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Called the Other Woman, Got ‘Vague’ Answers

Dear Chump Lady,

I have been with my boyfriend for over a year. He is 17 years older than me. Well, the first 3 months of our relationship were great. I have always been a jealous person but I never had a “real reason” to believe that he was doing something he shouldn’t have been. But three months into our relationship (last November), I found out he was calling a woman every single day on his way home from work. This woman had been his friend for 15 years, she’s married with kids. He also says they are distant relatives(not blood).

Well, I started flipping out immediately. If she was someone he was speaking to every day, how come she never came up in any of our conversations? At first I thought that maybe he was afraid because of my jealousy issues. (I don’t like the idea of him interacting with other women too much). But he says it had nothing to do with that and that he was not even thinking that I would react this way. He says I have my own guy friends that I interact with regularly or sometimes go out drinking with.

However I was still not convinced, because a) I never hid that from him and b) I stopped hanging out with them as much since he and I started going out. He never asked me to do that, I just wanted to spend all my free time with him. I just don’t understand how come his interactions with this so-called-friend didn’t get interrupted and how come he still chose to talk to her just as much even after I came into the picture.

Well, since I found out, he says he has stopped talking to her. He even went as far as to delete her from his contacts. However he did get her a birthday present back in December (I found the receipt of a necklace that she supposedly wears a lot) he has yet to admit to it, but says that even if he did get her a birthday gift it would simply be an “happy bday/goodbye” present. All these things were too much for me to handle and I took a drastic step and moved 600 miles away from him to get over him. Well I still haven’t been able to.

We are still together, I really want to forgive him but how would I do that if he never admits to cheating?

I even went as far as calling the woman and oh I wish I hadn’t. Because all she did was give me “vague” answers. I asked her over and over and over again what was going on and all she could say was it shouldn’t matter to me because he chose me. He chose our relationship over anyone else.

She was also telling me that he wasn’t born yesterday, and that he had other people in his life before I came along, and kept asking why I’m so insecure. She kept telling me that she’s glad he has found someone, but she wishes that I wasn’t this jealous and insecure. Which again messes with my head because she kept hinting that there was something more going on between them by refusing to give me a straight answer and then she has the nerve to call me jealous and insecure? I also asked her about the gift and she seemed surprised that I knew about it, then told me that he was her friend for 15 years so yes he got her a birthday present.

Another thing that bugs me, he keeps insisting that their regular phone conversations primarily involved them complaining about their jobs (both pharmacists) but when I talked to her and it somehow came up that he has told me he loves me, she told me how he never tells anyone that, that he has never introduced his girlfriend to his parents (I have met them several times) and that he told her that he wants a wife and children.

When I asked her why he never told her about me, she also gave me the same reason that he gave me, that he is a very private person. If their phone conversations were all about their jobs, how come she knows so much about his personal life? And if she knows so much about his personal life, how come he didn’t feel comfortable enough to tell her about me until I found out about their friendship?

Ms. Confused/heartbroken

Dear Ms. Confused,

Get rid of this boyfriend and find a boyfriend you can trust. You don’t believe a word he says. (Nor should you.) The point at which you’re asking the guy’s mistress for details, the cow of dysfunction has left the barn.

Consider if you have “jealousy” issues — or “I chose a fuckwit to be my boyfriend” issues. Does everyone make you feel insecure? Or just this shady geezer? Do you question the veracity of your aunt, friend, or other trusted person — or just this guy?

Now ask yourself — do you WANT a relationship you don’t feel safe in?

Because apparently you’re quite capable of feeling safe in relationships you feel confident in. Where people’s words aligns with their actions.

This creep tells you you’re the most important woman in his life, but his ACTIONS tell a different story — he spends everyday talking to his “friend” and he buys her jewelry. (I wonder how her husband feels about that, and how on earth do you know that she wears it? Good grief! She shared that, did she? Sounds like something a person who wants to unhinge you with jealousy would say.)

You were right to move 600 miles away from this mindfuck. But then you reconciled with him? WHY?

Time for the Universal Bullshit Translator.

But he says it had nothing to do with that and that he was not even thinking that I would react this way.

The Problem Is Not What I Did, It’s Your Reaction To It. (Also filed under “I Fail to Understand Your Hostility.”)

The surprise isn’t his daily secret contact with another woman, it’s your alarm. Hey, everyone does it! Get over it. Nothing to see here!

Don’t let someone with a truth problem tell you you’ve got a jealousy problem. Is this his courtship A game? Is this acceptable to you?

He even went as far as to delete her from his contacts.

This means less than nothing. And this is the farthest thing he did?

However he did get her a birthday present back in December

However did he find her details! Perhaps fairies left signal flares on football fields, spelling out her address, or an angel appeared to him in a dream…

he has never introduced his girlfriend to his parents

Well, duh, she’s married. Not exactly a traditional parent’s idea of in-law potential.

I asked her over and over and over again what was going on

Kibbles!

all she could say was it shouldn’t matter to me because he chose me.

Did you know there was a Pick Me Dance? The OW’s favorite dance step is “Who Me? I’m Just a Wallflower. Carry on!”

She kept telling me that she’s glad he has found someone, but she wishes that I wasn’t this jealous and insecure. Which again messes with my head because she kept hinting that there was something more going on between them by refusing to give me a straight answer and then she has the nerve to call me jealous and insecure?

Yes, the same nerve she finds to fuck men who aren’t her husband. She’s gaslighting you.

She’s not going to confide in you — the competition in the Fuckwit Thunderdome — about her affair. But feel free to point it out to her husband. Amazing, how your BF and the OW go for the same type — jealous and insecure.

he told her that he wants a wife and children

Please tell me this didn’t give you hope. Like the worst possible person you want encouragement from, that your boyfriend might propose! is his current Other girlfriend. They don’t make Kay jeweler ads for that. (“It’s a diamond triangle! Tell her you love her… and her.”)

Also, I’m going to be ageist here — dude is 17 years older than you. This guy is what? 40? At the youngest? Life tip: People tend to do the things they want to do. If he really wanted a wife and children, he would have a wife and children. People who really, really want to see Norway, usually find a way to get to Norway. They align their lives in such a way to make Norway happen.

If your much older boyfriend really wanted a wife and children, he would not be investing his energies and disposable income in a married woman who has kids. For all you know, she was referring to herself. She’s clearly enjoying the mindfuck.

An innocent person would tell you what’s going on — OMG, no! I’m not sleeping with your boyfriend. That’s awful! Versus. Am I sleeping with your boyfriend? Hmmm. Let me think on that and form a research committee. You’re the one he goes home to. Wink.

Please leave the triangle today.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • The first line says everything you need to know. “Get rid of this boyfriend and get a boyfriend you can trust.”

    Let these two losers have at it.

  • Your giving them power, she or he is incapable of thinking about anyone but themselves. Which is why they do what they do.
    They think your so low (which your not) they don’t have to answer to you.
    He’s not a prize. She obviously has problems but that’s not your problem.
    He is a fuckwit so is she.
    You won him, she says but what do you win, a piece of crap, and you know it.
    You know you deserve better

  • The “I’m just a jealous person” discussion/work is separate from the “Does this boyfriend stink?” discussion/work.

    In other words, any issues you have with trust probably do need attention, but that’s completely unrelated to the clear and unvarnished truth that his actions and behaviors are clearly those of a person who’s not forthcoming or honest. Your trust issues don’t automatically indicate that you’re incorrect about obviously untrustworthy behaviors.

    I agree with the advice to put him in your tail lights. At best, he’s manipulative, and that’s a bad best.

    As far as any trust issues go, CL is correct that it may be that you’re attracted to untrustworthy people. That’s worth unpacking with a professional who is worth the energy — or on your own if a solid therapist isn’t an option. Just remember, not all therapists will be a good fit for the work, so you may have to try several before you find the right person, and you may need to see different ones over time for different parts of the work.

    • “Your trust issues don’t automatically indicate that you’re incorrect about obviously untrustworthy behaviors.”

      YES! I knew I had issues with trust stemming from my FOO, but they were absolutely separate from what I was feeling about my marriage. My now-ex’s actions gave me reason not to trust; I didn’t trust him because he acted in secret and manipulatively. I couldn’t trust him to be an honest broker. When I told him I wanted a divorce, he actually threw the trust issue up in my face: “I knew I couldn’t trust you,” he said, but what he meant was “I couldn’t trust that you would do what I wanted you to.”

      • Exactly. And they know we are vulnerable in those areas (because as people with consciences, we share our vulnerabilities with those we love) and use our insecurities to distract us from reality. Gaslighting technique #2, distract via blameshift, follows up right after gaslighting technique #1, deny obvious reality.

        • Amiisfree, you’re bang on. My ex was jealous for no reason at all – hell I never even went out – and it was awful living with that jealousy. But as you say, there are two issue here and neither this guy’s behaviour (nor the “OW”‘s) reassure the letter writer and that should never be acceptable! She did well to dump him!

          • I’m of the opinion that maaaaaaaaybe she’s not jealous and doesn’t have “trust issues,” but rather she has a clear-as-day feeling in her gut of what’s really going on.

            • To be honest, I had this same thought. That would take more unpacking for sure. Without that certainty, I went with the data that was available. 😊

  • Throw your boyfriend to the curb. I suspect he picked you because you are 17 years younger than him. He most likely thought you are to young to figure out his BS. He knows exactly what he is doing. As for the OW she will not tell you the truth. I women who is cheating on her husband has no integrity. Let her have him. You are young and smart. Do not waste anymore time on this loser. He is single for a reason. Your boyfriend showed you who he really is now believe him.

    • I absolutely observe that when an older person regularly seeks out younger relationship partners as a pattern, it’s very often because they know they can use their experience to surreptitiously manipulate the younger person.

      Younger people really should be taught early on to be wary of older people who show immediate intense interest in them. It’s not flattering, it’s predatory. Fortunately, all one has to do is attempt to set healthy boundaries to see a predatory personality play out.

      (Unfortunately, that’s easier said than learned/done.)

      • She sounds super young. Like high school young.

        I hope she leaves him and works on her picker. She has been with this guy for a year, but found out about his girlfriend in the first 3 months. So basically she has been pickme dancing for 9 months of the relationship.. .. . there is NO relationship. it was fun for the first 3 months and then after that she is chasing shadows. Is this his girlfriend or relative? (who sends their distant cousin a necklace) Did he really delete her contact information or does he have her contact information memorized so he dont need to store it? (he still sent her a gift and knew that she wore it) She moved 600 miles to get over him but they are still together? he never told her about me (the OP) but she knew so much about the OP? she kept asking over and over but the girlfriend kept saying “it doesnt matter because he picked you”.. .. well isnt that an answer too?

        Ms Confused needs to really think what she wants out of life, and out of a relationship, and out of a boyfriend. Does she really want to spend her time wondering “did he”, “will he”, “has he” “can he” and feeling like she is not priority 1 on this mans list. maybe he does want a wife and children but his actions are saying he doesnt want Ms Confused to be his wife and baby momma. She needs to work on her standards and her boundaries.. .. . I am not saying that to be mean. BY all means, i WISH someone had told me that when i was in my teens or early 20s. ..
        Stop wasting time, energy and effort on asking why he is doing this and start asking WHY are you letting him.. .. . he doesnt sound like he is loyal or honest or faithful.

    • “He is single for a reason.”
      I’m not sure I know what that means. I’m single, but I’m not defective or a fuckwit.

  • Jesus. Such investment and drama over a relationship that was good for 3 whole months.

    Turn that channel. F it! Delete it from your remote before crab walking demon ladies crawl out of your TV.

    • Bingo. And really the first 3 months were even “good” but were just the only months she didn’t know about the 15 year relationship with the OW. Thank jeebus our writer didn’t get swept up longer and marry the dude in the meantime.

      Further, I wouldn’t be surprised at all to hear that this woman on the phone actually IS the “wife and kids” (or was). As gaslighting as the woman was I wouldn’t put that possibility out of the realm yet because she really doesn’t even know this guy at all.

    • LOL I just pictured the Crab People from that South Park episode crawling out of her tv chanting “Crab people Crab People”.

  • Leave this boyfriend in the dust. He is not husband/partner material.
    If you can’t trust him when you are dating (when he should be treating you like a queen), when can you trust him? It doesn’t get better. It gets worse, much worse.
    I contacted several other women (not my best time in life). One lied at first then stopped denying what I was saying. She just stopped talking. I realized that she was protecting him!
    The other one told me the truth about all their meetups- when I thought that he was on business trips. She knew everything about me & our 4 kids! It didn’t stop her. She was the one who told me about another OW. She found out my cheater was cheating on her & wanted him to have consequences. These people are really screwed up & you should get as far away from their chaos as possible.
    Think about having to deal with this kind of crap your whole marriage! It’s not healthy for you or your future kids.
    I finally got out because it was literally affecting my health.
    Get out now while you’re still young & healthy.
    Wishing you peace.

  • I don’t know, the writer seems pretty loony herself. It’s not clear to me who is as fault here. I’m going with dysfunction all around. Girl needs to ditch the geezer and get her own therapy for the insecurity and jealousy issues. No one wants to be with someone like that.

    • I thought I had trust issues. It’s at this forum that I realised that I don’t have trust issues, I just know a few untrustworthy people who shouldn’t be given a benefit of a doubt.

    • 👆🏻👆🏻👆🏻👆🏻 Word.

      Not that there is an Olympics of pain, but…. I was wholly invested in my XH of 25 years when I was blindsided by DDAY 1 and later learned he had been a serial cheater for at least 20 years. We had four children, homes, businesses, pets, treatises in law we had written together…. to say I was devastated doesn’t begin to touch it. My kids became suicidal after they discovered the cheating on Christmas 5 years ago and XH blamed THEM for his unhappiness and “need” to cheat!

      I know many of you here can relate. This letter writer …. probably not so much.

      Run from this old loser, letter writer. You have very nearly nothing invested…. run now!

    • So much this. There’s not nearly enough discussion of the jealousy that the writer admits to. I’m not defending this guy at all, but she doesn’t appear to be completely perfect – making him end friendships due to her own insecurities is controlling and not ok. No one in this situation is without faults.

      • From my reading of the letter there’s only this one “friendship” of his she’s worried about, and it seems pretty clear “friendship” in this case is a cover for his relationship with this other woman. She says she cooled several of her own friendships with men after she got involved with this man.
        From experience I can say that a-holes like her boyfriend can manipulate us into insecurities–that turn out to be prescient inklings of the truth, but which we’re gaslit into believing are “just” our jealousy.

        I grew up in a household with an abusive father who constantly “saw” my mother coming onto other men and subjected me to grilling about sexual behavior after I came home from dates, and once accused me of hiding a man in my closet at night–that was controlling behavior and jealousy without reason. When your partner is maintaining the kind of friendship that this man is–giving the other woman jewelry and talking to her daily and keeping this a secret from you–then you are right to be suspicious–jealous–about that relationship.

    • HM, I’m with you. She needs to get her own self solid before pursuing another relationship, otherwise the shadows are going to drive her crazy, whether or not the object of affection is cheating or not. She’s torturing herself enough for everyone. I’m gonna ignore this post out of all the solid advice that CL usually gives, because I feel like the OP has other issues to contend first.

  • Darling,

    I’ve got several (married) male friends, our friendships go back longer than 20 years. Still:
    – none of them has ever given me jewelry though they sometimes text/ say happy birthday (and if they did give me gifts like jewelry, that’d be the end of friendship)
    – all their girlfriends/ wives know about me and I about them (though we might rarely (if ever) speak)
    – I don’t talk to any of my male friends every day or most days (I’m single but I’ve got life)
    – I’ve got no problem to clearly tell anybody that I’m not romantically/ sexual involved with my male friends.

    I’ve never ever had any problem with my male friends’ partners, or they with me.

    Finally, find yourself a boyfriend of a more suitable age and run away another 600 miles!

  • Why do I get the feeling that the friend of 15 years is the boyfriend’s wife and the writer is an unknowing OW?

    • But then wouldn’t the “OW” blow her top being called up by her husband’s gf and ask what the F she was doing with her husband!

      • Not necessarily….the Friend tells our writer
        “he’s had other people in his life before she came along”…..it could be a wife who is staying in the marriage, tolerating the cheating, and enjoying mindf**king the girlfriend (cat/mouse).

        I just had the feeling reading this that the Friend was the wife.

        • He tells the girlfriend that he and the Friend are “distant relatives, not blood”…

          He calls the Friend every day on his way home from work…

          • Would you believe that I actually once offered my ex-husband the opportunity to go cheat to get the OW out of his system? I told him to take three months, go figure out what he wanted, engage in the relationship on his own with him out of the house, and then let me know how he was feeling after that time.

            His answer was that if he did that he knew that he wouldn’t come back, so he stayed. Somehow I interpreted that as a good thing at the time. Felt that it was a sign that he wanted to stay and work at the marriage.

            I was delusional.

            Whose to say that this isn’t some delusional wife, giving her hubby “a break to go find himself” and she just keeps hanging on thinking that he’ll eventually circle back around.

            Even it it’s not a wife, I’ll bet that she definitely been a previous partner who has remained “friends” ever since.

            No matter which way this is cut, none of it is good. Cut him loose. Get some counselling.

          • Ya’ll, I think what we’re all getting at here wondering about it is this is one EFffed up tangled skein 🧶of a situation that makes very little logical sense (as presented here anyway), and we all hope OP sees the benefit of her lack of ties to these individuals and runs away and finds someone closer to her own age.

            • Yes. I’m always wary of the “it’s complicated” relationship status (e.g., “I’m involved but not happy and looking something better, but I’ll stay put for now”).

              If it’s THIS complicated, there’s some major fuckedupedness afoot.

            • No doubt the solution is for the Writer to get away from the Boyfriend…I just am musing on my feeling that the Friend is actually the Wife of the Boyfriend….

              Affairs are always tangled shit shows;
              this story just has an interesting layer of frosting if the Friend is his wife!

              It would be lots of fun to field a phone call from an OW give her all sorts of information to trip on!

    • Geez I said this up above under Luz’s comments and hadn’t gotten this far yet. Good to know I am not alone in thinking exactly this. There is so much crazy out in the world I would not be surprised at all if that was the case.

      • It had that ring to it, didn’t it? As I was reading I thought that was going to be a Chump Lady surprise reveal or something.

        What say you, Chump Lady?

  • Oy, what a cluster of unhealthy issues going on here… I agree with HM in that there is dysfunction happening on both sides. He’s obviously triangulating and she is insanely jealous. Not a good match in anyone’s book.

    • I don’t know about “insanely” jealous. I have had two cheaters that I caught red handed. But looking back to a few men I dated earlier in life, in hindsight I can see there were several huge waving red banners. I DO remember feeling jealous. I also remember telling myself (and others telling me!) that I was crazy and jealous for “no reason” just because I didn’t actually happen upon them with their hand in the cookie jar. Now I think differently. I don’t think I had jealousy issues at all. I think back then I was still sort of listening to my gut and picking up on cheating signals. BUT I made the huge mistake of letting them and the rest of society groom that right out of me. I should have listened to my fear. I should have realized that people who make you feel uneasy or “off” or jealous are giving themselves away in some small way. We spend so much time indoctrinating people (women especially, I think) to be the “cool “partner who is never bothered by anything and never gives their partner a “hard” time etc. I have noticed too like others above that I have long-standing male friends whose partners are also my friends, who have zero problem with me. These women ARE NOT threatened by me. Maybe it’s not because they are not insecure. Maybe it is because I and their mate have given them nothing to be afraid of. Just because the letter writer self-identifies as “jealous” does not mean she is doing an accurate self diagnosis. It may just mean “Our culture of being a cool girlfriend and never setting any boundaries” may not have completely groomed her into narc submission yet. Later on when she does find out a partner has been serial cheating, duping, and endangering her health the same people and culture will say “How could she not know? She must have turned a blind eye.”

      • This is a great observation and you Put into words something I have sensed for a while. Ex husband “indoctrinated being the cool wife and girlfriend” and I went with it. The reconciliation sites did the same. Ugh. Not only that, But in 2 relationships after – I was so cool – I put up with cheapness from one guy and rude and arrogant behavior from another. Just to prove how laid back I was. These guys deserved to be called out on their shit. And I never did it. I did break up with them though. At least i did that.

      • I became “jealous” during my marriage. My ex triangulated me with everyone. His best friend, his other circle of friends, his sister, his work colleagues, the shop lady, my elder kids (His step kids, their friends, our own daughter (still pulls it with her), OW #’s 1, 2, 3, 85, his father, my brother in law, my friends, anyone I had any contact with.

        He had me totally believing that I was a loser and he was Oh So Cool! Nobody liked me, he was fantastic and I would forever be lonely.

        Now that he’s gone, I realised that I had “acceptance” issues which went way back to childhood. I hated being exuded from the cool kids in high school, so it got me that my husband would leave me out of plans regularly.

        Initially I tried talking to him about it, not realising he was purposefully triangulating. Then I got tired of explaining and I started making my own plans (He hated that). I had been a strong individual person when we met. By the end I was always anxious and constantly feeling as though I wasn’t worthy of his (or anyones) company. I was so wrong. Looking back, his world was not worth MY time and MY company.

        The writer speaks of being jealous. This story is text book triangulation mind games.

        The only solution is to stop wanting to be included in his world. Build a new world, where people aren’t trying to make you compete for their time/company. Be the MIGHTY kid, so much better than cool anyway!

  • Ms. Confused/heartbroken: Never give up your friends for a boyfriend. Boyfriend needs to know your life doesn’t revolve around him. You had a happy life prior to meeting him, and you can have a happy life even if he’s gone.

  • She’s insecure by her own admission because she keeps picking the wrong people to be involved with – probably including her own friends.I’d recommend reading the how to fix your broken picker articles. Here’s one: https://www.chumplady.com/2015/12/dear-chump-lady-how-do-i-fix-my-picker/

    Some of us wind up in the same situation over and over again because we are attracted to people we are not compatible with. They aren’t our people, we just think they are. We need to find our people. She needs to find her people. Start by figuring out your picker.

  • Why would you even call the OW? She believes his lies because she wants to. Let the two cheating low life’s have each other. You have to regain your self respect &
    dump this piece of s—t.
    You deserve so much better.

  • When something smells you can be sure it’s rotten.

    Healthy relationships don’t feel like this, they don’t have these components. You are wasting your time with him.

    Find someone closer to your own age…….. this guy will become a distant memory very quickly.

  • ”All these things were too much for me to handle and I took a drastic step and moved 600 miles away from him to get over him. Well I still haven’t been able to.”

    Missing pieces to the story here?
    Try no contact.

  • Maybe it’s just me but i really don’t understand such a large age difference in relationships .
    I am 45 years old i don’t want to date a 62 year old man or similarly a 28 year old ( 17 years age difference )

    Sorry Ms. Confused/heartbroken for everything you are going through i really am but get out before it goes any further . If you have concerns while dating then this is not going to get any better

    • The letter writer sounds VERY young to me. I mean, just the fact that she thinks a boyfriend of a few months time is significant and can’t just be walked away from easily indicates to me that if she isn’t very young, she is quite inexperienced in dealing with such things.

    • I know there is always the exception to the rule but most men that date or marry significantly younger women have issues. Whether it be narcissistic ego, insecurity, immaturity, etc. Women that date significantly older men, pretty much the same. Daddy issues, gold diggers, etc. I don’t know why but I have always found older men that seek younger women, for whatever reason, absolutely repulsive.

      • Yep. My X Asshat left me for a chick half our age. That makes him 51 to her 26 now, and that is simply gross. Our oldest daughter is 26. The chick is from an Eastern European country and he moved there for a year after he abandoned me.

        I know if my 26YO daughter was suddenly seeing a very-recently divorced 51YO dude from Europe who was suddenly willing to move here to be with her, I would be very worried. I would think the guy was a creep and possibly fleeing some crime in his own country. When I got a look at the guy and saw he was bald, stoop-shouldered, had broken and stained teeth I would get damned frightened and ask my daughter just what the hell was she thinking and tell her straight up I think she is in danger.

        Yeah, my X Asshat began to rust and is no longer the 17 YO guy I fell in love with in high school. I dutifully shaved his hairy back and cleaned his shit-stained underwear anyway without a word or side-eye about it. I never cared that he lost his hair or refused to spend our ample money on dental work. I loved him anyway and never would have left him.

        He abandoned me anyway and told me it was my fault.

        I should send the European twat a thank you note.

        • The East European twat will only stay with him as long as he is of use. She’ll take him to the cleaners and then dump his stupid ass. It’s the way they operate. While I never want to see family funds be diverted to affair partners, I hope you settled up with the loser and she takes him for everything he’s worth.

  • It may be due to my age, but I have never believed a big age difference was good for a relationship. It might work for some people, but I want to be with people who have lived in the same times I have, and have some of the same experiences. I have always found the older man, younger woman thing to be indicative of his unrealistic expectations, and her need of a support figure, but that is just an opinion, and certainly not a scientific finding.
    I am not normally jealous either. Sometimes I may envy someone else’s skill or talent, or experience, in a complimentary way — I wish I had that quality, but don’t resent them for having it. I have had jealous boyfriends, spouses. That is a horrible situation. When you can’t say good morning to a stranger in the grocery store, or thank you to someone who holds a door for you without enduring ridiculous questions, that is a misery. I enjoy music and go many places where there are men who play and sing. I am a music buddy with these guys, have no interest in them romantically, and am happy when I go home alone. I have had to deal with several suspicious and jealous wives questioning me about why I am there at a music event. They don’t seem to believe it is for the music. This is tiresome, and I know I have done nothing to concern them. Jealousy can be detrimental to a relationship. I gave a male friend a copy of a used book I found in a used book store once, because we had talked about the subject in the book, and both found it interesting. It was an act of friendship, not courtship, but I doubt he told his wife how he got the book. She would have thought that giving him a gift was inappropriate. I hate that people refuse to believe you can have a friendship that is not a sexual relationship with someone of the opposite sex. I also have gay friends, but no inclination to be gay myself.

    I have had girlfriends who don’t want me to be friends with other girlfriends. This is also ridiculous jealousy. I refuse to accept that I cannot have interests and friendships with other people that are not exclusive or sexual in nature. I am tired of people presuming I am gay is I go on a trip with another woman, or having an affair if I share an interest with a man. A woman I worked with could not believe I would drive a male friend to the hospital and drive him home afterwards if I was not having a relationship with him. He had no family, and his male friends were working that day, and I was not. Being kind is not a request for sex. Please folks, there is a difference between a friendship and an affair.

    I cannot speak to this case, but the woman seems overly jealous to me. and the man’s actions seem strange, too. I would say they are not a good match, and should just get away from each other. I have no interest in either of them. Too much drama, too little trust, no evident respect from either.

  • Sounds very similar to a conversation I had with one of the other women. She bold-face lied to me, said they were “just friends,” waxed poetic about how much serial cheater was in love with me, blah blah blah. That other woman was with serial cheater probably the entire 8 years, 3 years that I know of, and several others on the side besides.

    Affair partners ALWAYS lie to cover up for it.

    _Another_ other woman covered up by answering “I don’t remember” to my questions asking about the sexual acts between them. Affair partners always lie.

  • This is a shot term boyfriend. Get on with your life. The two of you are not a match. And I agree that there are too many pieces of the puzzle missing here.

  • I have had male friends and they were simply friends. No romantic inclination at all. I had one friend who I went out dancing with and we were both single. He really was looking for a wife and I was not interested. He finally met an old girlfriend and they got married. I was happy for him. She apparently told him not to have contact with me any longer. He came to my house and told me that. He still wanted to see me without her knowing. I cut that friendship off immediately. I did not want to be a part of him sneaking around even if it was not a physical relationship. Later I learned through mutual friends that his marriage did not last long.

  • My husband had female friends when we met. I did not have an issue with that. They were our age and all welcomed me into the group. My situation now is he is talking about younger women in his classes as his companions because he says he can’t communicate with me. This is a whole different thing. Instead of working on our relationship he wants to look for someone else.
    In the situation with the letter writer it is the secrecy all around that I find problematic. And I would think the OW would come out and say there was nothing going on if there really was not.

  • I kind of suspect Chump Lady is getting chumped with this letter. But assuming it IS real, the letter writer comes off as very young — like just recently graduated high school young — and the amount of energy and drama sunk into a relationship of just a few months with a guy who has to be mid-30s at the youngest tells me that she needs to spend some time getting herself figured out and her head on straight before worrying about ANY relationship. No contact, a good therapist, time spent with friends who aren’t drama queens, and perhaps focus on career goals, volunteer work, and hobbies is my armchair prescription.

    • I suspect the person is young as well. She’s Indian. And really, you should see my mail. I’m sure sometimes I’m chumped (after all, I’m … a chump), but most people aren’t terribly self-aware and if you were going to fake something, why all the long emotional word vomit? That’s what distressed people do.

      Yes, picker fixing needed.

      As for jealousy — I read it as a mindfuck. The problem is she’s a Jealous Person, not that this “boyfriend” is behaving in ways to keep her off balance.

      Perhaps as Amiisfree pointed out upthread, it’s both her insecurity issues AND he’s being shady. That’s certainly a possibility, but I wonder if she has relationships she feels safe in? In which case, the jealous person thing isn’t a constant.

      • This is the OP again. First of all thank you for responding to my email. Second, I have pretty much never felt safe in any relationship. Started off with my mother, than my sister and my friends. I had a very good relationship with my father until I cut him off a couple years ago too. Yeah he’s made mistakes but he’s the only person whose love I have never questioned. I do have a good relationship with my aunt and uncle but that’s only because I chose to let go of my issues with them

  • I’m going to get push back, but never ever date a guy significantly older than you. Most of these guys are preying on younger women because they know young women have less life experience. It’s a serious power differential. Huge red flag. Dump this leech.

  • The cow of dysfunction has left the barn-
    BWAHAHAHA!

    Pure comedy gold on a Monday morning….
    Thanks CL-I needed that.

  • I’m really surprised CL actually opted to respond to this letter. There are too many pieces of the puzzle “conveniently” missing here and the writer’s behavior is, quite frankly, a skein of its own that can rival any fuckwit.

    She needs to be single not because he may or may not be cheating. She needs to be single and seeking counseling to get her own head screwed on straight, independent of any relationship. That kind of jealousy, insecurity, dramatic reactions like moving 600 miles away just over a break up only to continue to maintain this “relationship” – none of this indicates healthy behavior and her letter and perceptions are written through that messed up lens. Bottom line being that we have no idea what the truth is here and automatically beating the “you are the victim of a cheater” drum is not always a healthy message. Life is not that black and white, especially when so much is missing between the lines.

    • I don’t care what her individual problems are. Just as Chumplady says: You may suck; that doesn’t mean you deserved to be cheated on. In ANY circumstance this guy is acting shady AF. Besides, quite frankly, I think some people today are forgetting exactly how deeply these people can screw with your perceptions and make you doubt yourself and your reality. If she is currently still sunk deeply in a horrible gaslighting relationship–she may be the person LEAST qualified to see clearly if she is actually insecure or jealous. Weren’t we ALL told some version of that through the years? Didn’t we all buy into it to some extent ? Especially considering the huge age difference and how young this girl really might be, I do think we should give the benefit of the doubt. In our world ties no longer go to the cheater.

  • Don’t get caught up in the bottom line argument of whether he actually put his penis in her vagina.

    The true bottom line here is if you feel safe, loved and respected. I am betting you don’t. That’s because his actions are different from his words. This is confusing but it tells you everything you need to know. He isn’t going to put you first. If he was going to he would have done it by now.

    He treated you great at first. That is the honeymoon love bombing phase. Now he says you are jealous. Next you will be devalued and nothing you do will be right or good enough. Let’s not get to that stage. Take control of your life and your future and leave this guy to his married mistress.

  • First off 17 year age difference is in my opinion too much, secondly if you find out he’s contacting another woman, married to boot with kids, that’s a massive deal breaker!

  • I wouldn’t be surprised if one or more of the married woman’s children AREN’T his. Doesn’t matter whether they are seeing if their slots and tabs mesh now when clearly he is a liar. Now. Then. Forever and always.

    Run. Flee. Vamoose. Am-scray. Exfiltrate.

    Save yourself, your wallet, your future and dump this guy.

  • Confused/Heartbroken, you may have jealousy issues, I don’t know for sure. However, never confuse jealousy with taking issue with blatant disrespect and sneaky, underhanded behavior. I know the disordered love to accuse their victims of jealousy when being called out on bad behavior. Don’t buy it.

  • It sounds to me like you have been the victim of gaslighting on both sides–he has the easy loophole of blaming your intuitive sense of being unsafe in this relationship on “insecurity” or “jealousy issues,” and this OW, or whatever she is, is jumping right in and putting more fuel on the flames. Who is she to tell you that you have jealousy issues? She is playing cat and mouse.

    If you feel insecure and unsafe in the relationship, it is probably because others’ actions are making you feel that way. Do not internalize their gaslighting and blameshifting. Just please get out. It is nothing but a hall of mirrors, this having to call people to check on your partner, having to think and re-think every conversation. All he wants are kibbles, irons in the fire, options on his menu, and she is enjoying the power of being vague, making you squirm. Leave them to each other. I was also with an old fart who made me dance, and now he and the OW can bore each other to their hearts’ content, with the hypotenuse of their triangle long gone. Hugs to you.

  • Dear Confused,

    Your boyfriend’s Other Woman will never tell you the whole truth, because she’s married and has a lot to lose. (Or she is/was married to your boyfriend, which involves a whole other set of dysfunctional dynamics.) I agree with CL 100% that any innocent person having that conversation would clearly state that they were not involved with your Significant Other, and would find that idea repellant.

    I just want to say something about “honesty” here. There’s a really screwed-up notion in our culture that you can consider yourself “honest” if you don’t tell outright lies. And it sounds like your boyfriend and the OW in your case might tell themselves that they didn’t lie to you – if, indeed, they have any empathy or capability to feel remorse. (My STBX-spouse of 21 years, who does seem to be capable of some empathy, clearly balked at lying outright to me after DDays 1 and 2. Of course, the reason she mostly didn’t have to lie outright is that I wasn’t asking certain questions. When I did, she got vague/cagey/amnesiac.) But of course, honesty is much broader than just telling overt lies. Anytime somebody has a hidden agenda and doesn’t inform people who stand to be affected by that agenda, that’s lying by omission: dishonesty. Anytime somebody in “affair fog” claims that they don’t remember the details, but refuses to go check their text logs/personal files/etc. to jog their memories so they can tell you what you need to know, that’s unwillingness to face and share the truth: dishonesty. Anytime somebody gets vague and talks in generalities when you’re asking very specific and clear questions, that obfuscation: dishonesty.

    So both your boyfriend and the potential OW have been dishonest with you, even if they cagily avoid telling outright lies. PLEASE don’t stay in a partnership in which you can never fully trust your partner to be honest with you, which is a very basic component of respect in any relationship. As other posters noted above, the disrespect mindfuck can affect even your physical health over time. And it sounds like you’ve got PLENTY of time to fix your picker and find someone you can truly trust. It sounds like that person might have to work with you on trust issues for a while, but if they have empathy for the life experiences you’ve had so far, hopefully they will not take it too personally when you feel jealous – and you, too, can do the internal work of judging whether your jealousy is warranted or not. Intimate trust is built over time, and I mean YEARS, not just a few months, esp. during the dating phase when all the chemicals are combusting in both people’s brains. All best to you.

  • Lots of cheaters play the “you’re so jealous” card quickly. It’s just a distraction from what they’re doing. I heard it for YEARS before I finally had proof.
    Yes, sometimes jealousy is a product of paranoia, but I don’t think so. A good relationship shouldn’t make you feel jealous.

    I would argue that “Ms. Confused/heartbroken” really needs to understand that people in relationships have good “relationship boundaries.” You really shouldn’t have “friends” of the opposite gender that you do things with that might look like a date/cheating/emotional entanglement. It has nothing to do with spending more time with your beloved, it has to do with not creating a potential temptation/issue with someone else.

  • …Hmmm few things:

    1) If you move 600 miles away from someone because you don’t trust them, then you already know your answer here. That’s a LONG way to move from someone because of their dishonesty. Especially after a relationship of only 3 months.

    2) Of course she didn’t give you a straight answer. If she’s the OW, and the affair hasn’t actually been uncovered fully yet, why would she shoot herself in the foot and blow their cover? If nothing is going on, there’s no reason for her to not just outright say “There is nothing going on.”

    3) It’s pretty easy to delete and re-add a contact. And if he’s known her for 15 years I can almost guarantee he doesn’t need to have her number in his phone to be able to contact her. All my friends I’ve known for over ten years have multiple ways of reaching me. And even if her number is out of HIS phone that doesn’t mean his number is out of hers. Like CL said, that means less than nothing.

    4) Even if they aren’t telling you direct lies, they aren’t being honest. Either one of them can just say “there is nothing going on between us.” But they won’t. He tells you one thing to your face, but then does shady things behind your back. “I removed her from my contact list and stopped talking to her” he says as she walks around in jewelry he bought her.

    5) Have you seen her husband and children? Photos? Social media? Where is this man? I don’t think your boyfriend is married to this woman, because if he was, then that would have made YOU the other woman and I would think that receiving a call from a woman who claims to be his girlfriend would probably get a way different reaction from her. However it is very, very weird that her family seem to be ghosts in this picture.

    6) “He never introduces his girlfriends to his parents.” Why not? A man who wants a wife and children will introduce his girlfriends to his parents. Which brings me to the last point:

    7) He is 17 years older than you, at that age does not have the “wife and children” he says he wants, won’t bring you around his family, dances around the subject of his female friend. Ok, say he’s not cheating and there really isn’t anything going on. Setting aside the fact that they suck at making that believable, it doesn’t matter because he’s not showing signs of committing to you. Period. You might see yourself as his girlfriend and partner, but he doesn’t see you that way. To me, this looks like you’re what I call a “doorstop.” It holds the door open for a while until the woman he actually wants to commit to walks through, then he kicks it out and shuts the door. You’re there to make sure he doesn’t go through a dry spell, he might commit to someone, but it won’t be you, but he gives you juuuuust enough to keep you there…holding that door.

    I have been with men like this. They act like boyfriends up to a point. They go out with you, sleep with you, maybe even spend money on you, but you bring up commitment and it’s a million excuses. It will go on for a few months and then suddenly there’s another woman and the foundation of what you thought was a relationship is very, very shaky and you can’t get straight answers.

    That’s what is happening here. If he hasn’t 100% totally cheated, he’s not invested. Save yourself the inevitable pain and walk away from it. It really, really isn’t worth it. For real, a dude like that aint shit.

  • No male gives jewelry to a woman without expecting something….this woman isn’t his mother, sister or your mother. Trust me, he’s cheating.

    He’s also jerking you around — he likes to watch the show.

    Kick him to the curb again, go hard core no contact and do some therapy to fix your picker and sort out the trust issues you think you have.

  • Reminds me of my ex whom I dis-affectionately refer to as a sociopath. He, too, had not just one, but several “female” friends. Hit them up every morning and night with his texts, for YEARS. Yet not one knew about the other. I was the only smart one of the group. I smelled bullshit, he denied bullshit, so I went and found the bullshit, yet he denied it like a total fucking sociopath. Never again will I allow some asswipe to deny my reality.

    I would feel sorry for some of those women, but I think some are like the other woman you mention…they believe they are important and special and will hold on to anything for fear of abandomnet. Yet, in reality, your doucbebag uses her and feeds her bullshit lines just like he feeds you.

    Trust your gut. He will give you a venereal disease or something worse.

    • And I suspect your guy love bombed you whic is probably why you feel jealous.

      Frankly, I’m kind of surprised by some of the responses to the writer today…Clearly she is in pain and looking for answers. Love bombing is intense and sweeps you off your feet And love bombing also comes with a lot false promises.

      Please take to heart that feeling jealous, confused and angry is perfectly normal. This guy and his skank are playing one big mind fuck with you. It’s cruel. The term is called gas-lighting and it is a form of mental abuse and both of the POS in your story are gaslighting you.

      • Good point. Love-bombing is overvaluing the object of the “bombing,” and it’s followed, sooner or later, by DEVALUATION. And I think that can lead to jealousy, which is an understandable response to a spouse orpartner giving away what should stay within the relationship. See below.

  • Called the other woman. Got the Gaslight Channel.

    Here’s the deal on “trust” and jealousy.

    First, you don’t need to worry about trust if you trust yourself to have good judgment. This letter reeks of lack of confidence. You need to be able to figure out if someone is good for you! No one has that answer but you! That’s what we mean by “fix your picker.” Learn to evaluate the CHARACTER of the people you meet–both those you must interact with during your daily or weekly routine and those who are candidates for more personal interaction. Your task is not to keep relationships alive, no matter what; it’s to figure out if it is healthy and good for you to be in a friendship or more with that person. CL covers the case against your boyfriend pretty thoroughly.

    Second, there is a difference between “jealousy” and “possessiveness”/controlling others. “Jealousy” is a valid human emotion that comes up when someone takes what should be yours (sexual fidelity, love, affection, time finances) and gives it to someone else. If you, for example, occasionally go out and have a few drinks with friends (male and female), and the conversation and behavior are casual and you are not regularly taking time from your partner to pursue some specific “friendship” with another man, your partner would not have grounds to be “jealous.” It’s normal and healthy to have friends of all genders and orientations; what isn’t healthy for a relationship is to take things that belong between the couple and parcel them out to your “friend”–sex, money, secrets of your partner, marital business, dissatisfaction with you partner, time needed for raising kids, time needed for sharing with your partner. Those things rightly raise jealous feelings, which is the early warning system that you are at risk, that your partner isn’t keeping his end of the bargain, that your partner is giving away something he should give only to you.

    That means it’s particularly pernicious to attack someone for being “jealous” when that person has every reason to feel that way.

    What isn’t OK is “possessiveness” or the need to control the other person–where one partner isolates the other, cuts of relationship and freedom of movement, and in general creates a hierarchy where one person controls money, sex, friendships, social life and the other is controlled. That’s abuse. Don’t confuse that with jealousy. If you fall in that category of being “possessive,” that’s something to work on in therapy. If you are confident in your own resilience, in your ability to deal with the hurt and pain that life inevitably brings along with the joy, if you trust your own judgment about people, you won’t need to “control” anyone but yourself. That’s the best argument I can make against signing up for the marriage/relationship police–that it warps you, turns you into someone you don’t really want to be. It’s a terrible way to live.

    • Hi this is the OP. I do believe that I am possessive, sometimes overly possessive. I forgot to add that this is the first relationship I have ever been in. Before this, I used to avoid relationships because of my own insecurities. After all these responses, I’m honestly really starting to think if it is my severe trust issues or if I am being gas lighted for real.

      • If you feel that is the case, and this is the first relationship you’ve been in, then you’re not ready for relationships.

        For one, like a lot of us have said, this man is wildly too old for you. 17 years is a very drastic difference in not just number, but life position and experience, and it is obvious he knows that and so does his friend.

        Second, for the first relationship you’ve had, you uprooted yourself and moved 600 miles when it briefly ended after only three months. That’s a thing that you did, not him. And you can’t uproot your life and move hundreds of miles away when relationships end in order to get over them, then go back. And this goes for all relationships, not just this one. That’s a major impact on your life. It’s okay to walk away from a relationship you don’t feel secure in, or if your partner crosses a boundary, but that doesn’t need to involve moving hundreds of miles.

        I still think you should end this relationship for the same reasons as I said in my comment above. Even if they are not directly lying to your face, they are not being fully honest. They are doing shady things. And even if they are not actually having an affair, they are STILL not being fully honest. If you feel insecure, neither of them is behaving in a way that would show you can trust them. It is not trustworthy to say to you “I have deleted her and don’t talk to her” then buy her a birthday present. That IS a blatant lie. Whether they are having an affair or not, that was still a lie. And saying “we did this because you will react like that” is blameshifting. If they know a certain behavior will hurt or upset you, the answer shouldn’t be to go behind your back. It should be to not do the thing that will hurt you and otherwise damage your trust.

        Now, being honest here, it is unreasonable to expect your partner to stop talking to long-time friends or stop spending time with friends and redirect all his time to you (and you shouldn’t be spending all your time and energy on just him either.) One nugget of wisdom a close friend told me that has stuck with me for a long time “Your partner should be your best friend, but not your only friend.” You need your own space, your own life, and your own interests. Spending and focusing the majority of your time, or all your time, on your relationship and neglecting your friendships (and expecting your partner to start ignoring his) isn’t fair. Not to you, not to him. Your partners will have friendships. Sometimes they will be of the opposite sex. That doesn’t mean they are cheating. Again, it’s the behavior you have to pay attention to. Is your partner being transparent? Can you speak to these friends? Does your partner tell them about you? Does he tell you about them? Having friendships isn’t necessarily a negative sign. A lack of transparency is.

        But your own friends are your support system, and it’s important to maintain strong interpersonal connections to people outside of your relationship. Isolating yourself, or diminishing your connections to friends you already have won’t make relationships stronger, and it won’t show dedication or devotion (you do that by being honest and communicative,) and can lead to co-dependence. I’m not saying you’re at that point now, but neglecting friendships when you enter a relationship is not a healthy thing to do for yourself.

        Lastly, ask yourself where these original insecurities came from. If you haven’t had a relationship before, what makes you feel insecure about them? What fears do you have? Did something happen in your life that caused you to be unable to trust? These are still things you should work on within yourself before being part of a couple.

        Having trust issues doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t eventually have a healthy relationship. However, THIS one is not it. Not with a man 17 years older who can’t be upfront about a supposed friend. Work on the things that make you afraid to trust, and if you want to explore relationships, let it be with someone your own age, who can be honest with you.

      • Confused. Take some time away from all this, no contact, to sort out if it is your trust or that you’ve been played. Whilst you are caught up with the immediate drama, you will not see clearly.

        If you do believe you are possessive, that is something to work on by yourself or in therapy. If this is really your own trust issue, you’re not able to be healthy in a relationship regardless of what this man does or doesn’t do.

        As LAJ says, if we are fully trusting of ourselves and our ability to see another’s character, we do not feel the need to possess another person.

        No matter what, take the time to heal from this and be confident in yourself. Xxx hugs

  • My instinct was that Confused/Heartbroken moved 600 miles away to ‘teach this guy a lesson’. I agree, she sounds very young and mistakenly thinks we can control the actions of others. Hope she goes nc and gets on with her life.

  • I remember in my own early chumpdom being accused of pathological jealousy, and feeling insecure and being accused of being insecure. I was insecure! It turned out NOT to be a fault in me. I was insecure because I was in an insecure relationship and situation. Because as it turned out the nowEx was being unfaithful in thought and deed. I was accused of being paranoid, and even began to question my own mental health. I recall reading an article on Pathological Jealousy in which researchers found that the majority of men in the study diagnosed with pathological jealousy were in fact being cheated on why the women they were jealous of when it was retrospectively analysed later. When my “paranoia” led me to check the other parties emails the full truth was plain to see in black and white. Not my proudest moment, and my picker would alert me much earlier now. I wouldn’t need to check emails it would be “bye bye” unless I’m secure and happy. I’m not trying to justify “jealousy”, but pointing out that our instinct can be accurate and should be listened to and acted upon. A good-hearted person can question themselves from being gaslighted. Listen to your instinct. Get out now. Be alone, or be with someone who, in being with, you don’t feel insecure or pathologically jealous, or accuses you of these things. I am more than happy on my own currently, and approaching “meh”. “Tuesday” seems to get closer day by day. Thank you Chump lady and Chump army for giving me a framework to understand what I now realise was manipulative abuse.

  • “Please tell me this didn’t give you hope. Like the worst possible person you want encouragement from, that your boyfriend might propose! is his current Other girlfriend. ”

    Can you say Camila Parker-Bowles?

  • Hi Confused–

    Chump Nation’s universal opinion is that you need to toss this boyfriend back into the sea. There’s plenty of other fish there, and frankly, you shouldn’t settle for less. If this is what he’s like now, then he’ll only be worse down the road.

    So, dump the boyfriend. He’s not worth it, and frankly, any man who dates someone 17 years his junior is a bit creepy. We do not live in Victorian times, where women routinely died in childbirth and men kept having to marry youthful women. And women had to settle with what they got or fade into the penury of spinsterdom.

    Next, get some therapy. You indicate that you are very jealous by nature. Go unpack this. Is this because you have a broken picker? If so, let’s go find out why that picker is broken and go fix it. You deserve a relationship with someone you can trust wholeheartedly.

  • i’m going to be ageist and judgemental, too. 17 years is a big difference. you most likely are looking for someone to eventually build a life with; he is looking for someone much younger than him to fuck. that’s all.

    there is no way, at 40-odd, he is looking to start a family with you. or anyone else, i’d bet.

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