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How serious is boyfriend's texting female friends compulsion?

(41 Posts)
AnnaF55 Fri 22-Sep-17 14:37:10

I live with my boyfriend and we have been very happy up until about 3 weeks ago. Since living with him I have realised the extent that talks talks online with female friends.

The first friend he spoke to every day or every other day and until I saw the messages I knew her to be an acquaintance. He would ask how her day was going, share their future dreams, send her cute dog photos to make her 'smile' etc. Finally he omitted her name when I asked who he was meeting one night (he met a group of friends I also know, she was there, he didn't mention it). I asked him to assert boundaries with her - he contacted her saying they were too close for a man in a committed relationship so he was taking a step back to focus on us.

Now I find out he's been confiding in another woman about us who I have never heard of. I asked and he said he 'barely knew' her but he's been asking her for relationship advice and again talking to her more or less every day. He talks about me constantly and the messages are banal chit chat, not exactly exciting.

This really bothers me and he knows this. He says he has booked a counselling appointment to deal with his need for external validation/get to the bottom of it. How serious is this habit for us?

2014newme Fri 22-Sep-17 14:38:52

I'd move out tbh. It sounds like a whole heap of hassle and heartache

MyBrilliantDisguise Fri 22-Sep-17 14:43:30

Oh I'd let him go. What's the bloody point of him? Your life with him would always be like this and you know he's just a tiny step from infidelity. I wouldn't hang around to see that come to fruition.

AnnaF55 Fri 22-Sep-17 15:04:09

Before all this he was the most perfect partner I'd had. I really love him and believe him when he says he loves me. But I am seeing him differently now. The women he texts live far away so it's 100% online.

Why bother when he has me in real life? It's not as though we've been having issues, in fact he said he felt the relationship has went from strength to strength since moving in together!

hellsbellsmelons Fri 22-Sep-17 15:13:31

He's a boyfriend and hopefully you don't have DC together.
If that is the case then just cut him loose.
Let him talk to as many women as he likes.

AnnaF55 Fri 22-Sep-17 15:14:41

He has fully integrated me into his family and friends/vice versa...and says I am the only woman he has ever wanted to marry. So why do this?

loobybear Fri 22-Sep-17 15:20:35

Has he ever been single for a long period of time? I could be wrong but the guys I've known to do this have always seemed to end up with one of the friends when they split up with a current relationship (different when it's a true long term female friend that they have the same relationshio as they would with a male friend though). Even if they've genuinely not been cheating. I think it's about setting up 'back ups' who they can move onto if things don't work in their current relationship.
This might not be your DP at all but if he is the type of guy who has always been in a relationship then I'd wonder if this could be what he's doing.

AnnaF55 Fri 22-Sep-17 15:27:35

No I am his first really serious relationship at 25. He has previously had flings and says he has always had female friends. He has lots of male friends but also a more sensitive side.

He says he is not attracted to these women and just finds them easy to talk to...

2littlemoos Fri 22-Sep-17 15:35:55

How did he first get in contact with the second woman?

bluebeau Fri 22-Sep-17 15:46:40

Hi OP, male here !

From personal experience men do not have female friends unless on a work basis (have banter in work hours) or from early childhood (bloke is usually friendzoned even if he wanted anything to happen)

The fact he then went and found 'another friend' isn't good. He is getting something from them which he isn't getting from you. It may not be anything sexual but emotionally he is getting something from them that he isn't from you.

I'd give him an ultimatum, get him to stop ASAP. If he really cares he'll stop. If he dont, he wont.

user1480334601 Fri 22-Sep-17 15:46:50

Tell him in no uncertain terms your limit and expectation of what you'll put up with. If he can't or won't adhere give him the boot. It's weird to be talking so intimately with other women online when he has you.

FinallyHere Fri 22-Sep-17 16:15:48

Wot loobybear said.

One of my family members is a bit like this. Is delighted, like a kid in a toy shop, to discover that 'girls' will talk to him with a level of intimacy (he was a bit of a geek at school). And, of course, there is always one lined up ready for the next relationship. He has never to my reasonably certain knowledge, been without a girlfriend since finding his first one. Usually, but not always, he is the one kicked out of the relationship but the next 'the one' is always lined up.

Seems to me, to be a sign of low self esteem, but that doesn't help those who are asked to put up with it.

27Feb Fri 22-Sep-17 16:21:14

This is very weird. Are you basically saying you don't want him to have any female friends at all? Surely you have people you chat to regularly online? If he's not flirting or being sexual with them, then how is it different to any other friendship?

SendintheArdwolves Fri 22-Sep-17 16:26:41

He says he has booked a counselling appointment to deal with his need for external validation/get to the bottom of it

Righty this is a big, serious thing, that he is powerless to stop by himself, is it? The kind of bone-deep, all-consuming addiction that requires trained professional intervention?

By saying he needs counselling to "get to the bottom" of this "need for external validation" he is:

a) Appearing to take your feelings seriously, whilst providing no promises to change.
b) Outsourcing responsibility for his behaviour - he can't change it himself, he needs someone to help
c) Indulging himself with an hour a week where he gets to chew over this knotty, fascinating issue of why exactly he is such a bell-end, rather than actually doing something about it.

Look, OP, I'm a huge fan of therapy (I think everyone should have it, all the time) but I think in this instance that your BF is taking the piss.

Ask him to stop messaging these women. Not 'try to cut down' or 'work on it with his counsellor' or even 'do it behind my back and pretend you've stopped' but actually just, y'know, STOP.

And 'he is a perfect partner, says I'm the only person he's ever wanted to marry, blah blah, love bomb, etc' = RED FLAG

TheNaze73 Fri 22-Sep-17 16:36:44

It's good that he's asking for advice about the relationship, just sad that he cannot ask you directly.

beesandknees Fri 22-Sep-17 16:44:10

My dp has loads of friends from uni who, due to the nature of their shared profession, are all over the world. Because he is more of a girl's guy, I'd say 70% of them are female. He chats to at least three friends each day via messenger, perhaps sending a funny meme that they'd like, or asking about an event that he knows is coming up for someone, etc. I'd say two of them are female on any given day.

It's not a big deal to me at all. They're his friends.

However if he started constantly talking about his relationship with me, with particular friends, female or not.. that would be a bit strange. I'd wonder why he wasn't just talking to me about our relationship!

My DP mentions me to his friends, he certainly talks about what we've been up to and so on. But full on deep relationship chats, on a daily basis? It's slightly odd. I don't even think I do that with my own female friends. It would bore them to death.

Your bf is only 25, that's young, particularly for a man, and particularly for a man who has a "sensitive side" (i.e. who doesn't fit the mould of the average lad who just does what all other lads do, in a socially acceptable order). I'd assume that he is still testing out scenarios of what his life might look like... with you, with other girls, in another town, etc. etc. He can love you as much as he likes, and want to marry you, but that doesn't mean he's actually ready to do that.

It's really unlikely this relationship will last. The foundation doesn't sound strong. He has a lot of growing up to do, and that's ok, but don't let him try to convince you that he totally has his head screwed on, this is all fine, etc. Perhaps lower your expectations and start looking around to see if you won't be happier and feel a little better if you moved on. It's not meant to feel this way - good relationships are meant to feel solid and secure x

WombOfOnesOwn Fri 22-Sep-17 17:10:06

DH was like this when we first moved in together. I was so livid I moved out -- in less than 30 days. It gave him a real wake-up call. I told him I wasn't going to stick around in a relationship where someone was building sympathetic backups, or having daily conversations with one woman after another.

I hesitated to get back together with him, but I'm glad I did. Much like you, I was the first woman DH had really considered marrying. I think he hadn't really thought through what that entailed in terms of commitment and not hedging your bets with backups. Once we got back together, it hasn't happened again -- not once -- and we're together a huge amount of the time, so I'd notice if something was up.

The couple of times he's gotten a new female friend since then, he's been upfront about them from the start, doesn't talk to them over-frequently, and doesn't mind if I ask questions or even if I want to look at the conversation (something I haven't felt the need to do in a couple of years, but that I know he doesn't mind -- he also doesn't care if I casually look over his shoulder to see who he's talking to, or if I ask "what're you up to/talking about?").

I don't think this is something you should put up with. If I'd never left and made my boundaries incredibly clear when it all kicked off, I'm sure I'd still be an anxious, miserable wreck in the relationship (if it had survived until now). As it is, I have a wonderfully supportive DH who realized he nearly lost me over a couple of women he barely knew, and who has made it clear ever since that I am the priority in his life.

If your man reacts with anything less than total candor and honesty and remorse over you no longer tolerating his behavior, walk away and never come back.

AnnaF55 Fri 22-Sep-17 22:18:53

bluebeau - I don't understand what he's not getting because the relationship seems great, we do lots of travelling and fun things together and we talk deeply about all kinds of topics. I asked him if there's perhaps some need im not fulfilling, he said no. While he said he doesn't always find it easy to open up, he does talk to me about problems in his life. We also did talk through the relationship issues before he talked them through with his friend. The only thing I can think is we all need sounding boards sometimes. I have family and friends closeby while most of his friends and family live far away. It seems as though he doesn't feel comfortable confiding in men friends.

Wombofonesown - thank you for your story. It is a more hopeful one. My guy has a good heart but poor boundaries and I don't really understand it. I have told him the friendships stop or we stop. He said he didn't think carefully about what he had to lose but why the h*ll not??

27Feb - your reply proves how everyone's boundaries are different. For me the sheer volume of messages is a problem. Having another woman in your mind to that extent doesn't sit right with me at all.

27Feb Fri 22-Sep-17 23:02:07

Everyone is different, I guess. I don't think I would be OK with a partner who wanted to monitor my friends in that way but then, I'm bisexual so I guess I sort of have to push for it being possible to have platonic friendships with people of the same gender you date or I'd live a very lonely life! grin

AnnaF55 Fri 22-Sep-17 23:06:37

I also have platonic friendships with men that I value. But I don't speak with them daily, to me that's off.

Honestly I admit I am quite old fashioned. The way I see it is pre-technology you were married and when you returned home at night it was the two of you together. Now you can be together while perhaps several people message you/your oh, interrupting your time together. It's an epidemic and it bothers me.

27Feb Fri 22-Sep-17 23:12:39

Do you have any female friends you speak to daily? I guess I'm trying to figure out if it's that you don't like him having opposite gender friends (which I know is a fairly common thing for straight couples, and it's clear from a lot of these comments that you're not alone by any stretch of the imagination) or if it's a tech thing.

I think I understand the latter a bit better. I have various people I talk to daily - my absolute best friend is a gay man, and we probably exchange messages on a daily or near daily basis, and know far more about each other's husbands than is probably needed! - but I also definitely have 'devices off' time when I come home, cook, play with DD, snuggle OH, do stuff together, and I'd be pissed if that was being interrupted by constant little beeping noises from the phone.

I think that's less about who my partner is talking to, though, and more about basic courtesy.

AnnaF55 Fri 22-Sep-17 23:20:51

It's a mixture of not being crazy about tech and feeling he has poor boundaries with women. Also in 2 of my previous relationships I had concerns about female friends and was proved correct each time. As for him having female friends, fine, but not that are as much a part of his daily life as me more or less.

I don't have any female friends I told to every day. He doesn't have any male friends he talks to every day, it's just the women.

He knows I dislike the notifications and constant phone time so has made an effort to put the phone down while with me more recently.

Cricrichan Fri 22-Sep-17 23:31:22

He talks to friends who happen to be female. Why isn't he allowed to talk to his friends?! I think the problem is you.

AnnaF55 Fri 22-Sep-17 23:42:59

Well im not opposed to a bit of my own self reflection. But I'm not comfortable being in a relationship with a man that messages other women daily. Especially when I feel like they are treated as the pseudo online girlfriend.

RestlessTraveller Sat 23-Sep-17 00:04:45

I have three close, male friends I chat to them everyday. If my husband had an issue with that I'd be out the door.

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