Advice

Miss Information

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Have a question? Email erin@nerve.com. Letters may be edited for length, content and clarity.


Dear Miss Information,
I’ve been dating a great guy for almost nine months. We’re really close and see each other almost every day, but when we first started dating, his ex was jealous that he’d found someone else and wanted him back. Did I mention that she dumped him? About a month into our relationship, I accidentally saw an instant-messenger conversation between the two of them. In it he said some things I didn’t want to hear, which he later claimed weren’t true. But we moved past it. He promised he wouldn’t talk to her again, and as far as I know he’s stuck by that. But last week his ex posted personal messages on his Facebook wall three times, and I know she instant-messaged him the other day and they chatted briefly. I trust him not to initiate anything, but I don’t trust her. Can I ask him about this? And if so, do I have the right to ask him to cut off contact with her? Jealous of the Other Jealous Bitch
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Dear Jealous of the Other Jealous Bitch,

The adult thing to do in this non-adult situation is to ask what’s going on, and explain exactly what you want from him in this situation. You can’t say "I trust you" and "we’ve moved past it" if, in your heart-of-sneaky-Internet-hearts, you haven’t. That said, a person can’t fuck up, act contrite, and then expect you to remain neutral while he behaves in sketchy ways.

The fact that he’s not hiding his Facebook feeds, and telling you whenever they talk, leads me to believe he’s being faithful. If I had to guess why he’s still talking to his ex, I would say it’s the perfect storm of her being pushy and him being non-confrontational. Have you ever told an ex that you can’t talk to them anymore, because your current S.O. dictated it must be so? Even when you know it’s for the best, you feel like an idiot. Like someone who can’t make her own decisions, or the abused character in a Lifetime movie. You don’t need a dick to know it’s emasculating.

Then again, deleting someone from your friend list takes about two seconds. If your boyfriend were really keen on making up for what he said (the exact nature of which I do not know, but I’ll assume is disloyal and cheater-ish for the purposes of this conversation), then he’d do it and be done with it. If he knows his ex has boundary issues and the relationship has gotten him into drama before, why would he make it harder on himself now?

Unless he’s cheating. That’d be a good reason.You need to approach him in a calm way and ask what’s up: "I saw some messages on your Facebook and I’m concerned. What kind of contact have you had with Fiona lately? Why do you think she’s doing this? If she continues doing it, what’s your game plan?" Negotiate something that feels fair for both of you. Complete and total denial of contact might be too draconian, but maybe he could take her off his instant-messenger list? What if he stayed friends with her on Facebook, but agreed to have some disgustingly cutesy photo of the two of you as his main profile picture? You know, send a strong message?

Finally, use your common sense. If he’s hanging out with you six nights a week and the majority of your evidence consists of you going apeshit every time she sends him a viral video, it’s time to grow up and find something better to focus on. Make your own viral videos. Make the other jealous bitch even more jealous because you’re so awesome and creative.



Dear Miss Information,

I was in a five-year relationship that ended because of my boyfriend’s emotional infidelity: he fell in love with another woman who didn’t love him back. I forgave him immediately, but then he carried on an extended, long-distance flirtation with a different woman. Again, nothing came of it. We got back together at the start of the new year. We’re still working through some stuff, but it’s going well and I’m feeling really positive.
Our one problem is our mismatched sexual appetites. Mine’s always been higher than his, which leads to frustration and insecurity on both sides. I do everything I can to turn on my boyfriend, but it doesn’t work. He doesn’t last long and is touchy about discussing it, and he feels hurt that I want it so bad and he can’t give it to me. We do adventurous stuff sometimes, but deep down he’s pretty traditional.

I guess our second problem is, just before we got back together, I started casually seeing (and sleeping with) a new fellow.  He can match me sexually; one evening a week we have sex all night long. It’s amazing, then I happily go back to once-a-week sex with my loving boyfriend. I love my boyfriend desperately, and I want so much to be faithful, but it’s incredibly hard to give up finally being sexually satisfied. I feel like when I end things with my lover, it’ll be the end of sexual excitement in my life forever. Please help; I can’t carry on cheating, but I want to be happy. — Guilt-Ridden Girl

Dear Guilt-Ridden Girl,

I don’t buy this "I forgave him immediately" for one second. Part of the reason you’re cheating on him now is because he did it to you first. His pseudo-affairs made you feel like petrified doo-doo and now you’re using them to justify your actions. "You may not want me, Mister Boyfriend, but there’s a Mister Boyfriend 2.0 who will fuck me with the frequency and creativity which I desire."

What if I told you I don’t think it’s dick you’re after? The libido issue is a red herring, a way for you to express your anger toward your partner. The one thing you want just so happens to be the one thing he can’t give you? If you truly had a baseline level of respect and consideration towards him, it wouldn’t be an issue. I mean, it’d still be an issue. I know what it’s like to not get laid and have a whiny vagina. But you’d find a way to work around it. There are couples who go for eons without sex, whether it’s because of illness or distance or Shark Week or whatever. You’re having sex once a week with someone you’ve been with for five years. There’s a difference between being fed sub-par food and starving.

Don’t worry, I’m not discounting your sex drive. I get that you’re sexual and are looking for those qualities in a beau. I’m just saying that something inside you changed when he started falling for this other person, and later carrying on a clandestine cyber-affair with a cross-country stranger. You felt hurt, and I don’t blame you. Did he initiate these affairs because he sensed your dissatisfaction? Did he feel invalidated? Blamed? Criticized? Possibly. I don’t have his side, so I don’t know how it all got started.

But it needs to end. Your current method of problem-solving is not productive. You need to make a decision, and the way I see it, you have three basic choices:

1. Roll up your sleeves and do what it takes to give this relationship a decent chance — that is, get individual and/or couples counseling and stop seeing the New Guy. No friendly hangouts, no phone calls, no emails, no nothing.
2. Ditch Boyfriend and continue fucking New Guy.
3. Drop both of them and be single for a while.

I want to close with something like, "You can’t have your emotional security and your red-hot fucking, too," but that’s not true. You can; you just need to do the legwork. Cheating is a shortcut — the kind that will come back to bite you in the ass every time.



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