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Dear Breakup Girl,
I've been seeing my guy for a few years now. Close to 90 % of the time,
happy and we get along great -- amazingly so. We live together, and life is
good; sex is good; things are great. But...
I am an irrepressible snoop. I've always been that way. I read his e-mail,
check his phone messages, and just generally root around. I probably would have
stopped or at least curbed my impulses, but I keep finding stuff that makes
me want to keep looking, especially over e-mail. For instance, a couple of
ago, I found that he was exchanging e-mails with a coworker that just gave me
fits. She knew he had a serious girlfriend (and she had a serious boyfriend),
but she had a very real crush on him. His response was this weird "push-pull"
type of thing. On the one hand, he'd say he had a girlfriend. On the other
he'd say that if he didn't, then he'd be on her in a "biblical" way. This went
on and on over the course of weeks, until she essentially offered to break up
with her boyfriend for him. At that point, I stepped in and told them both to
knock it off, and they did.
I had a couple of good years with him, but recently this behavior has
up again with two other women. The first was a friend of his that I knew very
little about. Obviously, she knew very little about me also, since she sent
him several notes asking why he hadn't gotten around to asking her out. He then
told her about me. However, he must not had said much since she later wrote
about the mixed signals she got whenever they bumped into each other and how
she wondered just how serious this whole girlfriend thing was with him.
Recently, we were out watching some music and she came around (suspiciously
by herself at a place where she knew he would be but not that I'd be there as
well). Instead of bringing me over and introducing me to her, he abandoned me
at the bar while he went over to her for a half hour conversation. I must be
obsessive about this, but I counted three hugs and noticed that he didn't take
his hands off her the entire time (not sexual touching, but EXTREMELY
Well, I blew up, and he just didn't get it. He figured nothing was wrong
it wasn't like they were kissing or anything and she knew he had a girlfriend.
My point was that I was actually, physically there, and he left me high and
dry to talk to her. If she was such a good friend, then why didn't I know her?
I LIKE many of his friends, including his female friends, but it almost seemed
like he wanted to keep this one for himself. So, if he's being so tightlipped
about this great, compelling friendship, what am I supposed to think is going
Somehow, after the ugly arguments, we got over it.
But the saga continues.
Recently, girl number three has entered the picture. Another coworker.
she knew about me, but that didn't seem to stop her from calling a few times
a week, sending flirty e-mails, and lending him books ("The
Little Prince," yikes!). This time, I discovered that he had arranged to
meet with her for lunches and shopping trips which he failed to mention to me.
Actually, just yesterday, he went to lunch with her and lied to me about
I just don't know what to think about this whole situation. Like I said
things are generally wonderful, but this flirtation thing makes me crazy. I
do not believe that he would cheat on me, but he seems to get off on the
thing so much that not only does he encourage it, but also seems to seek it
out. This past time, the girl in question expressed some doubt about seeing
him for lunch because he had a girlfriend, and he bent over backwards to get
her to go.
It makes me crazy, and it makes me want to snoop more. What makes me
crazy now is the fact that through snooping I discovered that he may be getting
ready to propose to me. If it weren't for this behavior, I wouldn't think twice
about saying yes...but the thought of fighting these battles for the rest of
my life gives me this kind of sick feeling of dread. Ugh.
Am I obsessing? Is it possible for him to be as committed to me as he says
he is and still seek out women's attention? I just don't get it. And if this
is how he behaves on the verge of proposing (when, presumably our relationship
should be its strongest ever), what's going to happen if I marry him and down
the road we run into rocky times (which all marriages inevitably do)? Will
be enough for him?
--So Confused and Depressed
At first I thought your predicament was of merely
proportions; reading on, I saw that it was positively Little Prince. Enorme
like the baobab. L'essentiel here -- in the esteemed opinion of our very own
pro psychosleuth Belleruth
-- is a "power struggle. He's yanking your chain, which you have somehow
handed him with your fact-finding forays. You say he flirts, and so you snoop
more. And the more you snoop, the more he flirts. 90% great? Uh-uh. Only in
that he has a great time making you jealous and you have a great time being
humiliated in public.
If anything's going to change, you need a truce. You:
stop snooping -- which, no matter how he behaves, is in-principle invasive and
out of bounds; it tells you stuff you don't want to know and makes you behave
like a cop. He: stops being (at the very least) a rude provocative jerk, using
other women as a weapon in public and scuzzy emails as a weapon in
Can you guys pull this off, Depressed? Unclear. If you
think not, you might want to trust "feeling" -- you know, that
one of "dread" -- over "fact."
BR and BG
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