Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“He Disinvited Me To Meet His Parents and Took a Female Friend Instead”

I’m in my late twenties and have been with my boyfriend — also in his late twenties — for nearly two years now. He is a good man and I love him deeply. A couple of months after we started dating, a close friend of his, “Jane,” broke up with her boyfriend. She took it really hard and my boyfriend was there for her quite a lot. I did not initially have a problem with this as it was mainly just spending time with her and her having a shoulder to cry on. Two months after Jane’s breakup, my boyfriend decided to plan a trip to his hometown, inviting Jane, me, and another couple he’s friends with. It would’ve been the first time I met his parents. Soon after he began planning the trip, he turned around and disinvited me, saying that it would be too difficult for Jane to be around two couples. I was hurt, but tried to work through this.

After the disinvitation, my parents planned a trip to come to visit me, which coincidentally happened right before my boyfriend’s weekend trip home. I thought that even though I wasn’t meeting his parents, we could organize so he could meet mine for the first time. He agreed, but then he and Jane both booked tickets two days before they had originally planned and before my parents were set to arrive. I was furious. I thought it was a clear sign of infidelity and broke up with him at that time. He begged me to stay and swears that he doesn’t believe he committed any emotional infidelity.

Since then, we have been working hard to build up the trust he broke. It took a good couple of months before he was able to implement some strict and appropriate boundaries with Jane. During this time I found out that he had told her about our fights (that were essentially about her). I felt utterly humiliated. Around eight months later I found out he’d lied about seeing her on our 1-year anniversary (we had dinner planned and he said their meeting was brief). One of my asks was that he keep me informed of when he was going to meet her. Also, he bought her a present (a book), which he’d also bought me, but he hadn’t told me he’d bought one for her. Every time I think things are working better, I feel like another lie comes out. On the day-to-day things he’s a great boyfriend: he’s supportive, kind, and funny, and he cooked for me every day while I was studying for some exams. But I can’t seem to get past this, and I don’t know if I’m being played for a fool here or if I’m being too hard on him. Do I leave or do I stay? — Not His Jane

You’re fixated on the wrong thing here. In thinking about whether or not you should continue this relationship, you are focusing only on your suspicion that your boyfriend is cheating on you – at least emotionally – with Jane, and you’re obsessing over any potential signs of said cheating, from the kind of gift he gave Jane (and didn’t initially tell you about) to what day on the calendar he spends time with her. This stuff is pretty insignificant though, especially considering that you don’t need a sign to know that your boyfriend has been a disrespectful jerk, which is reason enough to leave him. The fact that he invited you to meet his parents for the first time and then disinvited you because your presence “would be too hard for Jane” is a much bigger deal than the fact that he gave Jane the same book he gave you or that he saw her briefly on your 1-year anniversary.

You say that on the “day-to-day things he’s a great boyfriend,” but his cooking for you while you’re studying for exams doesn’t negate the deep sense of betrayal you feel. It doesn’t matter how funny and kind he is when you have daily dread over a friendship he has with a woman whose feelings he has prioritized over yours on at least one very significant occasion. You call him a “great boyfriend,” but if he’s blowing off an opportunity to meet your parents after two years of dating you by leaving town a couple days earlier than planned, unnecessarily, with a woman he’s bringing home to meet his parents instead of you, he’s not great, and no amount of well-timed, home-cooked meals will make up for how insignificant he’s made you feel.

Bottom line, when deciding whether or not to continue a relationship, pay the most attention to how that person makes you feel. And if it’s not a great feeling, it’s not a great relationship and it’s time to move on already.

My boyfriend’s previous girlfriend ghosted him after four years of living together. I came into the picture a few months later — we had dated as teenagers — and after being with my boyfriend for over a year, I felt suspicious he was up to something so I snooped on his phone and found his porn searches were about BDSM. I confronted him and he said it piqued his interest sometimes. Something still didn’t feel right so I snooped on his phone again and found contacts and I called one and found out he and his past girlfriend were swingers. When I confronted him, he lied and denied it even though I had my proof; he lied to my face! After we talked he told me that it was her thing — he was devastated after his wife left him after 25 years of marriage and he was in a “FUCK it” mode” and went with the swinging for 3+ years.

I asked him if there was anything I may not want to know but should. I still had suspicions and snooped yet again. I discovered that he was secretly texting and talking to an old friend that he met through a dating site that he said he was never intimate with, saying they are just friends. She lives far away so the likelihood of their seeing each other is minimal, but he still kept in contact with her. In addition, I found numerous Craigslist sex solicitations from October through the end of February. I found this out in April/May. When confronted, he said he was testing himself. He never cheated on me — he never saw or spoke to any of the Craigslist contacts. He said that when he moved into my home, he wanted to make sure he wasn’t that “type.” He said he wasn’t and he would never cheat on me. However, the trust has been broken and I’ve been struggling with his words.

Can this man be trusted? Should I believe him? He says he loves me and wants to marry me, but I’m still not 100% trusting him. He is a good talker and can talk his way out of anything. HELP! — Can’t Trust This

 
This relationship is super Dysfunctional with a capital D, from your calling random contacts in your boyfriend’s phone (!), to “confronting” him about his previous relationship before he started dating you – which, frankly, isn’t your business — to his bullshit justification for soliciting people in a sexual nature on Craigslist. He was “testing” himself? After he moved in with you? To see if he was “that type”? Spoiler: he is TOTALLY “that type.” If you look up “that type” in the urban dictionary, there’s a picture of him with a smirk on his face, gripping a bunch of whips and chains, surrounded by a harem of women he solicited off Craigslist, and he’s probably wearing leather chaps. And if you look up “big ol’ snoopity-snoop” in the urban dictionary, there’s a picture of YOU holding a magnifying glass over her boyfriend’s phone, looking for any validation of your deep sense of distrust for your scummy boyfriend.

And you want to know if you can trust the guy? If you should marry him? Fuck, no, you can’t trust him (clearly!). And if you actually believe his bullshit when he says that his numerous sex solicitations on Craigslist were a way of “testing” himself, well that doesn’t make him a “good talker” — it just makes you a bad listener. Stop being so gullible and listen to your gut that’s been screaming since at least one year into this relationship, if not sooner, that this guy is seriously bad news. There is no trust to be had here and there is no future. It’s just an endless sea of dysfunction, out of which your only life preserver is a long overdue breakup.

P.S. Your boyfriend’s ex ghosted him after four years of living together. Ghosted him! After living together for four years! I’m pretty sure it wasn’t because she was sick of picking up his socks.

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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.

24 comments… add one
  • avatar

    Leon September 26, 2019, 9:12 am

    LW1: My jaw almost hit the floor when I read that your boyfriend disinvited YOU, his girlfriend, to “not make feel bad his friend”. At that moment, I would have make him not call me his girlfriend anymore. The cherry in the cake was him flying ahead to not meet your parents. WHAT.
    Probably you should learn to not tolerate shit. Those are really really nasty behaviors, and it’s obvious that your bf has been cheating you. Amiga, date cuenta.

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  • avatar

    Vathena September 26, 2019, 9:35 am

    Shortcut answer for both LWs: If your significant other has been untrustworthy for >75% of the length of your relationship, MOVE ON ALREADY!!!!!

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  • avatar

    cdobbs September 26, 2019, 10:01 am

    Yikes…..not to make light of either letter but both guys were terrible liars (LW1 cancels you meeting his parents because Jane can’t deal with two couples? that makes zero sense whatsoever! and LW2 the guy is using Craigslist to solicit sex to test himself? wtf?)….i would be so insulted that #1 they are lying to me and #2 that they think i’m dumb enough to believe the lamest lies i have heard in awhile

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  • avatar

    ron September 26, 2019, 10:03 am

    For both LWs — stop being so extremely desperate not to be single. Both of your bfs are/have cheated on you and neither of you trust them. From what you wrote, you both clearly understand the situation but are clinging to bad relationships with lying cheaters, because you are so desperate not to be single.

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  • avatar

    Oracle September 26, 2019, 11:04 am

    LW1. General rule. If the relationship is serious you should have meet the parents six months on. You should have dumped his ass upon the disinvite. Aim higher.

    LW2. Really? Why bother checking his phone when you do not trust him. You already knew the answer. MOA.

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    • avatar

      Jamie September 26, 2019, 3:05 pm

      I don’t agree with the general rule you made about meeting the parents 6 months into a relationship. Not everyone is close with their parents or values their approval. Anyway, personally, if I was the first gal I’d be miffed he revoked the invite to meet his folks if he took another woman in my stead. Obviously, he doesn’t want to give her the monogamous relationship she wants emotionally.

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    • avatar

      Jamie September 26, 2019, 3:05 pm

      I don’t agree with the general rule you made about meeting the parents 6 months into a relationship. Not everyone is close with their parents or values their approval. Anyway, personally, if I was the first gal I’d be miffed he revoked the invite to meet his folks if he took another woman in my stead. Obviously, he doesn’t want to give her the monogamous relationship she wants emotionally.

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  • avatar

    PDX816 September 26, 2019, 11:41 am

    Yikes on bikes in regards to both of these letters.

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  • avatar

    Emily September 26, 2019, 2:06 pm

    In the second letter the line “can my boyfriend be trusted?” just killed me and now I am deceased. YOU can’t be trusted , you are snooping in his phone every chance you get. You both deserve someone better!

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  • avatar

    Jamie September 26, 2019, 3:06 pm

    I don’t agree with the general rule you made about meeting the parents 6 months into a relationship. Not everyone is close with their parents or values their approval. Anyway, personally, if I was the first gal I’d be miffed he revoked the invite to meet his folks if he took another woman in my stead. Obviously, he doesn’t want to give her the monogamous relationship she wants emotionally.

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  • avatar

    Yiggs September 26, 2019, 3:36 pm

    It sounds to me like the meeting of the parents was happening at around 4 months or dating though. I agree that the boyfriend was a jerk about the whole trip planning fiasco. But that happened about a year and a half ago….let it go or let him go?

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  • avatar

    ArtsyGirl September 26, 2019, 4:04 pm

    LW1- Your BF has been making conscience, sustained decisions to support Jane to the detriment of you. People break up every day, some of those breakups are traumatic and devastating. The fact that your BF believes that he alone can provide emotional support to a woman over a year after her breakup suggests either he wants to be with Jane or he needs to feel like a savior. He is prioritizing her needs, and frankly their relationship sounds toxically co-dependent at this point.
    LW2- Your BF is gaslighting you and you are tying yourself into knots . Why are you even considering marrying this man? He lied, you know he lied, you are monitoring his phone for what, and there is zero trust in this relationship? You have proof, leave and don’t look back.

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  • bittergaymark

    Bittergaymark September 26, 2019, 5:44 pm

    Wow! Both of these guys simply sound soooooo damn amazing! Hold on to ‘em tight, girls! Clearly, you both realize you can never do any better. I… guess, I trust your judgement.

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  • avatar

    purplestar September 26, 2019, 6:40 pm

    LW1 – it is long past time to MOA…he ditched you to take another woman to meet his parents…this is not a nice man.

    LW2 – I thought this letter was being written by a very young person. Until I got to the line about his being married for 25 years!

    To both LWs – learn to advocate for yourself and put yourself first. These men are worthless…aim higher or stay single until you can.

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  • avatar

    dinoceros September 26, 2019, 7:23 pm

    LW1: Sorry, but you’ve got to realize that a guy who disinvites you on a trip and invites a female friend instead and then lies about her and talks about you to her is not that into your relationship. It doesn’t matter if he’s cheated physically or emotionally or whatever. He doesn’t value you. It makes me a little sad that you’re trying so hard to keep him when he’s treating you so badly. This shouldn’t have come to the point where you had to write in and ask what to do. It should be pretty clear that this relationship is over.

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  • avatar

    anonymousse September 26, 2019, 7:34 pm

    I just…there are really no words that can justify why either LW would stay with either one of these guys.

    Magic penises? That’s all I got.

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  • avatar

    JC September 28, 2019, 11:12 am

    Sooo . . . no one’s gonna mention that Craigslist got rid of all the “sex solicitation” sections in March of 2018, therefore calling into serious question LW2’s claim that the bf was trolling CL for sex nearly a year after those sections ceased to exist? Mmkay. LW2, if the rest of your letter isn’t total bs, holy shit. Just break up already if you trust him so little that you feel the need to snoop through his phone like you’re in a terrible sitcom.

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    • avatar

      Kate September 28, 2019, 1:07 pm

      Why would we even know that?

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      • avatar

        JC September 28, 2019, 3:53 pm

        Craigslist getting rid of the personals section was pretty big news when it happened, and Wendy & commentors seem like a pretty knowledgeable bunch, that’s all. No shade intended, I just figured I can’t be the only person who remembers that and was surprised Wendy (or a commentor) didn’t call it out.

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      • Dear Wendy

        Dear Wendy September 29, 2019, 7:04 am

        The news of the changes to Craigslist was kind of on my radar but I didn’t remember when it went into effect. It’s been a pretty wild news cycle for like the last three years — lots to keep up with. I didn’t recall the exact details of the change to Craigslist either, whether it was a removal of all personals or just the more sex-focused ones. I don’t think the LW is lying. I get so many emails from people – every week! – who have snooped and found Craigslist sex solicitations in their partners email inboxes. I’m sure there’s some work-around to seek out the sex you’re after, and I’m sure emails stay in in-boxes for a long time, and can be responded to many months after a section of Craigslist, where they may have originated, is removed.

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      • avatar

        anonymousse September 29, 2019, 9:45 am

        “Big news” is subjective. I would say in the grand scheme of things, that little news blip was pretty forgettable for most of us, especially considering the news cycle currently.

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    • avatar

      Kate September 28, 2019, 4:12 pm

      Oh, that one got past me I guess. And I read the news every day.

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    • avatar

      anonymousse September 29, 2019, 9:42 am

      I got curious and I looked on my local Craigslist. The sex personals have moved into the “Missed Connections” section. On my local site, there are approximately 1 missed connection to 20 ads for “girl looking for a ride,” etc.

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      • Dear Wendy

        Dear Wendy September 29, 2019, 11:14 am

        Yep, lots of sex ads on the NYC missed connections section, too.

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