Recently he asked a single co-worker out to coffee and it progressed to dinner. He reassured me that he is not interested in her as he is me. In the beginning of our relationship he had stated that he would like to ask her out to dinner to get to know her out of work, but only as a friend. I expressed my concerns particularly as she is unaware that we are together and that it would hurt me if he did this. Six months later he has asked her out. (His words: “It was one of those things where my mouth just started talking and the next thing I had asked her to coffee.”). I admitted that I didn’t like it, but I will have to accept it.
I know I am allowed to feel a bit of betrayal, but I am not sure where to go so far as conversations about this. He says that he is very private and does not want people at work talking about us, and I know that he does not talk to too many people about his private life, so should I be concerned? I made a comment that some parts of our lives we want to keep to ourselves like time with friends, and now I think he using this as a reason not to introduce me to them. I have not asked to meet them, as I would rather he ask me to meet them, but I don’t get that he can introduce me to his family, but not to them . . . — The Sort of Secret Girlfriend
Girl, this guy is playing you hard. He’s introduced you to his family to give you something to hold on to — to make you feel like he’s invested. But, listen, it’s easy to introduce someone to people you aren’t hoping to sleep with/date/whatever. In short: in a whole year he hasn’t introduced you to his (mostly female) friends because doing so would be a huge cock block for him. He doesn’t want your co-workers to know about you two not because he’s worried about his job (is there even a rule at work that colleagues aren’t allowed to date?), but because he’s worried that, if people know you’re a couple, he won’t be able to “get to know” the other women in the office over coffee and dinner (otherwise known as “dates”). He doesn’t want people to think he’s off the market. He very much wants to continue perusing the market at his leisure.
He is SO playing you. And he’s playing every other woman he continues asking out without divulging that he is, in fact, in a relationship. Honestly, if it were I, I’d just break up with him. A year is long enough for someone to stop asking out other people and start acting like he’s in an exclusive relationship (if he is in one, and you say he is). But if you want to continue seeing him, speak up and tell him you will no longer stand for his going out with women who don’t know you are his girlfriend. Let him know you have waited long enough to meet his friends and you don’t want to remain a secret anymore. If he isn’t willing to bring your relationship out of the closet, so to speak, you really need to MOA.
I absolutely hate when he drinks; he doesn’t become violent or mean or anything — he’s just a sloppy drunk and it’s so unattractive. Our only issue is his drinking. He promises to stop sometimes, but the next night he will be out drinking again. He works hard, makes good money, and treats me very nice; however, when he spends his time off getting drunk, it really makes me resent him and I find it completely inappropriate. When we first started dating, six years ago, I will admit I was also into drinking quite a bit and having a good time, but now I drink to a certain limit and only enjoy a few drinks here and there. I believe I have matured but he hasn’t. I am starting to question my future with him. I do not want to be with someone who drinks so excessively in one sitting. I don’t know what to do. Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you so much. — Dating Sir Drinks a Lot
You say you have a great relationship, but what you describe doesn’t sound so awesome. Whenever your boyfriend has some time off, he is spending it binge-drinking, which you hate. He spends the entirety of every weekend drunk. You say he spends time with you, but it sounds like he’s always drinking when you’re together and you find that very unattractive. You say his drinking is your only issue, but, if he’s drinking all the time and you’re unhappy when he’s drinking, doesn’t that sort of mean you’re unhappy all the time?
It sounds like you two have just grown in different directions and want different things at this point in your life. You don’t enjoy the same things, apparently. He likes drinking to excess and you don’t. And not only do you not like drinking to excess, but you also don’t like HIS drinking to excess. I’m not saying either lifestyle is right or wrong — just that they/you aren’t a good match anymore.
You got together when you were 22 and 23, respectively. And now you’ve grown up a lot and you’ve discovered that you’ve grown apart. I’m sure you still have love and mutual respect and companionship, but it just doesn’t sound like you want the same things. If he has to change in order for you to be happy with him and he doesn’t WANT to change, then I don’t see how you can stay with him. Better to move on now while there are still good feelings between you than to continue letting resentment build until ending things a year or two from now when you both hate each other. Just because you have six years of history doesn’t mean you have a future.
Follow along on Facebook, and Instagram.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at email@example.com.
Dear Wendy November 13, 2014, 10:51 am
Comments should be enabled now. Sorry for the inconvenience – hectic morning for me!
RedroverRedrover November 13, 2014, 11:01 am
Is it bad that every time I see “we have a great relationship”, I automatically think “I bet you don’t!”? Yeah, it’s bad. 🙂
Ika November 13, 2014, 11:13 am
Me too! That, or “I´m in a relationship with a great guy”
Miel November 13, 2014, 12:03 pm
But then when a LW doesn’t say a single good word about their partner we say “why are you with him, you don’t have a single good thing to say about him !”
ktfran November 13, 2014, 12:13 pm
I think the answer to that is to say, “I really like my partner, or we get along well most of the time, but I’m having a problem with…. and I need advice. ” Or something to that effect.
I get what you’re saying, but, RR is totally right. If you had a great relationship, you wouldn’t be writing to DW. You have an ok relationship. Your partner has good qualities, maybe even some fantastic. But there is a problem that needs addressed and you want advice.
Miel November 13, 2014, 12:28 pm
Yes I agree with that
haggith November 13, 2014, 11:14 am
“Just because you have six years of history doesn’t mean you have a future”
Laura Hope November 13, 2014, 11:36 am
Letter #1 reminds me of the song “Voices Carry”. “He wants me…. but only part of the time. He wants me……. if he can keep me in line. Hush, hush….keep it down now…..voices carry….” Maybe you should stop letting yourself be hushed.
joanna November 13, 2014, 12:00 pm
Now that song is stuck in my head…
Raccoon eyes November 13, 2014, 11:39 am
Great responses, Wendy!
LW1: You are this guy’s girlfriend in the sense that you think you are his GF. His actions and words (mainly with other women he asks out and friends he doesnt introduce you to) indicate he does not consider you his GF.
LW2: Your BF sounds like he might be an alcoholic. Your descriptions of him all point in that direction. (Im in AA.) You can either keep enabling him or dont. I recommend trying out Al-anon, which is a group for friends and families of alcoholics. You can google it in your area. You can learn a lot (or so I have heard) from these meetings, and you can go to as many or as few as you want. The thing with alcoholism is that most people have to hit rock bottom before they recognize (and/or accept that) they have a real problem and that they need to address it. I dont want to get “preachy” so I will stop there. Good luck
Sue Jones November 13, 2014, 12:32 pm
No, LW2’s boyfriend IS an alcoholic.
j.walker November 13, 2014, 12:25 pm
He doesn’t want your coworkers to know you’re dating but he’s asking other women at work out on dates?? Like I get not wanting people at work to know about your personal life, so hiding that he’s dating you is valid (ish?) but people are now going to be talking just as much about him dating someone from work… AKA THIS OTHER CHICK.
Anyways, WOW Wendy thank you for writing everything you wrote to that second LW because it went straight to my heart and was so so so very much what I needed to hear.
Nar May 30, 2019, 4:02 am
I am in a similar situation. Dating someone at work who is very very secretive. Everyone suspects we are together but we are still seen everywhere together and he does not mind. I habe met his closest friends but not his family and it has been a year. However , he has said that for his birthday he does not want to see me or spend a minute with me. He also saod he will be switching off his phone. He suffers from depression. Also, i go for physiotherapy and there is a hot nurse who does my exercises. My bf comes with me. Yesterday he realised she and i speak amd he kept diggimg me to find out stuff about her..like how many bfs she had, and other personal stuff. He got angry when i told him i was waiting for higs from him and all he was doimg was insosting i tell him about this other girl. He got more angry than i was and we have not spoken in a couple days. Also his phone is off limits. He always hides it. And he is up all hours of the night and i would see him online alot . I want to break up with him but i love him so much. I know i need to leave him but i just cannot seem to do it.
FireStar November 13, 2014, 12:32 pm
“It was one of those things where my mouth just started talking and the next thing I had asked her to coffee.”
Are you really waiting around to hear about how “it was one of those things where my pants came off and next thing I knew we were having sex”? Dating other people isn’t an involuntary impulse control issue. He choose to ask the girl out for coffee; he chose to extend the date to dinner and who knows what else he chose to do with her without telling you. Sorry. He isn’t lovely. He cheats and for some reason you are letting him spin you a tale that allows him to.
Ika November 13, 2014, 12:45 pm
Yes! I often put my foot in it, but more along the lines of blurting out gossip or something. I have NEVER accidentally invited someone on a date!
Miel November 13, 2014, 1:30 pm
Or in my case telling awkward stories about myself. And so I begin talking “oh, you’ll never guess what happened to me yesterday” and then I realize that “I was cutting my nails while cooking and a nail bit ended up in the spaghetti sauce” is a terrible terrible story to tell to my colleagues, and so I stop talking and now I need to figure out what white lie to tell about “what could have happened to me yesterday”. I hate those moments.
Ika November 13, 2014, 1:35 pm
The worst part is that sometimes in the middle of a conversation I think of something to say. Then I´m like oh no, I can´t say that. But lo and behold, THAT is the next thing to come out of my mouth.
Sunshine Brite November 13, 2014, 5:52 pm
I have… but not while seeing someone else. I’m too awkward for my own good and have also accidentally ended up in date situations where I didn’t realize it until the person’s trying to kiss me. I’m not as dumb anymore, but as soon as it would happen I would replay some interactions and be like oh… there were 10,000 signs prior to this.
isaidnoh November 17, 2014, 6:31 pm
LW2: Your boyfriend is an alcoholic. The key phrase in your letter is “he just can’t seem to stop drinking.” Also, the promises to stop and the trying to cut back. Alcoholics don’t process alcohol like “normal” people, they can’t have just one. One is too many and one thousand is never enough. You can suggest AA to him, but you have to decide if you want to be in a relationship with an alcoholic. Al Anon is a good resource.
Another commenter mentioned that he needs to hit rock bottom: everyone’s bottom is different. For him, it may the the threat of his relationship ending, for others, drinking Listerine under a bridge still isn’t there yet.
Above all, good luck. This must be very painful for you.
LoverlyJoy May 12, 2018, 2:05 pm
Some freakwad (new age UK hipster down-to-earth type that I met at my old gym months ago, whose texted me off and on about wellness and so forth), texted today about going out for coffee. I immediately texted to inquire if he is either married or in a relationship. The texts were so brief and infrequent previously (mostly suggesting resources as I’m new to this part of the world, when we first met he had a resource that he wanted to text to me), that the issue hadn’t come up previously. Today, the prick answered my direct query and stated that he has a long-distance girlfriend, and he wanted to meet to chat about mutual health-conscious interests. I let him know my policy on that, which is the only single males that I’m only friends with are males from work or school (or friends of my man, who I see when my man is present, when I’m in a relationship). Some women may think that’s weird, that I limit male friends to grad school or work peers, yet I believe in relationship as spiritual path (the Vissells) and don’t have time for random friends, especially men. What a butthead. Any man asking out another woman is scamming on her and go straight to Hades. PS. A sister-goddess doesn’t betray other women by chatting up or going out with her man. Just say no to arseholes!