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dating coach for smart, strong, successful women Evan Marc Katz
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.