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

My guy has two groups of friends. The first group is nice, fun guys that are family-oriented and career-focused. The second group are single guys that love partying, womanizing and going to strip clubs. Of course it’s the single guys that are always calling him to go out, planning trips to Vegas and encouraging him to not settle down.

How do I be the cool accepting girlfriend when I know this second group of guys aren’t supportive of our relationship and would encourage and probably even turn a blind eye if he were to ever cross the line with another woman? I know that some of these single guys have cheated on their girlfriends and I’ve read that men who hang around cheaters are more likely to cheat. What should I do? —Christina

Dear Christina,

If he’s the kind of guy who finds cheating abhorrent, there’s nothing his cheating friends can do to “make him” become unfaithful.

There’s some super-important information left out of your email, my friend.

Namely: how old is your boyfriend? How long have you been together? Has he told you he loves you? Has he intimated that marriage and children are in his future?

If you’re dating an immature guy who is lost, confused, inexperienced and easily influenced, then his partying friends may be a danger to him.

If you’re dating a mature guy who likes his career, treats you well, and is thinking long-term, his partying friends will have absolutely no influence on him.

In other words, his character is already set, regardless of his friends. If he’s the kind of guy who cheats, he’ll cheat on you regardless. If he’s the kind of guy who finds cheating abhorrent, there’s nothing his cheating friends can do to “make him” become unfaithful.

Your question, “How do I become the cool accepting girlfriend?” is about the most common question I get as a dating coach, and I’m not sure I’ve ever adequately answered it.

It would be like telling a man, “How do I act with confidence around a hot woman?”

The answer is to just do it. Fake it ‘til you make it. Assume the best, and you’ll bring out his best. Remember he’s innocent until proven guilty and that he’s been an exemplary boyfriend so far. There’s no reason for him to stop because his friends are slimy.

There may be a study that proves that cheaters of a feather flock together; it wouldn’t surprise me in the least. Dan Ariely’s latest book, “The Honest Truth About Dishonesty” suggests that most people lie a little bit, but not enough to see ourselves as liars. It also talks about how witnessing someone else cheating and getting away with it (on a test, not in a marriage) can influence observers’ behaviors.

Should your boyfriend get on your case because Shelley is on AdultFriendFinder? Should he break up with you because Angie hates men?

But that’s a dangerous slippery slope you’re creating there, Christina. Let me show you how. Most guys make their friends in a few phases of life: high school, college, long-term jobs. Your boyfriend became friends with these guys based on how much they got along, how fun and cool they were, how much they liked to go out, how much they laughed together. Pretty much how you chose your friends, I’d guess.

In other words, we all make friends when we’re 23 that we may not admire at 33. But it doesn’t mean we drop them like a hot potato. It means that, as we age, they’re relegated to a different class of friends — the fun friends, the crazy friends, the single friends. I’ll bet if you look at YOUR friends, you’d observe the same thing. Your loyalty may run deep, but you can still objectively say that certain “friends” of yours aren’t exactly relationship role models. So should your boyfriend get on your case because Shelley is on AdultFriendFinder? Should he break up with you because Angie hates men?

I would certainly hope not.

If your boyfriend’s friends are actively trying to sabotage your relationship, you have a right to be upset. But if they’re just lusty dumb single guys who want their buddy to come out more, you can’t blame them for trying. They’re losing their friend to you. Their behavior is predictable (and not gender-specific, either!). A good boyfriend will know how to handle this with tact; it’s certainly not by issuing his friends an ultimatum given by his girlfriend.