You Asked Us: Why Is He Texting With A Former Hook Up?

The Question: I was the person to submit the “why won’t he call me his girlfriend?” post. I was ready to address my guy’s trust issues this weekend. However, last night before bed his phone started to buzz. He doesn’t mind if I look at his phone to tell him who might be texting or calling, but I never read it. I unlocked his phone and the last screen he had viewed was his messages, so they popped up. And there I saw a name of a girl he used to hook up with. I’m not one to go through a guy’s phone, but seeing her name, I didn’t care and looked. I didn’t read everything but some of the messages were reminiscing about “fun times” they had, him telling her to “come over,” her saying “I saw pictures of you and your girl (me), when’s the wedding?” to which he replied “no wedding when it isn’t a relationship.” 

I confronted him, and his response was “I’m mentally messing with her. She’s a nightmare of a girl, you know that (which I do). If I told her to come over, you would be here with me. She tries to give me a bad name, date my friends, call me an asshole so I’m messing with her head.” 

I sound stupid for even having to ask all this, because any outsider would say he’s cheating. He isn’t though … not physically anyway. He doesn’t seem to think he’s in the wrong and I don’t see an apology coming my way. I didn’t expect this from him at all since he treated me so well in the past. We haven’t discussed this in detail yet but plan to. Clearly he has issues and had me fooled, but what would his motive be to even care about mentally messing with this girl? I think I know what I need to do, but any insight would help.

We hate to be blunt, but this guy’s honestly got to go. He’s not committed to you and he’s incredibly immature. Not only is he refusing to call you his girlfriend, but as he said in his text, he doesn’t even consider himself in a relationship with you. Even if he was saying that just to mess with this girl’s head–an excuse that makes almost zero sense–the ease with which relationship denial rolls off his tongue speaks volumes about how little he respects you. He shouldn’t treat you like you’re disposable, even if doing so in jest. While he could be telling the truth and there’s nothing between him and this former hook up, texting with someone just to screw with them is completely juvenile. You’re dating a boy and it seems like what you need is a man. This guy may be great at some point in time, but he’s got a lot of growing up to do before he can be in an adult relationship.

You Asked Us: Is His Relationship With His Mother a Red Flag?

The question: I really like this guy (I’m 26 and he’s 42), but I’m worried that his relationship with his mother is a red flag.

 On our first date the very first thing to come up in conversation was his mom. He told me that he was adopted and didn’t meet his birth mother until his late twenties. They’ve had a close relationship for the past 15 years and now he speaks to her on a daily basis, spends numerous weekends with her and considers her his best friend.

 I asked him if we could go out to dinner for my birthday. He said sure, if he doesn’t go see his mother that weekend “it’s a date.” On one occasion we were at a motivational speaker event and when she called he didn’t even mention that he was with me.

 I just find it very odd that he’s a 42-year-old grown man, and I still feel like I have to compete with his mother for attention. Is this a red flag? And what’s the psychology behind this situation? 

First of all the psychology behind this can be complicated, especially considering the abandonment issues many adopted individuals face. And really, that isn’t so much your concern. Your focus needs to be on how his relationship with his birth mother makes you feel, and whether or not a relationship with this man is healthy for you to pursue.

Clearly his mom comes first. He’s 42 years old—you’re not going to change his mind. Whether you want to take a back seat to his mother or not, is up to you.

From what you described, I would be more concerned that the relationship isn’t headed anywhere. If he were really into you he would have wanted to take you out for your birthday, you wouldn’t have had to ask if the two of you could go out to dinner. And he certainly wouldn’t have turned you down to spend time with his mother. Our guess is that he spends time with you when it’s convenient for him.

You need to have a serious sit down with yourself and decide what type of relationship you want to engage in. Make a list of what’s important to you, and check in with the way you’ve been feeling lately.

You Asked Us: Should I Be Concerned?

The question: I’ve been dating a guy for over a month and, for the most part,we’re getting along very well. At first he was very hot and heavy and came on strong, so I let him know I wanted to wait to have sex until I felt I knew him better. Now he’s not making any move on me, we only kiss hello and goodbye. He claims it’s too frustrating for him to be aroused and not have it fulfilled. Ideally I’d like to be in a monogamous relationship before I have sex, yet one month of dating is too soon to push for that.  

Another thing is I haven’t seen where he lives—he says it’s not ready to be seen (he lives on a 44 ft. sailboat docked at a marina) and that he needs to clean it up. I think after a month, it’s time for me to see his lifestyle firsthand. I’ve asked a few times and he always makes excuses. Should I be concerned? We see each other on Saturday nights and on Valentine’s Day, and talk on the phone every day, so don’t think he’s living with someone. I’m 58 and he’s 62; I’m newly single and he’s been divorced 10 years. We met on the Internet. Would appreciate your feedback.

Thank you so much for writing to us. There are a couple red flags here, the biggest of which is the sex issue. At 62, this guy is too old to use the “blue balls” excuse that, if you won’t have sex, he can’t have any physical contact. What he is doing is trying to make you feel guilty and, eventually, he thinks this will make you give in to getting it on. You are perfectly in your right to say that you want to be monogamous first—that’s not some kind of extraordinary demand or expectation. (And one month of dating is not too early to ask for that, by the way.) His reaction to your preferences is very troubling and his lack of affection signals that he’s passive-aggressively trying to convince you to change your mind. This is not acceptable behavior for a teenage boy, let alone a grown man. Continue reading

You Asked Us: Why Won’t He Call Me His Girlfriend?

The Question: My guy considers me his “plus one” for everything! He talks about going away together with other couples, plans ski trips and outings and I’m always the first to know so we can make the plans together. And he usually initiates what the plans are. I constantly go with him to family parties, visit his family after my own on Thanksgiving, swing by his relatives houses for no reason except to visit. He isn’t overly PDA when we are out at a bar or somewhere with friends, but he puts his arm around me and lets everyone around us know “she’s mine.”

The odd part, however, is he won’t admit we are in a relationship, won’t call me his girlfriend, and is very bothered by one of my past hookups (someone he knows). It’s something he says he just “can’t get out of his head and get get over.” The way he explained it: “it’s not like you to have a one-night stand with someone, I don’t get why you did. Every time I see him I think about it and I just can’t get past it.”  We made a plan to get past it. and it seemed to work for a solid two months. But one drunk night it came up again. Clearly it’s still on his mind. And his wording is that he and I are “a process” so he can try getting over this horrible thing I did. (As if he’s never had a one-night stand… so horrible… right.) It’s so crazy to me… if you like someone and treat them like a girlfriend, why can’t he look past my one-night stand that occurred months before he and I started dating, while he also was hooking up with someone else.

My guy did date someone for four years, who he lived with, and she broke his heart and moved out. It’s been three years since they broke up and should be ok from that by now. Maybe he has issues settling down? But he certainly doesn’t have issues showing his family, friends, and world that I’m “his”. What is this guys deal! HELP!

It sounds like your guy has a few issues going on that are all related. While he seems to be over his ex, he’s certainly not past the heartbreak. He most definitely has trust problems stemming from the relationship. He thought he knew everything about his ex, including her feelings about him and he was obviously wrong. Since he thinks your one-night stand is completely out of character, he’s wondering if his judgments about you are incorrect, like they were with his last lady. The reason he refuses to call you his girlfriend is likely not because he doesn’t trust you, but more so because he doesn’t trust his judgment of you (and likely other people in his life). It’s not really about the one-night stand–if that wasn’t in your past he’d probably find something else to fixate on. Continue reading

You Asked Us: Am I Settling?

I’ve been seeing this guy for three months. We are both recently divorced and are in no hurry to rush into things. I’m a serial monogamist and known to have quick, intense relationships. With that said, this guy seems to have it together-good credit, intelligent, great steady job, etc. We have great conversations, great sex, and he loves spending time with me. The only thing that bothers me is that there doesn’t seem to be any fire or passion coming from him—he’s only occasionally affectionate. That’s something I do want. I’m wondering: Am I settling again or does passion and affection grow with a relationship?

This is a really good question and it’s tough to answer without knowing more details. On the one hand, this guy looks great on paper and he seems to have it all together, as you say. On the other, it seems like your needs aren’t being met by him, so staying with him could prolong an inevitable breakup.

One thing we’d suggest is to talk with him about this, if you haven’t already. Perhaps he’s been chastised in his past relationships for being overly affectionate and he’s conditioned himself to pull back. Or perhaps he’s just not used to being with someone who craves affection from him. Either way, it’s important to state your needs and give him a chance to meet them. You might also make the first move in being more affectionate with him to encourage him to follow suit and to give him positive reinforcement when he does show you affection so he knows it’s something that you enjoy and would like more of.

Another thing to think about is reframing what you define as “passion.” A man who is consistently there for you, whether it’s to to change a flat tire or listen to your retailing of a bad day, is passionate about your relationship and invested in being there for you. Just because a guy isn’t hot and heavy with you all the time—to the point that he has to make-out with you in line at Starbucks—doesn’t mean he loves you any less than a guy who does. Focus on how he consistently makes you feel (secure? happy?) and what he does to show you that he’s dependable and committed.

Keep in mind that it’s only been three months, so there is definitely reason to give him more time and allow that fire to grow as you continue to develop a relationship. Relationships that start off with fast passion tend to burn out quickly, so we would encourage you to be open about your needs and see what being honest with this guy might kindle.

You Asked Us: My Boyfriend Won’t Touch Me

The Question: My boyfriend will not have sex with me, will not kiss me or hug me or cuddle. He tells me that he’s working on it and he’s taking Cialis for the physical part, but even that isn’t helping. How long do I wait? It’s been over three years…

Our gut response to your situation is how sad this must be for you, and lonely, to be in a relationship with a guy who is unable to express himself physically. And the best advice we can give you is through asking you some more questions: Has he always been this way? No kissing, etc. since the begining of the relationship? And, how are you doing? How does his behavior make you feel? Does me make up for his lack of affection in other ways? (Like making you dinner, leaving you sweet love notes—stuff like that to make you feel special?)

You want to know how long you should keep waiting it out and, sadly, we can’t give you a magic number. However, we think that if you’re not being shown affection and love, you’re not in a relationship that’s going to be fulfilling in the long run. It seems like your guy might have issues that need professional solutions and you don’t need to play the role of the dedicated girlfriend while he sorts them out. If it were us, we would have been gone a long time ago.

You Asked Us: Why Does My Boyfriend Refuse To Have Sex?

The Question: My boyfriend and I have been together for a year. On our first date things clicked: we couldn’t stop talking, we had so much in common, we enjoyed each other’s company, going places, doing things together, etc.— which we still do today.

He had told me that he was engaged for three years and his fiancé cheated on him. This happened about five years ago, but it broke it heart terribly. He also told me that his past really upset him, and that he’s keeping me at arms length even though he says that he loves me and I’m his everything.

However, for the past couple of months he has been acting differently. We only see each other on the weekends, not at all during the week, so when we had the chance to be together, we would have sex. Now we only have sex once a month. When I tell him that I want to, he tells me to stop pressuring him or that it’s too late to have sex and we need to make time for it. I also found condoms in his car.
And, when he talks about the future, he says “I” instead of “we”.

I don’t know what to do. I did buy your book in the bookstore, but I didn’t get to finish it because a girlfriend borrowed it and hasn’t returned it yet.

Dear Anonymous,

First of all, thank you for buying our book! We hope your friend enjoys it and returns it to you soon.

As for your dilemma: There are a number of red flags that need to be addressed, the most glaring being the condoms in his car. The fact that he only wants to have sex with you once a month and you found these condoms leads us to the assumption that he’s cheating. Considering that you only see one another on the weekends, he has plenty of opportunity to pursue other romantic endeavors. Continue reading

You Asked Us: Do I Have to Be Supportive?

The Question: A fairly new guy friend asked me for advice about a female mutual acquaintance. While he’s totally smitten with this girl, I don’t like her or the way she treats him. As far as red flags about her personality: she’s not happy unless surrounded by a group of single guys, she doesn’t have any girlfriends and every time we’ve made plans to hang out she’s ditched me for some flavor of the week. As far as how she treats him: she tells me she’s not interested but continues to lead him on, she gets jealous if he spends time with other female friends, she constantly uses him as a back-up plan when her real plans with other men fall through. He’s her servant and her ego boost.

I’ve told him all of these things (in a nicer way) and though he thanks me, he goes right back to her the next day. Since he’s not angry or hurt by how she treats him, how do I get over my anger towards her? If they do start dating do I need to just let go of my friendship with him until she screws him over? I won’t do anything to sabotage their friendship or if it goes that way relationship, but I don’t think I can be super supportive either.

Dear Anonymous,

This mutual acquaintance flies more flags than the UN headquarters. She’s a player and worse, a user. Her actions definitely warrant a discussion with your friend, which you’ve had on multiple occasions. Once you’ve expressed your concerns, there’s really not much else you can do to convince him of her nefarious nature. You’ve laid your cards on the table; now you have to let him play his hand. Unfortunately, he may have to get really hurt before he truly sees the relationship for what it is.

Given that you haven’t been his friend for very long, and he seems quite resolute, your best bet at this point is probably to back off. A train wreck seems inevitable, but you don’t have to watch it happen. If being around him means hearing about or interacting with her, you’re only going to get more and more frustrated with the situation. You’ll eventually hit a breaking point and may lash out in a way that will put your future friendship with this guy at risk. Were he a closer friend, or were you interested in dating him yourself, the situation would be different.

You Asked Us: Should I Stay With A Man Who’s Still Married?

The Question: I’ve been with a man for three months, and am finally coming out of the honeymoon stage of our relationship and starting to think clearly. For starters, he’s “separated” from his wife, but still married. He told me that he lived with a guy friend and only stayed at his house sometimes. Turns out he lives at his house full time, but he swears he’s not sleeping with his wife and that they live in separate quarters. He also hit on a co-worker a few days before meeting me. I found out about it after he declared his love for me, so I dismissed it.

I just don’t know what to think. He calls me three times a day and takes me on extravagant dates; most include a helicopter or plane ride. But he lives out of town and my gut feeling is that the guy’s a serial cheater. Still I’m fascinated by everything about him. He is coming to see me this month for ten days, and is even spending a major holiday with me. What do you think? I know he’s been unhappily married for a long time, at the same time, I also know that he’s been with other girls before me. I’m just scared.

Dear Anonymous,

Unless you have a history of self-sabotaging relationships with possessive inclinations, your gut feeling cannot be ignored. While he may not be cheating on you, your gut is telling you that something isn’t right. In our book, The Little Black Book of Big Red Flags, we really encourage women to listen to their intuition, which seems so simple, but for whatever reason––we’re in love, we’re fascinated, we don’t want to be alone, we really like the guy––we push that little voice aside only to realize later that we should have listened.

The fact that he’s asked you to marry him, after only three months, and still lives with his wife and son is perhaps the biggest red flag of all. Let’s say he actually proposed, ring and all (because if he didn’t, he’s only telling you what he thinks will make you stay with him). After being in such an unhappy marriage for so long, you must seem like a ray of sunshine and he’s attaching his happiness to you. While I’m sure that feels awesome, in the long run his existing problems will surface and what then? This situation is also extremely unfair to you. When you dreamed of getting engaged, was it to a married man? If he were a gentleman, and considered your feelings, he wouldn’t put you in this position.

You need to evaluate the reasons why he wants to marry you. Has he given you any concrete evidence that YOU are the one for him, or is he busy telling you all of the things that any girl would love to hear? For example, if he says, “I’ve never meet someone like you,” but doesn’t back it up with what it is exactly he likes about you, this is a bad sign. Because, as far as we’re concerned, this guy falls under the red flag in our book: he’s too good to be true.

From an outsider’s perspective, it seems like he’s whisked you up and away with extravagant dates, whispers of ‘I love you,’ and empty promises. What your gut is telling you is that he’s a player, and all signs point to yes.

Now here’s the hard part: You have to decide if going along for the ride is worth possible heartbreak. He sounds like a wonderful time and the fact that he is spending a holiday with you is a good sign, but if he’s so concerned about his son––why isn’t he spending the holiday with him? These are the types of questions you should be asking.

You Asked Us: How Do I Deal With A Needy Boyfriend?

The Question: My boyfriend and I have been dating two months. When things are great they are unbelievably great, and when things are bad it is horrible. Every single day, at least once or sometimes more, he gets angry at me. Usually because he has decided that something I have done means something bad. Almost every single time I am just floored. If I pay attention to anything but him he thinks I am rejecting him. No matter what I do, he finds a reason to get upset with me and nothing I can say helps. Even if I prove he is wrong, he still won’t back down.

It is exhausting and frightening that I can never be enough for him to relax and be happy. He is like a bottomless pit of neediness. The worst part is that he is jealous of my attention to my kids. If they call and I act happy, he says I am ONLY happy when my kids call and never with him. This is so untrue and when I prove it is not true and give him examples? he still claims it is true.

I feel like I am going crazy. How can he love me so much one minute and then be overwhelmingly angry at nothing the next minute and tell me that he means nothing to me? This happens every single day, sometimes several times a day. It is like a rollercoaster and I cannot figure out what is wrong that he treats me like this. Please help me before I lose it. —Anonymous

Dear Anonymous,

First of all, YOU are not crazy. This man is what our friend Patrick Wanis, Ph.D. calls an “emotional vampire” and the fact that he is wearing you down like this after only two months of dating is a HUGE problem. Clearly, this situation is really weighing on you emotionally, and we worry, given how this guy acts in regards to your relationship with your kids, that it could grow somewhat dangerous. We know you say that this man loves you, but it seems like his issues run so deep that he is more ˆdependent on you, and in need of help you cannot even hope to provide. Even the shortest of relationships can seem like love but the fact that he is so attached to you after only a couple months is very worrisome. Continue reading