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"I'm girlfriend number two. How do I get to be number one?"
Have a question for Miss Information? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dear Miss Information,
I've been seeing a guy from work for about three months now. We're practically living with each other, but when we first hooked up, I knew he had a girlfriend. On several occasions I've attempted to end things, stating that I simply would like to have a normal relationship in which I can actually be seen in public with him — but things just simply always rekindle. Shame on me, but my emotions have gotten the best of me.
He spends five days a week at my apartment, and it's gotten to the point where half his clothes are now here. But here's the thing: when he's not with me, he is constantly texting me to see what I am doing or to tell me he misses me. I don't know what to think anymore or how to deal with things. I like him. We enjoy each other’s company, but the fact that he constantly says he hasn't ended it because he like things to just “die on their own” only makes me wonder... is he truly in love like he says or am I a place of convenience when they can't see each other?
She lives two hours away and he doesn’t have a car. Logistically, I’m much closer to him than she is, and I really suspect staying with me is just convenient. When I bring this up, he swears I'm completely incorrect and that I shouldn't think that way, then simply hugs me until I'm calm again. As much as I'm number two, I feel like number one because of the amount of time we spend with each other, and the way we make each other feel so comfortable. I no longer want to be number two. I know an immediate relationship would not be ideal due to trust issues, but I would eventually like to be with him. I don't know whether that's the case for him. So Miss Information I ask you: should I be addressing this in another way, or is it time to pack up my insecurities?
— Hers or Mine?
Dear Hers or Mine,
If I had to make a pie chart of the types of questions I receive, the biggest, brightest-colored slice would belong to the “Lonely Hearts/ Why-Don’t-I-Have-a-Partner-Yet?” type. There are a lot of wry, thoughtful people in the world; many of whom seem to be single, and a few of them write in. Then along comes a letter like yours.
If the world were a just place, a giant hand would come down from the sky, pick up this boyfriend of yours, and drop him forever in dating Siberia. Dozens of introspective Nerve readers can’t get a date, and this guy somehow has two girlfriends? Nuh-uh. Not on my watch.
It almost feels silly to argue that his behavior is slime, because it is very obviously slime. Let’s look at this line: “[I bring up my legitimate concerns]… then he simply hugs me until I’m calm again.” Is he a Temple Grandin Hug Machine? No? Then he needs to listen, respect, and respond to your feelings, not “shhhh” you until you go away.
Ultimately, you know this is a dead-end: you even spend a large part of the letter trying to convince yourself it’s not so. Stand up for yourself, sister. You deserve someone who doesn’t make you hide in the bushes when you’re out in public. These gems among men do exist, I promise.
The world is horrifyingly unfair. The least you can do is try to bring balance to your little corner of it. Selling out your own security and desires to keep a slimeball happy is just bad karma. You deserve better, and he deserves so much worse. (Like zero girlfriends. Raging bacne. And the judgment of Nerve commenters. Probably.)