Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“My Girlfriend Says Her Exes Are Hotter Than I Am”

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I recently found out that my girlfriend of eighteen months thinks that the multiple guys she dated before me are hotter than I am and have better bodies than mine. This upsets me and is exacerbated by my lack of trust for my partner. In the early part of our relationship, we were more on and off. In the “off” periods she would see those hotter exes — as well as other men — and lied to me about them. She even slept with one of these hotter exes, too. She also had a fling with her gym instructor and she kissed loads of guys she met on multiple dating sites, which I can’t blame her for (I wasn’t committed to her at the time), but she lied through her teeth about all these things until I finally got the truth out of her.

All the while she claimed she only loved me and was doing it all to get over me (since I was the one who was calling off the relationship during those periods). And now she is doing everything she can to be more honest with and she’s been great for the last few months. Even so, knowing that she objectively finds these other guys hotter makes me feel like rubbish. It wouldn’t be impossible for me to find someone who did find me the most attractive guy; it’s happened before – or at least I was made to feel that way. And also I think that if I were with someone I trusted, perhaps it would make the issue easier. Thoughts? — Not as Hot as Her Exes?

This is a dead-end relationship with stupid game-playing and a lack of trust. MOA. And also, in the future when you break up with someone, it’s none of your goddamn business whom she kisses or dates or has sex with. That you “got the truth out of her” about the personal life she had during the periods you didn’t want to be with her suggests you are a control freak, in addition to having whatever self-esteem issues your girlfriend is clearly playing to with her comments about how hot her exes are. Both of you need to grow up, but you, especially, sound like you have a lot of maturing to do before you’re ready for a grown-up relationship.

I’m a 40ish single mom of two young boys (8 and 11) and a successful professional, who, by all accounts, is pulling it off with (apparent) grace and ease (my ex is not involved financially or emotionally). For a year, I’ve been dating a man who is the same age, has one adult child whom he raised himself, and is struggling financially as he pursues entertainment deals. We hit it off immediately, and I am completely enamored of him, both physically and intellectually. We have wonderful, meandering conversations – they are easy and long and I adore being around him. I see him several times a week, and we have traveled together on a long weekend. He is affectionate and has made gestures in terms of flowers, gifts, daily “good morning” and “good night” texts, and offering to pay for a drink or meal, etc. He appears to genuinely adore our relationship.

I have introduced him to my children and my friends, but I have met only one person from his life briefly during a night out. I have performed small miracles to make myself available to him by finding people to take my kids for me, sometimes to be disappointed when he cancels. Recently, I have been struggling in that, although we have sex, it appears to be way down on his list of priorities (as we have sex 1-2 times a month). I have always made it an option that he can stay at my house – we can be up early before the kids and I am even ready to let my kids know that he is important to me and so he will be staying over. But he resists. I want to feel him sleeping beside me and have the comfort of a man’s arms around me, but it doesn’t seem to be important to him.

Recently he has told me that the fact that I am a single parent to my children has got him scared and has been one of the reasons that he hasn’t developed the physical side of our relationship. I have never asked him to be anything more than a friend/lover/partner to me — not a father to my children. I’m reeling and very hurt – this has been going on for a year and he shows no desire to end our special relationship. I’m unclear of his motivation, and at this point I’m inclined to end things although I will miss him very much. — Unclear of His Motivation

 
I could certainly understand why a man who might not want to be a step-parent or have children in his daily life is hesitant to fully commit to a single mom of two kids under the age of 12. If that’s how he felt, it would explain why he might keep you at arm’s length. But… he doesn’t keep you at arm’s length. He acts like your boyfriend in all ways except that he doesn’t sleep over and he doesn’t introduce you to anyone in his life. Hmmm… I wonder why that might be?!

Dude is cheating on someone with you. Most likely, he has a whole family on the side. It would explain why he’s “struggling financially” (he’s got mouths to feed!) and can barely afford to buy you an occasional drink. And he’s using your kids — HE’S USING YOUR STATUS AS A SINGLE MOTHER — as a way for him to justify his shadiness and explain why he doesn’t feel comfortable sleeping over. Yuck. Get out now. This guy is not who you want wrapping his arms around you at night, and he definitely isn’t who you want your kids to know is someone important to you. He sure as shit isn’t letting his kids (and wife, probably) know you’re important to him…. is he?

***************

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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at [email protected].

22 comments… add one
  • avatar

    dinoceros March 11, 2016, 9:38 am

    Interesting that LW1 says his girlfriend “thinks” they are hotter, not necessarily that she’s told them they are hotter. Where did he learn this? Her phone, email? If she did say it, I’d be willing to bet that he forced the whole “my exes are hotter” out of her. Something like, “Is he hotter than me?” “What? I don’t know.” “He is, isn’t he?” “I don’t want to play this game.” “But if you HAD to say…” “OK, fine, I guess he was hotter.” It’s just odd because someone who tries to keep quiet about who they hooked up with when they weren’t committed doesn’t seem like someone who would run around talking about how their exes are hotter than him.

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    • kare

      kare March 11, 2016, 10:10 am

      That’s the impression I got as well – it doesn’t sound like she’s directly telling him this. “I recently found out” is a lot different than “my girlfriend constantly compares me to her exes”. It sounds like the LW has some serious esteem issue he’s projecting onto his girlfriend.

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  • avatar

    Essie March 11, 2016, 9:48 am

    LW1: She’s playing you, and you’re falling for it. She stomps on your ego by talking about her “hotter” exes, and makes you so jealous that you become obsessive about who she’s kissing and/or screwing and when. And she gets off on your jealousy.

    First thing: a woman who truly cares for you would not be playing the “well, you’ll do, I guess, but you’re not as hot as my ex” game. A woman who is mature and confident wouldn’t do that. This is not who you want to be with if you want an adult relationship.

    Second thing: a good relationship brings about the best in both of you, and this relationship has you obsessing about men she was with when you weren’t even together, and wringing “the truth” out of her about things that objectively aren’t your business (or, wouldn’t be your business if she weren’t rubbing your face in it.) Dude, she’s not bringing out your best self, that’s for sure.

    Run.

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    • avatar

      RedRoverRedRover March 11, 2016, 11:15 am

      I don’t think she’s rubbing his face in it though. He says she “lied through her teeth” about it until he “finally got the truth out of her”. Which sounds like he’s been badgering her about what she did when they were broken up, she tried to downplay it, then he accused her of lying and kept bugging her till she finally told him. That’s a red flag for her, not him. Like you say, it’s none of his business, and the fact that he wouldn’t let it go is a huge problem.

      Regardless, they should break up. He sounds like an insecure, controlling jerk and he obviously doesn’t trust her. Which means this relationship is going nowhere.

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      • avatar

        ktfran March 11, 2016, 11:29 am

        This is how I read it too.

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      • bagge72

        bagge72 March 11, 2016, 11:46 am

        Yeah I think she was just omitting the truth because he is so jealous, and he wouldn’t stop badgering her so she eventually had to tell him.

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    • avatar

      dinoceros March 11, 2016, 11:41 am

      I’m not really seeing how she’s playing him. Considering that she was lying about her exes until he wore her down tells me that she’s actively trying not to talk about her exes, which implies to me that she’s not trying to make him jealous. If that were the goal, why not just tell him about her exes on her own, without any prodding?

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  • avatar

    Northern Star March 11, 2016, 10:37 am

    I feel so bad for LW2. It seems obvious that her boyfriend is cheating on another woman with her, but I’m guessing the idea will hit her like a slap in the face. I’m surprised her friends haven’t offered up this theory yet, honestly…

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  • avatar

    Anonymousse March 11, 2016, 10:54 am

    It sounds more like he read her texts or something and confronted her, not that she was going around telling him her exes were hotter all the time. He “got the truth out of her.”
    LW1: I’ve dated guys were were objectively better looking than others, but something else wasn’t attractive, like their jealous personality or they were hot tempered or compulsively lied. It’s not usually about just looks. Meeting a partner you match we’ll win is a mix of multiple things. Wendy is right, you have a lot of maturing to do.
    LW2: Red flags all around. MOA.

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    • avatar

      Anonymousse March 11, 2016, 10:55 am

      *Match well with

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  • avatar

    wobster109 March 11, 2016, 11:09 am

    LW1, read: http://www.drpsychmom.com/2014/11/27/reader-q-cant-stop-obsessing-husbands-ex-hotter/
    “There is not much less sexy than crying over not being hot enough.”

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  • avatar

    Vathena March 11, 2016, 11:45 am

    LW2, why does he suddenly cancel your dates? That ALONE is something that should give you pause in this relationship. Your time is valuable, and you are arranging childcare. I would be seeing red if someone didn’t respect my time, and ESPECIALLY if they didn’t respect my time with my children. Could it be he cancels a lot because something came up in another relationship…? Have you been to his home? In any case, you should let this one go.

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    • avatar

      RedRoverRedRover March 11, 2016, 11:51 am

      Agree, that’s pretty suspicious. Either he’s got someone else who takes priority, or he just doesn’t care to see you enough. Like, he decides he’s too tired after working all day so says forget it. Either way, that’s not a good relationship.

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      • avatar

        Vathena March 11, 2016, 11:57 am

        And it also sounds like they don’t plan very far in advance. “Performed small miracles to make myself available” sounds more like same-day planning. If he’s asking her out last-minute and then abruptly canceling, that seems like points in favor of “married”. I don’t understand how she’s not super pissed and dumping him just for that. I’d be SO pissed if someone did that to me (multiple times no less!)

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  • avatar

    dinoceros March 11, 2016, 12:05 pm

    I think Wendy is probably right about LW2. Not meeting his loved ones, him canceling, not wanting to stay over are all pretty sketchy. His excuse is kind of dumb, too. Typically, people who are unable to commit for whatever reason are just fine with the physical aspect of the relationship, but are less OK with the relationshippy stuff. If you are already having sex, then why would having sex more often be concerning to him, regarding his “concerns” about you being a mother?
    .
    Also, I don’t think you need to aim for being someone who doesn’t expect their partner to be a father (at some point). Unless you’re just looking for casual relationships and aren’t interested in anything more serious, any long-term relationship is going to require your partner to become a father figure. I think that not only is he using you being single mother as an excuse for his behavior, I think he’s using it because he knows that quite a few single mothers have anxiety over pushing men away because of their kids (so instead of realizing he’s playing you, you’re looking at yourself to see what you’re doing wrong). Anybody at his age and who has been dating you for a year should know whether they are willing to commit to someone with kids. Even if he isn’t cheating on someone, for him to seem unsure at this point means it’s a big no, but he’s trying to keep you around.

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  • avatar

    Adrienne March 11, 2016, 1:25 pm

    LW2: Wendy, I agree with the end advice, but not the way you got there. I see no need to jump to conclusions that this man is cheating on her. He is reasoning shouldn’t even be a consideration. She’s just not that important to him.

    The reason I felt the need to comment on this is because as a woman, I don’t like trying to put a narrative to justify why she should MOA. LW2, he’s not that in to you. And, even if he is, he doesn’t show you in the ways you’ve made it clear from your letter, are important to you. And, if it’s been over a year, odds are he’s not going to. Find the person who loves you enough to give you what you need. MOA, its not your boyfriend.

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  • avatar

    T March 11, 2016, 2:26 pm

    I agree with Adrienne. It’s a huge assumption to jump to the conclusion that he has a family on the side. Wouldn’t someone like that be mostly in it for the sex, which is the very thing this guy is avoiding? To me it sounds like his “excuse” could be basically true: he’s someone who is simply noncommittal and feels somewhat guilty about it (justifying to himself that if he doesn’t sleep with her, he’s not doing anything wrong).
    .
    Regardless, he’s not giving the LW the type of relationship she wants, and it sounds like he is forcing her to be the one to rearrange her life for merely the chance to spend a few hours with him (if it’s convenient for him). I’ve been in that type of relationship before and know the trap of mistaking feelings of anxiety (over whether he will be available this time, whether I could ever truly “catch” him) for feelings of love. But it is really a shame when single mothers fall into that trap, causing them to treat their kids like they are a hassle to be dealt with, shuffling them around to sitters and dropping them last minute to run to a guy. If after a year he’s not 100% committed to you or wanting to commit to your kids and include them in plans, he never will be.

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    • avatar

      T March 11, 2016, 2:33 pm

      Also, can we stop praising guys for managing to do tiny/minimal nice things? Spending 10 seconds sending good morning/night texts is not a high level of commitment. In fact, it’s one of the easiest ways to string someone along. And it certainly doesn’t excuse canceling last minute, not involving you in his life, etc.

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      • avatar

        stickelet March 11, 2016, 2:55 pm

        So much this. Texting me and occasionally buying me a drink aren’t amazing super special things. They’re normal. Or should be.

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  • avatar

    Moi March 13, 2016, 9:56 am

    It is easy to find out this guy’s story. Just start looking. If there is no one in his background he may be on dating sites and those cancelled plans might be other women. Healthy men like sex. His excuse is weird.

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  • avatar

    HollyGoLightly March 13, 2016, 3:44 pm

    LW2 here, thanks so much for the comments/advice. When you put what’s happening on paper, and read peoples’ reaction – it can make you feel a little silly. I know that you all understand that things are not black and white, that there is a lot of grey in between. However, there is a certain amount of shadiness here that can not go unnoticed. I do appreciate in particular the comments about using my insecurity as a single mom to his advantage and falling into the trap of giving him total control of when/how we see each other. I consider myself a strong and successful woman and my participation in this type of relationship is not a manifestation of that. As an update, since I wrote to Wendy last week – I have asked that we have a break. He’s respected that and it’s been over a week since I’ve heard from him. I am enjoying the ‘peace and calm’ of not constantly wondering when I’m going to hear from him and being able to put aside that constant question in my mind about whether I’m his girl and whether I’ll have the comfort of that commitment as some point. I must admit that I have been baffled by this relationship – but there are more than enough red flags to move on. Wish me luck in holding my ground – he’s certainly very happy with the status quo – so I will need to be strong 🙂

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    • avatar

      RedRoverRedRover March 14, 2016, 8:59 am

      Good luck, you’re making the right move! This way you’re free to find someone who WILL give you the commitment you’re looking for.

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