Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“My Boyfriend Asked Out Another Woman and He Doesn’t Know Why”

I have been with my boyfriend, “Ted,” for over a year and we now live together. Our relationship started in an iffy manner as I was just getting out of another relationship and I told Ted that I would have to wait a couple months before I could officially call him my boyfriend because I didn’t want people to talk. Later I found that during this time he was not only flirting with an ex but telling her the same things he was telling me (that he loves her, wanted to be with her, and so forth) and sending her nudes. When we started dating, he stopped flirting with her but never told her about me until she asked. After that they stopped talking completely.

Our relationship outside of that seemed perfectly normal and great until I realized he had been on occasion commenting on other girls’ photos — things such as “damnnnn,” “wya,” or “dang, you look really good.” I found out about this, we had a talk, and it stopped…for a while. Recently I began to snoop through Ted’s phone and saw messages with another girl where he called her cute, asked her on a date (she was busy) and asked her for her snapchat. When I talked to him about this, he said he didn’t know why he did it and didn’t ever really intend on meeting up with her.

Our relationship has been so great in every other way, but this feels like an ongoing battle. I truly love him and I can tell he loves me. I don’t know what to do or think anymore. — Tired of the Ongoing Battle

It took me more time to Google what “wya” means — “where you at?” for my fellow olds — than it did to figure out what “you should think.” You should think this guy is kind of a scumbag and that you should MOA (move on already, for those not in the know). Why did you move in with someone who had been telling another woman the exact same things he’d been telling you? You didn’t trust him then — hence the phone snooping — and it sounds like he’s done nothing to earn back any of your trust. Not only does he tell other women they “look really good,” but he’s also asking where they’re at, which everyone knows is code for “I’d like to cheat on my girlfriend with you.” And if you needed further proof he is so not committed to you, you found a message where he asks another woman out. And you don’t know what to think about that? Really?! I don’t know what to think about you not knowing what to think about that. Actually, I do. I think you’re in denial and I wonder if you’re simply afraid of being alone.

Please, do what you should have done the last time you broke up with someone, and take some time to be single and to be alone with your thoughts for a bit. Usually, not knowing what to think when the answer is really pretty obvious is a sign that you aren’t used to listening to and acting on your thoughts. It won’t kill you to be alone for a bit. Quite the opposite – it will empower you to make better decisions going forward. When you cultivate your thinking skills and start paying attention to that thing we all have called intuition, you will find that the power was inside you this whole time.

Surely if you’d listened to intuition earlier, you would not have moved in with a guy who flirted with his ex while pursuing you, and you wouldn’t be in the position you’re in now – living with a man who isn’t committed to you, who seems to have as much confusion over why he asks out other women as you have over not knowing what to think about his asking out other women. It’s time for both of you to grow up, quit being zombies just moving through life, and take some personal responsibility for your actions (and inactions).

I am currently in a bit of a “don’t know what to do next” moment and was hoping for some advice. I’m due with my first child this summer and I am so incredibly excited to be a mother. The father and I dated for almost three years; he was my best friend long before we started dating. I was so happy and in love for every moment we were together. I thought, “this is it,” and never had doubts…until one day I found him at another woman’s house and my world was instantly crushed.

Through the summer we were separated but still hanging out and, well, doing other intimate things as well. I found out I was pregnant in the fall, and we decided to work things out and be together. We wanted to support each other in raising this child. Here is my dilemma: The more time I spend with him, the more the pain of being cheated on is tearing me up inside. I think about it all the time and even wake up almost nightly with dreams of it. I am trying to let go for myself and for this baby. But am I being naive? Can I really move past how broken the trust is between us? And if it’s possible, where do I start? — Mom-to-Be

 
Yeah, I think you are being naive. You don’t just “move past” being cheated on because you want to. The person who cheated has to work to earn back your trust, and you don’t mention anything your boyfriend has done to do that. It’s like, you got pregnant, and, boom, you decided you and your boyfriend should be back together, and now you’re back together. Of course you can’t move past the broken trust here. There’s literally no reason you should, right? A pregnancy doesn’t erase broken trust. A pregnancy doesn’t substitute for real work to earn back trust. (And just so I’m crystal clear here: It’s your boyfriend’s job to do the work to earn back the trust.)

I don’t understand what it is you’re “trying to let go of” for yourself and your baby. That your boyfriend is a cheater? That you can’t trust him? That you probably wouldn’t have gotten back together with him if you hadn’t found yourself pregnant? And while we’re on that topic, that isn’t a good reason to get back together with someone. If you have unresolved problems BEFORE you have a baby, you’re still going to have those same problems AFTER you have a baby, plus all the challenges of raising a child on top of managing a very broken relationship.

Raising a baby is a lot of work. Managing a broken relationship is a lot of work. Do yourself a favor and cut one of these problems out of your life and dedicate yourself to the other one. You don’t need some cheatin’ boyfriend supporting you in parenthood. Yeah, it would be great if your boyfriend is there for his child — if he steps up and acts like a responsible parent. But he doesn’t need to be your boyfriend to do that. And you certainly don’t need him to be your boyfriend in order to step up and be a responsible mother. And your first act of responsibility should be ditching the dead weight that is currently your boyfriend.

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

Follow along on Facebook, and Instagram.

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

32 comments… add one
  • avatar

    LisforLeslie February 11, 2019, 9:23 am

    LW#1 – He didn’t know why he did it? Really? I know why he did it and I don’t even know him. He did it because he thought he could get away with it. He did it because at no point did he think “Hmmm, reaching out to other girls would really make my girlfriend upset and I don’t want to upset her because that’s really a dick move.”

    In other words your boyfriend is a dick.

    LW#2 – Well, you went back to him after he cheated and now that you’re pregnant you realize that you can’t just walk away from him. You know that he is capable of hurting you and betraying you. If you want to stay together I think couples counseling is the only option. You can’t get over this on your own and a good counselor may help. But if he refuses to go or refuses to discuss what he did – then I don’t see your relationship lasting much longer.

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  • avatar

    Essie February 11, 2019, 9:29 am

    Your boyfriend saying he “didn’t know why” he asked another woman on a date would annoy me as much as the attempted cheating. That’s something a 5 year old says when you ask him why he drew on the wall with a magic marker. It’s insulting and disrespectful for your boyfriend to say that to you. Of course he knows why, and you do too: he wants to have sex with other women.

    You say your relationship has been so great in every other way. Well, except for the fact that you want a monogamous relationship and he doesn’t. You’ve been down this road before. You know he’s not going to change. If you want monogamy, he’s not the guy for you.

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  • avatar

    JD February 11, 2019, 9:32 am

    He doesn’t know why? Ha. Sure, ok. Of course he knows why. He wanted to go out with another woman. Why does one eat a cookie? Because they want to.

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    • avatar

      Fyodor February 11, 2019, 10:04 am

      “Why does one eat a cookie? Because they want to.”

      I don’t think this is fair and I don’t really approve of your judgmentalism. I used to watch an long-form documentary about an urban neighborhood in New York. There was a blue-haired fellow who had a really uncontrollable compulsion that was really disruptive to his quality of life and his ability to concentrate on basic tasks like counting, spelling words, etc.

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      • avatar

        JD February 11, 2019, 11:14 am

        You know we are talking about why this man asked a woman other than his GF out on a date right? I am really confused why what I said would be a problem. He asked her out because he wanted to.

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        Fyodor February 11, 2019, 11:17 am

        I’m referring to your offensive remark about the cookies. The fellow from the documentary is really hard up. He can’t even use pronouns correctly.

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        JD February 11, 2019, 11:32 am

        I am so confused. I also am sick and have cramps so perhaps things need to be spelled out for me today.

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        LisforLeslie February 11, 2019, 11:54 am

        You are not the only one @Fyodor – you got problems with cookies? Problem with people who eat cookies? Problem with grammatically incorrect pronouns when describing cookie eaters?

        Now I want cookies.

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      • avatar

        Allornone February 11, 2019, 12:00 pm

        fyodor is referencing the Cookie Monster.

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      • avatar

        JD February 11, 2019, 12:01 pm

        Ohhh and now it clicked. Good lord I must be sick. haha. Also now want a cookie.

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      • avatar

        JD February 11, 2019, 12:01 pm

        Good time to put on my Cookie Monster slippers.

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      • avatar

        Fyodor February 11, 2019, 12:03 pm

        @LSL I think that the condition is out of the control of this individual who I think that you are both familiar with, whose identity is readily discernible from my previous two posts. I have sympathy, not judgment

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      • avatar

        JD February 11, 2019, 12:05 pm

        I thought you had to be messing with me as Fyodor is known for the smart comments with humor but my damn spacey brain today just didn’t get it at first. I was like wtf now I offend cookie eaters! I can’t win. Poor CM, he truly struggles. Plus that hand up his rear all day.

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        Fyodor February 11, 2019, 12:05 pm

        I really wasn’t trying to seriously troll anyone! I guess that I am a lot more immersed in children’s programming.

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      • avatar

        JD February 11, 2019, 12:15 pm

        Oh no, I like it now that I got it. Super slow today. I’ve been staring at a pile of laundry and just gave up and laid on top of it since it’s warm. I feel special. CM is actually my favorite so you’d think I’d have caught on quicker.

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      • avatar

        Buttery February 11, 2019, 1:48 pm

        Me want Cookiiiieeee!

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  • avatar

    Essie February 11, 2019, 9:32 am

    LW#2: Having a child together doesn’t mean you’ll have a successful relationship together. Nor does it mean you have to. You can support each other in the care of the child without being a couple.

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  • avatar

    Ele4phant February 11, 2019, 11:32 am

    I agree with Wendy on LW1. I would add the caveat that whatever occurred back when you didn’t want to put a label on it you can’t hold him accountable for. If you were expecting him to act like a boyfriend, you needed to make him your boyfriend, other people’s opinions be damned.

    That said, it does sound like you made it official, and his behavior has continued. And that’s shitty.

    I’d also recommend you take a breather on dating after you break up with him. Sounds like you ran from one shitty relationship to another, so work on figuring out why that was and spend some time by yourself.

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  • avatar

    anonymousse February 11, 2019, 12:18 pm

    If you have problems as serious as cheating that lead to breaking up, and you still sleep with the dude and fall pregnant, I have to think you haven’t thought deeply about your choices and actions.

    Having a child in the best of situations is still really hard. You need to know your partner is 100% invested in this and willing to communicate and work through any and everything. You have o have trust. You don’t have that.

    Where do you start? Therapy. Are you really prepared for this? Do you want to be forever tied to the man who totally destroyed your trust and relationship? The man you used to call your best friend?

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  • avatar

    ron February 11, 2019, 12:31 pm

    LW–
    The answer is simple. He did this because he wanted to have sex with the other woman. He does not wish to be monogamous. You can’t fault him for flirting with, or even having sex with, other woman during the early days when you were sort of with him, but not really, because you weren’t willing to say that the two of you were even dating, yet alone exclusive. What is with the ‘can’t say we’re dating, because what would people say?’ bit. There is no time after the formal end of a relationship when you aren’t allowed to date other people if that is the stage you feel you are at. If other people say anything, the response is “please mind your own business, this feels right to me.” Have the two of you actually had the exclusivity talk and agreed to be monogamous? What did he say? Did you just move in without that commitment? Whatever the case, this guy is still at the stage in life where he wants to have as much sex with as many women as possible and he will not be monogamous with you for a very long time, if ever. How naïve are you to believe a guy would ask a woman out on a date, when he had no intention of actually going on that date? And no, you can’t say that your relationship is perfect, except that you are simply his home base, from which he goes out to have sex with other women.

    LW#2 — you need to stop the sex and hanging out with this guy. Your only discussions with him should be about how the two of you can cooperatively co-parent.

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  • bittergaymark

    Bittergaymark February 11, 2019, 12:51 pm

    LW1) eh. who the fuck cares? you were barely even together when all this started. if you aren’t official you aren’t fucking monogomous. deal with it.
    .
    LW2) brilliant move to have a child right now. i am so sure THAT’s going to work out just fucking swell. Have a wonderfully mediocre life, I guess. Sigh… I give up.

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom February 11, 2019, 1:08 pm

    LW2 I had a boyfriend who cheated on me at a time when I thought we’d spend our lives together. I broke up and moved on and that was the best thing for me. I found that when I could no longer trust him that I no longer respect him and then I no longer even liked him. You’re probably somewhere in there with your feelings. Anger and hurt at betrayal, finding you can no longer trust him, unable to respect him, perhaps not even liking him yet emotionally attached. It’s horrible.

    I’ve found it interesting to read about what it takes to heal a relationship after a betrayal. It takes a lot of work and really that work comes from the person who did the betraying. They have to be willing to honestly discuss what happened. They have to be willing to answer all of the who, what, where, when, why and how questions. They have to be willing to answer those questions for as long as those questions come up. They have to be willing to live a totally transparent life. They can’t whine about needing to do any of the above. They have to be willing to do this for years if necessary. They can’t complain that you should just be over it or that you need to work harder to trust them. You can’t just decide to move past the situation as if it didn’t happen. Trust isn’t rebuilt by pretending betrayal didn’t occur. Trust is rebuilt by understanding it needs a foundation and then building that foundation. The whole process sounds exhausting. Is he worth that much effort? Is he willing to make that much effort?

    Probably the things you need to happen aren’t happening. You probably haven’t had a full explanation about what happened. You haven’t had all of your questions answered, maybe none of them. He hasn’t explained what happened and why and how he will handle things differently in the future. When you get nothing or not enough from him you can’t get beyond the betrayal. The only hope the two of you have will be to go to a counselor who has a good record of helping couples when one has cheated. Your boyfriend needs accountability.

    Babies are hard work. They create stress and test even really good relationships. A bad relationship will never make it through the rough years of a baby who becomes a toddler and then a preschooler. You have five hard years ahead. Five years that will take a toll on a relationship. Unless you boyfriend is willing to do the hard work the relationship is over. Either he works hard or you are done. Whatever you do, don’t get married. That won’t help with any of this. Have the baby and make sure he is the father of record. That probably means he needs to sign the birth certificate. Get him to come to the hospital when the baby is born and get him to sign the birth certificate. If that doesn’t happen then you will need to get an attorney and probably need a genetic test to prove paternity. It would help if you talk to an attorney before your baby is born to find out what needs to happen in your state so that your baby has a legal father and financial support.

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  • avatar

    kali February 11, 2019, 4:32 pm

    OK, I get that no one wants to have an abortion but LW2’s scenario seems like a textbook example of why it needs to be legal and available. Better yet, women need to stop getting pregnant by men when no one is ready to be a parent. We know what causes pregnancy. We have decent means to prevent it. And we have abortion. It’s not ideal and no one wants to have one but isn’t it a better option than bringing a child into this world under less than optimal conditions? I’m so tired of these letters from pregnant women who knew better and are having babies anyway.

    Bracing for the backlash.

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    • avatar

      ron February 11, 2019, 4:43 pm

      Not really a backlash, but LW is happy to be pregnant and looking forward to being a mother. Whether she can make it as a single parent, with what little help ex is likely to consistently provide, is another question.

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      • bittergaymark

        Bittergaymark February 11, 2019, 5:12 pm

        Oh she’ll be a great fucking mother. Many times over. With as many deadbeat daddies as kids. Joy! MEWSFLASH — The world is being ruined – literally — by the nonstop endless breeding of halfwits.

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      Northern Star February 11, 2019, 5:19 pm

      She makes zero mention of questioning her decision to have a child — in fact, she is excited to be a mother. I find it disgusting to tell her she should abort her baby under those circumstances.

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    • avatar

      ele4phant February 11, 2019, 7:07 pm

      Eh – I mean, assuming she has the support and resources to raise a child, I don’t think this is necessarily good advice.

      Her drama with the child’s father notwithstanding, we know nothing about her age, her job stability, her support network.

      Being a single parent isn’t the worst thing in the world, assuming you can provide a stable home and meet the child’s needs. And just based on her letter, I really have no idea whether she can or not.

      She does need to focus on normalizing her relationship with the child’s father, probably just focusing on a co-parenting relationship.

      But if she can pay for her kid, house them, feed them, clothe them, save for college, if she can afford or has access to child care, if she has a network of support around her, if she wants and will love the child, go forth.

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    • avatar

      ele4phant February 11, 2019, 7:10 pm

      Like, if we knew she was a professional woman in her late 20s/ or 30s, that’s quite a different situation than a woman who is very young and has no career established.

      Like yes, you should know better than to have unprotected sex when you’re relationship isn’t nailed down, but all the same, the former is in a better position to raise a child than the latter. Maybe even if the latter does have a stable relationship.

      And I really have no idea what this LWs life is like, aside from the fact she and the baby’s father have had a rocky relationship.

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      • bittergaymark

        Bittergaymark February 11, 2019, 7:32 pm

        Right. Just wait till the update. In two years, same story with yet another baby and a different sperm donor. Just wait.

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      • avatar

        Mom2be February 12, 2019, 11:52 am

        Just to clarify- not only am I not concerned with financially supporting my child on my own; but I am also not worried about being a single mother. I had been told I would not be able to bear children of my own along with having a miscarriage. So this child is a blessing to me, even if my life circumstances are not ideal.
        Obviously I was never completely over my ex for this situation to have occurred. Which is partly why I wanted us to be a family. I am not implying he will not be there to provide for myself or my family. I merely was looking for advice to strengthen our bond so that we can move forward as a family. Yes I have issues to work through, and no I am not 100% sure at this moment that I am ready to say I’ve moved on from the pain. But again I was looking for advice on if there is a way, how I can do so. My child is my number 1 priority and if I feel him being a part of our lives takes away from that then I will not question the decisions that need to be made.

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  • avatar

    anonymousse February 11, 2019, 6:31 pm

    He knows why he asked another woman on a date.

    You can’t actually tell that he loves you. You don’t trust him, so you snoop- and he actively is looking for another. Is that what love looks like to you?

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  • avatar

    dinoceros February 11, 2019, 8:22 pm

    LW1: It means he doesn’t want to be exclusive with you. If that’s what you want, then you should break up with him. He’s not interested in it. This was the inevitable result when you kept dating a guy who was flirting with other women on social media while he was with you.

    LW2: I’m confused. Are you trying to be in a relationship with him? You need to not be romantically involved and just focus on co-parenting together. Your kid needs your attention instead of you obsessing over a crappy boyfriend.

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