness, etc. I think many of your readers will be going through this as well, dealing with feelings of insecurity and perhaps craving some of the wild things or numbers of partners they hear of friends doing, hear of their dates or girlfriends doing, but none of which has ever been extended to them.
Obviously this is largely a personal request–I had a potential partner I was interested in tell me she’s been through a hook-up phase, had threesomes with previous boyfriends, but wouldn’t be doing any of that again. I didn’t press her on it, but it killed me to hear that, immediately and irrationally made me feel it’s about me. It made me feel like I’m not interesting or cool enough or exciting enough for her to be a bit wild with me, now that she’s had here YOLO moments. I think I’m really, maybe obsessively, struggling with thoughts of the ease with which many women can go wild if they so choose (I know that’s not the case for every or even most women, but it seems the case for those I’m attracted to). I am craving some wild experiences myself, if only so I no longer feel threatened by women who have had them and can graduate from feeling upset when I hear or suspect a woman I am interested in partook of orgies or something. For what it’s worth, I live in a major city where this kind of stuff is anecdotally not uncommon. Maybe I should be reading guides to make it happen for myself rather than tell myself I need to suppress these desires, though they are probably born of YOLO/FOMO, New York Times articles about orgies in NYC, porn, and a desire to make up for my entire 20s spent in depression despite having everything seemingly going for me.
Whatever thoughts you might share or write would be greatly appreciated.
Hi Dr. NerdLove,
I am a gay 31 year-old guy, and was propositioned by a married couple (whom I’ve been friends with for years) to have a threesome. I had never engaged in a threesome, and told them I had heard horror stories about it ruining friendships, and that I valued our friendship more than any fleeting sexual experience.
The mastermind of the whole plan, let’s call him Beta, assured me that after 18 years of being together with his partner they were both comfortable and looking forward to expanding their sexual horizons. He said, “After 18 years we want you to be the first person we let into our bedroom.” Flattering as that was, I still had my reservations.
I’ve always had a little bit of a crush on Beta’s partner, let’s call him Sigma, and that’s probably the only reason why I considered it in the first place… Sigma was excited about it too, and one night after dinner and drinks, it happened. I tried to pay equal attention to both of them, as to not make anyone feel left out. We had a great time, and it went on for 3.5 hours until Beta said, okay, I’ve had enough, haven’t you guys? We agreed to wrap things up, and then I slept in the guest bedroom. Next morning they made me breakfast, I hugged them both goodbye, and drove home.
Over the next few days I still chatted with Sigma about how great the experience was, but immediately got radio silence from Beta. He was busy, or stressed at work, or had something important he had to do. He then stopped inviting me to events, and was rude to me at the ones where we happened to cross paths. Sigma came up to me and kissed me on the neck at a bar a few weeks later, but I told him, “I’m pretty sure your husband has an issue with me now, so we should probably interact with different people over the course of the night.”
I’m annoyed that it was all Beta’s idea, and now he’s the one with the problem. I would have never initiated anything like that with either of them, and I feel like Beta used me for what he wanted and then kicked me to the curb. I don’t know how he can just throw away our friendship like that after so many years…
While I’m super angry with Beta, not sure how I can salvage my relationship with Sigma. I’ve been keeping my distance as to not pour gas on the bridge we seemed to have burned. What would you recommend? How can I re-enter the friend-zone after Beta decided to shut me out? Why do you think he shut me out? They are both still experimenting with other people in their bedroom, so I don’t think being the third was the issue.
Thanks for any advice you have to give. I should have gone with my gut and known it was a bad idea to mix sex and friendship. It take three to menage, so I’m just as guilty as Beta…
– Man In The Middle
Hi Dr. NerdLove,
I have been seeing/dating someone for over four months now, and everything was great. He was always so sweet, and we had so many common interests that we just talked for seven hours on our second date. I found myself falling for him, but then two weeks ago, my friends sat me down and basically dropped a bomb on my happy bubble. My one friend had been scrolling through Bumble when she saw my SO’s account. She created a fake account and matched with him, and they ended up chatting and setting up a date. I read through those messages, saw the flirty emojis, and then saw that he suggested they meet for coffee at the same place he suggested we go on our first date. It was also on a Sunday at 2pm. This is what really knocked the air out of me. I didn’t know how to process or deal with it all. My friends ended up going to the coffee date and essentially telling my SO that they had told me, and he seemed terrified. Later that evening, he texted me saying that he thought we were on the same page with our “friendship” and that he really likes me and values our “friendship”. The fact that he used that word twice for emphasis was so painful.
In the first couple months of dating, I kept trying to bring up our relationship so that I could have some peace of mind. He kept avoiding the conversation though. I knew he was a bit wary of labels and commitment, so I thought that maybe that was it. I reasoned that he showed his care through actions and that I didn’t need a label to be happy with him. That was a mistake.
Two days after the coffee meet up, he came over to my apartment to talk. For four months he hid the fact that he doesn’t like monogamous relationships and that he is essentially poly. He confessed to hiding it from me because he didn’t want me to tell him to “take a hike”. He said that he was working up to talking to me about it, and that if I left then, he would at least have gotten to spend time with me. Is it wrong for me to find that incredibly selfish?
I don’t doubt that he cares for me, and I don’t doubt the chemistry that we have, but I’m starting to doubt that he cares enough to consider my feelings. I was faced with the ultimatum of breaking things off or officially entering an open relationship with him. For an entire week I could barely get out of bed or eat. My dreams were filled with heartache and more conflict. I couldn’t focus on anything, which was especially bad because it was finals week.
I eventually made the tentative decision to try the open relationship with him. I knew that I would not be able to see anyone else though. That’s just not the way I am. I invest myself fully into my relationships, and I love to love and be loved. My previous relationship was extremely toxic and abusive, so I still carry many insecurities and warped perceptions about relationships. I expressed this concern to my SO, and he basically said that jealousy was childish and that I had no reason to be insecure. He kept dropping comments about how there was stigma against his lifestyle, making me feel like I couldn’t express my concerns or feelings in fear of offending him.
I really truly don’t know what to do. Well, I do. I know I need to break things off. That is the best option for my mental health and soul, but perhaps I am too nearsighted because I can’t bear the thought of cutting him out of my life. At the same time, I am in a perpetual state of anxiety and heartache. I am hyper aware that I am always initiating contact, so I try to hold off for several days. The silence just makes things worse.
My mind is a jumbled mess, and my emotions aren’t even distinguishable anymore. Please, I am so desperate for advice and help. I feel like this is crushing me.