Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Your Turn: “My Boyfriend Talks to Me About Other Women”

In a feature I call “Your Turn,” in which you, the readers, get to answer the question, I’m presenting the following letter without commentary from me:

I’m in college and have been with my boyfriend for nearly two years. Overall, our relationship is great: we have a lot of fun, love each other, are about to move in together, and look forward to our future with one another. However, neither of us has many friends, so we rely on each other for comfort/companionship on a daily basis (though I do hope and feel that this will change soon). Sine my boyfriend doesn’t really have any “bros” or male-type friends he can talk to, he wants to discuss women he finds attractive with me (and what he describes as being attractive perfectly describes the “other women” he was involved with previously and not me). I like to think that we can discuss anything in our relationship, but the thought of him actively wanting to fuck other women upsets me. It is not that I don’t realize that he thinks these thoughts: I know he does, but I just don’t quite understand why he feels the need to share them with me. I have made it clear that him telling me upsets me, and he says he understands, but he also adamantly feels that not talking about it is just some weird conviction of society and that we should be able to talk about other people we find attractive/why, etc. He says he feels like he has to censor himself around me and that not talking about this subject is like keeping a part of himself from me.
 
There was also a an incident of a flirtation gone too far on his part (asking for pictures/texting and talking about our relationship/what he thought of this other girl all the time while I was home for winter break) that really hurt me. I just want to know if I am justified at all in my feelings, or if I should just shut up and engage him when he brings this subject up? I just can’t stop thinking of him with his mits all over someone else when he talks about it and it makes me sick to me stomach. Am I being a prude? Do I have any validity? I understand monogamy is a bit fluid these days, but I still get upset. — Not One of His Bros!

84 comments… add one
  • avatar

    Addie Pray May 5, 2011, 7:43 am

    I’m not sure how you went from his desire to discuss women he finds attractive to his “actively wanting to fuck other women.” Is that what he means when he talks about other women he finds attractive? I wouldn’t make that leap, but you know your boyfriend better than I do. But whether it means something more or it doesn’t, or it should or shouldn’t bother you, doesn’t matter. It does bother you, and you’ve told your boyfriend so. If he continues to talk about other women, then that is just disrespectful, and he’s trivializing your feelings. You need to decide if it’s something you can put up with. Decide now before you move in with him.

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    • avatar

      pinot23 May 5, 2011, 12:17 pm

      Also, “actively wanting to fuck other women” is not a thought that all men have, or a thought that your boyfriend should have. It’s one thing to find other people attractive, completely different from what you are descibing.

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  • avatar

    SweetChild May 5, 2011, 7:55 am

    You’re more than justified to feel upset at this behaviour. It’s really really disrespectful of your bf to keep bringing up a topic you’re not happy talking to him about. Some people would probably be fine with it and enjoy the chance to talk about what they find attractive with their partner, but you’re not and that’s perfectly fine and normal. Especially as he points out women who don’t share your physical features, that would be enough to make most women in your position feel really insecure. My guess is that he’s not ready to settle for one person yet. College age is very young and it sounds like although he loves you, he wants to be with other people too, in which case the relationship won’t last I’m sorry to say. Monogamy can be fluid for some people as you say but that doesn’t really matter. What matters is what works for you and what you’re comfortable with. If you’re not comfortable, it’s not right, simple as that. Unfortunately guys are aren’t very good at figuring out what they want and your bf is trying to have the best of both worlds with you. I’d bet he wouldn’t feel so happy about it if you were to start describing men that you find attractive that in no way resembled him. You might want try it and see what happens! Aside from that, you probably need to take a good look at wether this is the right relationship for you if it’s making you so unhappy.

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    • avatar

      MonMon May 5, 2011, 11:03 am

      Very well said! Totally agree 🙂

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  • avatar

    Angie May 5, 2011, 8:17 am

    Any “friend” who continuously brings up a subject that hurts you or makes you feel uncomfortable isn’t really a friend at all. Whether or not that person is your boyfriend is irrelevent. Every single one of us censors ourselves every day in our lives. Censoring our thoughts, especially to spare someone we’re supposed to love pain, doesn’t make any of us less authentic.

    You need to think hard about whether you want to feel marginalized by someone who should be your best friend. My advice? MOA and find someone who is mature enough to realize that his thoughts and feelings aren’t the only ones that matter.

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  • avatar

    PFG-SCR May 5, 2011, 8:35 am

    Common sense should tell him that it’s not beneficial to be discussing his attraction to other women with his girlfriend, but even if that wasn’t the case, the fact that you’ve repeatedly told him that this bothers you should be enough for him to stop. It’s very disrespectful of him to continue to do this. Of course, even people in relationships find others attractive. But, it’s not something that your significant other typically wants to hear.

    I’m curious what his motivation is – I don’t believe it’s the fact that he doesn’t have guy friends to talk to about this type of stuff. His line, “…not talking about this subject is like keeping a part of himself from me,” seems a manipulative of the situation and shows a complete lack of consideration for your feelings. I’m also curious about the flirtation that went too far – did he tell you or did you find out? What was his reaction when he found out you knew?

    You didn’t state if this has been going on during the entire relationship or if this is a relatively new development. It may be his way of indicating some doubts about your relationship and/or moving in together. Or, he may be very insecure, and when some people feel insecure, they say and do things to their significant other to make their significant other feel less secure. Then, when they’re called out on it, they try to justify it and/or tell the other person that they’re “wrong” in feeling that way.

    I think you need to look at the big picture with your relationship. Are there other ways that he’s intentionally hurting your feelings and then not feeling regretful of that? To me, that’s a huge issue, and a healthy relationship needs to have mutual respect as part of the foundation.

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    • avatar

      Lexington May 5, 2011, 8:46 am

      Yes yes yes times a hundred. LW, this guy is being a total jerk to you. You’ve asked him to stop, and he won’t even though he knows it’s hurtful. Do you really want to be with someone who doesn’t care if he hurts you on purpose?

      Also, I call BS on this line that he’s ‘denying himself’. Um, life is full of denying yourself. Every time you go to the store and don’t steal a candy bar you want, you’re denying yourself. Every time you get up on time and go to work in the morning, you’re denying yourself. Every time you, say, don’t get out of the car and start screaming at the asshole who cut you off, pulled in the right lane and stopped at the stoplight so you can’t turn right, you’re denying yourself (…..not that I’ve ever wanted to do that). Life is all about denying yourself so you can be a functional adult in society. We call the people who don’t feel the need to do that ‘sociopaths’.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom May 5, 2011, 9:49 am

        The guys that I’ve known who were the worst at handling money were also the worst cheaters. It seems to be a personality trait where they can’t say no to themselves and they have little impulse control or delayed gratification. You’re so right in saying we all have to be able to deny ourselves things that are available around us. We are so much better when we can control ourselves and “deny ourselves.”

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        Red_Lady May 6, 2011, 10:38 pm

        “Every time you, say, don’t get out of the car and start screaming at the asshole who cut you off, pulled in the right lane and stopped at the stoplight so you can’t turn right, you’re denying yourself”
        I always wish that I had a really crappy car that I didn’t care about so I could just run into those people that don’t seem to know how to drive well.

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  • avatar

    ReginaRey May 5, 2011, 8:44 am

    There are two things in your letter that stand out as worrisome to me, in addition to him refusing to stop bringing up other girls: 1) Neither of you have many friends. I don’t know why you don’t have a lot of friends, but I’d hazard a guess that you might have gotten a bit lost in your relationship and the exciting “new-ness” of it in the beginning and stopped hanging out with people in your social circle. I would reach out to old friends and try to rekindle those relationships, as well as make new friends on your own. Your relationship isn’t your whole life – it’s one part of your life. While it might be one of the most fulfilling and awesome parts, you need to have activities and interests that are YOURS and yours alone. So join some clubs, do more “girly” things, whatever. Just make a concerted effort to have a life outside of your relationship. It’s unhealthy NOT to.

    And secondly…if I understand you correctly, your boyfriend was asking for pictures from some girl?! Uhhh, no, that’s not OK. How many guys do you know who ask for “friendly pictures” from their female “friends”? Guys asking for pictures from a female screams romantic or sexual interest…and the fact that your boyfriend did that AND won’t stop talking about other girls is a HUGE red flag. I’m wondering if he’s trying to gauge your reaction if he were to “hypothetically” cheat.

    Honestly, I’d probably think long and hard about moving in with him, and frankly staying in this relationship. It’s proving unhealthy for both of you – a healthy relationship should facilitate great friendships, should nurture independent interests, and one member shouldn’t be toeing the line of straying.

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    • avatar

      ReginaRey May 5, 2011, 9:00 am

      The more I think about this, the more convinced I am that his mind is on “greener pastures” right now – refusing to stop talking about how attractive other girls are, asking for pictures from some girl, discussing YOUR relationship with said girl…it all leads me to believe that he’s playing with the idea of straying, but might not be there QUITE yet because the relationship offers him a measure of comfort.

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      • avatar

        PFG-SCR May 5, 2011, 10:46 am

        That could be, or he’s acting this way due to his own feelings of inadequacy. She’s socially isolated (as is he), but we don’t know if that was his doing or not. He’s emotionally manipulative in his behavior and his justification of his behavior. He’s disrespectful to her and her wishes. He repeatedly hurts her feelings, but feels no remorse for it. Yet, he tells her he loves her, and they’re talking about the future and plans for moving in together.

        Unfortunately, this type of behavior isn’t that uncommon when one person feels deeply insecure about _themselves_. Because of all of this, she doubts the validity of her own feelings, which to nearly all of us, seems very reasonable under the circumstances. Instead of reassuring her or stopping the negative behaviors, he dismisses her feelings and continues with those things that hurt her.

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        ReginaRey May 5, 2011, 10:51 am

        Definitely. Either is a good possibility, and I’ll admit that I’ve BEEN the manipulative, insecure person before. But either way, isn’t this relationship just completely unhealthy? If he’s two steps from straying, it’s unhealthy. And if he’s insecure, emotionally manipulative, and theyre codependent, I’d say that’s probably MORE unhealthy. His whole passive-aggressiveness is certainly caused by SOMETHING, whatever it may be, and in the end I still think both should MOA.

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      • avatar

        PFG-SCR May 5, 2011, 11:34 am

        Based on what she’s shared, it does seem unhealthy. But, I’m always hesitant to say MOA since we only see such a small piece of the relationship via the letters, and it’s obviously one-sided. Plus, a lot of times, the letters raise more questions that would help us to clarify the issue(s) and understand better what has been written.

        Relationships are so complex and each one unique, and to say _definitively_ that someone should break up with a person they love and have been with for any length of time is typically beyond the scope of we know from the small snapshot we are provided. Sometimes not, though. But a lot of time, I just try to comment on what I think the letter writer should think about in order for her to make a decision herself. That’s what I’ve always done in real life with my friends, too.

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      • avatar

        ReginaRey May 5, 2011, 12:09 pm

        I envy your restraint! 🙂 I can’t help it, I’ve never had much. I tend to be one of those who feels that you can learn a lot from something that’s been simplified, like DW letters. I also have always felt that most of the time, one or two red flegs are usually indicative of other behind-the-scenes problems. Sure, the scope is clearly much broader than any of us can know. But I think that’s what makes us commenters so useful – We don’t have the love and good feelings clouding our ability to read the bad signs and red flags. I always hope to de-mystify that a bit when I shell out advice, online and in real life!

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      • avatar

        PFG-SCR May 5, 2011, 12:25 pm

        It is restraint because what I have floating in my head that I want to say is significantly filtered before I write my comments. 🙂

        I agree that we can give a more objective view to the letter writers because we’re not emotionally invested, but like any change in a person’s life, they have to be committed to it in order to make a successful change or transition. Personally, I’ve seen that it’s better when they feel that it was _their_ decision, not something that they were told to do. I realize that line can be blurry when you’re giving advice and feedback, but there is a distinction.

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      • avatar

        PFG-SCR May 5, 2011, 12:28 pm

        Edited to add: Sometimes someone needs to hear it quite bluntly, though, because they’re completely in over their heads.

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      • avatar

        Sarah May 5, 2011, 12:33 pm

        Totally agree. I think of this site like I think of talking to my girlfriends. Sometimes it puts things in much better perspective to tell my girlfriends something shady my bf would do and hear them say “He did WHAT??? You shouldn’t put up with that!!!” It helps because I can pull myself out of a situation of the relationship and look at it from a fresh view. Sometimes blunt is a really great palette cleanser.

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      • avatar

        HmC May 5, 2011, 5:12 pm

        Well said, I agree with you. I mean, who are we to scream at someone MOA!!! after reading one biased paragraph about their relationship. Of course, with exceptions for extreme issues like abuse etc.

        Also, it’s amazing how adamant and black and white people seem to be able to be when they’re offering anonymous internet advice. Yes, the anonymity opens the door for more honesty, but it also opens the door for less accountability. Will you have to look this letter writer in the face and be there to help pick up the pieces what she does MOA!!!!! because of your advice? Granted, the onus still falls upon the person making the decisions about their life, but, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t carefully and rationally consider what we are telling other people to do with their lives. Honestly, I think sometimes anonymous internet advice tends to wreak of “I was fucked over by a similar type of loser and I’m going to take it out on this LW’s significant other… ha!” More emotional projecting than rational.

        No personal offense to anyone of course, I’m sure I let some personal projecting slip in sometimes. But I do watch out for that.

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    • avatar

      cat-i-z May 5, 2011, 9:30 am

      Uh… yes to everything you said!

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  • avatar

    BoomChakaLaka May 5, 2011, 8:53 am

    I’m with Addie Pray: how did you make that leap from him talking about attractive girls to him wanting to mess around with them? I’m going to answer under the assumption that the way he talks about attractive women, i.e. “she’s so hot i’d like to x her” is what leads to think that. And in that case, you really need to sit him down. Sure he can talk about beautiful women with you, but not in a manner that’s disrespectful to you and your relationship.

    But I think the bigger issue here is one of the side notes you mentioned: that you two don’t have any friends outside of the relationship. Honestly, if this relationship is going to have a fighting chance, you guys need time and space away from each other. You also need an outlet to just let loose outside of the relationship. Truthfully, a significant other should be one part of your life, but definitely NOT the only part of your life. I would say start by assessing what your interests are and go and pursue them solo. Encourage him to do the same. That way you’ll meet other people and get that space you guys really need if this relationship is going to survive.

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  • avatar

    Desiree May 5, 2011, 8:54 am

    Hmm… First, this behavior isn’t necessarily the brightest thing on earth to do; though I realize some couples would be totally fine with this, I would think common male survival skills would indicate that he should probably shut his trap on the subject. *Especially* after you have asked him to, because now it becomes a matter of respect. That fact that he won’t compromise for your comfort on a trivial issue is ridiculous. So, what does this all mean? Well, combined with the flirtation, I think it definitely indicates that this guy has a high need for female attention. He very well may relish the focus he receives when you’re jealous, and he obviously enjoyed that other girl’s attention. That’s a maturity issue, and one that likely isn’t going to resolve soon. And, unfortunately, men with that mentality seem more likely to cheat. Does all this mean you should MOA? Maybe. I don’t know the other details of your relationship. Assuming this relationship is just fucking fantastic in other respects, maybe you could give it one more go. But you need to do two things. First, absolutely put your foot down about this issue; no joking, no compromise, just make it clear that you will NOT tolerate it. Second, throw that boy out for a guy’s night. I have to do this every so often with mine; he always comes back relaxed and happy because he has got all the boy stuff out of his system. You can’t be everything to your man, and it sounds like some time with the boys might benefit him. But it would probably be better if they weren’t single guys. Normally it’s not a problem (my guy’s friends are mostly single), but your guy seems to have a “grass-is-greener” attitude. So, on the other hand, maybe you *should* MOA…

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  • avatar

    LTC039 May 5, 2011, 9:16 am

    At first when reading your letter, I wasn’t thinking “jerk,” but then when I got to the last paragraph I was like, “yes, jerk!!”
    I’m sorry but as Wendy has said before, if you’ve told your partner that something they do hurts you & upsets you & they continue to do it without any regard, that’s a problem!
    & the issue with the “flirtation gone too far,” in my opinion that’s cheating. Your boyfriend actually went ahead & asked another girl about sending him pictures & then telling her he thinks about her???? Come on! I understand different people have different definitions of cheating, but putting it simpler, did that make you feel good when you found out? Did it make you feel like you’re important to him, or that you could spend the rest of your life with him?
    I say, break things off. If you guys are meant to be, you will be, but as far as I’m concerned you deserve better. If you think moving in is going to make things better, understand that moving in will make things worse. There’s a ton more responsibilities & pressures.
    Please do your self-esteem a favor & MOA. Don’t think you need to settle for this guy.

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  • avatar

    cdobbs May 5, 2011, 9:18 am

    ick, your “boyfriend” is a jerk…i’d dump him and find someone who actually has some class and consideration!

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  • avatar

    Anne (I Go To 11) May 5, 2011, 9:20 am

    I’m going to assume you’re both fairly young, because his behavior reeks of immaturity. Mature people don’t feel the need to tell their significant other how attractive other people are (unless it’s in a celebrity, no-way-on-earth-it’ll-ever-really-happen way), ESPECIALLY when said significant other has asked them to stop. He’s making excuses as to why he should keep doing that, and it’s making my BS flag go up. I’d follow the steps others have suggested (like find other friends), but also make it clear in no uncertain terms that this behavior HAS to stop. You deserve to be treated with more respect, and he’s not giving it to you when he a) ignores your requests to stop and b) actively engages in serious flirting with other women when you’re not around. Exchanging pics and discussing YOUR relationship with someone who isn’t you isn’t cool; I think the only exception is if it’s being discussed with a psychologist, pastor or other professional to get an unbiased 3rd party opinion. But definitely NOT some girl he’s trying to hook up with! He sounds like he’s ready to MOA, and truthfully it may be time for you to do the same.

    And BTW, monogamy is only as fluid as you want it to be. Just because some people aren’t into monogamy doesn’t mean you have to feel the same. It’s not a one-size-fits-all sort of deal, LW.

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  • Public Pearl

    Public Pearl May 5, 2011, 9:20 am

    I can’t even comment on the rest because I got stuck on the last line:

    “I understand monogamy is a bit fluid these days,”

    What? Seriously, what? Monogomy isn’t fluid! It’s committing yourself to one person and one person only. Maybe you mean relationships are fluid these days? Because I know that there is a trend to make those of us who believe in monogomy feel “wrong” or “unevolved” or some shit, but if that’s what you want, then you should absolutely expect that to be respected. And that’s what you need to do: figure out what you want and make sure you’re getting it, because if your needs aren’t being met and respected, then you should move on.

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    • avatar

      elisabeth May 5, 2011, 10:38 am

      Exactly this. Relationships can be fluid, because you choose what you want. If you choose monogamy, you choose *monogamy,* which has a very specific meaning. It is absolutely within your right to make that choice, and you should not be made to feel bad about that choice. That’s what makes us human – our *choices!* Choices to be kind, choices to be faithful, choices to be loving, choices to smile because someone else needs you to, even when you don’t feel like smiling. Monogamy can be part of that choice. Even if it feels like the rest of the world is changing around you (I know the feeling!) and your ideals don’t “match up” with everyone else’s – you are not everyone else. You are you, and if it’s important to you, it’s important.

      You are absolutely valid in your concerns. I wouldn’t consider you a prude, though I know some who would call me a prude – it’s very subjective. I don’t find you prude. I find you normal. Don’t rationalize your worry away – it’s there for a reason.

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  • avatar

    silver_dragon_girl May 5, 2011, 9:22 am

    I don’t mind the “neither of us has many friends outside our relationship” bit because I’ve never had many friends. 1-2 close ones and 2-3 people I occasionally hang out with, that’s all. And once I left college and everybody scattered, well, most of them are usually thousands of miles away. My bf is in the same boat, and he certainly doesn’t constantly talk about other women he finds attractive. We both drool over some celebrities when we’re watching movies together, but that’s about it. No real people.

    But that being said, I think you should definitely NOT move in with this guy. You have made it clear that this topic upsets you and he’s still doing it, which is really disrespectful. On top of that, the whole “flirtation gone too far” thing that hurt you? It just seems like maybe you’re not on the same page regarding the parameters of your relationship.

    I can see where, in your shoes, I would probably stay with the guy, because love is much stronger than quiet irritation. But from the outside, looking in, I just see the red flags.

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  • MaterialsGirl

    Elizabeth May 5, 2011, 9:23 am

    My boyfriend and I discuss how we think the T-Mobile girl is cute, but it doesn’t go much further into it than that. And it’s lighthearted; not discussing what position we’d like to get her in. This *ahem* gentlemen is confusing good communication with TMI/being an A-Hole/disrespect. You’ve already said it makes you feel uncomfortable, but he clearly doesn’t get it. The texting thing? I’m with everyone else: no bueno.
    The first thing to do is join a new group. You’re both in school, maybe there is a running club or a coffee club or some other type of organization that you could go to and meet a few new people. I’ve been out of grad school for a few years and I meet new people all the time on my running team. I met a wine auctioner last night! How cool is that? Point is, start lessening your dependency on him. Perhaps that will give you some perspective on the situation as a whole.

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  • avatar

    cporoski May 5, 2011, 9:25 am

    I wish we had more information. I will say this. i have been married for years and I remember having a conversation with my husband that I am his wife not his buddy. I said there are friend conversations and wife conversations, which he responded that I was his best friend. We deal with that balance all the time with pretty girls, to farting to inappropriate “boy” jokes. But with this I have a good sense of the line and it isn’t that big of a deal.

    The other thing I will say is that there is a fine line with looking at girls vs acting. We have a friend whose friend was in Playboy and very pretty. My husband will get a text saying that she is coming out to a party or event and he starts giggling. Is he going to act on anything, of course not. Is he going to get a silly grin on his face, sure.

    Your situation is to decide if he is going to act on this stuff. Do you think he is just with you until he finds someone better or the long haul. Trust your gut and figure out if this is just silly fantasies or more. Good luck.

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    • avatar

      LTC039 May 5, 2011, 9:52 am

      Technically he did act on it. Her last paragraph states: “There was also a an incident of a flirtation gone too far on his part (asking for pictures/texting and talking about our relationship/what he thought of this other girl all the time while I was home for winter break) that really hurt me.”
      Her gut feelings are now reality & I think she’s trying to convince herself what he’s doing & has done is “ok” so she doesn’t have to face leaving him.

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    • avatar

      Quakergirl May 5, 2011, 12:14 pm

      “I remember having a conversation with my husband that I am his wife not his buddy”

      This seems to be a pretty common conversation when men are removed from their buddies for too long. Quakerboy and I moved to NYC after college, but most of his friends still live in the city where we went to school. Every once in a while he’ll make a “boy joke” when the opportunity comes up and I just say to him (lovingly/teasingly) “who do you think you’re saying these things to?” as a gentle reminder that I don’t find penis humor quite as hilarious as his college buddies do. A friend of mine (who’s married to one of Quakerboy’s friends) says the same thing happens to them. But the more they make an effort to have bro-time, the fewer fart jokes we end up hearing. All I can say is thank goodness for dudebro reunion weekends…

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      • avatar

        Morgan May 5, 2011, 12:22 pm

        My boyfriend and I have the “I am your girlfriend not your brother” talk often. By which I mean he makes bodily function jokes and I say “I am your girlfriend not your brother.”

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom May 5, 2011, 9:32 am

    You definitely don’t sound ready to move in together. Please at least wait until you feel totally comfortable with this relationship before you do that. If this relationship is meant to last it will be fine even if you wait longer to live together. Given time it will either grow or die and either way you will be better waiting to see what happens.

    There’s nothing wrong with being the best friend of each other and nothing wrong with confiding in each other as long as the confidence builds intimacy. In this case the confidence is destroying intimacy and harming your relationship so it isn’t working for you. Trying to talk to your boyfriend about this hasn’t helped so that is a red flag to me. He doesn’t sound like he cares about or understands your feelings so keeps hurting you. Whether it’s intentional or unintentional doesn’t really matter. What matters is that it’s hurting you and isn’t stopping. If you can’t see living your life this way and he shows no signs of change then you will probably have to leave this relationship. The flirtation with another woman is another red flag. If he’s playing the field or looking it over to see whose available I think you’re over and done with. He’s looking to move on seeing whose available and willing.

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  • avatar

    cat-i-z May 5, 2011, 9:39 am

    It’s sometimes difficult to give advice based on one letter and sometimes easy to be judgmental based on one letter… but LW you really need to take a step back and look at your relationship with this guy. No friends or not (which by the way… you HAVE to get out and make new friends or contact old ones… it’s not healthy that he is your ONLY friend) he should not be telling you these things… and asking for the pictures… COME ON… huge.. freaking massive… red flag.

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  • avatar

    LeahW. May 5, 2011, 9:50 am

    You are ABSOLUTELY justified in your feelings. It’s common for one person in a relationship to be more conservative than the other when it comes to being attracted to other people. But (as long as their partner isn’t being completely controlling and irrational) it’s that person’s responsibility to reign themselves in until their behavior is as conservative as their partners in order to spare their feelings. Me and my boyfriend went through this with flirting outside the relationship. When we realized that he thought flirting was okay and I didn’t, he promised to stop so that I would be comfortable. Note that neither of us believed the flirting would lead to any actual cheating, it was just an activity that he felt was appropriate for people in relationships and I didn’t.

    The fact that you told your boyfriend how you felt and he REFUSES to stop this behavior is a real problem. He’s basically throwing it in his face that he doesn’t care that he’s hurting your feelings and can’t be bothered to change, even about behavior that should be pretty insignificant for him. And the fact that his lack of self-control has already lead to him to go “too far” on one occasion is a serious red flag. What if you disagree on what constitutes cheating and he doesn’t censor himself in that area either? What if he thinks monogamy is just “some weird conviction of society” and he sleeps with someone else the next time you’re out of town?

    Sit him down and tell him that no matter what “society” says, or what he thinks you should feel, his behavior consistently hurts you and it makes you not trust him with other women. If he doesn’t take your concerns seriously, I would have serious misgivings about moving in with him. Not because talking about being attracted to other women is never okay for anyone ever, but because he’s hurting you and doesn’t seem to care.

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    Jennifer May 5, 2011, 10:03 am

    1) you are always justified in your feelings. If something makes you uncomfortable there is probably a reason why.

    2) monogamy is fluid *in your relationship* if you want it to be. How your relationship works is up to the two of you and society cannot make you compromise on that.

    3) not sharing every bloody thought in your head is not the same as keeping something from your partner. Caring and sensitivity should trump his need to get a rise out of you.

    And that is what he’s doing. He doesn’t care about you or he would be trying to make you comfortable and reassuring you that he’ll be faithful and devoted. He’s doing the opposite of that. MOA and give yourself a chance to find someone who will want you to be happy.

    In the mean time it would be worthwhile to build up a support system and have activities and friends for yourself. See if you can find a councilor too who will help you work on self-esteem. Good luck!

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      elisabeth May 5, 2011, 10:43 am

      I wonder if the BF just wants the LW to react with jealousy? It doesn’t sound like she’s given him that yet, she’s been hurt and expressed her need for him to stop, but maybe he’s looking for a jealous rise. Perhaps he has some unresolved issues and is looking to fulfill his need to be needed in the wrong way.

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    Morgan May 5, 2011, 10:11 am

    My first thought was “start telling him about how hot other guys are and how much you want to fuck them, that’ll shut him up.” But honestly, this guy got worse as the letter went on, especially with the flirtation that crosses a line. I wonder–would you be more willing to MOA if you had more friends outside the relationship? Don’t let his being one of your few friends make you stay if the relationship isn’t working for you. I’d say give him another shot, really explain to him how you feel, and then get out if nothing changes. You’re young, and you deserve better than he’s giving right now.

    Being able to talk about how attractive you find someone with your significant other can be okay or even fun, but only if both people are into it and there’s no chance the other person would actually pursue it. (And I’m not convinced your boyfriend wouldn’t actually pursue it) First couple of times my guy commented on some woman to me (usually a celebrity, which helps. Hell, I think Keira Knightley is hot too, how convenient), I was like, really, dude? But then I realized this means I can watch Jude Law movies with him without censoring my desire to totally get on that, so, works for both of us. But that’s something every couple has to work out, and both partners have to be okay with it. He doesn’t unilaterally get to make the rules.

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    emjay May 5, 2011, 10:12 am

    I understand the not having a lot of friends, I’m not a social butterfly either more like a homebody and I like to keep to myself. But what he is doing is so disrespectful of you. And the “reasons” he tells you as to why he does this is just BS. He likes to make you feel jealous. Point blank. And he uses your hurtful feelings against you by continuing to do it. Do yourself a favor and MOA immediately. There are a lot of guys out there who are happy with their GF and don’t feel the need to act this why. Find yourself someone who respects you and values your relationship. Because this jerk only cares about himself.

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      emjay May 5, 2011, 10:12 am

      **way** typo! 🙂

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    moonflowers May 5, 2011, 10:13 am

    It’s manipulative and heartless of your boyfriend to say that he won’t stop oversharing about his feelings for other women because he think it’s being a) rebellious and b) totally honest and open with you.

    No matter what society says, this is YOUR relationship, not common social property, so your feelings about his choice are the only ones that count! And as for honesty and openness with you – sure, honesty’s a good thing, but too much of it is as bad as none. People are honest to each other for the purpose of building trust and intimacy, but in this case, your bf’s honesty is doing exactly the opposite.

    Personal boundaries are important for a relationship to be healthy. There’s no way one person in the whole world can satisfy all of your needs for connection, because people are limited and have needs of their own. You can’t satisfy your need for connection by sharing much more deeply with just one person, either. Some part of you must always be just for you, private, and the same goes for your bf. (This is when I join the chorus of “find friends!!”)

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    AL May 5, 2011, 10:13 am

    I’d say there’s a difference between you two walking down the street together and him saying “Isn’t that woman over there beautiful?” versus him saying “Look at the rack on her, I’d sure like to get her into bed!” I think there’s also a difference between him commenting on the looks of strangers versus those of people he knows personally, or that you both know. I’m not sure from the way you describe the situation which is happening. I don’t think its uncommon for some couples to point out to each other random strangers they find attractive, in fact, many do so by sharing their “celebrity crushes” with each other. But it would be odd for him to more graphically describe his sexual interest in another woman, particularly someone he knows.

    However, the main issue here is not whether him making those comments to you is OK or normal. You’ve told him it makes you uncomfortable, and he’s unwilling to make any changes or compromises to make you feel better. A good partner should be more respectful of your feelings.

    And I agree with the other comments about expanding your social life. You should have at least a small group of friends you see regularity, without each other. As a highly introverted person, I understand how easy it is to get into a serious relationship and pull away from your friends. However, making sure you have social connections outside of a relationship is really important to keep it healthy.

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    Laurel May 5, 2011, 10:15 am

    Oh come on….he’s “denying himself” by not being able to tell you about all the other women he thinks are hot? It’s *soooo terrible* that he has to “censor himself” around you about this one topic? Sorry, but that just screams selfish, manipulative jerk to me.

    He’s not insisting on talking about hot women to you because he doesn’t have guy friends. He’s doing it because a) any thought that occurs to him ought to be shared (because zomggg why should he have to censor himself shouldn’t you be able to tell your SO everything???), b) he’s dwelling on thoughts of attractive women who aren’t you, c) he doesn’t care if he hurts your feelings, his feelings are more important (it would be “denying himself” to shut up about it even though you’ve said it hurts you), and d) he’s found a way to manipulate you into thinking this is your problem (“monogamy is fluid”, “all guys think about hot women / having sex with every hot woman they see”).

    Ugh where to start. I know when you’re in college it can feel like everyone is fucking around and “monogamy” always has the quotations around it. Lots of people in college don’t want to be monogamous or even in relationships and that’s fine, but that’s not a reflection of monogamy. If you want/need monogamy in a relationship, then monogamy is not something which can be fluid for you. There is nothing wrong with that and you’re not anywhere near a fringe-minority for having this stance. If your boyfriend doesn’t want to be monogamous and you do, I can’t help but think that’d be a dealbreaker.

    But I think the bigger issue is that he’s intentionally hurting you and making it look like it’s his right (because he shouldn’t have to “censor/deny himself”, because you should be able to “share everything”, because “all guys look at hot women even though they’re in relationships”.) Every one of those excuses is a line he’s using to hurt and manipulate you. When I see a hot guy or girl, I might admire them for a couple minutes and then I put them out of my head. I do this because even though people don’t stop being attractive just because I’m in a relationship, they stop being worth drooling over. My boyfriend is attractive to me on so many levels in addition to the surface physical level, and I remind myself of that when I see a hot stranger. So I admire and then I put the thought away, because dwelling on it would hurt my relationship, which is something I value FAR MORE than fantasizing about strangers.

    Sorry I know this reply is getting epically long, but you deserve better LW. Do NOT move in with this guy. If he won’t stop looking at other women and telling you about it, you better start looking at other men because clearly he’s not valuing you or your relationship.

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      demoiselle May 5, 2011, 10:32 am

      Of course, his thoughts are just so cosmically awesome that they MUST be shared with everyone, no matter what the consequences…

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    Flake May 5, 2011, 10:15 am

    Let’s say, you told your BF (the man that you’re looking forward to moving in with and having a future together) that there is a single thing that bothers you, and that is talking about monkeys. For whatever reason talking about monkeys upsets you.
    If he loves you and respects you, the least he is going to do is say ”OK dear, i can’t promise you to NEVER talk about monkeys, because personally I love monkeys, but I will take your feelings into consideration and will avoid this subject as much as possible.”
    Your BF chose to repeatedly disrespect you. Not only by talking about other women, but by doing something that you have specifically asked him not to. I won’t even mention flirting with other women and ask for their pictures. When you say that neither of you has any friends, that makes me think that he is with you because he hasn’t found anyone better YET.
    You have two obvious choices.
    You can choose to stay and accept it, and all the consequences that come with that (ex. the knowledge that your BF doesn’t respect you or your relationship enough to consider your feelings).
    Or you can leave. You can tell thank him for the experience that he has provided. You can go out and reconnect with your friends, and meet some new ones. You can find a guy that will only want to talk about you, because he finds you more attractive that any one else, and will have enough decency and common sense to treat you and your relationship with respect and appreciation.

    Most importantly, I will never understand women’s general need to justify their feelings. You are a human being. You have feelings and opinions. You really don’t have to justify them to anyone. I have never seen/heard of a guy who asks if his feelings are justified. Men just accept that this is how they feel, and expect every one around them to conform to their emotions. Women, however, try to please everyone but themselves. If it was possible to change the way you feel just like that, you probably would have done that already. You have asked your BF to modify his behavior because it upsets you. He refused. Move on to someone who will care enough not to openly provoke you and upset you.

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    demoiselle May 5, 2011, 10:20 am

    You are justified. Your boyfriend is a jerk who is testing your boundaries–he knows his behavior is hurting you, and he’s too wrapped up in his own “freedom” not to censor himself, that he’s got no regard for your own feelings. If this kind of behavior continues, don’t expect happiness with this man. His needs will always come first, whereas a generous and loving partner thinks of your feelings even when it requires him to reflect on his own behavior.

    There is nothing wrong with talking about the attractiveness of others if both partners in the relationship enjoy it or get something out of it (a sexual thrill, perhaps?). But in most relationships there is a “gentleperson’s agreement” that some things are best left unsaid. We all know that our partners look at others and fantasize about them. We know, because we probably do it ourselves, at some point. However, in a respectful relationship (if there isn’t a mutually beneficial agreement like I mentioned in the first sentence of this paragraph), one keeps it to oneself. One doesn’t blatantly ogle other men or women in public. One doesn’t rate one’s partner in comparison to every girl or boy on the beach. It is part of keeping your primary partner feeling–well, primary, important, desired.

    A jerk cares about his needs first. A jerk enjoys seeing you squirm or be jealous. It makes them feel good. But shouldn’t he be trying to make YOU feel good and cared for?

    A college friend had a boyfriend who continually discussed to her whether he found her attractive enough at any given moment (in that picture, where you’ve just been hiking, you look kinda sweaty and gross. maybe I’m not attracted to you after all…). I told her to dump him–that there was something wrong, and he shouldn’t be constantly rating her to her face. There was, too–time proved me right.

    It seems to me that you’ve made your boundaries clear, LW. But if you aren’t sure, lay them out to him explicitly and give him another chance. Perhaps some comments here will prove useful in explaining your position.

    But if he keeps on treating you in ways that make you uncomfortable, no matter how you protest (poking or tickling you when you ask him not to, pushing you sexually), please be cautious. Consider D-ingTMFA.

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    TJ May 5, 2011, 10:29 am

    I’m going to start leaving my advice in the form of popular song lyrics. Here’s the first one:

    “And I ran, I ran so far away.”

    Guess the band, you get five points. Actually take the advice, ten points.

    If you have to ask what I mean by the song lyric…well…*sigh*

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      TheGirl May 5, 2011, 10:50 am

      Only the most awesome one hit wonder of the 80s! And by most awesome I mean for their hair, not their music…

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        MissDre May 5, 2011, 12:28 pm

        Flock of Seagulls! hahaha!

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        TJ May 5, 2011, 1:53 pm

        I concur 100%

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      Mischief May 5, 2011, 2:43 pm

      Damn it! That song has been in my head ALL DAY now, thanks to you!

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        TheGirl May 5, 2011, 2:44 pm

        So did not mean to post that one as my cat…

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    jena May 5, 2011, 10:33 am

    Whatever you do, DO NOT MOVE IN with this guy.

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    spaceboy761 May 5, 2011, 10:33 am

    Don’t sink much more of your college experience into this disrespectful douchebag.

    Taking it from those of us who have gone through it, college is a time make friends, have relationships, do things, and learn stuff that YOU WILL NEVER HAVE ANOTHER CHANCE AT IN YOUR ENTIRE LIFE.

    I pretty much have one only regret in my life. There have been a few disappointments, accidents, and letdowns, but only one situation where I look back and say “I fucked up”: I shouldn’t have stayed with my college girlfriend for as long as I did. And it was a pretty good relationship! We were very close for the years after school and she attended my wedding a few months ago. Two and a half years was still too much time to invest in that one relationship when you consider that you spend your first six months of four years in college just figuring out who the hell you are and the last few months with one foot out the door.

    Branch away from this guy and just start stuff because it looks interesting and talking to people that seem cool.

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      fallonthecity May 6, 2011, 12:15 am

      Yes! I also spent way too long with my college boyfriend, but he was sort of like this dude, and we ended up breaking up because his ex decided she wasn’t a lesbian anymore, and he thought he needed a shot at that again, or something. Luckily, that was only 1.5 years down the drain for me, but still! I was starting my junior year before I -really- got involved in my department and community and I wish I’d done it earlier… I enjoyed my last two years so much — what did I miss during that 1.5 years I wasted JUST focusing on classes and that boyfriend? Should have MOA’d a lot sooner… LW, learn from my mistakes!

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    Monica M May 5, 2011, 10:38 am

    I don’t think your relationship with this guy is healthy. Like others have said the comment about how insulated you are in that you have no friends is disconcerting. Plus, maybe I’m wrong in this thought but it seems really strange for a guy to not have guy friends. This guy seems too needy or manipulative. You find yourself without friends and a boyfriend who feels the need to vomit his every inner thought on you. I’m not sure this behavior is so much indicating his unfaithfulness. For some reason I had the crazy thought that he is trying to manipulate you into a threesome situation or other alternative sexual scenario. It seems that it is not a matter of admiring a stranger’s beauty but expressing his sexual response to these women. That line about monogamy being fluid is also alarming, especially if this idea has been coming from your boyfriend. I wish you explained the flirting texting situation more as it is unclear on just what went down. Actually you seem to gloss over this incident which makes me wonder if you have not fully analyzed it yourself. I feel he is undermining your self confidence and isolating you.

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    Elle May 5, 2011, 9:46 am

    The LW’s boyfriend is definitely immature. It’s such a big no-no to talk to your SO about other people you find attractive. LW, have you tried turning the tables? Even if you’re not attracted to other guys, tell your boyfriend what you think about a good-looking guy in your class. Maybe he’ll then realize what he’s doing to you. If he’s not sick to his stomach when you mention other guys, he’s not imagining you banging those other guys, like you think of him. So, by the way he thinks, your reaction is a bit too much. (But not for me! I totally agree with you!!!)

    And the fact that he flirts with other girls… It’s worrying that having a girlfriend didn’t stop him from flirting.. You didn’t mention in the letter why it stopped – because the break ended and you came back, or you told him to stop (this is one time where his honesty paid off), or the other girl stopped giving him the attention? This makes it look like the first chance he gets, he will cheat on you…

    Giving him the benefit of the doubt here – maybe he doesn’t have boundaries? Maybe he doesn’t know that his flirting hurts people? Honestly, if a guy flirted with me, and I would find out later he had a girlfriend, I would feel used and hurt. (hurt just a little bit, but still). Maybe he needs to understand that.

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  • becboo84

    BecBoo84 May 5, 2011, 11:05 am

    It’s probably too early to make this assumption just yet, but if you don’t get something figured out, this could be a definite MOA situation in the future. Your boyfriend is being incredibly disrespectful, and I hope this one area is not indicative of his overall attitude and behavior.

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    TheGirl May 5, 2011, 11:07 am

    I’m thinking this guy is just an insensitive jerk who doesn’t understand what it means to be in a relationship. You have two options. You can try to train him as to what a boyfriend really should be, or you can MOA. I had a boyfriend in college who seemed at least a little similar to your bf. He’d only been semi-serious with one other girl prior to me and just plain didn’t get what a boyfriend was supposed to do. He’d wander off for a night without letting me know, he wouldn’t stick up for me in front of his friends, he’d blow through his money and expect me and everyone else to cover for him and he’d talk about other girls with me. Explaining things to him was a lot of work. It took a while, but eventually he started to get the fact that these things were actually disrespectful, and that he could NOT treat me like he would a friend.

    Anyway, in the end it just didn’t work out. I realized that this guy was going to be work for the rest of my life, because he didn’t naturally know how to put himself in someone else’s shoes and I do. So… I guess the moral of the story is to MOA before you waste too much time with someone whom you are constantly going to have to explain things to.

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    Lindsay May 5, 2011, 11:19 am

    I can see making rare comments to each other about celebrities you think are attractive, but people you actually know or talking about it all the time is too much. Just because he doesn’t have any guy friends doesn’t give him an excuse for doing this. That’s his own problem, and if he wants guys to talk to, then he should make some friends. You should definitely tell him that you aren’t interested in hearing about this.

    More important, though, you should do more than “hope” that not having other friends will change. Go find other things to do that are fun and with other people and work toward making friends.

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    atraditionalist May 5, 2011, 11:30 am

    HELL NO! Do not move in with this guy. I dated a guy who would tell me all the time about which celebrity female and which of his female friends he found attractive. It was disgusting. I told him I didn’t like it but it would still slip out in conversation randomly. And it was always women who didn’t look a thing like me. I dumped him about three weeks into the relationship becuase I couldn’t take that stuff. Do not feel bad about standing up for your boundaries if it’s something that truly bothers you.

    You cannot be a good girlfriend to a guy if he constantly makes you feel like crap. No matter what the thing that makes you feel like crap is (so long as its not a laundry list lol) Disliking when he talks about other women is not unreasonable.

    Talking about hot women is what guys do together as a group. The smarter ones know not to bring the back to the girls just like the smarter girls know not to start talking about embarassing bodily functions or whatever other stuff they share with their girlfriends around their boyfriends. The stupid ones… well that’s what you’ve got. and he’s mean to boot.
    He is extremely disrespectful.

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    MiMi May 5, 2011, 11:42 am

    This is a guy who doesn’t respect your feelings and who is continuously testing the boundaries of what you’ll put up with in terms of his active fantasizing and attempted fooling around while you where out of town. As women we are encouraged from infancy to be accommodating and to consider other people’s feelings but in this case, the person whose feelings you have to champion (firmly) are your own. Whatever your bottom line is, let him know it clearly, whether it is that you don’t want to hear any more of his over-sharing or that monogamy is essential to you, or whatever it is and stop his encroachment on your self-respect and peace of mind. Maybe he’s immature but redeemable or maybe he’s a sleazeball, but you owe it to yourself and to him to be perfectly clear on what you will and will not tolerate, and take appropriate action to back your words up. And don’t move in with him – he doesn’t currently deserve the privilege of living with you.

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    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom May 5, 2011, 12:09 pm

      I think women are not raised to speak forcefully for themselves so you find women using weak language like sorta and kinda. As in, when you talk like that I feel sorta sad or when you say that I get kinda mad.This should be enough to make him quit what he’s doing but it’s not as effective as being forceful. Forceful as in, when you say (tell him exactly what bothers you) I feel (tell him exactly how you feel.) Then add – I will never listen to another conversation like this. NEVER.

      LW if you haven’t been forceful about this issue try it one more time. Be specific about what he just said that you don’t like and tell him why and then tell him you will never listen to him say XXXX again. When he starts telling you how he feels about that interrupt before he has finished his first sentence and again tell him that you will never listen to him say XXXX again. Then follow through by leaving or asking him to leave any time he talks that way. Either he will quit or he will move on but you will be done with it. If it’s your place and he refuses to leave then leave yourself and go run an errand or go for a walk or go study on campus. Have zero tolerance because you know you deserve better. I would only do this for things that are serious, it can’t be an everyday way of life, but you must be able to stick up for what you firmly believe.

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        Quakergirl May 5, 2011, 1:19 pm

        Agh! I read about a study examining the differences in the language men and women use to express feelings a few months ago in the New York Times and I cannot find the link anywhere. The study was discussed in the context of a leadership camp for young girls and teenagers, because one of the primary focuses of the camp was self-awareness and communication with others. Women had a much higher incidence of “sorta” and “kinda” when describing how they felt whereas men just told it like it was. Any other DW readers have the link?

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom May 5, 2011, 5:38 pm

        I was reading something similar last week. It was about women allowing themselves to be interruped more in meetings and being less forceful. Women were also less likely to interrupt. Men were more forceful, more comfortable interrupting to try to steer or dominate the meeting and less tolerant of interruptions.

        We women have to learn how to stop people who are trying to interrupt us as we make points.

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    Lumieres May 5, 2011, 11:44 am

    I’m the LW. Thanks to everyone who wrote in. I appreciate all of the advice/perspective, and will definitely take it to heart.

    This issue has dissipated as of late, which is good. Should it come up again, I know absolutely now that I am justified in how I feel, and I will put my foot down. It’s just not something I am going to tolerate, and I believe him to be someone who does really love me, and I think if I drive my point home he will not do it again. He’s not stupid, but can lose perspective on a situation sometimes. However, at the same time, his behavior has been jerk-ish and boneheaded, and I know now he needs to be called out on it.

    As far as the friends thing goes, I should clarify: we DO have friends, mutual and separate. Some of them are in the new city where we have moved, but most are not. However, we still hang out with people and spend time apart. It is very true however that we need to find more friends and spend more time apart with them, and I hope that this year will be better regarding that. I am not saying I think it’s healthy for us both to be so reliant on one another; it has been something both my bf and I have acknowledged and are trying to work towards getting away from. I’m pretty shy so I have always had trouble making friends, but I know it can’t go on like this. I’m starting a new job and taking summer classes, so hopefully I will meet some people there.

    As far as the flirting incident goes, I was the one who found out and called him out on it. I nearly broke up with him, but he apologized profusely and it came about at a time where things were fairly rocky (they have since exponentially gotten better). He cut off all contact with this girl, deleted everything related to her, and has not done anything since and I HONESTLY believe that he will not do it again. He said it was the worst mistake he has ever made, and I believe him. That doesn’t justify it nor does it totally make the hurt go away, but I believe in second chances, and this is his (however if he even so much as THINKS of doing something similar, I will walk away forever).

    I think that lately my bf has confused me for being something of a “bro” to him. We play video games, drink together, etc., but I am still his GIRLFRIEND. There are things I do not want to hear. This is one of them. I have never had him disrespect my wishes/feelings about something until now (he usually is pretty understanding and support of how I feel), and if he brings it up again, I will not tolerate it and if he continues, I will think about moving on. For now, things are normal and he has not brought it up in a long time (since around the time before I wrote the letter almost tow or three weeks ago).

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      SpyGlassez May 5, 2011, 8:51 pm

      Thanks for the post!

      I guess I am a little bit different because I grew up with my dad enthusiastically commenting on the good looks of people around us. We joke that my dad is “a little on the curvy side of straight” but he is comfortable saying “He’s good looking” just as he is about saying “She’s a knockout.” It never bothered my mom, however, and it hasn’t bothered me the one or two times my bf has said something to the effect of “that girl was WOW.” HOWEVER, in part that’s because my BF tells me all the time how beautiful he thinks I am. I think in your case, it’s just how frequent it seemed. And while there is some justification to not having to censor yourself, there’s also the fact that not every thought that pops into the human mind is meant to be shared (If I shared every single thing that went on in my mind, I’d scare the world shitless). It sounds like he knew it was kind of a douche move, and he was trying to justify it, but hopefully things will continue to get better!!

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    Sarah May 5, 2011, 11:47 am

    This guy is an idiot for so so soooo so so many reasons. Not only does he point out women he finds attractive in real life (everybody knows celebrities are fair game….for the most part) to you, but they ALSO obviously look nothing like you, they ALSO look like his ex-girlfriend, and he ALSO tries to make you feel small and a victim of puritanic society for having a problem with it. This guy is treating you like a bro with a vagina. That’s why he doesn’t stop when you tell him it hurts you. You both are wayyyy too dependent on each other, and he’s using your dependence to see how much he can get away with. Btw, I really hope you broke up with him or almost did when you caught him getting those girls pictures and what not, because that behavior is unacceptable.

    Treat this like you would treat any nonnegotiable factor in a relationship. Either he keeps his thoughts about other women to himself and focuses on the beautiful girlfriend in front of him, or you MOA. The only way an idiot like this is going to stop this behavior is if he knows that its the end of the line if he continues to do it. If he doesn’t stop then, MOA. I know its college, but isn’t there better guys on campus than this? Join an extracurricular activity that you enjoy (DON’T BRING HIM). Get to know the people. Make new friends. Meet different guys. Better guys. Date those guys.

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom May 5, 2011, 12:11 pm

    Could he want to break up but doesn’t know how so he is being nasty just to make you do the dirty deed?

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    Sistine May 5, 2011, 12:33 pm

    This all boils down to respect. He knows that discussing women he finds attractive upsets you. Instead of respecting your feelings, he makes up excuses as to why he should be allowed to continue to disrespect you in this way (he shouldn’t have to censor himself, he’d be hiding a part of himself, etc.) The bottom line is that HE KNOWS how you feel about it and doesn’t seem to care if he upsets you. I think you are totally justified in being upset. I think it’s time for you to have a very serious discussion with your boyfriend about how he views you, your relationship and your feelings and I’d think long and hard about whether moving in with him just yet is a good idea.

    And I’m not sure I completely understand the flirtation gone too far. Do you mean he texted and sent pictures of himself to another girl? If so, that’s a pretty big red flag that he’s testing out the waters and his options. Not a sign that he’s committed to you. If that’s the case, I don’t think you should move in with him. Doesn’t necessarily mean you have to break up with him, but definitely time you made your relationship boundaries clear with him on what you will and won’t put up with. Again, it boils down to respect and you should never be in a relationship with someone who doesn’t respect you.

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    Quakergirl May 5, 2011, 1:02 pm

    Seriously, LW, your boyfriend is a manchild. When you’re a child, the world is all about you and what you need and what you want and what you think. But normally, when people grow up, they learn to put their needs/wants/feelings into social context to determine how to act appropriately. This goes double when you’re in an exclusive relationship– a social and romantic partnership. Clearly, your boyfriend hasn’t figured that out yet.

    I always say that the biggest part of a successful relationship is learning when to shut your mouth. For instance, does it bother me that my boyfriend forgets to rinse dishes when he puts them in the sink? Yes, it drives me batshit. But I recognize that I am an extremely anal retentive person and that getting him to methodically rinse dishes the way I do would probably require serious nagging and cause a fair bit of tension/resentment. I choose to “deny” this part of my personality because it would damage my relationship and hurt my boyfriend. He, on the other hand, tries to remember to rinse them because he knows I’m crazy. Learning not to impose your needs and wants on everyone around you is called being an adult. Failing to do so isn’t honesty, it’s solipsism.

    He’s hiding behind all these excuses– he doesn’t have male friends, it’s normal to look at other people, monogamy is fluid– but the truth is he can’t be bothered to consider your feelings. This will only get worse if you move in with him. Don’t do it! Every problem you have gets magnified by about a thousand, and unless you are extremely committed to working them out, they’ll tear you apart. Or, worse yet, you’ll both be stuck in an unhappy relationship. There’s this inexplicable momentum towards marriage/kids/what have you once you move in with someone, and if you don’t put it in check, you might end up married to this 20-something toddler.

    Put your foot down and stand up for what you want– a monogamous relationship with someone who respects your feelings. That’s not asking for a whole lot, and there are plenty of guys out there who are more than willing to be in that type of relationship. You’ll probably find them all around campus– join some clubs, community service organizations, or study groups. And hey, even if you don’t find a new guy, you’ll definitely find some great friends!

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    Gracie May 5, 2011, 1:26 pm

    I really felt hurt for you when I read this. Like, I wanted to give you a hug or something. And I don’t want to automatically jump to putting my own experiences on yours, but I can’t help it… I did.

    There are women out there who are very “open” with this type of stuff. And that is great for them. But, the fact remains… you are not okay with it and he is not respecting you.

    Most of all, I would not ignore, brush off, or hope that the “incident” with the other woman was a one time thing. My ex did this stuff to me repeatedly (and I forgave him repeatedly or tried to make it “not a big deal”… ). I was never the jealous type… but he drove me to become one. If he is flirtatiously texting with another woman, there is a good chance that it is a behavior that will continue. Especially if he didn’t show any genuine remorse for it. It doesn’t seem like you two see eye to eye.

    Letting someone disrespect your feelings over and over does some crazy things to your self-esteem and general happiness. If you are hurting and he doesn’t care, MOA.

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    MAC2011 May 5, 2011, 2:16 pm

    I tend to think your relationship is everything but “great: we have a lot of fun, love each other, are about to move in together, and look forward to our future with one another.” You are telling the man you love that you are uncomfortable with something, regardless of what is it, he should respect that.

    Before you decide to move in together & plan your future with one another, I think you should sit him down and explain to him how this makes you feel and if he can’t understand what you need from him, MOA MOA MOA!

    Good luck!

    Also looking at attractive women and “fucking” them are very different things!

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      MAC2011 May 5, 2011, 3:02 pm

      Also go out join a gym, take a class, do something & get some friends in your life!!!

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    ladiejoy May 5, 2011, 2:33 pm

    A bit late to the party, here… I agree with what most everyone else said, best I can tell at least from only skimming over the comments. But I had one thought that I’m not certain has been brought up yet.

    Is it possible that he’s feeling you out for a future possibility of a threesome? For some reason when I read this, it was the first thing I thought. Why else would he want to engage you in conversation about how attractive another woman is? As others said, it’s one thing to look… but it’s another thing to go deeper into it with the woman you are in a relationship with. And since he has a history of “going over the line”, it would almost seem as if he wants your blessing to bring another person in. I don’t know, maybe I’m reading too much into it but I wouldn’t throw out this possibility.

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    Elle May 5, 2011, 1:36 pm

    I wish I knew this in college: LW, if it doesn’t feel right, it’s because it isn’t.
    I’m joining the chorus of people telling you that you are completely justified to feel the way you do. In college, I did some things because I was pressured, even though my instinct was telling me ‘no’. It was the first time I was faced with those situations, I didn’t know what to do, how to react, I was way too worried about what other people would think of me… Later though, I regretted those things. (But I still went easy on myself.) And I decided to trust my instinct more. I now do whatever my gut tells me to do (go for it or not), and think about the reasons later. My life is better now – a lot less regrets, that’s for sure.

    Too bad you don’t have many friends. You could say about a guy – oh, look what he did for his girlfriend (bought her flowers, threw her a surprise party, they went on a romantic weekend, shoveled her car, made her dinner etc.), follow that by “I wish you did that for me” and see how he reacts. If he’s not hurt, not even a little bit, then he just plainly doesn’t care about you. I bet you don’t even think about how other guys are better than your boyfriend, right? Your boyfriend is the best, otherwise you wouldn’t waste your time with him!

    Not to mention, he talks about other girls’ physical appearance, and there is nothing you can do about how you look. My examples are about behavior, behavior is easier to change.

    If you do decide to move in together, discuss NOW how you will split the bills. It’s uncomfortable, but you should know now. If he’s trying to make you pay more than your fair share, don’t move in with him. (From a letter a few days ago: If he wants HD and you don’t, you shouldn’t pay for HD!!! He shouldn’t tell you what to do with your own money. Like, ever!)

    And if, at any moment, it doesn’t feel right, it’s because it isn’t.

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    Christina May 5, 2011, 2:57 pm

    That guy is thoughtless. If he is crazy about you then he is not talking about being sexually attracted to other girls. In my relationship, if my boyfriend got another girl’s number and was asking her for pictures and spending time talking to her, I would be done with him. Even if I loved him it would be clear that he didn’t care as much about me as I did about him. He is acting single by paying obvious attention to other girls and getting way to close to one while you were away. He sounds like dating material but not monogamous relationship or move in together material.

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    hlynn May 5, 2011, 4:51 pm

    You are allowed to think other people are attractive when you are in a relationship. You are allowed to fantasize about these people when you get it on by yourself. These are sexual fantasies and are fine. His actions are disturbing because he has acted upon them. How would he feel if you talked about another guy’s physical attractiveness to him? My guess is that he is using this as a way to maintain dominance over you. Make friends. Don’t rely on him as your main social support and emotional support. If you have a strong social group, or several strong social groups, you can begin to make emotional distance from this guy.

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    HmC May 5, 2011, 4:55 pm

    LW, I’m personally comfortable with a level of honesty in my relationships that would make some people, I think, uncomfortable in my shoes. I’m older, I know myself really well and I am pretty easy-going with people I trust expressing their honest thoughts, as long as I know they aren’t doing it to be spiteful or manipulative. Other people are more limited with what they allow to go from their brains to their mouths, and people fall on a spectrum as far as the details of what they really want to hear from their partners. And that’s perfectly ok.

    That’s the thing about relationships- with many issues, it’s not really about what’s right or wrong, but about whether the two of you are compatible. For example, occasionally my boyfriend and I will talk about what famous girls/guys we find attractive and why. It’s an interesting topic, it helps us explore what we find attractive in others, and we’re mature enough (in my opinion) to accept and not be threatened by the fact that we are going to find people attractive other than each other. BUT, if he ever went over the line, and went into inappropriate detail about girls we know personally, I wouldn’t like that and I would let him know. You mention your boyfriend “actively wanting to fuck other women”… does he actually say those words to you?! I wouldn’t like that either. That would be too far for me, and I suspect, many people.

    The bottom line is that you are entitled to have whatever comfort zone and boundaries come naturally to you. The real problem here is that you have expressed your discomfort, and instead of stopping or even compromising, he is continuing a behavior that he knows makes you uncomfortable. What does that say to you about how much your feelings mean to him?

    The fact that you guys do not have outside friendships is a big problem. I definitely don’t think you have to be a social butterfly to be happy, but you need *some* social interaction outside of your relationship if you want that relationship to thrive and survive long term. And, regardless of how the relationship is doing now or where it goes, don’t you want to have friendships for yourself? You say you “hope and feel” that outside friendships will develop now that you’re graduating but… if you didn’t make friends in college, what makes you “feel” that they’ll suddenly sprout up now? College is one of the easiest places to make friends for many people. Yet neither of you did… is that because you spent so much time with each other and neglected others? Friendships, like relationships, take work. You have to put yourself out there. I say, stop feeling and hoping, and take proactive steps to make friends. Pick up a hobby that has nothing to do with your boyfriend, and encourage him to do the same.

    LW, I’d encourage you to take a critical look at this relationship that you assume you will be in your future. I know this isn’t easy to hear, but many relationships that begin in college don’t withstand the real world. And that’s ok. Don’t be afraid to be without this person. And don’t let the fact that you lack friends trap you two together just so you have some sort of social life. If you guys are right for each other, your relationship will flourish with some separate time and outside friendships and hobbies. And if this guy cares about your feelings, he will work with you on the over sharing issue and find a compromise that doesn’t make you feel uncomfortable, and doesn’t make him feel like he is censoring himself.

    Good luck!

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    Yammy May 5, 2011, 5:46 pm

    Don’t move in with this guy. He started out talking to you about other women, then texting them, he is working his way up to cheating on you.

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    Jshizzle May 5, 2011, 8:02 pm

    Sounds like you don’t really like him when he acts like this, letter-writer. Sometimes my boyfriends asks who I find attractive, so I joke around with him and suggest celebrities that he can’t stand, mainly country singers and channing tatum. We are never hurtful about it, and it sounds like your boyfriend is by describing this ideal woman that’s not you.

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    AKchic May 5, 2011, 9:13 pm

    First, let me put my flame suit on… just in case.

    What is going on is the grooming stage of emotional/mental abuse. What, you ask, what are you talking about? Well… it’s like this: He is telling you things that make you uncomfortable (i.e., he finds other women attractive to the point of sexual arousal). You have said that you do not want to hear about it. He not only INVALIDATED your feelings (a couple should be able to talk to each other about anything), but tried to justify why he not only SHOULD but WILL continue doing it (he shouldn’t have to censor himself around the one he loves).

    You said that neither of you have many friends. There is a reason. He doesn’t WANT either of you to have friends. I bet that when you START to get your own friends, he will tag along under the guise of “I don’t want to be left home by myself, that’s not fair” and will end up chasing the friends away. He’ll make excuses to not go out without you by saying he doesn’t want to leave you home alone. Or, if you go out by yourself, he’ll call constantly with “where you at, when you gonna be home, whatcha doing, you going to bring me something back, I’m lonely, I miss you, I’m horny,” etc ad naseum.

    This is how it starts and how it will continue. Break the cycle and break up with the douche. It’s how my first marriage started before he got violent. He went so far as to keep me away from certain people and would justify it as “for my own good” because they were “bad influences”. Anything from “working fast food jobs”, “high school drop outs” (we both were as well), “smokers” (cigarettes), “a cop” (he felt all cops were bad because of his own hidden criminal record that I found out about just before I kicked him out). MOA NOW.

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    bella February 22, 2013, 4:09 pm

    i have the same problem. My bf constantly talks about other beautiful women to the point of sexual arousal. Last nite he kept picking fights with me and I said I am going home. He said you are leaving, and I said yes, you have hurt me and keep talking down to me. He got up and said get all of your stuff and i told him i am not coming back ….he started yelling at me and said leave and pushed me out the door. I accidentally took his cell as we have matching, and he came running over to my house (we live doors down) and running up my stairs and said you have my phone….of which I found in my purse (I was crying on the porch), and I gave to him, and told him to get his pictures out of my garage, and he said no I will get in the morning, and I told him no get them now so he went to get his truck and came back and handed me my car key (he kept a spare), and I said all I ever did was love you and I am not good enough for you. He said I got my pictures and drove off. I have been suspicious of him cheating, but he constantly told me we were exclusive, and he did not want me to be with other men. But his actions proved other wise. He flirted with other women and always bragged on them, and cut me down and only wanted sex for his gratification. He started losing wt, exercising changed his hair cut and clothes. He would not take me on dates, and would want to come over for dinner and then leave. We have not had sex in three months. I love him, but I can’t take the abuse and his flirting and talking about other women all the time. Am I right in not hanging on? He brags about what he has and that he is going to be the best looking man in our neighborhood. I told hiIm it is over. I am sad, but know my feelings are important . I will never want another man again. This is ruined me Thank you for comments

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