Tits and Ask: Are You the Placeholder Girlfriend?

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My boyfriend and I broke up for a month, then tried to get back together. I found out that during the time we were apart, he started dating someone else. I was upset, but I also understand that we were broken up and he had the right to date another girl. Still, it’s been difficult for me to imagine another girl naked on his bed and how quickly he moved on. Now, months later, we’re still trying to work things out. Meanwhile, this girl has resurfaced and started calling and texting him. He tells me he doesn’t love her and only wants to be with me, but I still feel really insecure. He said he’s not going to talk to her and that he told her to leave him alone. Any insight as to what I should do? Can I trust him?

KEN SAYS: One piece of info that’s missing from your email is why you two broke up in the first place. Was it over something trivial, like snoring or refusal to properly cap the mustard? Or something serious, like dry-humping the mailman, setting fire to his cat or openly sympathizing with a Kardashian? Did you mutually agree that you “needed a break” (the scientific term for “growing desire to screw other people”) or was one of you driving the division?

Knowing some background might help me make a better prognosis. But one thing I do know is that if the wedge that initially drove you apart was never addressed, there’s little point in getting back together, free sex notwithstanding.

Assuming it has been addressed, then it all comes down to how much you trust this guy. If you don’t, it doesn’t matter if your man submits to a Total Recall memory wipe to remove every second of his time with this other woman from his brain; you’re always gonna wonder if that stain on his bedroom carpet is really coffee or evidence that he’s been playing “midnight at the soft serve machine” with someone else.

I say trust him until you spot any red flags, which could include a sudden interest in spending weekends by himself in Miami; an active OK Cupid account seeking liaisons with “women into Lorde, antique cars and reindeer porn,” or leaving the house without pants.

ARIEL SAYS: This reminds me of that seminal episode of Friends when Ross sleeps with the copier girl after he and Rachel break up and Rachel wants him to take responsibility for it and he doesn’t read the 18-page letter because he fell asleep because, after all, they were ON A BREAK.

Yeah, I know I referenced Friends in the last column. And no, I haven’t been sitting on my couch every night for the past five years watching TBS and eating Funyuns. (Although “Friends and Funyun Fridays” does have a nice ring to it.) But to hang my horrific advice-giving hat on a show that aired nearly two decades ago, I must repeat, a la Ross: you were on a break.

All bets are off, all goings-on are officially none of your business, and wherever his penis happened to hang out is of no concern of yours. If the tables were turned, the same would go for him; where your kitty cat went to seek new adventures is not up for discussion.

Now, you’ve made a choice to re-commit to this relationship, as has he. Frankly, from what I gather from your letter, he has nothing to be forgiven for. You had just as much of an opportunity to go and buy box seats to the Sexcapades, but you were not willing to do so. That was your choice. He, on the other hand, decided to go ahead and buy season tickets. Again, that’s his right, his privilege, and his choice. You must be able to accept that fact, or this relationship is officially doomed. I’m not trying to minimize your pain or the difficulty of imagining him watching Friends–uh, I mean hanging out–with some naked chick. But you gotta put that shit aside and focus on the here and now: a solid relationship with someone you love.

As to the present: See if you can possibly detach from your hurt and appreciate his honesty. He’s told you what’s going on, and he’s told her to stop calling. You must trust that he’ll stand by his word.

Remember, he’s not a cheater. He’s a guy who just happened to date someone else when YOU WERE ON A BREAK, and now wants to be with you–wonderful, amazing, sweet and sexy you.

Got a question for us? Ask away.

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