Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“My Girlfriend Wants Me To Choose: Her or My Friend”

My girlfriend has given me an ultimatum: her or my good friend Greg. “Greg” and I grew up in similar neighborhoods with similar backgrounds. We met in college through our common interest in playing video games and a shared entrepreneurial mindset. He eventually graduated with a bioengineering degree and moved to another state for a great job opportunity. He didn’t love it and moved back two years later. By that time, I’d been in a relationship, had a 2-year-old daughter, had settled into a steady job, and had started a small business. Greg, too, had a girlfriend throughout this time, but he would always be flirtatious and have other women on the side. I told him several times he should just break up with his girlfriend so he would not feel so guilty and would have more fun, but he never listened.

Fast forward almost ten years later and I have a new love; I introduced her to Greg soon after we met a few years ago, and though she thought he was smart and ambitious, she was concerned about his treatment of women and the fact that he had a girlfriend of twelve years whom he wasn’t faithful to. Towards the end of last year they finally broke up, and he has been going through women like they’re nothing. My girlfriend used to be in a relationship with a man similar to Greg, who would always chase women or have women on the side when he was in a relationship. He triggers her to the point that she’s had panic attacks over his behavior.

We had a big argument recently and she said that, if I continue my friendship with him, I will become like him, and she said I have to choose: him or her. He and I have been close for about thirteen years now, he’s never gotten me to do anything I didn’t want to do and vice versa, he’s a calm, collective person and I have never even seen him angry. His one character flaw is that he’s a Casanova. I am not sure why I suddenly need to choose one or the other because she fears me turning into something I am not willing to be.

I want to choose her, but I know that I will be turning my back on someone who is a true friend and whom I have learned a lot from. My circle is small — there are just two other friends whom I trust and consider like family. What should I do? — How to Choose?

Your girlfriend has had multiple panic attacks over this guy’s behavior and your friendship with him, so it’s not like her feelings are coming out of nowhere. She judges you for your friendship with him because the people we choose to hold dearest to us says a lot about our values. She sees your friendship with him in direct conflict with her values.

Why the sudden ultimatum? Maybe the #metoo movement has pushed her to express what has been buried for a long time. Maybe she feels liberated to prioritize the treatment of women, and to do that she feels she needs to start with herself and her direct and indirect condoning of such behavior. Maybe she sees continuing a relationship with someone who is BFFs with a player who doesn’t respect women is in conflict with the values she is connecting with and embracing more and more.

I don’t necessarily think she’s worried Greg will get you to do something you shouldn’t; it’s probably more about considering your values and whether they are a match to hers. If you are super close with a womanizer, what does that say about how you prioritize the feelings of women, in general? Whom we befriend is a reflection of us. Befriending someone who is an asshole to women doesn’t reflect well on you. Period. Sorry, but it just doesn’t. Just as being friends with a raging racist wouldn’t reflect well on you, even if you yourself weren’t a raging racist.

Anyway, you have a choice to make, she’s made that clear. Her or him. I can’t make that decision for you. You need to analyze what’s important to you. It’s ok if what is most important to you is a friendship with someone who is very near and dear to you. Just don’t be surprised if the next woman you date is also not so keen with your being BFFs with an asshole.

I’ve been in a troublesome relationship for eight months with someone whom I have been madly in love with since the time I was in school.

The issue is that he is a struggling, independent artist. He is quite popular, but he says that his artistic skills keep him from taking the shortcut way to money and fame. He wants to continue with the struggle. To make things easier, for example, he may be invited to perform in a gig that is organized by a giant corporation in exchange of a fat paycheck. But more often than not, he turns down such offers if the organizers are known to have taken dishonest routes to get rich. So, most of the time, he sits at home, doing nothing and cursing the world for dishonesty, malpractices, etc.

As a result, he is broke (most of the time). We’re both 24 now, I have a job with decent pay, and I’m tired of footing the bill for all of our vacations, dates, and everything else. Even my parents are against this relationship as they think that he will forever be a financial burden on me.

Please help me out. I can’t think of ending this relationship over monetary issues. But I’m also tired of always being the one who pays for everything. I’ve stopped going to fancy places, shipping things, traveling first class, etc. At times, these things do not matter, but whenever we have a fight, this is what I think of first. I’m getting bitter by the day, and it is ruining both our lives.

Please tell me what to do. — Tired of Not Being Treated

Ok, yeah, your argument that you “can’t think of ending this relationship over monetary issues” falls flat when it’s immediately followed up with how tired you are of paying for everything, how you’ve already made the great sacrifice of giving up flying first class and going to fancy places, and doing so is making you bitter and ruining your life.

You have different values that you aren’t going to be able to surpass. Your differing values are making you each miserable and, as you say, “ruining your lives.” You value fancy places, traveling first class, and being treated to things by your significant other. Your partner does not value those things and is not prioritizing providing those things for you. You have made clear that that is not ok by you. For both of your sakes, move on already. You simply are not a good match.

P.S. If you’re 24 years old and have taken multiple vacations in eight months time, it’s hard to take you seriously when you talk about how hard the struggle is. Beyond breaking up with your boyfriend, I’d also advise you go, like, volunteer for a charity and get some perspective. There are people who are truly struggling and suffering in the world. To hear a 24-year-old whine about giving up first-class travel is painful.

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

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.

88 comments… add one
  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom March 15, 2018, 9:02 am

    LW2 Your boyfriend would rather let you pay from your money that he must consider comes from dishonest sources rather than make his own money from those same sources and pay his own way. That’s a mooch. Why is it okay to accept your money but not the other corporate money. If he is that picky he shouldn’t be accepting yours either because surely it is also tainted.

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      Lucy March 15, 2018, 3:00 pm

      Nailed it!

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      kiko March 16, 2018, 4:50 am

      I literally NEVER commnet. But grrrrrll, you NAILED it with your comment. My God, ur my hero

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    anonymousse March 15, 2018, 9:29 am

    Who you are friends with is a direct reflection of your values. By being his close friend, it says you implicitly condone his behavior. You said yourself he’s going through women like they are nothing. “Casanova” is a nice term for what he is.

    Your gf is troubled by your closeness and defense of this man. I would be, too. Wendy’s comparison to being friends with a proud racist is a good one. It’s clear you are close friends with a misogynist. Now you have to make a decision about what you value more.

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    anonymousse March 15, 2018, 9:30 am

    I have never traveled first class in my life.
    I need a wealthy patron.

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      Loo March 15, 2018, 10:00 am

      Me neither! That was all I could think while reading that the LW “gave up traveling first class”.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom March 15, 2018, 10:07 am

        It doesn’t matter that she is giving up traveling first class. Her boyfriend is 24 and refuses to support himself financially. She shouldn’t have to carry him financially. Just because she is giving up first class isn’t irrelevant. She is earning her money and should be able to spend it any way she wants. If she wanted to support him that would be great but she doesn’t want to support him. She wants him to take the jobs he is offered so that he can support himself. If she lost her job and couldn’t support him he would probably find a new girlfriend who had the money to support him.

        I’ve never traveled first class either but I’m not going to pick on someone just because they can or expect her to carry his weight financially just because she can. She is being used.

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        LisforLeslie March 15, 2018, 10:42 am

        I interpreted it as “gave up travelling first class so that I could buy two tickets in coach because although he likes to fly to destinations requiring air travel which we know has a huge environmental impact and is an industry filled with various moral outrages from treatment of workers, treatment of fliers and everything in between but he can’t be assed to pay for the delight of flying by himself because he’s so “moral” while I can’t get a damn free soda because the cart is stuck on row 11 and had I taken first class I would have a blanket, a glass of champagne and room to breathe”

        But again… my interpretation.

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      JD March 15, 2018, 10:04 am

      I was reading that laughing thinking I might reconsider a relationship if I have to go back to traveling coach too! hahaha My last flight just about killed me, the whole plane apologized to me for what I had to endure during that flight. NEVER AGAIN!

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      anonymousse March 15, 2018, 10:56 am

      Ugh, never said anything else but that I hadn’t traveled first class. And I wished I had a wealthy patron.

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      anonymousse March 15, 2018, 10:57 am

      She chooses to pay for him. She makes that decision every time.

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    shakeourtree March 15, 2018, 9:31 am

    His only character flaw is that he doesn’t respect women! Nothing serious!

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    brise March 15, 2018, 9:33 am

    LW1: why does your girlfriend know so much about your best friend’s private life? This is the problem in my opinion. This is none of her business, after all. So perhaps the solution would be for her to stop seeing him (she has the right not to want to meet someone who gives her panick attacks…), but she can’t give you such an ultimatum in my view. I wouldn’t accept that, I find it over the top. So downsize the scale of your seeing him, and negociate that with her. Don’t invite him at your place and don’t hang out with both of them. But to dictate you whom you are allowed to meet or not: that is controlling in my book.
    LW2: so stop paying for everything. Pay only for yourself and let him find his own financial means. Go on vacation with friends, go on restaurants with him to the next very simple pizzeria. If he wants to remain pure in his art, OK, but don’t fund him.

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  • avatar

    Hannanas March 15, 2018, 9:35 am

    LW 1: I guess I disagree with Wendy here. Your girlfriend has no right to make you choose between her and your friend. People that give ultimatums like that are control freaks and won’t stop at this one time. She’s getting panic attacks because Greg has a lot of girlfriends and is a shitty partner? Seriously?
    What Greg does in his romantic life is his business and his alone – as long as it’s all legal which I gather from your description it is.
    You say you don’t have a lot of friends. So there must be a reason why Greg is one of them. Don’t forget that.

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      for_cutie March 15, 2018, 12:40 pm

      100% this. The problem is your girlfriend giving ultimatums about who you spend time with. If she doesn’t accept you and those you care about then MOA. Her reaction to Greg seems overblown, like she’s looking for a reason out of the relationship and somehow he’s it.

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    LisforLeslie March 15, 2018, 9:35 am

    LW1 – break up with your girlfriend. Seriously. She doesn’t have faith that you have a moral center.

    I have family friends that cheat on their taxes, year after year. They get away with it. I don’t care. I don’t cheat on my taxes. Technically they’re screwing me over as an abiding tax payer but you know what? I like them. People have their foibles, but the leap to saying “I don’t like that your friend is an asshole.” to “You are going to behave like an asshole because your friend does” is a big one.

    LW2 -So what you’re saying is that your BF likes to pretend he’s a struggling artist by not taking any work that might compromise his delicate moral center. Seems to me that if he were truly moral he wouldn’t be comfortable with half of the activities you’ve listed above:

    1. Going out to dinner -prepared likely by immigrants working for min wage or less if under the table
    2. Buying clothing made in India, China, Thailand, Mexico where the cost of labor is a pittance
    3. Going on vacation where the whole purpose is to be someone who is being catered to.

    So yeah -he’s a big fucking hypocrite. You can do a hell of a lot better.

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      Hannanas March 15, 2018, 9:43 am

      Good point about the moral center. The LW felt the need to explain to Wendy that he’d never do such things. That says a lot about their discussions.

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    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom March 15, 2018, 9:55 am

      He likes living off of her but rather than admit that he is lazy he makes it a moral stand but his stand is totally hypocritical. He’s basically saying he is too moral to accept work but not too moral to accept her money and not too moral to use it like you listed above. His morals only get in the way of earning money.

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  • avatar

    Northern Star March 15, 2018, 9:38 am

    LW 1, ask your girlfriend if you can compromise by not asking her to socialize with Greg and his flavor of the week. That’s fair—if she doesn’t want to be around a womanizer and his conquests. But if she insists that she needs zero contact between the two of you, you should tell her goodbye. She’s accusing you of being a cheater. Don’t give up one of your closest friends because she’s irrational.

    LW 2, you’re dating a leech who will never be happy or successful because he’s too busy sneering at the rest of the world that “just doesn’t get him, man.” That gets old real fast. Dump him and don’t look back. And if you can afford vacations and nice things, good for you. You don’t owe a man financial support because you are privileged (perhaps).

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    • Miss MJ

      Miss MJ March 15, 2018, 11:01 am

      “LW 2, you’re dating a leech who will never be happy or successful because he’s too busy sneering at the rest of the world that “just doesn’t get him, man.” ”

      OMG, THIS! I was overwhelmed by the pretentious doucheness oozing off of this guy just from reading a couple of paragraphs about him. You can do better, LW2.

      (P.S., If it makes you feel better about breaking up with him, I bet he’s probably not very nice to you, either, right? That, and the fact that he makes you bitter and is ruining your life are sufficient reasons to dump his ass.)

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    Fyodor March 15, 2018, 10:11 am

    I don’t think that you can really do the “you are approving of their conduct by being friends with them” thing at a 10000 foot level. We’d all say that yeah, you shouldn’t be friends with a KKK member/serial killer because it reflects an endorsement of their conduct, but probably would understand if someone was didn’t want to give up a decade-long friendship with someone who underreoprts on their taxes. I guess it depends how you classify the cheating. It seems to me that people are often dysfunctional in their personal lives in a way that doesn’t really reflect larger values. I don’t know. There’s certainly a good argument that men cheat more in part because their friends see it as a forgivable offense.

    The other question for this guy, which I think more pertinent, is whether his girlfriend’s distrust of him and control reflects some kind of sound moral judgment about his friendships or his her having poor boundaries and unjustified paranoia about his cheating. I mean, Wendy’s response creates this headcanon about her having decided it reflects poorly on his values and judgment when it’s not actually in his letter at all. And I’d say given that she’s having panic attacks over this and is accusing him of being a future cheater, this is probably indicative of controlling behavior that’s not going to stop when she kills off his longstanding friendship.

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    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom March 15, 2018, 10:17 am

      The basic problem here is that she doesn’t trust him. If he dumps the friend she will have some relief but then she will find a new focus for her lack of trust. Then there will be one more thing that she demands he remove from his life. It will continue until he can never be out without her and can’t text or use social media. She needs to work on herself.

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      • Miss MJ

        Miss MJ March 15, 2018, 10:46 am

        Yep. Having panic attacks because your BF’s friend is a shitty boyfriend to his girlfriends is not normal. It literally has nothing to do with the GF. Using those panic attacks to manipulate your BF into dropping a friend that was in the picture long before you met is controlling and shitty, in my opinion. Especially since there is nothing here to indicate that Greg is a “bad influence” on LW1. The problem here isn’t Greg or the LW, it’s that the GF has unresolved issues from a past relationship that she’s letting dictate her behavior in this one. That’s not the LW or Greg’s problem to fix; it’s the GF’s. The LW should tell her so and support her getting therapy.

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      LisforLeslie March 15, 2018, 10:37 am

      Agreed. I know the taxes thing isn’t quite comparable, but my point was that I know this directly impacts me whereas having a friend who cheats on his girlfriends should not influence my ability to be faithful.

      Now KKK – and other hate based behaviors or physical abuse of a person -those are behaviors that if my friend was exhibiting – I wouldn’t want that person to be a friend anymore. Because while the cheating is cruddy and assholish, it’s simply not the same as domestic violence – never acceptable -and being a racist (where the target is all members of a specific group or groups). And if for me, cheating on one’s spouse was unforgivable – then yes, I would drop that friend. But for that particular issue, I don’t see in black and white.

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom March 15, 2018, 10:14 am

    LW2 Is your boyfriend even getting these offers or is he making them up to look like he is more in demand than he actually is? Who is making these offers? If friends are trying to get him to join them in a gig that they already hustled to get and he declines they will sooner or later quit asking him to join them and then he will be completely out of the loop needed to get jobs. If they already got the gig why ask him to join them? They got it without him.

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  • avatar

    SpaceySteph March 15, 2018, 10:15 am

    So when I first started dating my husband, he had roommate, let’s call him Jim. Jim was a overweight early-thirties dude with a habit of dating smoking hot, incredibly dumb 22 year olds, having big dramalama breakups (sometimes involving minor property damage and small claims court), wallowing on the couch for a week, and then moving on to the next 22 year old. And while I had a big crush on my husband I actually resisted dating him for awhile because I assumed he either was like Jim or at least condoned Jim’s behavior and that grossed me out.
    We dated, we got married, he moved in with me, and Jim had to go live elsewhere. And while I never specifically asked him to not hang out with Jim , I didn’t want to hang out with Jim (or these vapid 22 year olds he brought around) and so over time my husband stopped doing as much with Jim.

    All of that to say that yes, women do judge you for keeping company with a guy who is a womanizer. Not just this gf but other women out there who might now or in the future be interested in you. He’s hurting your chances, to be honest. And even without this ultimatum, you are making the choice between keeping the friendship or having a chance with the women who will self-select out because of the company you keep and how it reflects on you.

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      Northern Star March 15, 2018, 11:07 am

      And you could have passed on your husband — but you realized he wasn’t guilty by association. This girlfriend needs to get that, too.

      My husband has a good friend who is a daily, heavy pot smoker in a state where pot is illegal. My husband used to live with the guy, even. I would never date or become close friends with a stoner. My husband isn’t a pothead and has no interest in pot. So there’s no issue.

      I wouldn’t hang out with my hubby’s friend while he’s getting high (he has many other fine qualities—just like Greg—so I like him otherwise). I think it’s reasonable for the girlfriend to request not to hang out with Greg + his dates. Or Greg at all. And since Greg’s not even in a committed relationship anymore, what’s the problem with him sleeping with a ton of girls? He’s not raping them. What business is it of the girlfriend’s, if she doesn’t have to hang around it?

      “… she said if I continue my friendship with him I will become like him…” Well, that’s stupid and untrue. He shouldn’t dump one of his few close friendships because of something that’s stupid and untrue.

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        anonymousse March 15, 2018, 12:48 pm

        Where does it say the smoker has kids?

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        Northern Star March 15, 2018, 1:29 pm

        You asked who he was hurting. I answered. It wasn’t in this post because I didn’t realize you’d ask who he was hurting.

        Why are you confused?

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      anonymousse March 15, 2018, 11:23 am

      But one could argue someone smoking pot all day isn’t hurting anyone. Or dating vapid, consenting, 22 year olds. There’s the difference.

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        Northern Star March 15, 2018, 11:33 am

        One could if the smoker in question has children. Which he does.

        Sounds like Greg is currently dating vapid women as a single guy anyway, since he and his girlfriend broke up. Who’s he hurting now?

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        SpaceySteph March 15, 2018, 12:05 pm

        Well he may be hurting (emotionally I mean) the women, depending on how he’s conducting these relationships

        I agree that this gf’s reaction of panic attacks and an ultimatum is over the top. Were she writing it I’d tell her that she should let the guys hang out on their own without her so she doesn’t have to deal with him and his parade of flavors, and bide her time because I think the friendship will fizzle on its own as the romantic relationship becomes more serious.
        But I don’t think this LW should discount the idea that associating with this guy affects others opinions of them.

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        Northern Star March 15, 2018, 1:12 pm

        But you’re talking about first impressions.

        LW’s girlfriend knows him well—they’ve been together for years now—and STILL thinks he’s probably going to cheat on her simply because he’s friends with Greg. It’s definitely all her issue.

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  • juliecatharine

    Juliecatharine March 15, 2018, 10:16 am

    I don’t think it’s right for a SO to dictate who their partner can be friends with. That said LW1, your friend isn’t a “Casanova”, he’s a serial cheater. Discounting that behavior does say something about you and it isn’t flattering.

    FWIW I understand her panic reaction to a person who reminds her of the ex who hurt her. My ex was mentally ill and the years I spent with him were nightmarish. Every once in awhile I will come across someone with a similar level of mental disturbance and it sends me running away from them even though it’s been over a decade since we were together. I can understand your girlfriend not wanting a reminder of something shitty in her past.

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      Hannanas March 15, 2018, 10:26 am

      The LW1 doesn’t discount his friend’s behavior at all – he simply has nothing to do with it because it’s Greg’s romantic life. Now Greg might be a serial cheater – cheating is not illegal and does not a misogynist make (women cheat too you know).
      Also, comparing a mentally ill person to a cheater is way out there.

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      • juliecatharine

        Juliecatharine March 15, 2018, 10:48 am

        I compared a relationship that was traumatic for me and people I avoid to another relationship that was traumatic and empathized with the LW’s girlfriend having a strong reaction to this guy. Sorry context is difficult for you.

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      • juliecatharine

        Juliecatharine March 15, 2018, 10:50 am

        Calling a serial cheater a ‘Casanova’ is 100% discounting the guy’s behavior. For someone who has ‘nothing to do with’ the cheating he knows an awful lot about it and so does his girlfriend.

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        Hannanas March 15, 2018, 11:02 am

        A Casanova is a womanizer who sleeps with a lot of women – look it up. So how is Greg not a Casanova?
        The LW1 has nothing to do with it because it’s Greg’s romantic life, not his.
        If she doesn’t want a reminder of a cheater in her past that’s on her. And I hope she doesn’t switch on the tv, listen to the radio or watch the news then.

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  • Kate B.

    Kate B. March 15, 2018, 10:28 am

    LW1: I would dump anyone who made me choose between them and another person. Yes, our friends reflect our character, but she has no right to force you to choose. If she really can’t stand being around this guy, she should walk away.

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    • float_in_the_ocean

      floats_in_the_ocean March 15, 2018, 11:53 am

      So much YES.
      For myself, being in a relationship is about acceptance.
      If I can’t or won’t accept someone as they are (or their friends) I walk away, I don’t give ultimatums.

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom March 15, 2018, 10:29 am

    The panic attacks are from seeing the same type of awful treatment of women that she experienced with her ex. The panic attacks show she isn’t ready to date yet. She needs to get help dealing with her past and then when she is emotionally healthy she should date.

    At the same time I think we all do make judgments about someone based on who their friends are and what they find acceptable. If you find something a friend does totally unacceptable you quit hanging out with them. You find that you don’t like spending time with them. You find that they aren’t a good match.

    In the end the girlfriend can choose to not associate with the LW because of the person he finds acceptable to keep in his life. I’d personally not want to be friends with someone who cheats on their partner. I don’t want that kind of drama in my life.

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    • Copa

      Copa March 15, 2018, 2:55 pm

      Seeing LW1’s girlfriend’s panic attacks as a sign that she’s not in a great place to date right now is exactly what I was thinking. Is she in therapy? Cause she should be. Her reaction is too extreme. She doesn’t trust LW1 because she’s not ready to date yet, and I think that’s the root of the problem, not the sketchy friend.

      I agree that our friends are reflections of us, but not to this extreme. Some of my friends, for example, do drugs. I don’t. I don’t think this makes them terrible people, or me terrible by association. Or I have friends who are serial daters, if that’s a closer comparison, and jump from partner to parter, which I also don’t do or agree with. If I started dating a guy and he gave me an ultimatum like this because of the values a friend of mine has, and thinking that their values would eventually become my own, I’d think that guy is batshit.

      Anyway. I don’t agree with ultimatums. If someone’s making you choose between them and something else, pick the something else.

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  • avatar

    dinoceros March 15, 2018, 10:46 am

    LW1: I think you two are not compatible. That’s a diplomatic way of saying that you each have sort of problematic attitudes toward this situation. On her end, I think that telling your partner they must dump a friend (outside of the friend participating in illegal activity or being a monster) is not appropriate. I think it’s reasonable for her to ask you to not bring him home or make her see him. If someone has panic attacks because another person cheats on their girlfriend, then they need to address it with meds or therapy. That says more about her own anxiety levels than anything. On your end, yeah, people may judge you for having a friend who is a crappy person. If you stay friends with him, you have to accept it. You also have to accept that you may not find anyone to date who actually likes him or who is willing to spend time around him (no one wants to be friends with a couple when one of them is cheating on the other — too much drama). You generally have to accept that your reputation will be somewhat tarnished by him and you may have to quarantine him, to an extent.

    There are couples where you could arrange something that accomodates both of you, but it seems that it’s not possible in this case.

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  • float_in_the_ocean

    floats_in_the_ocean March 15, 2018, 10:46 am

    Must disagree with the advice given to LW1.
    The me too movement is a direct response to sexual assault and violence that many of us have had to endure. While we know that Greg did cheat on his girlfriend, and is now described as a Casanova, we don’t know nothing about how treats the women he’s with now. For what it’s worth, as long as he’s an ethical slut there is nothing wrong with his behavior.
    I do think that the friends we keep say a lot about our values and ourselves. LW mentions they have a lot in common, play video games and share an entrepreneurial spirit. He is calm and “collective” (maybe he meant collected?).
    This is the LW’s girlfriend’s issue. I have plenty of ethical sluts and some not so ethical sluts that I love and treasure. I accept them for who they are. If this guys’ gf can’t accept your friends, this is her issue. If she’s getting panic attacks because LW knows someone who cheats then homegirl is in for HUGE awakening. LOTS of people cheat and she’s going to come in contact with plenty of them. She needs to get herself to a therapist and find a better way to cope than telling the LW to change friend.
    I’d keep the friend and dump the gf.

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    • avatar

      anonymousse March 15, 2018, 10:50 am

      But he wasn’t an ethical slut. He cheated on his partner for 12 years. His friend says he goes through women like they are ‘nothing.’ I don’t agree to the tie to #metoo, but I would not say it sounds like he’s being ethical. If he were open with all these nothing women, why would she be triggered by his behavior? Consenting adults can sleep with whomever they want, but it certainly sounds as if he uses false pretenses to sleep with many women. He doesn’t sound like he treats them respectfully or with honesty.

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        anonymousse March 15, 2018, 10:53 am

        Lots of people cheat on their parents, and a lot of them don’t. She isn’t wrong for her morals or being disturbed by the lack of the LWs.

        Just because there are millions of assholes who cheat and scam and grift people doesn’t mean we all should. Yes, o think I’m better than that. As disillusioned as I am about the state of things, I choose to be a better person and try to live with integrity.

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        floats_in_the_ocean March 15, 2018, 11:50 am

        We know that he cheated.
        We don’t know if he’s being an ethical slut now.

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      • Cleopatra Jones

        Cleopatra Jones March 15, 2018, 11:52 am

        Eh, the LW doesn’t know what he’s telling the women. Greg may very well tell the women that he only wants a casual relationship. All LW sees is that there are a lot of women in Greg’s life.
        .
        And I’d even question the ‘cheats on gf for 12 years’ thing. C’mon stuff happens inside of peoples’ relationships all.of.the.time that even close family and friends don’t know about.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom March 15, 2018, 12:01 pm

        He chose to cheat on her for 12 years and she chose to stay with him for 12 years. I’d consider the cheating a moral flaw and the putting up with it as a self-esteem issue or an emotional issue.

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        anonymousse March 15, 2018, 12:02 pm

        The LW is his bf, so I’m going to take it at his word that he goes through women like they are nothing, and that he was cheating on his partner or wife of 12 years. I mean, he hasn’t written really anything that says these women are treated with respect.

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      dinoceros March 15, 2018, 5:16 pm

      So, we’re saying that potentially the friend told the LW he’s been cheating for 12 years when he hasn’t? Considering the LW is pro-being friends with him and says it’s been 12 years, then I think it’s accurate. More likely than not, if he doesn’t have the fully story, it’s that the friend is WORSE than he thinks.

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    anonymousse March 15, 2018, 11:07 am

    I don’t generally agree with ultimatums at all, so draw your line, LW1. Choose your friend if that’s what you want.
    Or you could talk to her and try to reach a compromise in which she doesn’t have to see or be part of his behavior, and maybe doesn’t spend any time with him at all.

    My position is that I understand her grappling with you as a moral person coupled with your friend who doesn’t respect women.

    One of my ex’s brothers was a serial philanderer, with multiple unwilling participants, and he’d ask us to lie for him. I don’t know what Greg asks/does in front of you and your gf, but I couldn’t take part in that bs. Maybe she can’t either.

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      SpaceySteph March 15, 2018, 12:11 pm

      Yeah I mean how would the LW and GF know about the cheating (which it sounds like they knew while it was still going on, not just that it came out in the breakup) if not for him either making them take part in it or bragging about it.

      Youd think someone cheating on his longtime gf would try to keep that hush hush, but he must see LW as someone he can brag to. LW had an opportunity to say “whoa, not cool bro” and didn’t. I put this in the same category with dudes who see their friends hit on waitresses or catcall girls on the street and don’t call it out. LW is an enabler.

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        anonymousse March 15, 2018, 12:51 pm

        Yeah, precisely. I hate all the excuses that it’s no ones business. Sure, what you do in your bedroom is not my business, until you involve me in it.

        I really hope all of these people aren’t really cheating on their taxes. WTF.

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        anonymousse March 15, 2018, 12:54 pm

        My long term ex in college was sleeping with many, many women behind my back. All of our friends knew and “didn’t want to get involved.” When I did find out, I felt so betrayed by everyone. I can understand her being triggered by this behavior and be upset by his complicity. I would just leave, though.

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        Hannanas March 15, 2018, 2:28 pm

        An ‘enabler’ now seriously?
        And the reason the LW probably knows all this is because, you know, they’re close and all.

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        SpaceySteph March 15, 2018, 2:51 pm

        But here’s the thing… the people closest to you are the only ones in a position to call you on your bullshit. I absolutely hold the men in my life to the standard of telling their womanizing friends that they are being douches.
        The reason this behavior persists is because it is condoned by others through silence/inaction. There are no social repercussions to being a cheating asshole and there should be.
        So yes, I think people who know their close friends are cheating on a long term partner have a responsibility to tell them it’s not cool and if they do not then they are complicit.

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        ktfran March 15, 2018, 3:02 pm

        To be fair to the LW, he did tell “Greg” to break up with his girlfriend.

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        Hannanas March 15, 2018, 3:30 pm

        The LW actually did call him on his bullshit. I don’t think people cheat or womanise because people around them condone it. That’s turning it around. People around them condone it because they’re friends and they don’t need to judge their friends all the time about things that do not influence them and are not illegal.

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    Nikita March 15, 2018, 11:24 am

    LW #1 Choose him, she doesnt trust you, its as simple as that.

    So why would you choose her when he has never wronged you and has been a good friend for over 13 years and she gives ultimatums.

    Which is a huge red flag to me.

    A cheater and a racist are nowhere near the same thing, a racist and a woman beater yeah thats a different matter.

    Besides the cheating part how does he treat women in general??

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    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom March 15, 2018, 11:50 am

      “Besides the cheating part how does he treat women in general??”

      That is how he treats women in general. Acting nice and then lying and sneaking around to cheat is bad behavior in general. Maybe you want to know how he treats women outside a relationship. I assume that if someone is lying and cheating on their partner they will treat me no better. That’s his character and if you don’t assume a liar will treat you in the same way as others they lie to you are naive.

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        anonymousse March 15, 2018, 12:06 pm

        JFC, other than treating woman as if they are nothing, how does he treat them?

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        Hannanas March 15, 2018, 2:01 pm

        There’s a lot of cheaters (male and female) out there – lots of people to treat others terribly then…

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    JD March 15, 2018, 11:31 am

    I agree. A panic attack because a guy you kind of know cheated on his GF and you once were cheated on? Get a grip. If that was logical I’d have a panic attack every time I almost hit my head or slammed on my breaks or shrunk a top in the dryer or saw a car (since I was run over…which frankly would be somewhat more reasonable thing to be panicked about). I say it is all BS drama she is creating.

    One man cheating does not mean another will. If you think you can never spend time with anyone who would ever cheat you are going to be sitting alone all day with not one friend or family member.

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    Ashley March 15, 2018, 11:33 am

    I have a problem equating being friends with a cheater to being friends with a racist. It seems an especially insensitive remark given the recent uptick in hate crime and police indifference. Hell, just here in Austin it appears we have a coordinated attack on people of color, and two have lost their lives. At most a cheater would…hurt the other person’s feelings? Get some perspective. It was wrong of him of course to cheat on gf of 12 years. You did your due diligence as a friend and talked to him about it, expressed your concern. He finally did the right thing…and now he’s sleeping around. That’s not a crime. Racism, discrimination, are crimes. From what I can tell, it doesn’t appear like he’s promising these woman relationships, right? Maybe he’s learned his lesson and doing NSA? Whatever, I’m more concerned with your girlfriend’s behavior. She’s having panic attacks? Is she in therapy? Medications? Is she going to have an attack every time something happens between y’all she doesn’t like? Everyone is asking what does this situation say about you, what does this say about her? Personally, I’d choose your friend.

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      JD March 15, 2018, 11:50 am

      To be clear, racism is not a crime. People can think whatever they want. Discrimination is. Not condoning it but it is not a crime to not like a group of people.

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      anonymousse March 15, 2018, 12:09 pm

      Being racist isn’t a crime. Being a misogynist is also not a crime.

      Murdering people is. Hate crimes and discrimination for sex, orientation or race are.

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      Anonymous March 17, 2018, 9:55 pm

      “At most a cheater would…hurt the other person’s feelings?” Or they could give their unwitting partner an STD, or they could string them along for 12 years and completely ruin a person’s sense of trust in other people, or they could run up huge debts on a joint credit card and run out on their spouse, or they could up and leave their partner to care for their child and not pay child support. There’s tons of ways a serial cheater could damage a person besides just “hurting their feelings.” Sure, cheating isn’t a crime, but it tells me a lot about what someone is willing to do in order to get what they want. It tells me that person probably doesn’t have a lot of character and probably isn’t someone I want to hang around with.

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  • Portia

    Portia March 15, 2018, 12:35 pm

    I don’t agree with the response to LW1. When it comes to cheating on the 12-year girlfriend, the LW let him know what he thought, but it’s not like the LW or the LW’s girlfriend is dating Greg. You’re only complicit if you are a part of the lie or vouch for Greg or something. If I were the LW, I’d give the girlfriend the option of not having to interact with Greg and stop talking to her about Greg, and also keep yourself out of his love life. If after doing that she’s still having these panic attacks, that’s something she needs to figure out. On top of that, if she doesn’t trust you now when you personally have done nothing, who knows if this will be enough? What if she decides your other friends or family have flaws that also give her panic attacks – are you willing to cut them all out for her? (If the answer is yes, that’s not good and would indicate that she is not the right person to be with.)

    My answer would be different if there were abuse or he were using power over women or something. Being an unfaithful boyfriend and sleeping around are not in the same ballpark as those behaviors.

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      anonymousse March 15, 2018, 12:56 pm

      It does sound like he is part of the lie since he never said a word to the woman dating his bf for 12 years….

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        Hannanas March 15, 2018, 1:44 pm

        That’s not his place at all! Would you tell your friend’s boyfriend if she were chearing on him? Would you tell anyone for that matter? Talk about drama…

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      • Cleopatra Jones

        Cleopatra Jones March 15, 2018, 2:05 pm

        @anonymousse
        Yeah, I think you are getting too caught up in trying to prove the LW is complicit in the debauchery of a bunch of women because of your past experience.
        .
        Honestly, most guys aren’t going to tell their friend’s gf that he’s regularly cheating on her. That can come across as trying to back stab the friend and move in on the girlfriend. And generally, dudes don’t care about stuff like that because it doesn’t affect them. They may stop hanging around the Gregs of the world, but in general, they don’t care.
        .
        And you shouldn’t have felt betrayed that no one told you that your college boyfriend was cheating on you. Most people aren’t going to tell you because they’re not sure how the situation is going to go down after they tell you.
        .
        I’ve seen women being told their man was cheating on them and…they break off the friendship with the person who told, or stay with the guy anyway and expect everyone to be OK with it, OR start accusing the friend of wanting the guy. Based on those scenarios alone, I don’t tell anyone they are being cheated on. Not my circus, not my monkeys!

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        MissD March 15, 2018, 2:07 pm

        Don’t we ALWAYS tell people to mind their own business when it comes to shit like this?

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    Bobby5000 March 15, 2018, 2:37 pm

    Personally I do not approve of infidelity. That said however, a girlfriend, does not have the right to pick a man’s friends, and that assertion of her dominance in the relationship is somewhat scary. Does that mean if the two get married and have a fight, a friend says he is right and the wife hears, now that friend has to go too. A bad precedent is being set.

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    Lucy March 15, 2018, 3:08 pm

    LW1: If your gf is being triggered to the point of panic attacks by your friend’s behavior, she should probably be in therapy for her trauma. That level of reactivity to a third party’s behavior is no way to live.

    I can understand her not wanting to ever be around him (with or without the panic attacks), and if that’s her request it seems reasonable and doable. But demanding that you drop him completely? That crosses a line into unreasonably controlling.

    As an aside, if the guy is single now, I wonder why it matters that he’s running through women quickly. I mean, unless he’s coercing them in some way, that seems like perfectly fine behavior for a single person of any gender. Other people don’t have to conform to our romantic ideals.

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      Rava March 15, 2018, 3:37 pm

      😀 Just wrote a whole comment when I could’ve just said: yeah, what Lucy says.

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    csp March 15, 2018, 3:31 pm

    So – I had this issue with my husband. My husband had old friends from high school. One was a player but also a nasty drunk and overall a jerk. The other is a blatant racist. In high school, I think these things weren’t so pronounced but my husband was a late bloomer and I think hanging out with these really confident guys was enticing when he was young. Think “Peaked in High School”.

    As he got older, he established a career and these guys faltered. Both of these men are all but out of our lives but every once and awhile, my husband will text them or say things on facebook. I judge him harshly for letting these men stay around. Largely it is the pull of knowing people for so long (we are in our late 30s).

    LW, here is my question – you are a reflection of the 5 people you hang out with most. Does he reflect the man you want to be? The man you are becoming? Do you see him as someone who will help you achieve your goals or is it just your history together? take the ultimatum out of it and think about the man you want to be.

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    Rava March 15, 2018, 3:36 pm

    LW1, to me it sounds like your GF is overreacting greatly or she has a very… flexible definition of what constitutes a panic attack. She’s having a panic attack because of the private behavior of someone she’s not even friends with. JFC. Honestly, it sounds like she’s using the whole panic attack to give weight to her feeling of unease and justification to her ultimatum.

    She’s not trusting YOU. But she doesn’t have the guts to tell you that you are the problem, not Greg. And I don’t know whether she has (intuitive) reason not to trust you or not, but I think she should address THAT and work on THAT. She’s not solving anything by giving you an ultimatum.

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    Ange March 15, 2018, 6:09 pm

    I definitely don’t think LW1’s girlfriend has any right to tell him to ditch a friend. As others have said there is an easily worked around compromise where she never has to associate with Greg and LW doesn’t tell her what Greg is up to. I’m sure though she wouldn’t be cool with LW going to hang out with Greg solo because Cheating so… yeah. Greg ain’t judging what kind of person you are mate, think about that.

    My husband had this friend for years and the first time I met him he was absolutely horrible towards me. That friend disappeared that night. Now I know that kind of supports the ‘ditch him’ argument but that guy was a known agitator and if he hadn’t directed it at me I would have been cool with them hanging out, I just wouldn’t have joined in. I trust myself to know my husband’s character and I trust him, LW’s girlfriend doesn’t have any of that and she needs to get it.

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    kali March 16, 2018, 12:42 am

    LW1 – It’s NOT “cool and collective”; it’s “collected”. Collected. You need to brush up on your use of “whom” also. Sorry for the lack of sympathy but you triggered me too.

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      LW1 March 16, 2018, 11:13 am

      Sorry :O

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    Another Jen March 16, 2018, 8:28 am

    LW#2– The fact that he sits on the couch bitching about the dishonesty in the world while mooching off of you says a lot.

    In grad school, I had a great friend who was a typical straight-edge, punk rock guy…he worked low-paying “honest” jobs, shared a house with a bunch of roommates to make ends meet, and played gigs and did performance art around the city in non-corporate venues, and spent tons of time driving to protests with friends, coordinating activism, etc. He was HAPPY with a lifestyle that aligned with his values.

    Nearly 20 years later, he’s still HAPPY living that lifestyle. His partner shares his values and they share a house with a bunch of other folks…she’s a teacher and he’s an artist/activist/coffee-house worker.

    My point is, it’s a lifestyle that people choose if it suits them. Being pissy and resentful and wanting the trappings of wealth and privilege without the strings and compromises is an immature, selfish way to live.

    I couldn’t be comfortable as a starving artist…I need the security of a regular paycheck, health insurance, and yes, occasional first-class travel. For me and my husband, that means working jobs that give us the lifestyle we want and don’t conflict horribly with our values (Corporate, yes…tobacco company, no).

    I don’t think you should sweat out morals and money in your decision to drop this guy…I think you should find someone who’s trying to live a happy life. If you want a starving artist, find a happy, hard-working one you can be proud of…find someone who contributes to your life in meaningful ways that don’t include sitting on the couch pouting and not doing work. Or find someone who’s willing to make the same kind of compromises you are in order to have a lifestyle that includes some of the comfort, security, and occasional luxury that you want.

    AJ

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      Hannanas March 16, 2018, 8:36 am

      Oh what a great answer!

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    Tui March 16, 2018, 9:00 am

    LW1, if your friend is such a womaniser, is there any chance he has tried something on with her? And she doesn’t know what to do with the information as it would hurt you, so is trying to get you to break contact as to avoid him. If not then panic attacks over his behaviour seems extreme as does the ultimatum.

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      LW1 March 16, 2018, 11:13 am

      No, He would ask me first if this was a serious woman or someone im just kicking it with. Second if he did, she would tell me, she’s pretty straightforward with things of this nature. I’ve never seen her bite her tongue for things of this nature.

      replying backwards

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    LW1 March 16, 2018, 11:09 am

    replying backwards, to Tui

    No, he would ask me before he made a move and she is very straightforward with things and would tell me if this was the case.

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    TheOtherOtherMe March 16, 2018, 1:56 pm

    Sorry but I don’t agree with Wendy on #1. If I broke off friendships with everybody I know who did something that was even slightly morally suspect I would not have any friends. No one is perfect. So this guy has a messy personal life and makes moral mistakes – well who doesn’t? The real issue is that you have a controlling girlfriend who is forcing you to choose because of her own insecurities – not because of anything you have done. Time to dump her!

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    Juliet March 16, 2018, 4:25 pm

    LW1: This situation sounds like what Dr. John Gottman would call a Regrettable Incident. One in which no one is wrong, but the histories of the two people involved mesh with a current situation that causes hurt feelings. Every relationship has them, and it is a wonderful opportunities for you both to communicate and show a balance of respect and self-respect. It’s obvious that the situation hurts your girlfriend (panic attacks) and yet she cares enough about you to attempt to find a solution. It’s easy to see how you are hurting from being in a bind with two important people who have different values. My suggestion would be to see her ultimatum as the first volley in a conversation that will include respect for everyone’s feelings, an honest sharing of both of your and her needs and wants, some consideration of compromises, and lots of talking. And, as my dad always taught…go slowly and be kind.

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