How Can I Tell If My Boyfriend Is Really Just Friends With Her?


My boyfriend insists on staying friends with a girl with whom he is attracted to, and who has point blank invited him to have sex with her. I feel uncomfortable, and he refuses to stop talking to her, insisting they are “just friends”. Am I being irrational? My boyfriend and I met, sparks flew, and things got serious very fast. He spent a lot of time with me and invited me to practically everything he did, including dinner with a female friend of his (who lives across the country and was visiting). Since I completely trusted him, I declined because I was tired. The next day we met up and he informed me that he was going to brunch with her and another friend the day after and broke pattern by not inviting me (we had previously made plans together for that day). Warning bells went off in my head.

A few weeks later, he received pictures from her from their dinner together. They were very close in the pictures – hugging each other, her behind him with hands on his waist as he leaned against a car, him picking her up and dipping her, etc. I got very upset about how inappropriate I felt this was, and he yelled at me, insisting that they were not flirting (which they clearly were). I told him that I didn’t like him being friends with her because I felt it was not 100% platonic, to which he responded that they were “just friends” and I shouldn’t tell him who to be friends with. My problem is, it doesn’t feel like they are just friends, given that after their dinner together he wanted to see her again alone, and seeing the pictures she sent him that showed a lot of heavy flirting. He also admitted later that she had offered to have sex with him that night, to which he declined. He felt that admitting this to me should prove trustworthiness.

I feel like it’s extremely inappropriate to be friends with someone of the opposite sex who is clearly after more than just friendship. I am considering breaking up with him because 1) that night after dinner she asked him to have sex with her and he still thinks its okay to be friends; 2) he flirted heavily with her; 3) he lied to me about flirting with her when the pictures clearly say otherwise; and 4) my gut is telling me there is a problem here considering he wanted to go to brunch with her without me there. He continues to maintain his relationship with her via phone, email, etc.

I am already in love with this man and we have had a great relationship up to this point but I find myself having trouble trusting him now. I have never had trust issues in the past, and did not have them with him prior to this. I really don’t want to leave this relationship but am worried about his continuing fidelity. Am I being irrational or are my worries justified? –Kathy

For any of you who think that I always side with flirtatious men, take another look here and here.

So let’s sum up the answer to how to deal with a man you can’t trust:

You should NOT be in a relationship with a man you can’t trust.

A relationship with a man you can’t trust is going to be miserable for both of you.

You better make sure that the reason you can’t trust your boyfriend is because he’s ACTUALLY doing something wrong.

It’ll be miserable for you because you’re always on pins and needles, wondering about his whereabouts. You get concerned when he talks to women at parties. You check his Facebook page to see what he’s saying to his ex’s. You casually browse his cell phone when he’s taking a shower to see who texted him. You technically have a boyfriend, but you don’t have any of the benefits of having a boyfriend, because you always feel compelled to second-guess the status of your relationship.

And don’t forget how miserable it will be for him. After all, he’s the guy who is always being questioned when he comes home an hour late or takes a weekend trip with his guy friends. He’s the guy whose integrity is constantly being impugned. He’s the guy whose charisma you adored being told that he can’t display it to anyone other than you. Finally, he’s the guy who has to put up with a constant barrage of queries, regardless of whether he’s done anything wrong. I’ve been this guy and it’s an awful feeling having an otherwise delightful partnership being dissected to death because of your girlfriend’s insecurity.

Which brings me to my real point for any woman who is rightfully sympathizing with Kathy:

You better make sure that the reason you can’t trust your boyfriend is because he’s ACTUALLY doing something wrong.

Not because your previous boyfriends have cheated on you.

Not because he makes other women smile at parties.

Not because he maintains friendships with attractive women and writes things on their Facebook Wall.

Not because he goes to a strip club at a bachelor party.

You can only mistrust your boyfriend if he’s done something proactive that intimates that he’s not trustworthy. Like hanging out with a woman who wants to sleep with him. And lying about it.

But beware of the potential for you to create a cycle of lying in your man.

If you’re always on his case even if he has absolutely no intentions other than staying in touch with a girl friend – he’s going to feel rightfully insulted by your constant questioning. He will get the sense that he can’t tell you the truth because you won’t accept the truth. And he will find that it’s easier to lie to you about a platonic lunch than tell you the truth and be chewed out for it.

Believe it or not, that’s not his fault. It’s yours, for not trusting him.

And if you feel your hackles begin to rise at me for stating the male perspective on what it’s like to be a good person who is mistrusted, I invite you to reread my mission statement from the top of this post:

You should NOT be in a relationship with a man you can’t trust.

It’s that simple.

Yelling at me that some men ARE liars is useless.

Yelling at your boyfriend because you think he’s a cheater is useless. You’re driving yourself crazy and you’re making him even crazier.

If you can’t trust your boyfriend, for Chrissakes, do all of us a favor:

Find another boyfriend.

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Comments:

  1. 31
    Anne

    The most important point to pull from this – regardless of all the details involved in the scenario – is that you either fully trust him, or you don’t at all.  It does you no good to sit around and mull over the details of what could/would/should/might happen, because you’ll never fully get the answer you’re looking for – you can’t live in his thoughts. 
    You also can’t control what he does.  Some men who you’d never think would cheat end up cheating, but does this mean that you should avoid all relationships in order to avoid potential heartache?  I think most of us would say that giving relationships a good, solid try is the much better option (heck, this is a dating advice blog!).
    But like Evan said originally, if you just can’t trust him due to your “gut,” then you might as well end it.  Unless you abandon your fears and let go of the “what ifs,” you will sincerely struggle to make positive progress in this relationship from here on out.

  2. 32
    Joe

    Look, the thing that makes other women attracted to this guy is probably what attracted YOU to him, i.e. being flirty.  To expect him to turn that off now that he’s with YOU isn’t reasonable.  If that’s the type of guy you are attracted to, you should probably be prepared for something like this to happen again, even if you dump this particular guy.

  3. 33
    Francesca

    Hmm 

    I believe that the beginning of a relationship should be easy. You should be all over each other and think of nothing else but each other. It should be fun, everything about that person should be perfect (even if its not). Any problem in the beginning of a relationship is not a good sign. 

    I have male friends who are not my boyfriend and my boyfriend has plenty of friends who are girls. However I still would be pretty upset at the situation you describe.

    My boyfriend also has begun to grow his stubble as goodluck until his soccer finals. Yet he said I was welcome to veto this idea :p  I haven’t. I don’t get the impression that your boyfriend would offer this. 

  4. 34
    Trenia

    Its situations like this that sometimes makes me wish women could be more like men. What she implied was that he’s done all of this stuff that makes her uncomfortable but she doesn’t want to have to bounce back from yet another failed relationship and meet someone else, so she’s trying to justify staying, not leaving.
    Someone already said it earlier, but RED FLAG #1 is him yelling at her. She is not a child. Sounds like he’s trying to deflect what he knows is bad behavior. When you have mutual respect in a relationship, it’s up to the person who is doing the perceived wrong to self-correct, and if this woman’s boyfriend cared about her, he would’ve been more considerate about her feelings. Sure, he has a right to be friends with whomever he wants, you can do what ever you want to do, but why would you when your behavior is hurting the one person you’re trying to build a relationship with? Being in relationship is not about constantly asserting what you have the “right” to do.

  5. 35
    Some other Steve

    I hope we all keep in mind that a clearly emotional woman’s claim that the b/f “yelled” at her is not the same thing as the b/f actually yelling at her.

  6. 36
    Ruby

    Some other Steve #35

    You can be both “emotional” and rational (and factual) at the same time, even if you are a woman. 

  7. 37
    Anni

    “If you can’t trust your boyfriend, for Chrissakes, do all of us a favor: Find another boyfriend.”

    I find this advice ludicrous. She doesn’t KNOW if she can trust him, that’s why she’s writing in for advice. She hasn’t been with this guy very long, so she’s unsure of how to look at this situation. It’s not ‘her fault’ that he lied to her, and she didn’t say she’s ‘always chewing him out’.

    So if something questionable comes up in the initial stages of a relationship that unsettles you, you should just leave and find someone else…even though you’ve invested time and energy and gotten somewhat emotionally involved…it’s that easy and logical. Give me a break.

    I agree with the posters who’ve said the issue isn’t so much what he does or doesn’t do with this girl. The issue, Kathy, is that you were mature enough to state how you felt about the situation and he wasn’t mature enough to acknowledge your feelings and collaborate with you on working out a solution that works for both of you, thus bringing you closer and strengthening your relationship in the process.

    You are only just starting out in this relationship and he is already showing you it’s his way or the highway. You either have to agree with his perspective on what’s going on or he just won’t tell you what’s going on. And according to Evan, that will be your fault.

    I don’t know if he’s doing wrong with this girl, but I do know that by lying and yelling, he’s doing wrong by you. Tread carefully while you work out what’s best for you in all this. Good luck.

  8. 38
    JA

    My wife used to use the term “yelled at me” when all I did was become a bit animated. She was very sensitive to this, and I’ve learned to dial down my responses accordingly.

    In any case, I agree with Evan. If she can’t trust him, then she needs to end it.

    As for men who get close to women besides their significant other, I’ve done the same, on and off, for three decades. It can undermine your relationship with your significant other. I never cheated in the true sense of the word, but I thrived on the attention I received.

    It undermined my marriage. I’ve since learned not to mention other women, and I minimize contact with them socially. I do have good female friends, but the boundaries are clearly set. Even so, I never mention these friends at home.

  9. 39
    LTK

    Life is too short to spend with someone who doesn’t share your philosophies on relationships,whatever those are. You deserve your peace of mind,just as your boyfriend deserves his. If the two of you are unable to achieve this,to make a decision together about other friendships and  about setting boundaries, then you might consider seeing other people. That decision is a difficult one and so is the time afterwards-for awhile. Compare it though to months or a lifetime of arguements or suppressed resentment over the inability of the two of you to come to a good agreement about things. You are probably not going to change his mind. He is probably not going to change yours.There are others though who share your beliefs as well as his who may be better choices for a long term relationship.          

  10. 40
    Michele

    It sounds like the chance for temptation with his female friend is too great.
     

  11. 42
    Quin

    I’m with rubyscarlett on this one

  12. 43
    Been there

    If you I really love him then you need to discuss everything. Exactly how you feel about this situation. If you still can’t trust him then you should break up with him. Remember that it is your decision and all we can do is give you our opinions and advice. I wish you the best of luck :)

  13. 44
    Neglected girlfriend

    I just discovered some “just friends” are way more than friends.
    all those tired nights, all the distance, the excuses…all the attention and energy being spent elsewhere. I gave the benefit of the doubt time after time, never saying a word, smiling, believing. 
    And I’ve been made a fool

  14. 45
    Warmfire

    I happily went along with my ex’s “friendship” with his female friend because I thought to behave jealously would be unattractive.  Initially, he was spending so much time with me, I felt secure.  Then one day he said he was going to her college graduation – she was younger than he and I – and that he had to drive quite a distance to go.  His reason was that he would never hear the end of it if he didn’t go.  I smiled and went along with it and honestly thought nothing of it.
    Graduations are high-emotion, high-intensity events.  After the graduation, he didn’t seem as interested in me.  He was less communicative, less available, and then all out cancelled our holiday plans without explanation knowing I was off work and completely available to him.  They were plans he initiated with me.
    About two weeks later, he broke up with me never citing her as the reason.  Two days later, he changed his mind, came back to me, said he was sorry, that he made a mistake and offered to go to counseling with me – something that never before came up about us.  We got back together for a short while before I could see the relationship was going nowhere so I broke up with him and told him I needed a clean break meaning no contact for a while which he didn’t like because he wanted to stay friends.
    In his disappointment, he sent me several texts proudly revealing that he was actually seeing this “friend” and that whenever he wasn’t with me or at work he was with her.  He sent pictures to prove it.
    Honestly, people will do as they please.  If his relationship with his female friend is making you uncomfortable and he doesn’t respect that you are uncomfortable, then you have to decide if you accept this misery.  Personally?  His disrespect and selfishness would be enough for me to cut out and find a better man.

  15. 46
    Nene

    I don’t think this is merely a trust issue putting it that way makes I seem as though she is in the wrong. He is in the wrong. This is a relationship. In a relationship, both parties have to decide to trust, love,and respect one another. There’s love here and trust (she trusted him enough to let him go out with another girl, twice! Let’s not forget that). I don’t see the respect. 
    The facts are clear. He is constantly in contact with another woman who is clearly romantically interested in him. That is not “just friends”. And knowing that, he continues to maintain the relationship despite knowing how it makes his girlfriend feel. He doesn’t try to limit it or set boundaries. He rather flaunts it and then yells at her When she brings up this huge issue.
    Girl, this dude is clearly selfish and a bully. I say dump him. He has to respect you. It’s not about you trusting him (I’m sure you trust him enough that he won’t haphazardly cheat “on purpose” but we are humans and that is why we have boundaries), it’s about him respecting and acknowledging that he is in a committed relationship now. He needs to understand that and the need for boundaries. I bet you if you were the one doing the same thing, he would have dumped you yesterday. Dump him and maybe he will realize the importance of boundaries. You are not being irrational, you are being very reasonable. Nowadays people want to convince others that they can do anything they want, not minding the fact that they are playing with someone’s heart. Leave him and find a more deserving man. They are out there. 

  16. 47
    Marie

    OP, is this somebody you envision as being a life partner?  Because he gets a big fat F for that.  This is not about trust so much as loyalty.  Your partner is supposed to have your back and be part of a team.  His so-called friend is blatantly disrespecting both you as his gf and your relationship by repeatedly propositioning for sex.  Doesn’t matter where she lives or how realistic any actual cheating was.  If your partner was any kind of man he would have kicked her to the curb for her actions which disrespect his mate and therefore disrespects him and let her know in no uncertain terms that this is not ok.  You wouldn’t even have to lift a finger to tell him.  The fact that he hasn’t and actually yells at you and gets defensive means he’s not too loyal.  This goes beyond flirting. If my guy was continuing to hang out with someone openly contemptuous of me and our relationship?  No way would I let that stand.

  17. 48
    Jakye

    No offense, but he already did something bad. The fact that you shared your feelings with him, and he doesn’t care  enough to talk things over …bad relationship. The fact that the other woman offered sex, shows she isn’t just a friend.So the saying going like “oh we’re just friends” doesn’t apply. A friend doesn’t make that kind of offer. Probably he liked the attention, but he should know better. My ex  had a female friend, I was ok with it until at one point I realized , everytime she had a problem she would come at my bf. He made himself emotionally available and above the s**t flirted with him with no shame, even going as far as saying” Wish you didn’t had a t-shirt on you, you would look much better without it” & the bomb was : she asked him to move in with her , which he refused but still is questionable. Tried to talk to him, and his reply was” you need to deal with ur insecurities ” , my reply was : ” You need to get straight your priorities in life , good luck & good bye”. I am not an insecure woman, but I do not take disrespect in a relationship no matter the guy I am with! 

  18. 49
    Rose

    Do you want a boyfreind who has freindships with women who offers to sleep with him?
    Do you want a boyfreind who spend time and keep in contact with wpmen who clearly want more than friendship with him?
    What do you want.
    Tell him what you don’t want in a boyfriend and realtionship and see if he offers you what you want. If he doesn’t he isn’t a match and you don’t want him as a boyfriend. You are not a good match.

  19. 50
    cath

    I actually really appreciate this… its so true. If someone is going to cheat, they will cheat. I think its difficult when you have been hurt… do yoi have any posts on how to learn to trust again? Its hard when it feels like everyone says men are so visual that they always want to cheat on you, they just dont. thanks :)

  20. 51
    judy

    A man who I shall call Harry tried this on me.  I was out of his life so fast when he said “hey, I’ve got this ex-girlfriend and she wants to stay with me” (I was living in another city at the time).
    Answer “Fine by me.  Enjoy, cos I’m going home”.
    Leaving him flabbergasted.
     

  21. 53
    bluejay

    I have to disagree with you strongly on one point – any man who pays women for sexual activity or who utilizes women in that industry (including strippers) – is not a man who is really out for equality of women. Almost all exotic dancers were sexually abused as little girls. Almost all. This is an industry that THRIVES and survives only because little girls are sexually assaulted.

    No man who supports it belongs anywhere near my bed. It’s time to evolve. There is nothing wrong with expecting the man one plans to have children with have a firm rule to NOT exploit women.

  22. 54
    dee

    Clearly, he ‘s already had sex with her.yeah he admitted something. Just to make himself look innocent .. and yet still wants to be friends with her. AFFAIR!
    still wants to be friends?look if he was serious about your relationship, he would confront her in front of you, have you with him on brunch dates. Saying to her this is my girlfriend!!! I went through a similar situation. And he recently cut ties with her.if he loves you he would do the same.! She’s a tramp not a friend! No respect for your relationship!

  23. 55
    Colleen

    A lot of these comments are interesting, – I can’t agree with Evan, or, with many of the writers on this one. All the writers who are telling you to dump him, – well, ‘they’ are Not the ones in love with him. And Evan, ‘just go find another boyfriend, if you need to.’ Evan might not realize how rarely the entire (or even a 75-80%) ‘appropriate package’ who you have the ability to love presents himself to women. As a woman, – we might really Love, – only 1-3 times in our lives, more or less, it’s *Hard to find Mr. Right. Now, – think Mr. Right, NOT Mr. Perfect. There is No such thing. Take a deep breathe and let this Go. That’s right. Let it GO. This man, who you love, who you are in a relationship with and who says he loves you, has told you that nothing is going on with her. Now: Believe it. It’s done, it’s Over. Do not think on it again, do not question him. Do not “care.” Do not ‘Stalk’ his Facebook, do not question him. Do not act differently. Love him. Your freaking out over it is going to make it a self-fulfilling prophesy. He’s going to decide that he can’t be with a girl who can’t trust him. You are pushing him away, – into the very open arms of the other woman. Once you trust him and he knows it, – he will find it impossible to betray your trust, you will win. If, through the slight chance, he leaves you for her, or, cheats (don’t worry, – he will Tell you about it, if he does), then you decide what your next move will be. If he leaves you, then it was never true love anyway, and you don’t want him. No loss. Problem solved. *You are creating the ‘problem’ right now. Let it go.

  24. 56
    Debbie

    Why don’t you go get a male friend, go have lunch or dinner dates, take all kinds of huggy photos, and see if he is ok with that.  I’m pretty sure he won’t be.

  25. 57
    andrea

    If shez insecure its bcoz hez making her feel DAT way… Loser guy.

  26. 58
    Iosono

    Honestly Evan, I think you sound a bit ignorant, mainly because a man who loves a woman would not put her in ANY situation that makes her feel uncomfortable. Kathy is RIGHT in feeling what she feels mainly because what he is doing is wrong.
    HE
    planted the idea that him and this woman were more then friends when he began doing things that wasn’t normal. If he invited her everywhere before and then for some unknown reason decides to dis-invite her then that is something to be suspicious about.
    The fact that you say that its Kathy’s fault for not trusting him is not only one-sided, but untrue. Many women lose trust in the person they are with because of things that the PERSON has done while being in a relationship with them. Sometimes an event or etc can cause a person to feel as if they cant trust this person for whatever reason. 
    The reasons you are speaking about (the old boyfriend cheating, for example) is misguided. Try to see where the MAN is wrong in this situation before you condemn Kathy’s feelings. 

    What YOU have to understand EVAN is that the situation can be avoided if some MEN would think before they do things. Posting things on someones Facebook wall is okay as long as there isn’t any INAPPROPRIATE comments there. Kissing, hugging, or touching is INAPPROPRIATE when it isn’t your mate. People who are friends with people in a relationship often have no respect for a their relationship, and this disrespect will continue if he is enabling the “friend” by taking photos, and hanging out with her while she is alone. In the “friends” mind she is the better match because she has all his attention and I am sure she knows that what he and her are doing is wrong, but why should she stop if he isn’t putting a stop to it? 

    Bottom line is that sometimes people can do things which can make a person decide that they can not be trusted, and it is difficult when someone is in love to just break up with the person because of something like this. Sometimes you have to stop being such a MAN and know that certain things arent good for a relationship, especially when it involves another woman. 

    1. 58.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Gotta work on your reading comprehension, Iosono:

      “Which brings me to my real point for any woman who is rightfully sympathizing with Kathy: You better make sure that the reason you can’t trust your boyfriend is because he’s ACTUALLY doing something wrong. Not because your previous boyfriends have cheated on you. Not because he makes other women smile at parties. Not because he maintains friendships with attractive women and writes things on their Facebook Wall. Not because he goes to a strip club at a bachelor party. You can only mistrust your boyfriend if he’s done something proactive that intimates that he’s not trustworthy. Like hanging out with a woman who wants to sleep with him. And lying about it.

      You see that? I sided with Kathy. But you didn’t think I did because I wrapped it in a more nuanced package that didn’t immediately make men wrong. Why do I suggest that you might have trouble doing this? Mainly this line: “Because a man who loves a woman would not put her in ANY situation that makes her feel uncomfortable.”

      What if you’re uncomfortable with me talking to my ex-wife, even though we share custody of a child? What if you’re uncomfortable with me taking a business trip for three days because you’re insecure that I might meet another woman? What if you’re uncomfortable that I watch internet porn when you’re away visiting your mother in another state? Merely the fact that YOU feel uncomfortable doesn’t mean that I have to change. And if you insist that I should WANT to change because I really love you means that you either a) don’t understand what love is or b) don’t understand men/human nature very well. I’m not going to apologize or change if I’m NOT DOING ANYTHING WRONG. If I AM doing something wrong (like Kathy’s boyfriend), that’s a different story entirely. But your premise that a husband will never put a woman in an uncomfortable situation if he loves her is not true. If SHE’S uncomfortable based on HER insecurities, there’s not much HE can do about it – and I would advise any man who has a girlfriend who can’t accept good/normal behavior to find a different girlfriend.

  27. 59
    Julia

    I have to say, trust is just a much easier emotion to deal with. My boyfriend is friends with all 3 of his exes. Its no wonder, he’s a good person, why wouldn’t someone want to be friends with him? People break up for many reasons, its often complex, sometimes they still like one another as people. Trusting is the easiest stance to have, I don’t lose a moments sleep over his friendships.

  28. 60
    Megan

    It’s not about your insecurity. It’s about feeling disrespected. If it was the other way around , he would feel the same. It’s natural to feel worried because YOU care about him AND yourself. If a guy offered to have sexual relations with me who was just a friend, I would no longer hang out with him out of respect for my boyfriend. I care enough for my boyfriend to not ever put myself in a situation that would ever make him feel uncomfortable. That is why you are in a relationship with a person… Because you CARE about them… And thatINCLUDES their feelings whether their petty and insecure or not. You need to voice your feelings. If he doesn’t acknowledge them them your relationship is unhealthy and you need to LEAVE and find someone else. 

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